Foods You Should Never Cook in the Microwave

If you’re not a huge fan of slaving over a stove to make your meals when you’ve finished work, then you may reach for your microwave to complete the majority of your cooking. While you can quickly warm leftovers or even make delicious mug cakes for dessert in a matter of minutes using your microwave, there are certain foods that should never be cooked using this appliance. When you’re planning a meal incorporating any of these seven foods, use a pan or your oven as your mode of cooking instead.

1. Eggs

Boiled eggs in bowl

Hard-boiled eggs in a bowl |

There have been various online resources claiming it’s easier than ever to hard-boil an egg, no pots of boiling water required. If you’re planning on trying out this microwave hard-boiling method — that is, putting fresh eggs still in their shell in the microwave for a few minutes — then you’ll be very disappointed when your egg explodes. Incredible Egg explains cooking an egg in its shell using a microwave causes a buildup of steam within the egg. The steam builds too fast for the egg to breathe through its pores, resulting in a messy explosion. Make sure to crack your eggs and prick the yolks to ensure even cooking if using the microwave.

2. Herbs

Fresh sage

Fresh sage |

It may seem like a brilliant idea to speed up the herb drying process by putting them in the microwave, but you’re sure to ruin your fresh herbs this way. Good Housekeeping explains putting herbs in the microwave totally ruins them, and it won’t dry them out the way you might be expecting. Herbs don’t hold a ton of moisture anyway, so nuking them in the microwave for too long can actually lead to a fire! Avoid this mistake at all costs.

3. Frozen meats

Raw turkey breast with herbs

Raw turkey breast with herbs |

It happens to all of us — you come home from work and realize that you forgot to take the meat out of the freezer to defrost for dinner. This common mistake sometimes leads people to defrost their meats in the microwave, which can lead to a partial cooking of the thinner edges of the meat while the middle is still completely frozen.

Reader’s Digest explains you need a microwave that rotates the food during cooking to have any chance of evenly thawing your meats this way. If the microwave unevenly thaws the meat, bacteria can grow from having frozen meat mixed with partially cooked meat. Defrosting meat overnight in the refrigerator is the safest way to thaw . Set an alarm for yourself so you won’t forget.

4. Breast milk or baby formula

close-up image of a baby drinking out of a bottle

Baby feeding from a bottle |

It’s common to warm breast milk or baby formula, and when your baby is crying, you want to be able to do this as easily and quickly as possible. The problem with doing this in the microwave, the FDA says, is it often results in uneven eating. The bottle may be relatively cool to the touch, but there could be hot spots in the milk that can scald your baby’s tongue and throat.

Heating breast milk and baby formula under hot running tap water or in a pan that’s filled with warm water is a good way to evenly distribute the heat. Jars of baby food can also heat unevenly in the microwave, so transfer them to a dish to ensure more even heating.

5. Frozen fruit

close-up for a mixture of frozen berries and curants

Frozen mixed berries |

There’s nothing as naturally sweet and convenient as frozen fruit. Whether you love it right out of the bag when fruit is no longer in season, or you’re planning on adding it to your baking recipes, microwaving frozen fruit should never be your go-to way of defrosting it.

According to Lifehack, Russian studies have suggested defrosting frozen fruit can cause carcinogenic substances to form. Also, fruits have trouble standing up to the heat, so they’ll lose their flavor and texture as soon as the intense heat of the microwave hits them. It’s best to allow your frozen fruits to naturally thaw in the fridge or on the counter.

6. Hot Peppers

hot cherry peppers

Hot cherry peppers |

A lot of Mexican recipes call for toasting dried chiles to intensify the flavor. If you’re hoping to quicken the process by using your microwave, think again. The Daily Meal explains the capsaicin vaporizes when microwaved, which can leave you with a very unpleasant facial when you open the door.

7. Water for tea

mug with tea

Mug with tea |

If you’re the only one drinking tea in your household, then it probably seems like too much of a hassle to heat up your water in a teakettle. While it’s much faster to place your mug of water into the microwave for a minute or two, you actually can ruin your tea-drinking experience this way, as the temperature of the water differs depending on what type of tea you plan to drink.

Smithsonian Magazine explains green tea should be steeped in water that’s 176 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas herbal tea requires water to be around 210 degrees Fahrenheit. A teakettle is designed to heat water to an even 212 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can accurately estimate the temperature of your tea when using this device. When you throw your mug of water in the microwave, you have no idea how hot your water is, which can result in a bitter beverage.