The Language of Microwave Cooking

Reading through a microwave recipe book, you may have come across some terms with which you are not familiar. Many are well-known cookery techniques or methods but, due to the speed of microwave cooking, are worth reviewing. Others are quite new.


As a rough guide most foods will require approximately a quarter to one third of the conventional cooking time. If unsure, always underestimate the time needed, check the result and continue cooking if needed. The more food, the longer the cooking time. When doubling a recipe, increase the cooking time by half and check the result.


Cover foods for the same reasons as in conventional cooking – to retain moisture, speed up cooking and to help tenderize foods.

YES: vegetables, casseroles, fish. Use a vented lid for foods with a high liquid content, such as soups, to allow steam to escape and prevent the liquid boiling over. Covering food with a sauce has the same effect as using a lid. When cooking meat or poultry, roasting bags may be used to prevent splattering on the oven walls.

NO: for a fry finish on cakes and crumbles; for quick-cooking items such as scrambled eggs; and for foods which need frequent stirring like sauces and custard.

Standing Time:

Because microwaves only penetrate the food to a depth of about 5 cm/2 in, the centre of larger items cooks by the conduction of heat, just as it does in conventional cooking. This process continues when the microwave has switched off, so the food should be allowed to stand before serving. It can be left in the microwave cooker or it may be removed while the cooker is used to cook other dishes. Standing time is particularly important when cooking large pieces of meat and when baking cakes.


Food nearest the sides of the dish cooks faster than at the centre. Stirring will speed up its cooking time and ensure even cooking. Particularly sensitive foods, such as scrambled eggs and sauces, need frequent stirring during cooking.


When thawing, heating or cooking large items, such as a whole chicken, star off by placing the food upside down. Turn it over half way through the required time.

Arranging and rearranging:

The food at the outer edges of the turntable or dish generally receives more microwave energy than that at the centre, so place thicker or larger portions of food to the outher edge. Rearranging, like stirring, moves the food and encourages even cooking – essential with food which cannot be stirred. Move the food from the centre of the dish to the outside.


If microwaves are prevented from entering it, the food will not cook. Very small pieces of foil may be used to cover thinner parts such as chicken legs, fish tails or meat bones for the first half of the cooking time. Remove it to complete cooking. Use only small pieces of foil and make sure it will not touch the cooker walls.

Piercing, Pricking and Scoring:

Any food which is completely covered with a skin or membrane must have it broken otherwise pressure will build up inside and it will burst open. This includes foods such as jacket potatoes and other whole vegetables, chicken livers and egg yolks. Pierce them with a fork or skewer. Never try to cook eggs in the shell.


Once you are familiar with microwave cooking you will appreciate that the lack of browning is fat out-weighed by the many advantages. Large items with long cooking times will brown slightly, while small items may need some help. In the recipes we have suggested, which can be found in different article, where appropriate ways to add colour to foods, such as brushing the skin of a chicken with soy sauce or with melted butter and paprika.


When reheating foods in flat-topped containers, plated meals with rigid plate vovers and plates separated by plate rings. For even heating arrange the plates or containers so that thicker foods such as jacket potatoes are evenly distributed in the stack, e.g. with the potato on the lower plate (or container) on the opposite side to the potato on the upper plate (or container). Stack no more than two plates or containers for best results.

Related Articles


Passing a Restaurant-health Inspection: What Look for A restaurant's success is dependent not only on its talented staff but also on the amazing food they...

Meniscus Tear Prevention Tips for Athletes to Lower Their Risk

In the United States alone, over 850,000 meniscus tears are performed annually. A meniscus tear often needs to be performed due to faulty cartilage...

Discover life coaching techniques and tools

Coaching is about finding balance in life. Life coaches use various techniques and tools to assist clients identify their objectives and give them the...

List of Restaurants that Have Passed Health Inspections

Below is a list of restaurants that have passed health inspections. What can a restaurant owner do between visits from Passed Health Inspections? You can...

How to navigate health insurance for travel nurses

Everyone, especially travel nurses, should have health insurance. Unfortunately, travel nurses rely on their employers for coverage which makes it difficult to keep your...

Three Master’s Degrees in Public Health (MPH)

Three Master's Degrees in Public Health (MPH), Concentrations to Consider For Your Career Your master's Degrees in Public Health will require and dedication. Don't you...

Emotional Abuse Therapy

Victims of mental abuse can experience the same distress as physical abuse, yet often suffer more and feel isolated due to lack of evidence....

There are 3 Master’s degrees in Public Health (MPH)

These concentrations may prove advantageous to your career development. Your master's degree should be an equally challenging undertaking. Goodwin University's Master of Public Health program...

What should I look for in a life coach?

Trust and personality Life Coach Your coach will spend a considerable amount of time with you, so trust is key. Make sure the person you...

Should Marijuana Be Legalized? – Three Things You Didn’t Know About Medical Cannabis Until Now

People are constantly arguing about the pros and cons of marijuana. Those that are...

Tooth Implant Infection: The Causes

Tooth Implant Infection: The Causes Statistics indicate that the chance of Tooth Implant Failure is...

How to Successfully Integrate Lifestyle Content into Your Social Media Strategy

If your social media strategy is feeling like it needs a boost, integrating lifestyle...

Why Is My Air Conditioner Noisy

Is the air conditioner noisy? Your air conditioner helps cool your home and office....

Long-Term Investments with Tooth Implants

Long-Term Benefits with Tooth Implants Losing teeth may be a thing of the past thanks...

Home Cooking Can Be Quick

I think you would agree with me when I say, "some of the best...


Passing a Restaurant-health Inspection: What Look for A restaurant's success is dependent not only on...

Buy a Portable TENS Unit?

Are you seeking a TENS unit that is mobile? One thing runs on batteries...

Your Lifestyle Is Important

After countless hours of research and study myself and many other coaches believe we...

- A word from our sponsor -

error: Content is protected !!