Is it safe to run a microwave for 30 minutes?
The answer to this simple question is yes! As long as the microwave isn’t being run empty, and there’s food inside the appliance, it’s fine to keep it running for this long.
It’s essential that you use your microwave properly while you’re cooking for this length of time though. That prevents your food from being ruined – and your microwave too.
In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about – safely – undertaking a long, slow cook such as this with your microwave.
Watch Out For Overheating
Most modern microwaves have built-in shutdown functions if the appliance is in danger of overheating. That takes care of the safety factor for your peace of mind.
The older your microwave is though, the more you need to be cautious about cooking for extended periods of time.
If in doubt, check the owner’s manual for your exact make and model, and check its tolerance for sustained heating.
If you’ve misplaced or thrown away your owner’s manual, search online. Most manufacturers have published them in PDF format.
Regardless, I recommend giving your microwave a brief break every ten minutes or so into the 30 minute cook. Just give it a minute or so for the fans to do their job.
You’ll likely need to do this anyway, just to ensure the food remains palatable!
Which brings us onto…
Keep It Hydrated
Microwaves work by “agitating” the water molecules in your food. This creates energy which then spreads throughout the food, heating it up in the process.
For this reason, I recommend stirring the contents of your 30-minute cook every 10 minutes or so, and adding a little water if necessary.
This will not only give your microwave a little bit of breathing space, but will also ensure that your food has a pleasant taste and texture.
Be Sparing With Long Cooks
Most microwaves can tolerate a cooking time of up to 60 minutes, so your 30 minute plans should be fine.
Just be aware that this puts the magnetron in your microwave under an immense amount of strain. This might shorten the overall lifespan of your appliance.
If you’re planning to do a lot of 30-minute cooking with your microwave, you might consider buying one that’s specially designed to tolerate longer cook times.
All magnetrons have a limit to how much punishment they can take, and they’re typically the first point of failure in a microwave.
The more pressure you put it under – even safely – the sooner you’ll be back in the market for a new microwave. It’s just a matter of wear and tear I’m afraid.
So, just to wrap things up it is safe to run a microwave for 30 mins but keep the following tips in mind while you do so:
- Give your microwave a minute’s rest every 10 minutes or so.
- Make sure the food isn’t drying out during these rests, and hydrate it if necessary
- Be sparing with your longer microwave jobs!