December 6

How to Cook Microwave Food Without a Microwave | Appliances That Make It Possible


Author: Gisele Perez and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

In most kitchens, you'll find this appliance, a microwave. However, some people don't have one as a result of prevailing conditions or by choice! Whatever the reason, there's a need to cook meals, frozen meals, and reheat leftovers plus pre-cooked food.

Even though you don't have a traditional or convection microwave, you can still enjoy some delicious hot meals. There are many methods of preparing food and reheating frozen meals and leftovers to yield the desired results.

Eating leftovers in some of your meals saves time and money and minimizes wastage of food. How do you cook microwave food without a microwave? Stick around to find the answer!

Man hands putting vegetables in a microwave

What Can I Use to Cook Microwave Food Without a Microwave?

Whether you don't own a microwave or you want to explore other ways of reheating your food, a frozen meal, and leftovers, it's workable. Below are various alternatives for heating food without a microwave.

1. Toaster Oven

This appliance is a small counter-top oven that you can use to prepare various foods quickly and efficiently. You can use a toaster oven for reheating food and leftovers just like you would with a microwave.

Also, larger toaster ovens can serve the purposes of a full-size range as it's a multipurpose gadget with a versatile nature. Even though it has heating similarities with a microwave, it occupies space and is often more efficient, but not more than a 1100 watt microwave oven.

2. Crockpot

These are slow cookers that you can use to cook or heat food. However, the appliance takes longer to reheat food than a medium-powered microwave, but it's an excellent alternative!

Its slow nature makes it suitable for reheating a wide range of foods without necessarily paying close watch. Even so, you could moisten dry foods for better results. The pan is less expensive. You can buy a large one enough to heat food for your whole family at once.


3. Stovetop

This device works by producing heat directly from its bottom. The heat comes from a fire or a variant source. The appliance can serve various purposes like making soup, popcorns, and fresh food, among others.

In addition, you can use it when reheating food and leftovers as an alternative to a microwave. Since it doesn't require radiation waves to function, it ensures food safety. It's, therefore, the tool to go for if you want to have a healthy lifestyle.

4. Conventional Oven

This cookware is another suitable alternative to a microwave (see ovens under 200 dollars). Although the oven treats food differently from a microwave, you can still prepare meals and reheat leftovers using the appliance.

Unlike the microwave, the kitchen oven heats food slowly but evenly. Since each food element heats differently, an oven is the most effective device to cook or reheat food.

5. Saucepan

This is another way of heating frozen foods without a microwave. Such meals include scramble bowls, entrée bowls, and oatmeal. Since the meals are already cooked, check the temperature to avoid burning your food.

The most crucial point here is keeping watch of the food, constantly stirring it, and adding a little water when necessary.


6. Popcorn Maker

A microwave is one of the gadgets used to prepare popcorn. Even so, popcorn maker beats all the machines designated for popping corn. Therefore, you can use it to prepare a fresh bowl of popcorn for your family instead of the microwave.

7. Dutch oven

This device is an effective cooking tool to reheat your microwave meals. You can use it to reheat the soup, stews, rice, or pasta dishes leftovers. However, the gadget requires a stove to function. It heats food to the desired temperature making it a great alternative for a microwave.

8. Steamers

Some little water in a steamer can generate cooking power (steam) that can cook certain meals. Foods such as vegetables can cook well in a healthy way by the use of steam. Ensure the water doesn't evaporate entirely or touch the plate with the vegetables.


9. Non-Stick Skillet

This is an excellent option for reheating frozen food. The tool requires less time than the conventional oven but needs your attention during the reheating period.

Additionally, you can cook foods such as egg white patties, puffs, waffles, burritos, and pancakes using your non-stick skillet.  Monitor the appliance when cooking to avoid burning your food, and add some oil if the meal is too dry.

10. Air Fryer

The device gives your food such as chicken wings a tasty and crispy touch. Even though a microwave can provide similar results for similar price, an air fryer provides better crispiness quality. You can use these tools for cooking oil-free meals that are health-friendly!

Can I Put a Microwavable Dish in the Oven?

Some containers and dishes can be used both in microwaves and conventional ovens for home use. These utensils will indicate precisely that! Such will include stoneware pieces, ceramic, and Pyrex.

Nonetheless, not all microwave-safe dishware is suitable for use in an oven. To avoid any confusion, use the appropriate containers for each of the two appliances.

Microwave-Safe Dishes

These are containers that tolerate microwave heat without melting or warping. If you cook your microwave food using such dishes, it's safe from chemicals leaching into your meal during cooking.

Nevertheless, some of these saucers will melt if exposed to high heat for long –like in an oven. The excess heat can lead to their melting. So, avoid using microwave dishes in an oven!

Non-Metallic Oven-Safe Containers

These dishes are suitable for oven use only. Even though some microwave containers can also be used the same way, they state exactly that!

If not indicated, avoid using microwave-safe saucers in your oven. It can cause damage to your container,  food, and the oven too.

Microwave-Unsafe But Oven-Safe Containers

It's safe to use metallic cookware to cook foods in your oven. On the other hand, it's dangerous to make a meal in a microwave using these items. This results from the microwave's reflection that causes the damage of the appliance or uneven cooking of food.

How Do You Make Microwave Dinners in the Oven?

Microwavable foods generally come with cooking instructions. This information includes not only the microwave-related ones but also how to prepare the meal using an oven or a stovetop.

Therefore, you can cook your microwave meal using the oven! How? Start by setting your oven to 350 degrees internal temperature. Then, put your meal in an oven-safe container and cover it with a foil to avoid drying when cooking.

Once your oven heats to the required temperature place your food and allow it to cook for about fifteen minutes. After that, mix it a bit and return to the oven for five more minutes, and your meal will be ready.

The method may take a little longer, but the delicious and healthy meal is worth waiting for! Note that the duration depends on your cookware.
Woman sets timer on an oven

How to Reheat Food Without a Microwave

With or without a microwave, your leftovers shouldn't go to waste. You can employ various reheating food techniques and serve your family some hot meals without necessarily using a microwave. Here are some of the most effective food reheating methods.

1. Simmering With a Bit Of Liquid

Most foods such as stews, soups, and saucy dishes are easy to reheat in a pan. For sticky foods like rice, you need to add some liquid such as milk, olive oil, vegetable or chicken, coconut oil, or water.

Add a little liquid at a time as you stir fry, and cook your food under low-medium heat. Your leftovers will heat evenly and maintain their taste.

2. Steaming Method

This technique is perfect for reheating a frozen meal, frozen meat, sticky foods, and other frozen foods. These foods are prone to drying up when reheating, and using moist heat will be an excellent idea.

You may use a steaming basket or put your frozen food in a metal colander and place it in a saucepan. Boil water in the pan which in turn heats your food (see 'How Long to Boil Water in Microwave?'). Your pan should be broad and deep enough to hold the colander without touching the bottom.

Steamed food

3. Repurposing Leftovers

You can reuse your leftovers as ingredients for a new recipe. For instance, you can use your roast meat leftovers to make sandwiches or some delicious soup.

4. Use a Stove

If you had previously cooked your food on a stove, you could still reheat the leftovers using the same stove on the original pan. Maintain low-medium for about five minutes and keep a close watch to avoid burning.

5. Boiling

The fastest and the most effective way to reheat boiled food is by re-boiling. Start by boiling water on the pan and add your leftover food. Boil it for two to three minutes or to your desired temperature depending on the amount of food and its initial temperature.

Boiling water

Final Thoughts

Preparing food or reheating leftovers using a microwave is obvious to most people when they require quick meals. Even so, you need to cook or reheat food even when your gadget isn't functional, or you don't have one at all.

As a result, you have to be conversant with other reheating methods and appliances. With the techniques and alternate devices outlined in this article, you have no reason to starve or waste food by throwing away leftovers.

About the author

Gisele Perez

When not giving in-home, hands-on cooking classes, or developing recipes, Gisele "cooks" wonderful posts for us. She writes about various topics related to cooking appliances and cooking methods.


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