Can You Microwave Water?

Thanks to the invention of the kettle, you can heat water in a matter of seconds. Alternatively, you can heat water on the stovetop in minutes or go down the old-fashioned route of building a fire. But, can you microwave water to heat it?

Yes, you can microwave water. Pour the water into a microwave-safe bowl and reheat it in short bursts, stirring it regularly. Although not the most convenient way to heat water, it does the trick if you don’t have any other options.

How to Microwave Water

If you find yourself gasping for a cup of tea and don’t have a kettle, you can safely and easily boil your water in the microwave.

Below are the incredibly straightforward steps you need to take: 

  1. Add Water to a Microwave-Safe Bowl
    Pour the water you wish to heat into a microwave-safe bowl. Make sure you leave at least an inch of space between the water and the top of the bowl. 
  2. Heat on High
    Turn your microwave to its highest possible setting and heat your water in ninety-second intervals. 
  3. Check the Temperature
    Using a thermometer (not your finger!), check the temperature of the water. It’s entirely up to you when you deem your water to be ready, but feel free to keep heating it until it reaches 100C. 
  4. Stir Well and Use
    Because the microwave will reheat your water unevenly, make sure you stir it well before using it for its intended purpose.

3 Tips for Microwaving Water

The method above works just fine, but below we have included our 3 tips for microwaving water which you will find useful:

Use Other Means If Possible
Microwaving water is one of the more unusual methods of bringing water to the boil! It’s much easier to boil water on the stovetop or in a kettle. However, if you find yourself in a position where the microwave is your only option, then you can proceed with the steps listed above. 

Check the Temperature With a Thermometer
It’s impossible to know how hot your microwaved water is without using a thermometer. The last thing you want to do is dip your finger in the water or touch the sides of the bowl, as you will burn your hand. Place a thermometer in the centre of the bowl to accurately check your water for doneness. 

Stir It After Each Blast
After each ninety-second blast, remove the bowl and stir the water well. As mentioned, the microwave will heat it unevenly, so you need to intervene to make sure it’s piping hot throughout. 

Advantages of Microwaved Water

Although it’s unconventional, microwaving water is a perfectly acceptable way to heat water and is handy for the following reasons: 

  1. Ideal If You Don’t Have a Kettle
    In instances where you don’t have access to a kettle (maybe the kettle at work has just busted its fuse), you can heat water in the microwave and still enjoy a cuppa or two to get you through the day.
  2. Extremely Easy
    Fair enough, boiling water is easy at the best of times, but there’s nothing remotely complicated about microwaving water to bring it to the boil, as you can see from the steps above!

Disadvantages of Microwaved Water

If you have other means at your disposal, you probably won’t find it necessary to microwave water. Here’s why it’s not the best idea: 

  1. The Water Heats Unevenly
    Due to the way the electromagnetic waves, the water will be unevenly heated. This means you have to stir it several times throughout the heating process, which is a bit of a hassle. 
  2. You can Easily Burn Yourself
    Boiling water in a kettle or on the stovetop is much safer than microwaving it. After all, you can easily scold your hands when you’re removing the bowl from the microwave to stir it.

How to Reheat Water in the Microwave

Just like microwaving water the first time around, there’s nothing challenging about reheating it. Just pour your water into a microwave-safe bowl and follow the instructions listed above until the water is at the desired temperature. 

How to Defrost Water in the Microwave

If you have a tray of ice cubes (or a block of ice) that you need to melt quickly, you can place it in a container and switch on your microwave to its defrost setting.

Again, it won’t melt evenly, but over the course of several minutes, your ice will turn to water, and you can use it as you please. 

Final Summary

In spite of its undisputed simplicity, heating water in the microwave is really only a good idea if you don’t have a kettle or access to the stovetop. This is because water heats unevenly in the microwave, and it needs to be stirred.

But, if you have no other choice, then it’s perfectly safe to heat water in the microwave.