Use The Microwave

Written by pete


When reheating food, or cooking small portions, use the microwave instead of the oven or range.

**How this helps**

Because it takes so much less time to cook in the microwave, you use a lot less energy — even if the microwave draws more power. According to Energy Star, cooking small portions or reheating food in the microwave can save up to 80% of the energy used if you reheated in the oven.

**More information**

– Kitchen energy-saving tips from Energy Star
– Top 20 microwave recipes from

**Related tips**

– Boil your pasta in less water
– Fill the dishwasher
– Fill up your fridge

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  1. Ted O'Neill

    Microwaves only heat and do not cook. You can not carmelize onions or sear foods or do many flavor enhancements that traditional methods will do. Some foods need to simmer for a while to be edible, i.e. most beans, so a microwave can be useful to reheat foods more efficiently and yes you can cook a potatoe or ear of corn in a microwave, but there are major limits on what you can cook. And buying pre-made food from a factory kitchen may seem convenient, but you have no control over the quality of the base foods and spices used. What the box claims is not necessarily accurate or a good indicator of the quality of the food you are ingesting. There are many foods that don’t require cooking that you can conserve more energy than using a microwave and cooking larger portions that can be stored and maybe reheated in a microwave for future meals is another way to conserve over the long haul. This point is noted in the article, but our rush to convenience has brought about a lot more pre-fabricated factory food, which is not as healthy as controling the quality of what goes in a meal closer to the source.

  2. Michele Young

    Microwaves came on the scene late in my childhood. Were they a blessing to busy, working parents? You betcha. Did they offer young ones a “safe” way to heat their own food? Right again. We are what we eat. And…research has shown that this type of heating changes the molecular structure of food. After microwaving,it is no longer consistent with healthy, fuel-providing food. With all the difficulty we’re facing in growing nutrient-dense, non-gmo foods, why would we add another chemical alteration? Food is part of my “health insurance” so I’ll stick to fresh & raw 50% plus of the time and heat from the sun or cook on the stove/oven for other delicious alternatives. Bon app

  3. Aaron Horne

    To get the best of both, here’s a little trick I’ve had success with. Microwave cook your item for slightly (5-15%) less time than required to cook it. Then pop it into a nearby toaster oven set to toast or broil for a minute or two. This puts a finishing touch on many items that taste better when cooked in an oven the whole time. It saves time and energy and still gives that fresh/crisp from the oven (not soggy microwaved) taste.

  4. Dorothy Maxwell

    Instead of the microwave I use a frying pan to heat up left overs. This is timely and less hazardous to our health as I have read negative effects of microwave ovens.

  5. Jessica

    I’m sure the energy savings from microwaves are true, but I refuse to succumb to the unnatural use of reheating my food this way. There is plenty of evidence to support the potential dangers and side effects of microwave usage, regardless of the FDAs approval of the mechanism. I’m an environmentalist, and to me, just as important as energy saving is getting back to nature and rejecting many of the technologies that have infiltrated our food system. Obviously pesticides are one, but cooking food in this scientific way is certainly another, and simply often over-looked.

  6. S. Lee

    Although I do use my microwave for quick heating, for real cooking I use my thick-bottomed fry pan and large pot. These are stainless steel pans with 1/4 inch layers of heat-conducting metal on the bottom. I place a small amount of butter or oil in the pan, turn it on lowest heat on the stove-top and turn it off again when the butter melts and sizzles slightly (generally less than a minute). I put in the food and leave it for anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes, checking occasionally to stir or turn. I scramble eggs, cook pieces of fish or lightly brown French toast. It takes little time or power; if necessary (rarely) the heat can be turned on again for a few seconds and then turned off. This cookware works nicely and can be taken camping or anywhere power is limited. We have used it during power outages when we had to use a small propane camp stove after the hurricanes (outside of course).
    Remember also that the microwave pulls vampire power, so unplug it at night or when you are away for any length of time.

  7. Diane

    Just don’t reheat in plastic containers as they could be harmful.

  8. John Tarrant

    The Microwave article appears to assume an electric stove. What if its gas. How much coal gets burned to run the microwave vs burning natural gas in a stove?

  9. Anonymous


  10. DR

    Microwaves produce non-ionizing radiation. Cell phones, TVs and the sun produce it. So you’re surrounded by it. But it won’t hurt you. Microwaves energize water and other polar (in the chemical sense) molecules so they start jiggling and energizing other molecules. This jiggling creates heat. This molecular dance party is completely harmless and it’s everywhere – for example, in a pond (or any surface, for that matter) being heated by the sun. Microwave ovens are intense sources of microwaves, but tests have shown that they are so well-shielded that you don’t need to worry about getting cooked.
    I agree a microwave is a limited tool for gourmet cooking, but we’re talking reheating here – and many people reheat. Also I have a convection microwave that rocks. Browning on the outside and fast cooking on the inside makes lasagnes that are indistinguishable from those made in an oven, in half the time.
    That microwaves change the nutritional content of food more so than cooking on a stove top is mostly untrue. Direct heat also destroys nutrients. I suspect that the length of cooking effects nutrients more than the type of cooking.
    I have a PhD in environmental chemistry and am a rabid environmentalist, so I try to stick to the facts when choosing the higher road. I am not sure why microwaves are so fun to demonize, but I suspect it has to do with the fact that they as associated with TV dinners and lazy cooks. Well, if so, that should be a separate issue from energy conservation.

  11. Pete Davies

    OK so I was going to leave this be, but as someone has now just emailed me saying I have neglected to mention the nutritional destruction of the microwave, and since Maria has decided to post something from, I’ll counter with something from Harvard Medical School. Which includes the following:

    “So, as a general proposition, cooking with a microwave probably does a better job of preserving the nutrient content of foods because the cooking times are shorter.”

    Here’s the full text:

  12. Phoenix Woman

    Pete Davies et al: THANK YOU!
    Yes, eating food and meat raw may have been how our caveman ancestors did it, but then again they were lucky to make it out of infancy and getting into their forties was a real achievement.

  13. Dr. Wendy

    I agree… Microwaves kill all the nutrional benefits of food. I prefer to avoid them and would rather cook on a stove or eat things raw, as they should be.