February 9

How Long to Boil Water in Microwave? | For Various Amounts and Wattages


Author: Cornelia Suehr
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Boiling water in a microwave is the fastest method to make hot drinks or prepare foods that need water, such as instant oatmeal or soup mixes. It takes 1 to 4 minutes on average to boil water in a microwave.

Just like when microwaving your favorite snacks, the exact time depends on the wattage or power of your microwave, the volume of things heated, and the container itself. It is important to get a good understanding of how long to boil water in the microwave especially if you use your home oven regularly.

Pouring hot water into a teapot

How Long Does It Take to Boil a Full Cup of Water in Microwave?

When you're trying to make a quick cup of tea or coffee, there's nothing more annoying than having to wait for the water to boil. If you want your drink pronto, then a microwave is the way to go.

It takes 1 to 4 minutes to boil a full cup of water in a microwave. The exact time depends on several factors that I will discuss in this section.

There are several variables that need to be taken into consideration when calculating exactly how long it should take to boil water in a microwave oven.

 These variables are:

The wattage of the Microwave

Most microwaves have between 700 Watt and 1,200 Watts of output power. The higher the wattage, the more energy is available to heat the water. This means that it will take less time to boil the same amount of water in a microwave oven with more power than in one with less power.

For example, a 1,200 Watts microwave oven only takes 1 minute to boil water while a 700 Watts’ microwave takes 3 minutes. The table below has more information.

Microwave Power/Watts


1,200 watts

1 minute

1,000 watts

2 minutes

800 watts

2.5 minutes

700 Watts

3 minutes

600 Watts

4 minutes

Slightly opet microwave

Amount of Water

The more water you have in your container, the longer it will take for it to boil. This is because the heat has more mass to work on, which means more time is needed for the heat to affect the water molecules inside.

The time it takes to boil a full cup of water is more than the time taken to boil a half cup of water.

The Type of Microwave Safe Container Used

The amount of time it takes for water to reach its boiling point also depends on the material of the container holding it.

The thicker the cup you use, the longer it will take to boil the water. Use a thin cup if you want to get boiling hot water quickly.

How to Safely Boil Water in The Microwave?

Boiling water in your microwave is quick, so it's a good choice for heating ready-to-drink beverages such as hot tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. It's also an effective way to heat leftover drinks that have cooled off.

Before you begin boiling water in your microwave, make sure that your microwave is clean and free of any food residue or splatters. Dirty microwaves can give off a bad smell while they're microwaving water and leave behind sticky spots when they cool down again. 
Boiling water

Step 1; Start by getting a Microwave-Safe Container

Boiling water in the microwave starts by getting a safe cup or bowl. This is a container designed for microwaving.

These are microwave-safe containers that should be used when boiling water.

Glass/Ceramic: Glass and ceramic are the recommended materials to be used in a microwave. It is important to know that not all glass and ceramic are appropriate for use in a microwave. The container must be labeled as microwave safe. If it is not labeled, it should never be put into a microwave.

A pink cup in a microwave

Metals and metal foil should never be put into a microwave oven because they can spark or cause an explosion which could result in injury or damage to your property. Plastic is a no-no in microwaves unless labeled microwave safe. It can melt or warp, or leak chemicals in your food.

Step 2; Pour Water into A Safe Container

Put your desired amount of water in a container that is microwave safe such as glass or ceramic. These containers can withstand high heat and prolonged exposure to microwave radiation. They also do not absorb any components of the food being cooked.

Do not cover the container as this would cause it to explode from the buildup of pressure.

Step 3; Open the Microwave

Put the microwave-safe cup with the water on the rotating plate. The rotating plate helps to distribute heat evenly throughout the container. It is best if you place the container on a rotating plate rather than directly on the glass tray. This will prevent any damage to your microwave oven due to excessive heat transfer.

Close up of a microwave

Step 4. Set the Timer

Close the microwave door and set its timer to 2 minutes for it to reach a boiling point. After 2 minutes are up, the microwave will stop, and you will hear its timer go off. Remove your water in the microwave and make your hot drink or soup.

Is It Safe to Boil Water in The Microwave?

Yes, it is safe to boil water in the microwave. The purpose of boiling or heating water in a microwave oven is to produce water for purposes such as making coffee, tea, soup, just to name a few.

In fact, some people recommend boiling water in the microwave because it's an easy and convenient way to heat water quickly, unlike a gas stove or other cooking methods. However, there are some precautions you should take before doing so, which I have discussed here.

Use a Safe Container for Boiling Water

When using a microwave to boil water, you must use a glass or ceramic container that is microwave safe. If you try to use anything other than these containers, they can pose risks.

Don't use plastic wrap as a cover for your microwaved superheated water, as it will burn and can cause a fire.

Put Gloves

Use gloves to lift anything out of the microwave as it may be very hot. It's hard to handle anything from the microwave with your bare hands, especially when handling hot containers. Be careful not to touch the inside of the microwave while heating water or other liquids as they may be very hot and will burn you easily.

Beware of Superheated Temperature

If you are not careful or when you let water stay for long in a microwave; the rapid heating process can cause water molecules to become superheated. The term superheated means that liquid becomes so heated that it goes way above its boiling point.

When this happens, even the slightest disturbance can cause the liquid to violently boil from the inside out, causing injury or burns.

You'll know if your water is superheated by how it reacts when you stir or drop something into it. If it boils violently and doesn't return to room temperature quickly afterward, then your water is most likely superheated. Don’t let the water reach temperatures or boil for long periods of time.

Is It Safe to Drink Boiled Water from The Microwave?

Yes, it is safe to drink water from the microwave as long it has been boiled properly in a safe container.

Many people are concerned about the health risks of drinking this type of water. It is because most people believe that microwave ovens produce harmful waves that may cause cancer.

However, this is a myth since microwaves' electromagnetic waves only penetrate into water and food but not your body.

Allow Very Hot Water to reach Drinkable Temperature

Water boiled in the microwave is safe to drink, provided it's allowed to cool to a drinkable temperature. As long as you don't drink it super-hot, though, or allow it to sit in the closed microwave for an extended period of time, you should be fine.

A man making tea

Wrapping it Up- How Long Does It Take to Boil Water in the Microwave?

Boiling water in your microwave is a great alternative to boiling it on gas stoves. It’s much easier to do, takes much less time to cook up, and does not clean up later. All you need is a microwave, water, and a microwave-safe vessel for the water, such as a microwavable mug or cup.

No matter what you decide to make; tea, instant coffee, or hot chocolate, you can make it in just a few minutes instead of spending time waiting around for water to boil on the stove.

There are several variables at play that can help you determine how long it will take the water to boil. These factors include microwave wattage, container material, amount of water, and other variables.

The most important factor is simply how powerful your microwave is, as powerful microwaves boil water in 1 minute. Generally, microwaves with over 1000 watts are able to boil water quickly, while 500 watts and lower ones take more time.

Be careful when heating your water for drinking. You should follow all of the safety precautions that I have discussed here, such as using new and older oven-safe containers with non-metallic objects, just to name a few. This is to ensure that the water is heated all the way through and won’t burn you.

About the author

Cornelia Suehr

A professional chef and a passionate writer on all topics related to cooking, baking, appliances and kitchenware. Her posts resonate with foodies, home chefs and professionals.


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