It’s impossible to imagine a kitchen without a microwave. A microwave can heat practically anything in a matter of minutes, rather than having to wait what feels like an eternity for the oven. But, despite the fact that a microwave seems to heat anything, certain foods should not be heated in one–as the results can be disastrous.
A long-standing rule forbids nuking cheap plastic that contains BPA for health reasons. In addition, aluminum foil can ignite and cause a fire. Despite these obvious items, there are others, like food, that aren’t so straightforward. In fact, there are countless foods that shouldn’t be microwaved.
As with cheap plastic and aluminum foil, non-microwavable foods have the potential to cause hazards and health concerns. Take a look at our handy list for tips on which foods to never put in the microwave.
Foods You Should Avoid Putting In The Microwave
We’re all guilty of using the microwave rather than a kettle to quickly heat a cup of water. Unfortunately, quicker does not always equate to better or safer. Due to microwaves’ use of volumetric heating, the temperature of the top of the water is typically always the highest. Therefore, it is prone to overheating, which can cause splatter and severe burns. Essentially, it’s best to stop microwaving your water.
No matter what any TikTok may try to convince you, heating raw and whole eggs in the microwave doesn’t end well. Basically, microwaved eggs have a bad reputation due to their potential to explode due to extreme pressure build-up from steam inside the egg. Nobody wants to clean up an eggy mess or risk an emergency room visit.
Plus, the texture of microwaved eggs can easily get chewy and dry. Since cooking eggs on the stove is already quick, you’re not saving much time in the long run.
That said, there are ways to properly microwave eggs when you’re in a pinch, like this technique to make poached eggs. When reheating cooked egg dishes, like a quiche, make sure to reduce the power to about half.
When you’re trying to do good by eating more veggies, heating your broccoli in the microwave is a waste of time. The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture reports that just like when you boil broccoli, these greens lose their nutrients when you microwave them. You’d be better off steaming or blanching your greens to maintain their nutritional value.
4. Raw Or Frozen Meat
From time to time, we are all prone to forgetfulness, not remembering to get the meat out of the freezer for dinner, for example. However, instead of going back to the drawing board to create a new recipe, some of us resort to the microwave.
Despite being able to defrost frozen chicken or ground beef, a microwave cannot be relied on to cook it. Using the microwave to cook meat is unfortunately risky because it could lead to uneven cooking and to the spread of harmful bacteria.
5. Uncovered Sauces
You probably imagine a “dirty microwave” as one with a lot of sauce splatters. Sauces are notorious for splattering in microwaves. Like water, the temperature at the top is usually the highest, but because the sauce is thicker, it can also trap the steam, making it more dangerous.
So, rather than dealing with the mess or potential burn risks, opt for cooking sauce on the stove. This will give you more control over the heat distribution.
As it turns out, you shouldn’t microwave carrots. But not for the reason you might expect. Root vegetables, unlike broccoli, do not lose their nutritional value. Instead, they can cause some surprising damage.
Similar to how aluminum foil causes arcing or sparks when microwaved, carrots can also do the same. What causes it? Minerals found in the soil where carrots are grown produce this effect.
7. Frozen Berries
When making smoothies, frozen berries are a convenient option. But if you’d like to use berries in something else, like a delicious Dutch Daddy, warming them up can be a pain. Zapping frozen berries in the microwave always seems like a simple solution to a small dilemma.
However, you shouldn’t be so quick to nuke these antioxidant-rich fruits. As reported by Plants for Human Health Institute, berries microwaved for more than five minutes lose their superfood status. In other words, if you’re hoping to get a healthy boost from your frozen berries, avoid the microwave at all costs. Rather, let them thaw the night before in the fridge.
8. Processed Meats (Hot Dogs)
The conundrum of only eight hotdog rolls in a pack is sure to leave hotdog lovers with leftovers. In terms of your health, how you reheat those hotdogs can be a problem.
Microwaved processed meats produce cholesterol oxidation products (COPs). COPs are especially problematic because they’ve been linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease as a result of plaque buildup in the arteries and are more damaging than typical cholesterol alone.