The microwave is great, allowing you to reheat food quickly and economically with very little mess. Problem is, it’s very limited, so relying on one for your cooking needs relegate you to subsisting on frozen pre-cooked meals, deli meats, and leftovers. It’s fine for a day or two, but any longer and you’ll start having unhealthy thoughts.
At least, that’s the case if you rely strictly on the microwave and the plastic container you like to put in it. Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of accessories that turned the erstwhile humble microwave into a viable cooking appliance, allowing microwave users to prepare a greater variety of food than usual. Here are some of our favorites.
Microwave Potato Bag
This insulated bag allows you to easily cook potatoes, corn, and similar produce in the microwave by creating a steam pocket that bakes it to perfection in mere minutes. That’s right, 10 minutes or less in the microwave compared to a full hour in the regular oven. It cooks potatoes wonderfully each time out, too, turning it soft and moist with no burnt parts and no weird taste. Yes, it’s a knockoff of the original Potato Express and it works just as nicely.
Reusable Toaster Bag
Want to eat toast, only got a microwave? Not a problem with this bag in your kitchen drawer, which lets you easily toast bread, reheat pizza, and even make grilled sandwiches (well, they’re crispy enough to pass off as grilled anyway). It crisps bread really well and does it very evenly, all without crumbs, melted cheese, and all sorts of mess all over the place. The bag is washable, too, with melted cheese coming off very easily, making it very convenient to use. Seriously, who needs a toaster with this thing in your kitchen?
Nordic Ware Easy Breakfast Set
This set contains two pieces: an omelet pan and a dual egg poacher. To use the hinged pan, simply open it and fill both sides with one egg each, scrambling it as you desire. Then, add whatever stuffing you want on top. Put it inside the microwave and, once done, close it to put both sides together. Easy. For the poacher, simply put one egg on each chamber, close, and microwave. Just use one of those toaster bags for your bread and you’ve got yourself a hearty breakfast.
Prep Solutions Rice and Pasta Cooker
If you enjoy filling up on carbs with your meals, then you’ll find plenty of use for this microwave-friendly pot, which can cook 12 cups of rice or an equivalent amount of pasta in one go. It, literally, cooks rice with the same consistency as a countertop rice cooker, all while going straight to the dishwasher for easy cleaning. Super convenient. Even better, it comes with a locking lid, so no overflow that will flood your microwave, while bundled accessories like a pasta strainer, a steamer basket, and measuring cups make it even more versatile.
Lekue Microwave Bacon Maker
This microwavable container is designed to cook six strips of bacon in one go, cooking it to a crisp in just around three minutes. Deep grooves keep the grease away from the bacon during cooking, while a clear lid makes it easy to see when the bacon is done. It’s a little short to make sure it’s accommodated in smaller microwaves, so you’ll have to just make the bacon fit with a few folds here and there. No problem. It cooks great, too, although it does fill up with oil, so you’ll have to be careful moving the container from the microwave, unless you want to slip on a pool of bacon grease.
Lekue Microwave Grill
This “grill” uses metal plates at the top and bottom to press on your meat, cooking it similar to the way an indoor grill would. To use, simply preheat the cookware for three minutes, place whatever you’re cooking on the bottom plate, place the top plate on top of the food, and let it cook. It’s fast, with burgers getting well done in around four minutes and grilled cheese melting through the middle in three. Do note, if you cook meats on this, the grease will fall right down to the microwave plate, so you might want to use an extra container underneath to catch the drippings.
Lekue Kabob Cooker
No, this accessory won’t turn your microwave into a functional grill for cooking kabobs. Instead, it will cook your food over steam like many microwave cookers, except, in this case, that food is suspended in wooden skewers, allowing you to get a little creative with your microwave dinners. Will it taste like kabobs? Probably not, but if you use enough spices or marinade, maybe you can give it a slight hint of that char-grilled taste. Maybe.
Joseph Joseph M-Cuisine 4-Piece Stackable Microwave Set
Want to cook multiple microwave dishes in one go? Get this four-piece stackable set from Joseph Joseph, which gives you a pot, a steamer, and a griddle to cook a generous amount of food inside the microwave at the same time. Use the pot to make some soup, steam some vegetables on top of it, and even shallow-fry a porkchop on the griddle simultaneously, with a lid on top keeping the food from making a mess inside the oven. When one layer is finished cooking, just pause the oven, take the layer off the stack, and let the others continue. It’s a great way to enjoy a full meal on nothing but a humble microwave.
Nordic Ware Microwave Tender Cooker
Surely, you can’t do pressure cooking in a microwave, right? Apparently, you can with this 2.5-quart cooking vessel, which can tenderize any cuts of meat in 30 minutes or less. Yes, it really pressure cooks, complete with the regulator on top of the lid making hissing noises while steam comes out. It works much like a regular pressure cooker, as well, so you can only fill the container up to 2/3 full unless you want that hot soup spraying all over the place. That’s right, you can enjoy a beef stew lunch and a pork roast dinner using nothing but a microwave. According to the outfit, it can hold up to three pounds of meat, so you can even use it when you’re cooking dinner for a small family.
Tupperware MicroPro Grill
Yes, it’s expensive. And yes, there are cheaper microwave grilling products out there. Our experience with those, however, have been hit or miss. If you want a hassle-free microwave griller that just works, get this one. To use, simply place your food inside the main chamber, put the lid on top of the food (yes, the weighted lid is meant to push the food down, rather than cover the container), and you’re set. Once inside the microwave, the stainless steel container will redirect the microwaves to the cooking plates on the floor and the lid, grilling your food from two sides at the same time under temperatures of up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). Do note, the lid on this one is much heavier than the Lekue Grill above as it’s designed for grilling meats, so if you try to make grilled cheese on this thing, your sandwich will end up pressed nearly flat – not the most fun way to enjoy it.