Cooking chicken in microwave?

  • I hear that chicken breasts can be cooked in microwave and that it's the best way to get it juicy and tender. I have also seen some articles about it on the internet.

    I wonder if this is just a myth or if professionals also use this trick?

    Wouldn't you risk that parts of the chicken is not cooked properly then causing infection?

    One of the first dishes my husband ever made me was a delicious chicken dish he cooked in the microwave (a dorm microwave, no less). It can be done!

  • While yes it can be done, I wouldn't choose to do it over another technique unless that was my only option or I just needed some chicken cooked quickly for a recipe where it is used in the cooked form and will have a lot of other flavors added (chicken salad). Remember that a lot of flavor is due to browning and cooking in the microwave eliminates those flavors. At least with poaching, if the liquid is REALLY well seasoned you'll still impart flavor.

    Any cooking technique can lead to tough and dry meat, including poaching where it's being cooked submerged in hot liquid. Regardless of the technique, if the proteins heat too hot and too quickly they will constrict quickly and squeeze out the juices. The result will be tough, dry, saw-dusty chicken or other protein. This is the same thing that happens when scrambled eggs are rubbery...cooked too long over too high of heat. The proteins act like sponges that are being wrung out.

    Personally I think you have much less control over meat cooked in a microwave because the cooking occurs from the inside outward and the residual heat continues to build more intensely than if it was cooked in a saute pan or on a grill.

    Is this something that professionals do? No. Microwaves in a professional kitchen are mainly used for melting butter, chocolate, reheating things quickly...much the same as I recommend people do at home. We do not use them for "cooking". Although I do use it for sweating onions if that's the only thing I'd be dirtying a pan for...put the onions in a bowl with a little butter, cover and nuke for about a minute until tender.

    All true except that microwaves don't cook from the inside out, they cook by exciting the molecules of the food they cook but the heat still propogates through the food from the outside in. The only reason that this applies is that by lowering the power level, you can slow down the cook and prevent all the water from evacing your food.

    There are microwave browning pans, here's an example http://www.microwavecookingforone.com/Charts/Browner.html I would guess that if there was a way to make chicken come out good in the microwave, you'd need something like that.

    @sarge_smith No, the "heat" does not propagate from the outside in. Microwaved foods do effectively cook from the inside out. At the frequency of microwave ovens, the wavelength of the radiation is about 12 cm, which is longer than the thickness of a piece of chicken. Uniform energy dissipation in a sphere leads to a much higher temperature at the center than the surface, as a simple application of Gauss's law. (It is a standard homework problem.)

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM