Microwave Recipes for Every Meal of the Day

Plus, 22 recipes that showcase the usefulness of this underrated kitchen star!
Published November 24, 2022

As much as we love our newer kitchen gadgets (air fryers and Instant Pots® have become permanent kitchen fixtures in many homes) there will always be a place in our heart for the microwave oven. If the thought of microwave cooking conjures up kitschy recipes and unsatisfying frozen meals, we’re here to remind you of what a powerful, time-saving appliance the microwave actually is. From crisp-tender vegetables to sweet tooth-satisfying mug cakes, there’s a microwave recipe for every meal of the day.

But first: To clean the inside of your microwave with minimal effort, fill a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup with 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar or bottled lemon juice. Microwave the liquid for 5 minutes on high, keeping the door shut for another 3 minutes after the timer goes off to trap the steam. Carefully, without burning yourself, dip a sponge into the hot liquid and use it to wipe the interior of the microwave clean—the steam will have loosened any stubborn bits of food while neutralizing any lingering odours.

Easy Eggs

Poached, scrambled, in an omelette, soft- or hard-boiled, the microwave is one of our favourite tools for getting eggs on the table in minutes while keeping the dishes to a minimum. Another bonus? Because the process of making microwaved eggs requires little to no close supervision, this method gives you more freedom to multitask on busy mornings. For best results, use a microwave-safe ramekin, mug, or silicon moulds made specifically for poaching eggs. To prevent sticking, always spray ramekins or mugs with cooking spray—it generally isn’t necessary to grease silicone cups but you may find that the ones you own benefit from a brief spray.

Make Eggs in the Microwave Using These Easy Techniques:

Steamed Vegetables

Because steamed vegetables require only a short time in the microwave, they typically have higher levels of vitamins and other nutrients compared to veggies prepared using other cooking methods. Almost all vegetables are good candidates for microwave steaming—tender vegetables like peas and asparagus can take as little as 3 minutes to cook. You can cut down on the baking or grilling time of hardy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash, by par-steaming them in the microwave and then finishing them in the oven or on the BBQ (just make sure you pierce the skin in several places before microwaving to avoid potentially explosive steam build-up.)

Personal-Sized Mug Cakes

When nothing but homemade cake will do, the speediest way to satisfy that craving is with a personal-sized mug cake. These microwavable mug cake recipes are ideal for late-night cravings—they’re made to be a single serving, the ingredient measurements are small, and with the addition of protein and fruit, are more filling than your average slice of cake. For best results, begin checking on the mug cake to see if it’s done at the earliest suggested time; the goal is a springy cake surface, if it still looks doughy it needs more time.

Cooked Grains

With traditional rice taking anywhere from 15 minutes to upwards of 45 to cook, it just makes sense to have the microwavable variety on hand for time-saving meals. Microwavable rice has been par-cooked and then dehydrated, making it safe for cooking in microwave ovens. Other grains, such as quinoa, popcorn, oatmeal, are also ideal for microwave cooking. When cooking oats in the microwave, leave plenty of space for the flakes to expand—oats soak up a lot of liquid and can overflow quickly when your back is turned.