By Chef Alli on January 30, 2019

8 Microwave Techniques That Save Time in the Kitchen

Microwave cooking

Would you like to use your microwave for more than just heating water for tea, making popcorn, and reheating leftovers? Below, Chef Alli shares 8 great ways your microwave can earn its keep in the kitchen. 

Cooking Pudding and Cream Pie Filling 

There's nothing worse than a saucepan full of homemade pudding with a scorched bottom. Instead, place your pudding ingredients into a large glass bowl, whisking to combine. Microwave on high for 4-5 minutes, then whisk again. Return the pudding to the microwave and cook on high power in 1 minute intervals, whisking after each one for 2-3 minutes more or until pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk pudding until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap while warm, pressing the plastic wrap firmly against the top of the pudding; let cool completely, then chill. (FYI, pressing the plastic wrap over the top of the warm pudding prevents it from forming a skin as it cools.) 

Tempering Chocolate 

Here's how to have perfectly melted chocolate every time with no scorching: Rough chop the chocolate, placing it into a large glass bowl. Cook on full power in 30 second bursts, stirring gently after each one, until the chocolate is melted, glossy, and smooth. Towards the end of the cooking time, you may need to microwave in 10-second bursts, stirring after each one. 

Toasting Nuts 

Arrange walnuts, pecans, or almonds in a circle on a plate or small platter; microwave for 1 minute, then in 30-second increments as needed. How do you know when the nuts are toasted? Use your nose - as soon as the nuts are fragrant, they’re done!

Disinfecting Your Kitchen Sponge 

Place your wet kitchen sponge in the microwave and heat on full power for 1 minute. This process will kill 99 percent of any bacteria within the sponge. 

Gaining  More Juice From Citrus 

To make your lemons and limes much more pliable and easier to squeeze, pop them (whole) into the microwave and heat on full power for 30 seconds. Let the citrus cool for a bit, then cut them in half and juice away!  

Cooking Corn on The Cob 

Place an ear of corn, shucks and all, into the microwave and cook on full power for 4 minutes. Remove the ear of corn from microwave using hot pads. Still using the hot pads, pull the shucks back and away from the ear of corn. As you do so, most of the corn silk should easily pull away from the ear of corn, as well, leaving it ready for butter, salt and pepper. (For each additional ear of corn you put in the microwave to cook, add 1 minute to the total cooking time.) 

Cooking Bacon 

Place a couple of paper towels onto a dinner plate, laying 5-6 strips of bacon on top, covering the bacon with another layer of paper towels. Cook the plate of bacon on full power for 2 minutes. Flip the bacon strips over, cover again, and cook for another 2 minutes. As the bacon cools, it will get more crispy. (This method isn’t quite as good as pan-fried, but it's fast and easy in a pinch.) 

Making Winter Squash Easier to Peel and Cube For Sheet Pan Roasting

Using a fork or sharp knife point, poke holes all over the winter squash to allow steam to escape while it's cooking in the microwave. Next, place the squash into the microwave and cook on full power for 3 minutes. Remove the squash from the micro, letting it rest until it’s cool enough to handle. This short amount of time in the microwave will now allow you to very easily peel the winter squash. Next, on a cutting board, cut the squash into slices that you can then cut into cubes. 

Let's Get Cookin'! 

Find more hints and recipes  at 

  • Chef Alli

    Chef Alli is a wife, mom and chef. She's been stirring up a love of farm fresh cooking for more than a decade.  To see more of Alli's recipes, go to