23 Cooking Uses for Your Microwave

Soften Butter
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If you use this gizmo only to zap popcorn or heat up leftovers, prepare to be impressed by these other ways to cook food in the microwave.

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Soften Butter

Soften Butter
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Place cut-up butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on low (power level 3) in 20-second intervals, checking in between.

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Melt Butter

Melt Butter in Microwave
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Place cut-up butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium (power level 5) in 30-second intervals, checking in between.

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Melt Chocolate

Melt Chocolate
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Place chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (power level 10) in 30-second intervals, stirring in between.

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Soften Cream Cheese

Soften Cream Cheese
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Place cut-up cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (power level 10) for 15 to 20 seconds.

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Soften Ice Cream

Soften Ice Cream
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Remove the top and liner (if any) of the carton. Microwave on high (power level 10) in 10-second intervals, checking in between until ice cream reaches desired consistency.

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Soften Brown Sugar

Soften Brown Sugar
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Place sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of water (regardless of the quantity of sugar). Cover and microwave on low (power level 3) in 1-minute intervals, tossing in between, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.

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Warm Tortillas

Warm Tortillas
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Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel. Microwave on high (power level 10) for 40 seconds to 1 minute.

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Warm Maple Syrup

Warm Maple Syrup
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Place syrup in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave on high (power level 10) in 15-second intervals, checking in between.

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Toast Fresh Bread Crumbs

Warm Breadcrumbs
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Spread ½ cup fresh bread crumbs on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high (power level 10) in 1-minute intervals, tossing in between, until beginning to turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

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Toast Coconut

Toast Coconut
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Spread ½ cup shredded coconut on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high (power level 10) in 1-minute intervals, tossing in between, until beginning to turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

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Toast Pine Nuts and Sliced Almonds

Toast Pine Nuts
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Spread nuts on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high (power level 10) in 1-minute intervals, tossing in between, until beginning to turn golden, 4 to 5 minutes.

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Cook Bacon

Cook Bacon in the Microwave
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Sandwich 6 slices of bacon between 2 double layers of paper towels. Place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high (power level 10) until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.

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Steam Asparagus And Green Beans

Steam Asparagus
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Place 1 pound of trimmed asparagus or green beans in a microwave-safe baking dish with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover and microwave on high (power level 10) until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover immediately.

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Steam Carrots

Steam Carrots
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Place 1 pound thinly sliced carrots in a microwave-safe baking dish with 1 tablespoon water. Cover and microwave on high (power level 10) until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Uncover immediately.

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Steam Artichokes

Steam Artichokes
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Place 2 trimmed artichokes in a deep microwave-safe baking dish with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover and microwave on high (power level 10) until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

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Cook Winter Squash

Cook Winter Squash
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Cut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place cut-side down in a microwave-safe baking dish. Microwave on high (power level 10) until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, 10 to 13 minutes for a medium (3-pound) butternut or spaghetti squash; and 6 to 8 minutes for a medium (1 ½-pound) acorn squash. Let stand for 5 minutes.

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Make Applesauce

Make Applesauce
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In a microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 pound peeled and diced apples (Macintosh, Fuji, or Gala are best) with ¼ cup water, 2 teaspoons sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon. Cover and microwave on high (power level 10) until the apples are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Mash with a fork or potato masher.

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Bake a Potato

Bake a Potato
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Rub a potato with olive oil and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave, uncovered, on high (power level 10) until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, 12 to 14 minutes.

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Cook Corn on the Cob

Cook Corn
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Place unshucked corn on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high (power level 10) for 6 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the husks and silk.

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Poach Salmon

Poach Salmon
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Season pieces of skinless salmon fillet with salt and pepper and place in a shallow microwave-safe baking dish with 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice vinegar (to add flavor) and enough water to reach halfway up the fish. Cover and microwave on high (power level 10) until the fish is opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes. If the fish is not fully cooked, microwave, covered, on high in 45-second intervals. Remove from liquid and serve.

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Make Polenta

Make Polenta
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In a microwave-safe baking dish or large bowl, whisk together ¾ cup cornmeal, 3 cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and microwave on high (power level 10) for 3 minutes. Stir, cover, and microwave on high until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes more. Stir in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter.

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Cook Rice

Cook Rice
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In a microwave-safe baking dish or medium bowl, combine 1 cup long-grain white rice, 2 cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Microwave, uncovered, on high (power level 10) until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes.

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Make Popcorn

Make Popcorn
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Place ½ cup popcorn kernels in a large microwave-safe bowl with 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil. Cover with a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high (power level 10) until the majority of the kernels have popped, 3 to 5 minutes.

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