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Microwave Basics page 1

Microwave Basics

Use a microwave oven to prepare quick, easy and tasty meals.

Tips for Success

  • Cut food into same-sized pieces for even cooking.
  • Cover food to hold in moisture and avoid messes. Allow space for steam to escape.
  • Stir or rotate foods midway through the cooking time to avoid hot spots.
  • Let food rest for 1 to 3 minutes to finish cooking. Use a food thermometer to check for safe internal temperature.
  • Remove and uncover foods carefully to prevent burns.
  • Read and follow package and recipe directions.
  • Make note of the power levels and cooking times that work well for you.

Use Safe Containers and Covers

Protect your microwave oven from damage and avoid items that can overheat, break or melt.

Do Use:

  • items with a microwave-safe symbol or words. Some will have extra directions for safe use, such as plastic wrap.
  • most glass and ceramic dishes. Do not use any with a metallic glaze or trim.

Don't Use:

  • take-out food containers, produce bags or cold food containers such as yogurt tubs.
  • metal or aluminum foil.
  • foam dishes and trays, newspaper or cardboard.

Use Your Power Level

  • Using the different power levels of a microwave is like changing the heat level on your stovetop.
  • HIGH, or level 10, gives energy for 100% of the cooking time. Lower levels give less energy by cycling the microwaves on and off.
  • Some foods will look and taste better when you use a lower power level because they cook more evenly. Lower power can also reduce messes and waste from boiling over.
  • To best understand your oven’s power levels, refer to the owner’s manual. Find a missing owner’s manual by searching online using the
    oven’s model number.
  • Here are some examples of uses for different power levels:
    • HIGH level 10 – fish, vegetables, water
    • MED-HIGH level 7 – reheat cooked food, meats
    • MEDIUM level 5 – grains, stews
    • DEFROST level 3 – defrost, simmer
    • LOW level 1 – reheat bread, soften butter or cheese

Easy Microwave Recipes

Go to for tasty microwave recipes.

Microwave Fresh Vegetables

Microwave Steamed Fish

Sesame Fish and Rice Bowl

Kids Can!

When kids help make healthy food, they are more likely to try it. Show kids how to:

  • find microwave-safe containers and covers.
  • let hot food rest to finish cooking.
  • stir or turn foods to distribute heat.


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