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10 Smart Ways to Use Your Microwave (Other Than Leftovers!)

Make your life a whole lot easier simply by using your microwave more!

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Microwave the kitchenware home appliance isolated in the kitchen interior;Shutterstock / Gaf_Lila

Of all the kitchen appliances, microwaves tend to get the worst rap—some folks (including one of our staffers) prefer to do without! But in a pinch, microwaves are pretty handy—just check out these creative uses and kitchen shortcuts.

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Honey with a Honey Spoon in a Glass ContainerP Maxwell Photography/Shutterstock

Bring honey back to life

There are many ways to use honey in your cooking but what if you’ve left it in the jar for too long? Often enough, good-quality honey will crystallize. Open the jar and pop it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. This will liquify the honey so it’s ready to use.

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brownie on a mugShutterstock / SAQUIZETA

Make a tasty cake

You know the feeling: You have a craving for a sweet treat but don’t have the time to whip up something from scratch. Well, that’s where the ingenious mug cake comes in! Mix your ingredients but pop them in a microwavable mug rather than a baking tray. Cook on high for around a minute and a half.

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Bread and sliced bread on wooden cutting board on a table.Shutterstock / Hanna Dyka

Save stale bread

There’s nothing worse than finding out your bread has gone hard and stale! Wrap the slice of bread in a damp towel and pop it in the microwave. Cook around 10 seconds and the slice will be moist and tasty again.

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Popcorn in paper bag on wooden tableShutterstock / Oleg B-art

Pop some corn

Having a night in with your fave flick? You’d better make some popcorn! Put around a cup of corn kernels in a clean brown paper bag. Fold over the top of the bag so that the kernels won’t come out. Next, put them in the microwave for around two to four minutes (or when you hear the popping stop!).

You can always try our favorite store brands, too!

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Woman peeling garlic by hand for cookingShutterstock / Nungning20

Peel garlic faster than ever

Peeling garlic has to be one of the most annoying chores (we’re always looking for shortcuts like this one from Julia Child). To make it easier, wrap the cloves of garlic in tissue paper and stick them in the microwave for just 10 seconds before trying to peel them. You should find that the peel is much looser and easier to remove.

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Chopping an Onion using A KnifeShutterstock / Tung Le

Chop onions (without crying!)

Sensitive eyes? If chopping onions makes you weep like you’ve just seen the end of The Notebook, it’s time to do something about it. Put the onion in the microwave for 30 seconds before cutting it. You won’t need to cry crocodile tears anymore!

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Platter with chips and salsa and pico de gallo and a beerShutterstock / NSC Photography

Whip up some salsa

Did you know that you can make salsa using your microwave? Just combine cherry tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppers, lemon juice, and seasoning to make your mix. Next, cook in the microwave for around 30-45 seconds. Be sure to blend well for a smooth finish!

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top view pour steamed milk into cappuccino on wood tableShutterstock / GCapture

Steam some milk

Your homemade cappuccino wouldn’t taste right without some steamed milk on top! You don’t need a fancy coffee machine to make this dream a reality. Just fill a small jar (or container) with milk and shake until it froths up. Take the lid off and then put it in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Use this technique when you make coffee shop-style drinks at home—here are our favorite recipes!

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sponge for ware washing, selective focusMettus/Shutterstock

Disinfect your sponges

A quick and easy way to disinfect your sponges is to soak them in a microwavable bowl filled with water, vinegar, and lemon juice. Put the bowl in the microwave for around a minute and you should kill any germs or bacteria!

Want more? Here’s our guide to when you should clean and replace sponges, towels, scrub brushes and more.

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Steamed vegetables close up;Shutterstock / ebrom

Steam veggies

Steaming your vegetables is a healthy option! Typically, though, you think of steaming on the stovetop (we got Test Kitchen tips on how to do that here), but you can take a shortcut and use your microwave instead. Cut the vegetables of your choice finely and put them in a microwavable bowl with a cup full of water. Cover and microwave for three to four minutes.

Charlotte Grainger
Charlotte Grainger is a creative feature writer, with a flair for food, health and lifestyle pieces. Her work has been seen in a number of national publications including Beyond Words Magazine, Reader's Digest and Psychologies. When she’s not typing away, you can find her trying out new recipes or binging Netflix shows— sometimes simultaneously.
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