Microwaves are handy for reheating leftovers or making a bag of popcorn. You can even use them for cooking the occasional potato or preparing a plate of bacon. But you might be surprised to know you can cook meats, side dishes and even desserts with surprisingly tasty results.
You don’t need an expensive, professional microwave, either. The best countertop microwaves can let you whip up all these dishes and more.
Brownies, cakes and more are delicious made in the microwave if you follow specific rules. For instance, use microwave-safe cookware, such as silicone pans or even coffee mugs and cover with cling wrap before baking. To ensure the batter is thoroughly cooked, insert a toothpick or a knife and make sure it comes out clean.
Don’t toss that day-old bread; make croutons in the microwave instead. Coat bread cubes in butter and seasoning. Then, heat in the microwave in one-minute increments, stirring every minute. Remove when the cubes are crisp and golden, usually about three minutes.
There are lots of ways to make scrumptious eggs in the microwave. For instance, you can make scrambled eggs in a mug by beating the eggs, adding milk and seasonings and cooking for about 90 seconds. For poached eggs, place the egg in room-temperature water in a mug, poke a hole in the yolk, cover and cook. You can even make omelets in the microwave.
Prepare flaky fish filets like salmon, cod and more in your microwave. Place the seasoned filet in a microwave-safe dish, add a teaspoon of liquid, cover and cook. Water works well, but white wine, fish stock, citrus juice or even milk will add great flavor. You’ll have a delicious, healthy meal in minutes.
The best countertop microwave might not be as exceptional as your favorite Italian eatery, but you can still use it to prepare impressive pasta dishes. Combine about 8 ounces (one cup) of uncooked pasta with four cups of water in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave uncovered on high. For best results, add about three minutes to the cooking time on the package and stir halfway through.
Similarly, you can quickly make a bowl of fluffy rice using your microwave. For four servings, combine 1 1/2 cups of your favorite raw rice (rinsed first, if necessary) with 2 1/4 cups of water in a microwavable bowl and cover. Cook on high for 5 minutes and then on medium for 15 minutes more. Let the rice stand for a few minutes more before uncovering.
With just two ingredients — a whole chicken and French onion soup mix — you can rustle up a company-worthy main course in the microwave. Coat the chicken with a packet of the soup mix. Then, tuck it into a microwave bag and seal. Cook breast-down for 16 to 18 minutes and amaze your guests.
Healthy and delicious steamed vegetables couldn’t be simpler. Place fresh, prepped vegetables in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate and cover with three layers of damp paper towels. Heat on high for 2 to 6 minutes or until tender.
Toasted Nuts and Seeds
Whether you want to add some toasted almonds to a recipe or prepare some crunchy pumpkin seeds for a snack, look no further than your microwave.
Spread nuts or seeds in an even, single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Add a small amount of butter or oil (about 1/2 teaspoon per 1/2 cup of nuts/seeds) and stir to coat. Microwave on high for one minute, stir, and microwave for another minute. Heat in additional one-minute increments until they have reached the desired color.
With the best countertop microwave, preparing all of your favorite foods is easier than ever.