Surprising Recipes for the Microwave

A microwave is great for reheating, but it can also pull its weight as a cooking tool in its own right. Use it to make your own microwave popcorn, a family-friendly dinner or an easy-to-do dessert.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Microwave Chicken and Dumplings

Food Network Kitchen's version of this old-fashioned dish works beautifully in the microwave. It is made with rotisserie chicken, so you're halfway done before you start. Golden cornmeal dumplings make a tender-chewy topping; using a bowl in a smaller microwave protects them from overcooking.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Chicken and Dumplings

Microwave Chocolate Pudding Cake

Brown sugar in the batter of this classic fudgy cake makes it extra rich and gooey. Baking it in the microwave doesn't heat up the kitchen, which means this cake makes a great summer treat, topped with vanilla (or your favorite) ice cream. The longer the cake cools, the more the pudding is absorbed.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Chocolate Pudding Cake

Microwave Mac and Cheese

This from-scratch mac and cheese cooks in one bowl, and you don't have to boil the macaroni or cook the cheese sauce separately. Plus, it's ready in less than 15 minutes. A blend of American and Jack cheeses makes the sauce smooth and tangy.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Mac and Cheese

Microwave Ginger-Soy Flounder with Snow Peas

Fish and vegetables cook beautifully in the microwave, making it the perfect appliance for healthy dishes like this one. Here, delicate flounder fillets cook gently and evenly on a bed of earthy shiitake mushrooms. While the fish rests outside the oven to finish cooking, you have time to cook the snow peas quickly, ensuring they stay crisp and bright green.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Ginger-Soy Flounder with Snow Peas

Microwave Mushroom Risotto

Here is a risotto that doesn't demand you spend 30 minutes stirring a hot pot. We start with an earthy broth made with dried mushrooms, then add fresh mushrooms and Arborio rice. One stir and, minutes later, you'll have the easiest, creamiest risotto imaginable.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Mushroom Risotto

Microwave Creamed Spinach

This is a top-notch version of the steakhouse classic. We make it with fresh spinach, which retains a deep bright-green color when cooked briefly in the microwave, and finish it with a crisp topping of toasted breadcrumbs or fried onions.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Creamed Spinach

Microwave Cherry-Almond Crisp

This dessert is special enough for guests but fast and easy enough for a weeknight meal. Crisp up the homemade streusel topping in the microwave and use frozen cherries so this can be a year-round treat.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Cherry-Almond Crisp

Microwave Ratatouille

Using the microwave to cook rounds of eggplant, summer squash and tomatoes arranged decoratively in a pie dish takes far less time (and olive oil) than does traditional ratatouille, a Provencal appetizer or side dish that calls for dicing and sauteing each vegetable separately. 

Get the Recipe: Microwave Ratatouille

Microwave Potato-and-Chorizo Scramble

We scrambled some spicy chorizo sausage and tangy goat cheese into a traditional Spanish tortilla to make a dish that is perfect for brunch or supper. A bit of half-and-half is the secret to these fluffy and tender eggs.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Potato-and-Chorizo Scramble

Microwave Ropa Vieja

This version of ropa vieja ("old clothes") — a Cuban dish of shredded beef in a piquant tomato sauce — has a deep, slow-cooked flavor we would never expect from a microwave. You don't have to brown the steak first; just let it bubble in the sauce until it's tender enough to shred. Serve it over rice to soak up the sauce.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Ropa Vieja

Microwave Popcorn

This easy alternative to bagged microwave popcorn doesn't cook in any oil or fat, so it has a clean, nutty flavor that goes well with a number of toppings — though you can't go wrong with classic melted butter.

Get the Recipe: Microwave Popcorn

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