When we think of a microwave most of us will only think of using it to reheat leftovers. But did you know that even if you have new kitchen gadgets like your fancy air fryer or Instapot, your handy microwave oven can still outwork them all?
You just need to know all the ways you can maximize your kitchen appliance to its full potential!
Here are 12 ways you could use a microwave oven beyond reheating and your occasional popcorn cravings!
- Skin a ton of garlic quicker
- Roast nuts
- Make spices and oils
- Melt hardened ingredients
- Steam vegetables
- Bake single-serve recipes
- Force fruits to ripen or make them easier to squeeze
- Husk corn effortlessly
- Cook all kinds of rice and grains
- Reheat old bread
- Cook fancy eggs
- Make proofing yeast quicker
Skin a ton of garlic quicker
Maybe you’re planning to make chilli garlic oil or paste for your next dumpling or ramen dish. Whenever you have a recipe that requires a lot of garlic peeling, let your microwave oven do the hard work for you.
Just place the heads of garlic into the microwave for 20 seconds and when done, you can slide the skin off the individual cloves effortlessly.
If you’ve been using your convection oven to roast nuts, you’re wasting your time! With a microwave oven, it would take you only 10 minutes (instead of 30 to 40 minutes) to roast nuts to your preferred brownness. This works with granola too!
Make spices and oils
For those who have a herb garden, you can use your microwave oven to dehydrate your rosemary or thyme (just place them between two paper towels) in under 3 minutes inside the microwave.
You can also use this idea for dehydrating vegetables and turning them into healthy chips.
Melt hardened ingredients
Trying to get hardened honey to melt is super challenging. If you have no time to wait for it to get back to room temperature, use your microwave to force it to melt. Works with butter, cheese, and chocolates as well.
If you find your stove overcooking the veggies that you actually feel the nutrients have evaporated already, try to do it with your microwave.
Just use a bowl with some water and steam your veggies for a minute or two. This is because the microwave can heat up more quickly, you’ll spend less time cooking the vegetable and in turn, preserving the nutrients altogether.
Bake single-serve recipes
Another great hack is to bake a single giant cookie using just a tiny bowl or cup, a microwave-friendly plate, and your cookie ingredients.
Follow the steps of your favorite cookie, cake, cornbread, cupcake, brownie or any other baked goodie, just bring down the serving size to 1 or 2. Search for any baked recipe and add “in a cup” and be prepared to get your mind blown with the possibilities!
Force fruits to ripen or make them easier to squeeze
If you’re a banana person and you always have to wait for them to ripen before you can enjoy one, use your microwave oven to ripen bananas for a minute or two.
For citrus fruits like lemons that are hard to squeeze, they “loosen up” a bit if you place them into the microwave for under a minute.
Husk corn effortlessly
Place 2 to 3 ears in the microwave, run on high for several minutes and bring them out. Cut off the bottom and slip off the husk and silk. You’ll be surprised how easy they slide off!
Do note that if you’re cooking a dozen or more ears, boiling them would be more convenient than multiple batches of microwaved corn cobs.
Cook all kinds of rice and grains
Don’t limit your cooking to cup noodles at the office or college dorm. If your microwave oven is the only cooking option you have, you’d be surprised to know that you can cook “fried rice”, quinoa, regular white rice and other grains in your microwave oven.
Reheat old bread
If you thought you had to have a toaster oven to reheat bread, you’re underestimating your microwave oven. The secret is to add a small cup of water while you reheat bread-like pizza crust and baguettes for that added crunch.
Cook fancy eggs
You can do any kind of egg dish in a microwave oven, from easy hard-boiled and frittatas to more complicated dishes like poached eggs.
Make proofing yeast quicker
Don’t you just hate the waiting time when baking bread? If you’re like me and you have a microwave oven sitting idly on your kitchen countertop, use it to proof yeast at half the time.
It only takes 15 minutes (compared to the 1-hour or so you need traditionally), but you’ll have to place the dough in the microwave for 3-minute intervals, in between making the dough stand, shaping the dough, and letting it rest.
Of course, you can still use the microwave for reheating leftovers, to roast meat to perfection (if your model comes with a rotisserie), and other cooking methods you’ve forgotten a microwave can actually do.