How Hot Does a Microwave Get? Detailed Guide

Microwave ovens can now be found in 90% of American kitchens. Because so many people use microwave ovens to prepare food daily, it’s important to understand some basic cooking techniques to ensure food safety. The only way to ensure that food is cooked to the correct temperature, as with all cooking methods, is to use a food thermometer. In this, you will learn how hot a microwave gets.

An internal temperature of 165°F is a standard guideline. Start by inserting the tip of a food thermometer into the thickest part of the food you’re about to eat to check the temperature. Make sure to take your temperature at a few different places. Microwaves do not continually heat evenly, so temperatures within the food may vary.

Because microwave heating is such a versatile technology that it can be applied to a wide range of applications, this question must be answered regarding application categories.

Many industrial microwave systems defrost, cook, or pasteurize food products and dry various organic and inorganic materials. This type of application takes advantage of the fact that microwaves heat water molecules much more effectively than they heat most other substances. This generally means the material won’t get hotter than the water’s boiling point. Temperature sensors and controls can regulate the exact temperature if necessary. Excessive temperatures can harm beneficial proteins, enzymes, and other nutrients suitable for many food products. As a result, microwave-processed foods may have better nutritional profiles than those heated by convection.

Because there is little or no water in another class of applications, the amount of heating is solely determined by the materials’ dielectric properties. Catalysts for chemical reactions, for example, can be heated to extremely high temperatures. The operating temperature could be hundreds or thousands of degrees in this case.

Finally, microwave-induced gas plasmas can reach temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius. In the semiconductor industry, microwave plasma systems are commonly used for deposition systems.

Things you should never heat in the microwave
Things you should never heat in the microwave

Things you should never heat in the microwave

Nice liquids and containers: Several items should not be microwaved. According to the FDA, manufacturers are not required to monitor their goods for microwave suitability, so a “microwave secure” mark isn’t persuasive.

Stop heating these seven items in the microwave to avoid a fire or dangerous chemical reactions, according to Reader’s Digest.

Hardboiled eggs

Regardless of what the internet says, you should never boil eggs in a microwave. The egg will eventually explode because the heat creates steam that can’t escape.

Cook eggs on the stove or in a particular egg boiler to avoid burning your fingers and cleaning up the mess.


When we decide to have meat for lunch on the spur of the moment, some of us may try to defrost it in the microwave. While the thin edge of the heart will cook quickly, the thicker middle may still be frozen, so it is best to defrost the meat overnight in the refrigerator.


(Shutterstock/Andrey Popov) Hands closing the microwave oven door and preparing food at home

Food, liquids, and containers are among the items that should never be microwaved. According to the FDA, manufacturers are not required to test their products for microwave suitability, so a “microwave safe” label isn’t convincing.

Avoid heating these seven items in the microwave to avoid a fire or harmful chemical reactions, according to Reader’s Digest.

Breast milk

Breast milk is a type of milk produced by microwaving. Microwaving breast milk is not recommended because it heats unevenly, resulting in hot spots that scald the baby. Additionally, some immune-boosting proteins may be destroyed.

Place the breast milk bottle in a mug full of warm water to preserve the nutrients. Breast milk is safe to use once it has reached room temperature.

Containers made of plastic

Even though we shouldn’t, we all do it occasionally: microwave plastic containers.

A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives states that heated plastic can release estrogen-like chemicals like BPA. 95 percent of the 450 tested plastic products showed this effect. The results were the same whether the containers, baby bottles, or zipper-top bags were washed in the dishwasher or soaked in water. As a result, you should warm your meal on a regular plate.

Few plates

When it comes to pots, if you have any with metallic trim, don’t place them in the microwave. According to the USDA, even a minuscule metallic trimming can be harmful.

To be clear, only use a plain glass plate in the microwave.

Few cups of water

Microwaving a cup of water can seem harmless, but it is a terrible idea. Too much time spent heating plain water in a ceramic cup or glass prevents bubbles from forming. Consequently, the liquid can’t cool down, becomes superheated, and erupts boiling water when the glass moves.

Boiling water is better achieved on the stove or in an electric kettle.

There is nothing.

Surprisingly, heating nothing in the microwave can be just as dangerous as heating one of the items listed above.

The magnetron responsible for the microwave function would absorb the waves if the machine ran without food or liquid. As a result, the microwave has the potential to break or catch fire. As a result, always ensure you have something inside before pressing the “start” button.

Important Things to Do When Cooking in a Microwave

Cooking in a Microwave
Cooking in a Microwave

Arrange the food.

Cut the food into pieces that are the same size, if possible. Cutting gives the food more edges, which means it will be more exposed to microwaves.

Because the outside of the dish receives more heat than the inside, place thicker pieces on the outside.

Cover the food with a plate.

Cover the dish using a lid, paper towel, or plastic wrap. This will prevent steam from escaping. This moist heat will kill bacteria while also helping to keep the temperature consistent throughout the food. Do not allow the plastic wrap to come into contact with the food.

Ensure that the food is rotated.

In the center of some microwaves is a rotating dish. If yours doesn’t, rotate the dish halfway through the cooking time in the microwave.

Stir the food.

Stopping the cooking halfway through the cooking time to stir the food is the best way to get even heating and eliminate cold spots and bacteria.

Allow it to rest.

After the microwave has been turned off, the food continues to cook. This is due to the heat being transmitted to the inner cells by the vibrations of the outer food cells. This is necessary for complete heating and bacterial killing.

These guidelines are crucial whether cooking raw food or reheating a meal.

Temperatures for Food Safety

Temperatures for Food Safety

It is critical to become acquainted with your microwave. The same food will take longer to cook in different ovens. After defrosting, all foods should be cooked right away. Never store partially cooked food for later use.

Meat should be cut into smaller pieces. If this isn’t an option, meats should be cooked on 50% power (medium) to allow the heat to reach the center without overcooking the edges.

Use a food thermometer to ensure the food has reached a high enough temperature to kill bacteria. Safe cooking temperatures:

  • For Red meat: 160 F (71 C)
  • Poultry: 165 F (74°C)
  • Pork: 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius)
  • 165°F (74°C) for leftovers
  • It is not advisable to cook stuffed poultry in the microwave.

When heating baby formula in the microwave, be especially careful to avoid scalding the baby’s mouth or throat. Even if a bottle does not feel warm to the touch after being microwaved for a few seconds, the formula may contain hot spots. Warming or thawing breast milk in the microwave is not recommended. Excessive heat can destroy proteins and other nutrients.

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