Can you cook raw meat in the microwave?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you cook raw meat in the microwave” with an in-depth analysis of the issues associated with microwave cooking of the raw meat. Moreover, we are also going to present the general cooking guide one needs to follow while cooking in the microwave.

Can you cook raw meat in the microwave?

Yes, you can cook raw meat in the microwave. Firstly, the meat should be thawed properly in a refrigerator to prevent the growth of bacteria in meat and then cooked in the microwave by keeping in mind the standards, such as temperature requirements, and guidelines to cook the meat properly.

Cooking through microwaves is safe, fastest, and one of the most convenient methods for cooking raw meat. This method is even considered better than other methods in terms of maintaining the nutritional content of the meat as well as keeping it safe by preventing formation of harmful chemicals formed when cooked in excessive heat.

Cooking in microwave:

Different types of meats can be cooked easily in the microwave in no time. You can also defrost your meat using a microwave, quickly to prevent the multiplication of microorganisms naturally present in meat. Make sure that raw meat should be cooked separately from other foods or vegetables to minimize the chances of contamination.

General cooking method:

  1. Firstly, defrost your meat in the refrigerator or in the microwave by placing it in a microwave safe container. If you are going to defrost in the microwave, heat the meat for about 30 seconds.
  2. To avoid the grease splattering in the microwave, cut off all the fats on the surface. Place the meat cuts in a microwave safe container and add 1 cup of water.
  3. Cover the meat with a microwave-safe container lid or oven cooking bag and place the bowl in the microwave.
  4. Turn on the microwave and set the timer for at least 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, stop the microwave in half-way and turn the side of the meat or stir the contents of the bowl to allow the even distribution of heat.
  6. At intervals, check the temperature with a thermometer to ensure that meat is cooked at safe internal temperature as well as observe until the meat is thoroughly cooked.

Safety concerns:

Microorganisms are naturally present in raw food items, including raw meat, that can only be eliminated or deactivated by heating at an appropriate temperature level. If you consume uncooked food, there is a chance that these microorganisms can be transferred to your body and cause food borne illnesses.

One of the general features associated with microwaves is the uneven distribution of heat throughout the product placed in it. This may cause the dangerous bacteria to survive at places where there is not enough temperature and food when ingested in this form may be problematic.

Therefore, the only solution to this is to stir the liquid food or turn the sides of the layers several times while cooking, which may lead to the reach of microwave heat to each and every part of the food.

Cold spots:

Due to the uneven distribution of heat within the microwave ovens, some parts of the food material placed inside, such as raw meat, may not be able to get heated at an internal temperature that is considered safe and form cold spots.

These cold spots may contain microorganisms due to insufficient heat for killing them as well as may impart spoiled flavor to the overall product. The only solution is to cover the food placed in the microwave with a microwave safe lid so that heat may remain intact in the container for some time and cook all the parts of the food and stir or flip your food at regular time intervals for even heat distribution throughout the food.

Harmful radiations:

Some people might also think that microwaves emit harmful radiation that may cause diseases. This is completely wrong. Microwave ovens produce electromagnetic radiation that is considered harmful but the internal manufactured structure of the microscope does not allow these rays to damage the food.

Furthermore, these rays also cannot come out of the oven due to the metal sheets and metal screens over the window.

Nutritional content of microwaved foods:

Heating is involved in almost every cooking method that can affect the nutritional content of the food to different extents. Another factor contributing to this is the cooking time. In the case of microwave cooking, it cooks the food for only a short period of time.

Additionally, boiling is not involved in this method that may seep out the nutrients from the food item. Therefore, microwaves are thought to be effective in maintaining the nutritional value of the food.

You can read about nutritional composition of meat here.

Raw meat explodes in the microwave:

When you cook such a food in which enough water content is available, it may produce steam. When you cook such a food for a long duration of time, the steam may start accumulating in the oven and eventually, an explosion may take place.

Toxic chemicals from plastics:

Another thing associated with cooking raw meat in the microwave is the formation of toxic compounds within the food item. This is not due to any problem with the microwave as it involves heating the food item for a short duration of time.

The reason behind the formation of toxic chemicals is the use of unsafe containers, for example many containers produce bisphenol A that is known to cause many diseases, including cancer, thyroid disorders and obesity.

Thus, one should use microwave safe containers and dishes for cooking not only meat but also every kind of food. For this purpose, many cookware are also available in markets that are specifically designed for microwave ovens and are labelled microwave safe.

 Temperature conditions:

To prevent most of the problems that are thought to be associated with microwave cooking, one should cook the raw meat at proper temperature. The meat products are considered to be safe for consumption when cooked at temperatures between 140°F to 165°F because this temperature is sufficient to kill most of the microbes present in raw meat.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you cook raw meat in the microwave” with an in-depth analysis of the potential benefits this method may provide in terms of less time consuming, more nutrients retaining and convenience.

Moreover, we have also discussed general microwave cooking methods and issues associated with microwave cooking of raw meat.

References:

https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-to-cook-meat-in-the-microwave/
https://www.chron.com/news/nation-world/amp/Warning-Microwaving-bad-for-cooking-raw-meat-1762530.php
https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/2071/2013/12/Microwave-Food-Safety.pdf

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/food_safety_to_keep_in_mind_when_using_the_microwave#:~:text=Cooking%20raw%20eat%20in%20the,poultry%20should%20 reach%20165%20F

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/microwave-ovens-and-health#bottom-line
https://frugalinsa.com/other-useful/frequent-question-can-i-cook-raw-meat-in-the-microwave.html

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.