AndyTalk: Five Most Common Kitchen Mistakes, #5 Microwave Misuse

See also: AndyTalk: How to melt Chocolate

See also: AndyTalk: Garlic and Gadgetry

When my family got its first microwave, I'd come home from school and make myself rubbery faux enchiladas almost every day. I was more enchanted with the process than the product. In culinary school, there was no microwave. Despite this lack, I had a chef who said that if Escoffier (the man who modernized French cooking and restaurant kitchens) were alive, he'd approve of using a microwave if/when it did not lower the quality of the food.

When it comes to microwave cooking, please don't:

  • Cook or heat pasta, bread, or baked goods. Microwaves suck the water out of these things and make them chewy and dry.
  • Make stews, or other recipes that are traditionally long-cooking. Tough meat cuts need a long time to become fork-tender.
  • Reheat pizza (better cold than rubbery)
  • Cook anything really big -- roasts, chickens, etc.

Iffy microwave uses:

  • Defrosting (better overnight in the refrigerator),
  • Cooking bacon -- it works if you use a lot of paper towels and have the patience to rotate the bacon within the pan several times.
  • Reheating leftovers (if you actually follow the manufacturer's instructions)

Best ways to use a microwave:

  • Melting butter
  • Cooking onions until translucent (+/- garlic)
  • Melting chocolate (if you do it on the defrost cycle so it doesn't burn).


  • Make a well. Microwaves cook from the outside in -- so more food around the perimeter of the plate and less in the center means more even heating.
  • Cover the food and keep it moist. I use a wet paper towel and/or a plate
  • Melt the butter in the wax paper it comes in. Place it in Pyrex cup -- with the seam aimed down. The butter melts and flows to the bottom of the cup. The paper keeps the butter from splashing the inside of your microwave.

Now -- just don't tell everyone that I said it was okay to nuke your dinner.

Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.