Foods And Drinks You Should Never Microwave

We are huge fans of our ovens, grills, slow cookers, Instant Pots, and air fryers. However, if Team BHG had to pick a BFF kitchen equipment for our busiest days, we would have to go with the microwave. As our guide to the best microwaves demonstrates, it is incredibly efficient, needs no preheating or other equipment (unlike the gas or charcoal you’ll need to get that grill going), and may be pretty beautiful. A microwave is capable of many tasks, yet there are some things it cannot do.

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Foods And Drinks You Should Never Microwave

Raw Hot Peppers

The spicy flavor of these comes from a substance called capsaicin. The fumes produced when capsaicin is heated can irritate if breathed or come into contact with the eyes. According to Brekke, if you must cook hot peppers—for example, roasting them for a taco garnish or trying to milden their taste for salsa—make sure you sauté, roast, or grill them in a well-ventilated environment. (And make sure that after touching the hot peppers, you do not thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.)

Shell-Contained Eggs

Shel-on eggs have the potential to burst in the microwave because the moisture within heats up to a boiling point and builds up steam. Only boiling water or other tried-and-true procedures for hard- or soft-boiled eggs should be used to prepare eggs with shells on. In addition to boiling, we make boiled eggs in the Instant Pot or any type of pressure cooker by steaming them.


We love them frozen, in smoothies, folded into savory or sweet salads, as a snack by the handful, and turned into wine. However, we’re not big fans of microwaved grapes. In truth, we never put them there because “microwave heating can cause sparks in grapes.” The intricate physics underlying this one appears to have something to do with the way electromagnetic fields accumulate in between the grapes.

For whatever reason, if we’re not serving fresh grapes raw, we fry them in a skillet or roast them in the oven instead of putting them in the microwave.

Breaded or Fried Leftovers

Leftovers that have been deep-fried, oven-fried, or air-fried do not reheat well in a microwave. All of the initial crispness will be gone from the breading. Your best bet is to reheat homemade or restaurant-crafted breaded delights in the oven, on a wire rack inside a sheet pan, or air fry the food to reclaim that crispy coating if you happen to have extra ranch-fried chicken, spicy oven-baked fish, and sweet potato fries, air-fried green tomatoes, or any other type of breaded delight.

Frozen Meat

According to Brekke, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave to quickly thaw portions of meat. However, attempting to fully cook a frozen protein piece in the microwave “will result in poor quality.”

Meat must be cooked from the inside out in a microwave; otherwise, the outside will turn rough, dry, and leathery while the inside is cooked to a safe temperature.

If you wish to cook any frozen meat, first defrost it in the fridge (usually overnight works well). Alternatively, you can cook the meat for a little period in the microwave before finishing it in a pan, the oven, or the grill.

Use your Instant Pot instead of thawing frozen meat if you want to cook it from frozen. It’s a far better appliance for cooking larger frozen protein pieces.

Alcoholic Beverages

Many alcoholic drinks, such as hot toddies, spiked hot chocolate, hot buttered rum, and mulled wine, are meant to be consumed warm. As you get ready to serve your lively selection, use caution.

Since alcohol molecules are flammable, they may catch fire if they come into contact with the electromagnetic waves in the device. We advise heating alcoholic beverages in a saucepan on the stovetop. If your drink can tolerate extended simmer durations, try using a slow cooker.

Anything That’s Expired

Regardless of the appliance, this is true. According to the USDA, most leftovers should be thrown out after three to four days in the refrigerator. When purchasing packaged goods, try to utilize them by the “use by” date printed on the jar or bottle. (Remember that the “use by” and “best by” dates frequently allow for a lot of leeway.

Additional Items You Must Never Microwave

It goes beyond only the meals and beverages. The appliance’s use of brief, high-frequency radio waves to heat causes certain materials to react negatively with it.

  • Aluminum foil (you can see a list of exceptions to this rule here).
  • single-use plastic containers, like yogurt or cottage cheese cartons, butter tubs, and whipped topping canisters.
  • Serving pieces with foam insulation, such as trays, bowls, plates, and cups.
  • Metal twist ties or pans.
  • newspapers.
  • Paper bags.
  • Table settings with metallic paint or trim.
  • Takeout containers with metal handles or pieces.

Stop microwaving and throw away the contents of any container or package that exhibits melting at any stage throughout the procedure.

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