16 Microwave Hacks That’ll Make You Better in the Kitchen
Your microwave is good for more than just zapping dinner, re-warming your cup of joe, or melting butter. Use these microwave hacks to froth milk, soften sugar, whip up French toast, and more.
Peel garlic quickly
Nuke garlic bulbs for 15 seconds and the skin will slide off like magic. The water in the garlic steams and breaks down the bond between the clove and the skin for fast removal.
(Check out these kitchen tips every clean eater should know.)
Rescue stale bread
If you forgot to completely close your bread or bagel bag, simply wrap the loaf in a moist paper towel and zap it in the microwave for 20-second increments. The moisture from the towel will soak into the bread to make it taste fresh again, but not enough to make it soggy.
(Not everything belongs in the microwave, especially these items.)
Juice fruit with ease
Before juicing an orange or lemon, microwave the uncut fruit for 10 seconds. The microwave will loosen the fibers inside the fruit and make it easier to juice every last drop.
(Also, check out our roundup of cold press juicers that are worth the money.)
Toast nuts fast
Put a handful of nuts in a microwave-safe bowl, toss with a little oil, and microwave in 60-second increments, stirring after each minute. Overall cooking time varies depending on the type of nut, but expect it to take around five minutes. This trick also works for pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
(Find out why you should be eating these nutrient-packed seeds daily.)
Speed bread making
Itching to make homemade pizza crust or bread? Yeast dough can take hours to rise at room temperature, but your microwave can proof yeast dough in about 15 minutes. Just place an 8-ounce cup of water in the back of the microwave. Then, place the dough in a microwave-safe bowl in the center of the microwave and heat on the lowest power for three minutes. Let it sit in the microwave for three minutes. Lastly, heat the dough for three minutes more and then let it rest for six minutes. Your dough has now doubled in size and is ready for baking.
(Or, you can try cauliflower pizza crust instead.)
Smooth crystallized honey
If your glass jar of honey has crystallized in the back of your pantry, simply remove the lid, and heat it in the microwave for 30 to 40-second increments until it returns to its original smooth texture.
Peel veggie skin faster
Hard squashes and root vegetables can be tough to peel. To make the job easier, place the vegetable in your microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on low power and the skin should be more pliable for peeling and cutting. (FYI: Just be careful when removing the hot veggie from the microwave so you don’t burn your fingers.)
(Be sure to check out our roundup of fruits and veggies you shouldn’t peel.)
Slice onions easier
To avoid crying when chopping, wash an onion, trim its ends, and microwave for 30 seconds before cutting. You tear up while chopping onions because the knife damages the onion’s cells, causing the release of sulphuric gas. This gas reacts with tear ducts and irritates the eye. Heating the onion first breaks apart the enzymes that trigger the gas release.
Cook crispier bacon
Place a bowl upside down on a plate. Drape bacon strips over the bowl, then microwave for one minute per slice of bacon. As its grease drips onto the plate, the bacon will become crispy.
(Also, here’s what you need to know about processed meat.)
Skip buying an expensive cappuccino machine. Instead, pour milk into a mason jar, no more than half full (to leave room for foam). Screw on the lid and vigorously shake for 30 to 60 seconds. The milk will turn to froth. Remove the lid and microwave for 30 seconds so the foam rises. Pour into your favourite coffee.
(Also, you may want to try our recipe for whipped coffee.)
For a quick dinner side, rinse and place 1 cup of quinoa in a bowl. Add 2 cups water. Cover and cook for six minutes. Remove, stir, and heat for 2 more minutes. Allow the quinoa to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to absorb the remaining water.
(Here’s what you need to know about quinoa’s nutrition.)
Concoct French toast
Care for brunch in five minutes? Rub a pat of butter on the bottom of a mug; fill to the top with chopped bread. In a separate cup, mix 1 egg, 3 tablespoons milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon with a fork. Pour mixture into the cup and microwave for one minute.
Soften collard greens
Collard greens make delicious, healthy wraps, but are prone to cracking and splitting when stiff. To relax a leaf for a wrap, wash well and microwave for 10 seconds. It will be just flexible enough to roll easily.
(But remember that leafy greens are among the foods you should never reheat in a microwave.)
Soak beans quickly
Forgot to soak beans overnight? Place beans in a large dish and add 3 cups water for every 1 cup of dry beans. Microwave on high until boiling (about 12 to 15 minutes). Remove from the microwave and allow to sit for 1 hour. Drain beans and rinse with cool water.
Try a twist on classic bread and butter. Microwave 1 stick of cubed unsalted butter for 30-second intervals, until melted. Add a pinch of salt and fresh sage leaves. Continue heating in 30-second intervals until fragrant. Drizzle on bread for an earthy, savoury flavour.
Now that you’ve learned some microwave food hacks, it’s time to reveal which cooking mistakes could actually be making your food toxic.