We’ve all been there – halfway through cooking a delicious chicken dish, only to find that it’s not quite done. In these moments, many wonder if they can finish cooking chicken in the microwave. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of this method, share some essential safety tips, and offer guidance on how to achieve tender, juicy, and perfectly cooked chicken using your microwave.
Understanding Microwave Cooking
Microwave ovens use electromagnetic waves to heat food quickly and efficiently. They’re an indispensable kitchen appliance, known for their convenience and speed. However, when it comes to cooking chicken, microwaves can have some drawbacks, such as uneven heating and a less appealing texture.
The Importance of Cooking Chicken Thoroughly
It’s crucial to cook chicken thoroughly to eliminate harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter. Consuming undercooked chicken can lead to foodborne illnesses, making it essential to ensure that the poultry reaches a safe internal temperature before eating.
Checking for Doneness
To guarantee that your chicken is cooked safely, use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. According to the USDA, the safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165°F (74°C). Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding bones, to get an accurate reading.
Can You Finish Cooking Chicken in the Microwave?
In a pinch, you can finish cooking chicken in the microwave, but it’s essential to follow some guidelines to ensure safety and a satisfactory texture. Be aware that microwaving may result in less even cooking and a less appealing appearance compared to other cooking methods.
Preparing Chicken for Microwave Cooking
To finish cooking chicken in the microwave, first, cut the poultry into evenly sized pieces. This helps the meat cook more uniformly. Place the chicken pieces in a microwave-safe dish, and cover it with microwave-safe plastic wrap, leaving a small vent for steam to escape.
Microwave Cooking Time and Power
Microwave cooking times and power levels vary depending on the wattage of your appliance and the size of the chicken pieces. As a general guideline, cook the chicken at 50% power for 2-3 minutes, then check the internal temperature. Continue microwaving in 1-minute intervals at 50% power until the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature.
Rotating and Stirring for Even Cooking
To ensure even cooking, it’s crucial to rotate and stir the chicken pieces halfway through the microwaving process. This helps distribute heat evenly and reduces the risk of undercooked spots.
Letting the Chicken Rest
After microwaving, allow the chicken to rest, covered, for a few minutes. This helps the juices redistribute and ensures that the internal temperature continues to rise slightly, guaranteeing that the chicken is cooked through.
Using Microwave-Safe Cookware
When finishing chicken in the microwave, it’s essential to use microwave-safe cookware. This prevents the risk of chemicals leaching into your food and ensures that your dish will not crack or shatter due to the heat.
Alternative Methods for Finishing Chicken
While microwaving is an option for finishing chicken, other methods can yield better results in terms of taste and texture. Consider finishing the chicken in a preheated oven, on the stovetop, or on the grill for a more appealing appearance and a more even cook.
In conclusion, while finishing chicken in the microwave might not be the ideal cooking method, it can be a viable option when time is limited or other methods are unavailable. By following these guidelines, you can safely and efficiently cook your chicken to perfection using your microwave.