Can You Microwave Onions?

To ensure you have success with using the microwave to cook onions, we’ve outlined the full method below (along with some helpful tips):

How to Microwave Onions

Whilst you could microwave an entire onion whole if you wished it would take a long time to do! So we would recommend that you chop your onions first to make them easier to use and cook.

  1. Chop or Slice
    Chop or slice your onion in your usual way.
  2. Place Into a Bowl
    Pop the onion into a microwavable bowl. You can add a little butter or seasoning if you want to.
  3. Cover
    Cover the bowl with cling film or if your bowl has a lid then use this.
  4. Microwave
    Microwave on full power for about four minutes until the onion is tender and ready to use.
  5. Continue to Cook
    If the onions need a little extra time to cook then you can pop them back into the microwave for thirty-second bursts until they are done.

3 Tips for Microwaving Onions

There are a few tips worth following when you cook onions in the microwave:

  • Use Butter, Lemon or Water – You can use butter to give your onions flavour and to help cook them. But, if you want to save your calories then add a little water or lemon juice instead.
  • Chop Beforehand – Always chop your onions before you cook them in the microwave. It would take a long time to cook an onion whole this way and you may run into problems where the outside ends up cooked and the inside is still raw.
  • Consider Use – Think about whether microwaving is the right method to use before you start. It isn’t too much quicker to cook them in this way and if you need that delicious caramelised texture and flavour then you would be better sauteeing them instead.

Advantages of Microwaved Onions

Microwaving onions has its advantages which you should be aware of:

  1. Avoids Caramelisation
    If you want perfectly softened onions that are not caramelised and don’t have any of that rich golden colour then softening them in the microwave is the perfect method!
  2. Really Easy
    Microwaving onions is really easy and you don’t have to watch them and continually stir them to avoid them from getting burnt like you would if you were frying or sauteeing. You really can pop them into the microwave and get on with something else until they are cooked.

Disadvantages of Microwaved Onions

Unfortunately, as with most things that are cooked in the microwave, there are some negatives:

  1. Different Flavour
    Microwaving onions won’t cook them in the same way as frying or sauteeing. They will still be delicious but it will be a slightly different flavour. Sauteeing your onions really helps to bring out the flavour as well as softening them.
  2. Potential for Uneven Softening
    Heating food in the microwave can mean the food heats and cooks unevenly so this is something you may have to watch for when cooking your onions. If this happens you can give the onions a quick stir halfway through their cooking time,

How to Reheat Onions in the Microwave

If you need to reheat onions then you can do this in the microwave. Pop them into a bowl and cover. Then place this into the microwave and heat for thirty seconds to a minute.

Give the onions a stir and then heat again for another thirty seconds if they need it. Keep repeating this until they are fully reheated. Just be careful not to overcook them.

How to Defrost Onions in the Microwave

If you have frozen and chopped onions in the freezer then you don’t need to thaw them out at all! They cook well from frozen and you can either microwave them, sautee them, fry them or pop them into your recipe frozen and they will cook fine along with the rest of the meal.

Final Summary

You can cook onions in the microwave but this isn’t always the best method to use.

If you want softened onion without caramelising them at all then it’s perfect but if you like that golden caramelised texture then you would be better off sticking to your usual cooking methods.