Microwave-Friendly utensils make the cooking process much easier and safer. But selecting the best one for you is a challenging task.
This is because the range of microwave utensils is constantly expanding with new ideas and better quality products coming on the market.
Like any other type of cookware, you need to be sure you’re getting what you need and not wasting your money and cluttering up the kitchen cabinets.
Tips for buying Microwave-Friendly Utensils
- Buy good quality – most gadgets are low cost, so splash out a little extra and get something that will last.
- If possible, get the stain-free version. I get annoyed with how quickly some plastics absorb colour from food and look old and shabby. These stain-free ones look new for a lot longer.
- If you’re short of space or cash or don’t cook a lot, choose cookware that can double up. For instance, pressure cookers can cook rice, and rice cookers can often be used as steamers. Check the labels to see what the manufacturer suggests.
- Don’t buy more than you will use! Easier said than done, I know, but be realistic about what you’re likely to be cooking.
Best Microwave-Friendly Utensils To Make Cooking Easier And Safer
If you have trouble producing perfect rice time after time – then get one of these.
If you want hot and fluffy rice made in minutes, then get a microwave rice cooker. I really wouldn’t be without mine now. It doesn’t just save time and washing up; it also makes brilliant rice.
Before I got mine, I was a little cynical, but I’m a total convert now. The rice is 100% predictably perfect, and my stovetop rice could be a bit hit and miss.
Types: There are two basic types. The first is a container with a lid, and the other has a removable draining container set inside. The lid is essential as it ventilates the cooker allowing steam to escape.
Microwave rice cookers work partly by boiling and partly by steaming, and this affects both the time it takes to cook the rice and the proportion of rice and water needed. For this reason, you must follow the recommended timing and portion sizes given by the manufacturer of your cooker.
Sistema BPA-Free Rice Cooker (2.6L) & Round Microwave Food Container is made with non-toxic substances. It’s a thoughtfully designed product that is perfect for microwave cooking and reheating. To avoid splattering while reheating, it has a vent on the lid to release steam. Thus, this rice cooker offers you convenience without compromising on health as it is made BPA-free.
Truly the fastest way to cook food that often takes hours using a conventional oven.
Do I Really Need Another Gadget?
Well, that depends on you!
A microwave pressure cooker is the fastest way to cook meals that generally take hours.
So if your time is short, but you want to cook, then I’d give this gadget some serious consideration.
It works in much the same way as a stovetop one. After adding liquid and food, heat is applied to the sealed container. The heat causes steam pressure to build up, and it is this extra pressure speeds up cooking time. All have a built-in valve, which regulates the pressure so the whole thing won’t explode!
The difference between a stovetop and a microwave is that in the way the heat is generated. Heating by microwaves takes far less time to build up the necessary steam and pressure. In all other respects, the results are the same.
It is essential to wait until the pressure indicator shows that it’s safe to open the cooker with all pressure cookers. Do not risk being scaled by pressurised steam.
Pressure cookers cook fast without destroying essential vitamins and minerals and, at the same time, they keep in all of the flavours. As it takes less time to cook, a pressure cooker will use less fuel, which saves you and the environment.
One of my favourites uses to cook beans. Usually, I’d soak them overnight and cook them for an hour or so. With a microwave pressure cooker, it takes minutes. What’s more, using dried beans rather than the canned versions is far cheaper, saves on packaging and allows me to cook them exactly as I want.
Handy Gourmet Eco-Friendly Microwave Pressure Cooker is crafted with 40 per cent plastic than any other microwave utensils. It is simple to use and looks fantastic with a natural wheat fibre look. Moreover, it is made with non-toxic and biodegradable substances.
The best way to steam vegetables I’ve ever found – especially good with frozen veggies.
A microwave vegetable steamer is a quick, cheap and easy way to prepare perfectly cooked vegetables that are packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
If that wasn’t enough, it’s also the most accessible type of steamer to clean!
All microwave steamers have a base unit (which holds water), one or more baskets with holes in the bottom to allow steam through, a lid and a vent system.
When the steamer is heated, the water boils, and the steam rises through the holes, gently cooking the vegetables. A vent system prevents the pressure inside from rising too far.
Microwave Cookware Steamer– 3 Piece Microwave Cooker w Food Container is a beautiful gift to those who love cooking. It can solve your twin purpose as it can also be used as a refrigerator storage container. So, go for it.
Cooks all sorts of pasta quickly and evenly. The built-in strainer is a real bonus.
Is there really any point in buying a gadget to cook microwave pasta?
Good question! And I’d say “Yes!”
I was a bit cynical at first but happy to say I was proven wrong. Although it probably only saves a minute or two in cooking time, uses a little less water and saves a tiny bit of washing up it makes consistently great pasta every time.
A few microwave pasta cookers are on the market, and there are some minor differences in how they work.
My favourite is the Fasta Pasta, which is very easy to use and clean. You can cook different types of pasta in it, and it can make enough for 4 people.
A really great way to make popcorn quickly, cheaply and safely.
Why waste your money on synthetic, commercial microwave popcorn when it’s just so easy to make your own?
But it’s not just about saving money – it’s about your health. Making your own allows you to indulge your cravings healthily. No need for popcorn that’s full of cholesterol and hydrogenated fats.
You can still give your sweet tooth a treat but keep total control of the ingredients used.
If you have a family of popcorn munchers, this will soon pay for itself.
Just add the measured corn to the bottle, turn it on and wait. Add some Earth Balance butter to the top of the lid, and it’ll melt through the cleverly designed slits and cover your popcorn with yumminess.
The glass handle is a great idea and makes handling the popcorn popper really easy.
Evolution Original Microwave Micro-Pop Popcorn Popper is perfect for you if you’re not the sort to hoard paper bags or somehow can’t quite get them to fold right.
Microwave safe is a term used to describe dishes that can be used in your oven. There is a separate section on Microwave Safety – how safe is it to cook food in a microwave?
If you look in the average kitchen cupboard, you’ll find a wide variety of different containers. Glass, plastic and ceramic. Small. Medium and large. Square, rectangle or round. And any combination of these you can imagine.
We probably use at least one every day in the fridge/freezer for a packed lunch or heating something in the microwave.
But are all containers created equal? Which are the best for microwave cooking and which should be avoided
Containers that are suitable for cooking in the microwave should all be marked clearly. As a general rule, if it doesn’t say “Microwave Safe”, either on the container itself or its package, then it probably isn’t.
On the other hand, some cheap imports might say they’re safe when in fact, they’re not. So if you’re in any doubt, either contact the manufacturer directly or do this simple microwave oven safety test.
How to Test for Safety
Understanding the rationale
Before I explain how to carry out the safety check takes a few minutes to understand why it works.
When microwaves hit an object, they can do one of three things: –
- They can reflect (i.e. bounce off it). The best example of this is metal.
- They can be absorbed. That’s how the food gets heated up.
- They can pass straight through – and that’s what we are looking for.
If the microwaves are reflected off the surface of the container, then it would be likely to cause sparking and possibly damage the magnetron (the bit that produces the microwaves).
If they are absorbed, there would be less of them available to heat the food, and it would mean the container got very hot itself.
If they pass through – all their energy goes into heating the food leaving the container only warm. That warmth comes from being in contact with heated food, not from the microwaves themselves.
As a general caution, it is best never to run a microwave on empty as the waves bounce around the oven, causing it to heat up to the extent that it might cause a fire.
Nowadays, some brands allow you to run them on empty, but I wouldn’t take the risk personally.
Put the empty container you want to test into the microwave.
Put a container that you know to be safe into it, but this one must have something in it – water is fine. The water will absorb the waves.
Run the microwave for 30 seconds and check the temperature of the water and the containers. If all is well, the water should warm up, but the containers should be cool. If they’re not, stop right now and don’t use the hot container.
Run the microwave for another 1 min and then a further 1 minute. Each time checking to see if the container is heating up.
If the container doesn’t heat up, you can place it in the category of microwave-friendly utensils that makes cooking easier and safer.
Materials – Glass, Ceramic Or Plastic?
Glass is my favourite material for microwaving in, but there are still a couple of things to watch out for.
If there are tiny air bubbles present in the glass, these could heat up and crack the glass. I’ve never heard of this happening, but it’s a possibility.
Decorative glass – if the glass has any metal, it mustn’t be used in a microwave as it could lead to sparking or the glass cracking. If the glass has any other type of decorative finish, first check that it is food safe as some dyes used in glazing shouldn’t come into contact with food.
As a general rule, any ceramic containers used for cooking and are marked as food safe are okay. The decorations used should be safe. However, some fine china or dinnerware may have small amounts of metal in their decoration. These mustn’t be used in the oven. Thin strips of metal can heat up very fast and to such an extent that they can catch fire.
There are other types of ceramics that must be avoided altogether and shouldn’t be used with any foods. Examples are where lead or lithium is used in the glazing. They are often sold with a built-in hole to prevent their use, but they should also have warning labels. Be careful about this when bringing dishes home from trips abroad where the labelling regulations are different from those you are used to.
These are much more complicated. Microwave safe plastics must first of all be food grade plastics. Don’t even think about microwaving with plastic that isn’t sold directly for food use. Plastics are affected by fats which may cause them to leach their original oil-based substance into the food. This can happen with plastics that are marked as food grade as well non-food grade plastics.
Microwave safe plastics are made to withstand higher temperatures. If you microwave plastics that aren’t of this quality, then there is a possibility that harmful substances can leach out of the container. Even if the product is marked as microwave safe, it’s good to read the small print and check the maximum wattage it is safe to use it in.
This is true as well for plastic wrap or clings film. Only use the microwave-safe versions.
There is a common misconception that all Tupperware products are safe to microwave. They’re not. Tupperware has produced a range of microwaveable containers, and these are clearly marked as such. You must check the maximum wattage they can be used at, as, for instance, the MicroPlus Casserole dish (see picture) should only be used at a max of 750 watts.
There are good food-grade plastic containers available made from polycarbonate. These are less likely to react to oils. They can handle freezing and boiling and don’t tend to hold smells or stains like many other plastics do. They seem like an ideal container as long as they are replaced when cracked or become cloudy.
Wrapping up for best microwave-friendly utensils to make cooking easier and safer
You have to accept that microwaves have made our life much easier than before. It performs the cooking tasks efficiently in very little time than any other conventional method.
But, it’s an electric device that you must handle with care and use microwave-friendly utensils for cooking for a safer side.