Microwave Started Burning Food? Here’s What’s Happening

Has your microwave started burning food? 

The good news is that this is likely down to the way you’re using your microwave, rather than a sign that something’s gone wrong with the appliance itself.

In fact, the life expectancy of a microwave means it’s more likely to become weaker over time, rather than more powerful.

In this article I’ll explain everything you need to know about why your microwaved food is getting burnt, and what you can do to prevent it.

How Can A Microwave Burn Food?

Microwaves don’t burn food in the same way that a conventional oven does. To explain why that is, it’s helpful to take a very simple look at how microwaves work.

Your microwave is tuned in such a way that the energy it produces causes the water molecules in your food to become extremely agitated.

This agitation creates energy in the form of heat. This heat then seeps into the food, warming it up in the process. If there’s little to no water present, this can lead to parts of the food overheating.

The full science is a little more complicated than that, but I think this paints a reasonable picture of how food can burn in a microwave.

How Do You Stop Food From Burning In The Microwave?

The best way to stop food from burning in the microwave is to make sure it’s hydrated.

When you’re reheating leftovers, add a few splashes of water and stir the contents before turning the microwave on.

If you’re cooking things in your microwave for a long time, make sure to stop, stir and add some liquid if it’s needed.

Is It Safe To Use A Microwave After Burning Food?

Assuming only the food itself has been burned, it’s perfectly safe to continue using your microwave.

If there’s any staining on the inside of the appliance, make sure you clean it thoroughly.

You’ll also want to make sure that any lingering burning smell has vanished before you use the microwave again. Otherwise your next batch of food will taste unpleasant!

Can Smoke Damage A Microwave?

Smoke itself can’t really damage a microwave, but you’ll want to get rid of the smell before using it again.

If things are really stinky, disconnect the microwave from the mains and take it outside until the smell’s completely gone from the appliance.

Just make sure the microwave itself is cleaned up properly before you use it again.

How To Clean A Microwave After Burning Food?

If there’s any staining on the inside of the appliance, make sure you clean it thoroughly. I’ve got a guide to cleaning even the most disgusting microwave, using a very simple trick!

If there’s any obvious damage to the microwave itself, then you should arrange for the appliance to be repaired before using it again. If things look really bad, then you might want to consider a replacement.

Can Burning Food Damage A Microwave?

This is very unlikely unless you leave the microwave unattended for a very long period of time.

Having said that, it’s important that your food is able to properly absorb the energy that’s generated by the microwave.

If the food doesn’t absorb that energy, it’ll find somewhere else to go – in other words, the walls and possibly the magnetron of your microwave.

Magnetrons can only take so much punishment. If it absorbs enough of the energy then it will overheat. That in turn can reduce the lifespan of your appliance.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully you now have a much better understanding of why your microwave might be burning your food, and what you can do to prevent it happening in the future.

Happy cooking!