Microwave cooking: browning meat

Microwave cooking: browning meat | casaveneracion.com

If you’re a long-time reader, you’re probably aware that in my house, the microwave oven serves two purposes only: reheating leftovers and making popcorn. I tried cooking chicken curry in a microwave years ago, I had to open the door and stir the stew every few minutes, it was too much bother and the chicken still turned out raw inside. I never tried microwave cooking again.

Then, my daughters moved to a condo near the university. Every meal, I set aside portions for them, freeze the portions and they bring frozen meals back to the condo every week which they reheat with a small microwave oven which I bought for Sam when she first moved to a condo almost two years ago.

When Alex went off to college too, we had to get a larger condo. To help her settle in, I stayed for a night, just as I did with Sam a year earlier. That was when I tried cooking rice in the microwave and made a horrible mess. The liquid bubbled, spilled out of the covered pot and cleaning the inside of the microwave made me think we should have bought cooked rice from any of the restaurants in the area. I had no idea that when cooking rice in the microwave, the bowl should be uncovered.

That was more than six months ago. At home, our (American Home) microwave conked out after less than two years, repairs and all the trouble of bringing it to the service center would cost more than a new one. Yesterday, I bought a new microwave oven. Not because I consider it an essential but because the girls who have gotten so attached to their microwave in the condo look for a microwave when they’re home on weekends.

Early this morning, when I was fixing coffee, I looked at the still boxed microwave on the kitchen floor and wondered if I had been under-utilizing the microwave oven. I went up to my study with my coffee and started Googling and reading about microwave cooking. Ah, the things I learned in half an hour. To all those who had been asking if the baked mac can be cooked in a microwave… sorry, my answer is still the same — the cheese topping won’t brown in a microwave oven. I did find out, however, that it is possible to brown meat (bacon, burgers, chops and even steaks) in the microwave.


There’s this CorningWare piece that I inherited from an aunt about 12 or 13 years ago. I knew it could be used on the stove top but, until today, I did not understand why it has feet and why there’s a pattern underneath. I watched a video which explained it all. It’s a browning skillet and the pattern underneath is tin oxide.


The cookware is heated in the microwave for about a minute to activate the tin oxide. Then, the meat is placed in the hot cookware and cooked on high in the microwave.


Presto, browned meat. That’s crumbled sausage in the photos above.

So, you can guess where I’m going with this. I’m thinking of all the things I can now do with the microwave. I am aware of all the alleged health hazards attributed to the microwave oven but no one really knows what’s true and what isn’t. If we believe everything we read and hear, it is a health hazard to eat red meat, butter, shellfish… Heck, breathing polluted air 24/7 is a health hazard. So, whatever. I cooked my first microwave dish today and I’ll be posting the recipe in a while.


  1. Natz SM says

    Ms. Connie, I would love to get one of those CorningWare pieces. The sausages truly looks browned!
    I have literally bought and spent a fortune on microwavable cookware and so many so called “browning” gadgets like the expensive browning bags from a home shopping network years ago that simply DID NOT work. Gadgets that were suppose to cook bacon to a crisp and even a microwave pressure cooker and a rice cooker!
    After a couple of thousands of pesos spent on these gadgets, I am still only able to use the microwave oven just to cook rice, (paella at times-sadly without sofrito) reheating leftovers especially pasta and pansit and rice and heating my beverages or oatmeal for breakfast. Thats about it for the microwave!
    That pan will surely put my microwave oven to better use! I will look for it at CorningWare and hope they still have it considering that it is 12 years old! I couldn’t believe I actually missed out on that product.

    Thanks for sharing your pan!

  2. rad says

    Posting microwave recipes is great, Ma’am Connie. My sister and I also live in a condo. Day in and day out, we have to buy food cooked somewhere, if not open a de lata and heat it in the microwave, while my parents back home always have left-overs. For a Christmas party last year, i was able to do brownies using our microwave, following a recipe for a chocolate cake. that recipe actually said to bake the cake in the oven but we have only the microwave. it was a success; everyone in the party was raving about it. but it seems that naka-tsamba lang because my attempts to repeat that feat have been unsuccessful. the finished product is always bitter and smelled of burnt wood (and tastes like burnt wood or charcoal too). i’m very excited about those microwave-cooked food you’d be posting because that means i could prepare food myself for all the christmas parties i’ll be attending the coming weeks instead of buying them (which is very expensive for me).

    • Connie says

      I hope that my daughters find microwave recipes useful too so they can start cooking at the condo.