[Updated 16 June 2021]
The humble microwave - a staple in every home and student accommodations - has oftentimes been used as a means to merely heat up food or leftovers meals. They're really not used for much else, which is honestly a travesty of wasted potential! In fact, microwaves can be used to create a wide array of absolutely delicious meals - from breakfast and snacks to even dinner and desserts!
Feeling sceptical? Where here are 9 quick and simple microwave recipes that you can try that beats having to eat disappointingly dry, re-heated pizza or rubbery leftovers. Plus, some of these microwave recipes also come with the added benefits of not only being tasty but also quick and simple to prepare ?!
P.S. Don't forget to check out these 8 simple recipes you can make with an air-fryer.
1. Baked Potato
Who doesn't love a good baked potato or jacket potato? With a fluffy interior, crispy skin and the fact that you can personalise it with all kinds of fillings - like butter, cheese, sour cream, or even ground meat - makes it a seriously uncomplicated but fulfilling dish! If you don't have an oven, don't fret. You can still enjoy a baked potato with the help of your microwave! Here's how:
- 1 Large Russet Potato
- 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
- 3 Tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 Teaspoon sour cream
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Scrub the potato clean and prick it several times with the tines of a fork. Once done, place that potato onto a microwaveable plate.
- Put the potato into the microwave and cook on full power for 5 minutes. Once done, turn the potato over and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. This is done to ensure that the potato is evenly heated.
- When the potato is suitably soft, remove it from the microwave and cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop the insides of the potato out into another bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix and mash it up with the fork and add in a tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of cheese. Scoop the insides back into the potato and return it to the microwave to cook for another minute to melt the cheese ?.
- Once done, top the potato off with the remaining cheese and sour cream before serving!
P.S. If you’ve ever wondered why people prick potatoes before microwaving or baking them, the reason is that potatoes are full of water. When you bake or microwave potatoes, the water inside turns into vapour and without a way to exit the potato (via the holes caused by the pricks), the pressure buildup from the water vapour trying to escape could sometimes cause the potato to explode ?.
2. Sweet Potato Chips
You know how moist things such as bread, cookies and pizzas get all hard and dry when you stick them into the microwave for too long? Not a pleasant experience but here's a way for you to harness all that drying-out feature your microwave provides for good - by making sweet potato chips ?. A great way to curb your cravings, these sweet potato chips are a healthier alternative to store-bought potato chips and are just so satisfying to munch on! So, here's a list of what you need and how to make them:
- 1 medium-large sweet potato, washed
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil or butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Slice the sweet potato as thinly and as evenly possible. This will ensure that all slices are cooked perfectly and won’t burn. If possible, use a mandoline slicer to get thin, even cuts.
- Once you’re done slicing the sweet potato, toss those slices into a bowl with a teaspoon of melted coconut oil or butter. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the sweet potato slices are evenly coated, lay the slices out evenly on a microwave tray lined with parchment paper.
- Cook on high for 4 minutes (Note: depending on how thick your slices are and your microwave’s wattage, the cooking time may vary). Start with 4 minutes and then keep adding about 30 seconds at a time until the sweet potato chips are just brown.
- Once the chips finish cooking, take them out of the microwave and let them cool for a couple of minutes before chowing down ?.
3. Meatloaf Cups
Most of us have never seen meatloaf in real life, but years of watching western t.v. shows have painted this dish as the ultimate American-style comfort food. Not only is it an easy enough dish to prepare, but meatloaf is also fairly versatile! Consisting of ground meat mixed with seasonings like onions, ketchup or herbs and bound with breadcrumbs or eggs, meatloaf can be made with turkey, lamb, veal or chicken ?.
Usually, people oven-bake their meatloaves, but there’s also plenty of microwave versions that yield cute single portion meatloaf - just top with a little bit of mash potato and you’ll even have yourself a hearty meatloaf cupcake! Here's one of the recipes and how to make it:
- 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 2 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
- 1 teaspoon onion soup mix
- 1/4 pound lean ground beef
- Combine the milk, ketchup, oats and soup mix into a small bowl and mix well.
- Once done, incorporate the ground beef into the mixture and mix well. You can even go ahead and use your hands if you’d like - just be sure to thoroughly wash them before and after!
- Place the meat mix into a microwave-safe mug, custard cup or ramekin that has been thoroughly coated with cooking spray.
- Cover the mug and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink. Drain any excess liquids found in the mug, custard cup or ramekin and let sit for 3 minutes.
- Serve with additional ketchup if desired.
4. Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese or more commonly known simply as ‘mac and cheese’ is a dish that’s popular with people from all over the globe. It’s classic comfort food - one that consists of cooked macaroni pasta and a cheese sauce, most commonly cheddar, but people have been known to substitute it with other cheeses like Gruyere, Gouda, Havarti, and Parmesan cheese ?.
Mac and cheese is a super easy dish to make and if you don’t want to make a whole pot full, you can make a single portion serving with the help of a microwave and a mug. Here’s how:
- 1/3 cup elbow macaroni
- 1/3 cup chopped cooked chicken (optional)
- Dash of Italian, poultry or steak seasoning blend (optional)
- 1/4 heavy cream or milk
- 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar-Parmesan cheese blend
- 1 slice Cheddar cheese, torn to bits
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a microwavable mug with the elbow macaroni, chopped cooked chicken, seasoning blend and enough water to cover the macaroni by at least 2 inches.
- Cover the mug with a paper towel and place a plate underneath for the water that will spill over during the cooking process.
- Microwave on high until the macaroni is tender. This should take anywhere between 4 to 8 minutes depending on the wattage of your microwave.
- Once done, carefully remove the mug from the microwave and drain in a colander before placing the macaroni and chopped chicken back into the mug.
- To the same mug, add the heavy cream or milk, Cheddar-Parmesan cheese blend, torn cheddar bits, a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the mug back into the microwave and cook on high.
- Keep checking and stirring the contents of the mug very 25 to 30 seconds, until the cheese is melted and a sauce forms. It should be up to 90 seconds. Once done, let it cool a little before serving ☕.
5. Microwave Scrambled Eggs
When in doubt, eggs are always the answer. They contain all the essentials amino acids in the right ratios for your body to make full use of the protein in them. Plus, eating eggs can also help with weight loss, increase muscle mass and optimise bone health!
One of the easiest ways to prepare eggs is by scrambling them. But if you don't have a stovetop, you'll be pleased to know that this easy to make breakfast staple can also be made via the microwave. Here’s how:
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Crack both eggs into a microwavable bowl. Using a whisk or a fork, scramble the yokes ad whites.
- Place the bowl into the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute. Take it out and stir before continuing to cook the eggs for another 30 seconds. Depending on the wattage of your microwave, the cooking time may vary. Keep cooking at 30 seconds intervals until you’re satisfied.
P.S. Do take note that as easy as this recipe is, it’s also easy to over-cook your eggs - which will then give them a strange, web-like texture. So be sure to keep an eye on them as they cook!
6. Chocolate Mug Cake
Who doesn’t love cake? These delicious treats are a great way to satisfy your sugar cravings - plus they have a way about them that just brings people closer together. If you're craving something sweet, you'll be ecstatic to know that making a microwave cake is a lot simpler than it looks ?! Plus, you probably have all the ingredients in your home already! Here's the recipe to a truly decadent tasting mug cake and the instructions on how to make it:
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar (you can add 1 tbsp. more if you like it a bit sweeter)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. milk
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut chocolate spread or mini chocolate chips
- In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
- Whisk in the milk and vegetable oil until all ingredients are combined and the batter has no clumps.
- Pour batter into a microwave-safe mug. Add a dollop of hazelnut chocolate spread in the middle of the batter or mini chocolate chips. Just drop it in the middle, no need to push it down and sink it in the batter. It does that on its own when it cooks!
- Place the mug in the microwave and microwave it on high. Depending on the wattage of your microwave, the time it takes for the mug cake to fully cook could be between 70 to 90 seconds. Start at 70 seconds and gradually increase the cooking time by 10-second intervals.
- Once the cake is fully cooked, carefully remove it from the microwave and let it cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
- Additionally, you can also choose to garnish your mug cake with cookies, mini pretzels or powdered sugar to give it more pizazz ?!
7. Banana Bread
If you have some ripe banana’s laying around the kitchen, don’t throw them away! Instead, transform them into a delicious, yummy and totally breakfast (or dessert) worthy banana bread. The great things about this banana bread recipe is that it only takes less than 5-minutes to make, yet yields a surprisingly soft, lightly sweet and tasty treat - perfect for a single person portion!
- 2 bananas, mashed
- 2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 small egg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- Spray a microwave-safe mug with cooking spray.
- In a bowl, combine the mashed bananas with flour, baking powder, egg, cinnamon and peanut butter. Mix well and transfer the mixture into the mug.
- Cook the mixture on high for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Depending on your microwave strength, the cooking times may vary - but just keep adding 30 seconds intervals until your banana bread is cooked.
- Once your banana bread is done cooking, you can eat it as is or top it off with some more peanut butter, maple syrup or even nuts to give it more sweetness or texture ✨.
8. Chocolate Chip Cookie
A single-serve of chocolate chip cookie in a mug is just the thing you need when you're craving a warm, gooey, freshly baked cookie, but don't want to go through the hassle of baking an entire batch! Plus, the chocolate chip mug cookie is ridiculously easy to make and only takes a minute to bake - so what's not to love? Here's what you'll need to do to make this cookie a reality:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
- Add butter, sugars, baking powder, salt, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl and mix together until combined well.
- Gradually mix in the flour and stir until everything is combined well and you can’t see any lumps.
- Add in the chocolate chips and transfer to a microwave-safe mug or ramekin. Cook on high for 60 seconds. As mentioned a few times before, the cooking time varies slightly depending on the strength of your microwave. Just keep cooking at 10 seconds intervals until you’re satisfied with your cookie’s texture.
- Once the cookie is finished cooking in the microwave, let it cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
- Additionally, you can also top your cookie off with some ice cream or some chocolate before enjoying your treat ?.
9. Marshmallow Bars
An oldie but a goldie, the classic marshmallow bar is a quick and easy snack that has been enjoyed by both kids and adults for generations. Consisting of marshmallows and rice cereal, this treat is oddly addictive and can be decorated with sprinkles, dipped in chocolate or used as a base of forming edible figures on for cakes. ? Still, that's beside the point! The marshmallow bars are a treat on themselves to eat and the best part is, they're honestly effortless to make!
- 8 large marshmallows (Markenburg supplies certified halal marshmallows just for your information)
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 cup rice cereal
- Combine marshmallows and butter in a small, microwaveable bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds.
- Stir the mixture until everything is evenly mixed before adding in the rice cereal.
- Stir the new mix until everything is evenly cooperated before transferring into a shallow dish or pan to rest. At this point, you can add chocolate chips, sprinkles or anything else you’d like onto the treat.
- Once the treat solidifies, cut out a square and enjoy your treat! Again, it tastes great on its own, but if you’d like to dress it up a bit, you can dip your marshmallow bar in melted chocolate (dark, milk or white chocolate is fine) to give it that extra oomph ?!
Bonus: Microwave Ropa Vieja
This recipe is the longest on the list at 1 hour and 10 minutes but the results are worth it as you don't usually find this dish in local restaurants! Plus the prep is really easy and the payoff is delicious ?!
If someone told you that you could get a deep, slow-cooked flavour out of something made in a microwave, you probably wouldn't believe it... but surprisingly that's not the case. Ropa Vieja (which translates to ‘old clothes’) is a classic Cuban dish made of shredded beef in a tomato sauce. Popular in Latin American countries, this dish will surely take your microwave cooking skills to new levels ??!
While there are a bit more ingredients in this dish in comparison to some of the other microwave meal recipes, the Ropa Vieja is still relatively easy to make, so you don’t have to worry! Here’s what you need and how to make it:
- 1 small onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 (one) 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, sliced
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 1/4 pounds flank steak, cut along the grain into 3-by-1 1/2-inch strips
- 1/3 cup pimento-stuffed olives, halved
- 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Cooked rice, for serving
- Toss the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a microwave-safe 4-quart bowl.
- Tightly cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Be sure to cut a small slit in the centre of the plastic with the tip of a paring knife to allow for the excess steam to escape.
- Microwave on high until the onions are soft and translucent. This should take about 4 minutes depending on the wattage of your microwave. (This recipe was prepared with a microwave with 1100 watt microwave). If the onions aren't cooked through, cover and microwave again in 30-second intervals until cooked. When done, remove the bowl from the microwave along with the plastic wrap.
- Add the tomatoes, beef broth, red peppers, soy sauce, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper into the bowl. Stir, then place the steak inside the mixture.
- Tightly cover the bowl with 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Be sure to cut a small slit in the centre to get rid of excess pressure before microwaving it on high for 20 minutes.
- Carefully remove the plastic wrap, stir the steak mix and cover again. Microwave on high for another 20 minutes. Once done, take the bowl out of the microwave, uncover and let it cool for 5 minutes.
- Once the steak has cool a little, remove the steak with a slotted spoon onto a cutting board. (It will not be fall-apart tender at this stage but should be shreddable.) Using two forks, shred the steak into thin strips.
- Return the shredded meat to the bowl and stir in the olives. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap, making sure to cut a small slit in the centre and microwave it on high once more for 5 minutes.
- Let the ropa vieja sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and stir in the cilantro before serving it with rice.
So there you have it! 9 Quick And Simple Microwave Recipes that will allow you to become the Master Chef of Microwaves. Honestly, this just goes to prove that when there is a will, there is a way. Just because you might not have a proper, full-on kitchen or if your cooking skills aren't the best, these easy to make microwave recipes will at least save you from constantly having to eat nothing but leftovers and instant noodles ?.