20 Microwave Tricks Every Cook Needs to Know

Your microwave can do more than heat up leftovers! Here are a handful of microwave tricks that will change the way you cook.

1 / 20
Microwave Oatmeal Bars
Taste of Home

Bake a Dessert

Craving something sweet but don’t want to sacrifice time—or wash all the dishes? Use your microwave to make a pan of oatmeal bars. You only need a handful of ingredients and about 10 minutes.

See all the treats (and meals!) you can make in the microwave.

2 / 20
Creamy scrambled eggs with ham
Taste of Home

Cook Scrambled Eggs

If you’re in a pinch for a quick and delicious breakfast, zap some scrambled eggs. Simply beat two eggs, two tablespoons of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl. It only takes a couple minutes to make an easy plate of scrambled eggs.

3 / 20
Hand cut red onion
Alina Kholopova/Shutterstock

Reduce Onion Tears

No more crying! Before you chop onions, place the whole onion in the microwave for 45 seconds. By heating the onion before cutting it, you help break down the chemicals that cause your tears.

Learn about the different types of onions and how to use them.

4 / 20
Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

Peel Garlic

Vampires, beware! Peeling garlic doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Pop a full bulb in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it, making peeling effortless. The cloves will slide right out of their skins with no mess or sticky, smelly garlic juices.

5 / 20
Yeast dough
Olga Markova/Shutterstock

Help Bread Dough Rise

There are few greater joys in life than smelling (and eating!) freshly baked bread. But bread needs a warm place to rise, which can be a tricky feat in the cold-weather months. Here’s a quick fix: Try microwaving a bowl of water for two minutes, then place your bread inside the microwave with the warm bowl of water. Ta da! It’s the perfect condition for your bread to double in size.

6 / 20
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Taste of Home

Make a Foamy Latte

Fancy a foamy latte? Be your own at-home barista, no frother necessary. Fill a glass jar halfway with milk and microwave for one minute until hot. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds, pour the milk into a mug, add espresso and enjoy.

7 / 20
Lime Juice on a vintage background

Squeeze More Citrus Juice

Get every last drop out of lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. If a recipe calls for citrus juice, zap the fleshy fruit in the microwave for about 10 to 20 seconds. Then, slice it in half and squeeze away. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!  Here are 44 lemony dinners to try for dinner.

8 / 20
Close up of sliced rye bread after freezer.

Revive Stale Bread

Make that bread good as new. Wrap stale bread in a damp paper towel, place it on a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 10 seconds. You can also put a glass of water in the microwave with the bread for more softness.

9 / 20
assortment of nuts; Shutterstock ID 225173110; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home
margouillat photo/Shutterstock

Toast Nuts

Nuts are toasted more evenly in the microwave than the oven or skillet. Spread your favorite nuts in a single layer on a plate, then microwave in one-minute intervals, mixing them each minute.

Here’s everything you need to know about toasting nuts.

10 / 20
Cream of the crop veggies
Taste of Home

Steam Veggies

Use your microwave to conveniently steam all types of vegetables—broccoli, carrots, asparagus, green beans and even artichoke. You only need some water in a microwave-safe bowl and a microwave-safe plate to cover it all. Delish! Perfectly steamed vegetables. Also check out how to clean a microwave in under ten minutes with everyday household items.

11 / 20
Cilantro Beef Tacos
Taste of Home

Make Hard Taco Shells

Magically transform a soft tortilla into a hard taco shell with the help of—you guessed it—your handy microwave. Simply place the tortilla inside a tall, microwave-safe cup, heat it up for about one minute and… hello! A crunchy, crispy taco shell. ¡Olé!

12 / 20
Sweet-N-Spicy Bacon Strips
Taste of Home

Cook Crispy Bacon

No more splattering bacon fat in the frying pan. With the help of some paper towels and a microwave-safe plate, you’ll be enjoying delicious, crispy bacon in your microwave in no time. Mmm… Bacon.

Become a bacon pro with these cooking tips.

13 / 20
Honey dripping from a wooden honey dipper in a jar on wooden grey rustic background
Eugenia Lucasenco/Shutterstock

Decrystallize Honey

Honey that has solidified can be brought back to liquid life. Just uncover the jar and heat on medium power for 30 seconds to 1 minute. After a quick zap in the microwave, the revived honey is decrystallized and ready to drizzle into tea or over cornbread.

14 / 20
Homemade potato chips
Taste of Home

Make Potato Chips

You want to make homemade potato chips. No deep fryer? No problem! Thinly slice a russet potato, drizzle the slices with vegetable oil and salt and lay them out on a microwave-safe dish. Zap ’em for about five minutes until golden and crispy. Get detailed instructions here.

15 / 20
white beans
Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

Cook Beans

Instead of soaking beans in water overnight, place them in a large microwave-safe bowl, completely submerged in water, and heat for about 8-10 minutes (or until the water is boiling). The beans should be ready to use in an hour or two.

16 / 20
close view on fresh herbs bunch
marcin jucha/Shutterstock

Dry Herbs

Instead of waiting to dry herbs in the oven or hanging them upside-down, microwave them! The electromagnetic radiation of your microwave quickly and efficiently evaporates water from the herbs, preserving the essential oils that give herbs their signature flavors and aromas.

17 / 20
BBQ Chicken baked potato
Taste of Home

Bake Potatoes

Prick a clean and dry baking potato with a fork. Then, place on a microwave-safe plate and heat for about seven minutes. Once the potato has cooled a bit, cut with a butter knife and top with plenty of cheese, sour cream, chives and butter!

18 / 20
No-churn gingerbread ice cream
Taste of Home

Soften Ice Cream and Frosting

If your favorite pint of ice cream or jar of frosting is hard as a rock, you can soften it in the microwave without melting it. Remove the lid and heat up in 15-second intervals until the desired softness of your sweet treat is reached.

19 / 20
Three fresh corn cob on wooden table
Oksana Shevchenko/Shutterstock

Make Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob in the microwave? We’re all ears! For one or two ears of corn, microwave on high for three minutes. Serve with plenty of butter, salt and pepper. You can also finish the corn on the grill or under the broiler for extra color and toastiness.

20 / 20
Microwave pickles
Taste of Home

Make Pickles

Crunchy pickles are a staple ingredient in Chicago-style hot dogs, burgers and potato salads. Pickled cucumbers have never been easier, thanks to the trusty microwave. Follow this simple recipe to get your pickle fix!

Find the right tools to make microwave cooking even easier.

Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.