How Hot Does a Microwave Get? [Microwave Temperature Chart]

How Hot Does a Microwave Get

A microwave is one of the most relied-upon kitchen appliances since it makes reheating and cooking faster and easier, as long as the meals are cooked to the appropriate temperatures.

How hot does a microwave get? A microwave does not get hot when heating; therefore, there is no hottest heating point it could heat to.

Heat is produced by the object being heated in the microwave. The microwaved food’s moisture could be heated to an internal temperature of 212°F (100°C).

This article speaks on How Hot does a Microwave Get, among other subheadings like What is The Highest Temperature a Microwave Can Reach, the Maximum Temperature of Microwaved Objects, and others. It also explains how a microwave works.

What is The Highest Temperature a Microwave Can Reach

There is no highest heating temperature of a microwave. A microwave is not made of heating elements like an oven.

Suppose you notice some warmth in the microwave after reheating or cooking; it is often not because of the microwave. However, you must wonder whether a microwave gets hot while cooking and how hot it gets.

Whatever object being microwaved is what gets hot to a specific highest temperature and not the appliance itself. The food you just finished cooking is responsible for the heat you are feeling.

This is why microwaves installed with temperature probes will indicate the internal temperature of the food, not the temperature of the microwave.

Maximum Temperature of Microwaved Objects

The maximum temperature of any microwaved object is the one before that particular object is damaged. If it is food, the maximum temperature is the one before the food burns.

A microwave will continue heating an object or meal until you turn it off or until the set time is exhausted. The maximum temperature of microwaved food is 212°F (or 100°C), the boiling point of water.

At this boiling point, the water turns into a gas, and eventually, the food begins to burn. There are occasions when water may also be superheated to 248°F (or 120°C); if the water is pure and microwaved without interference, the container holding the food has no scratches.

Most food items must contain some water in them; as you heat food using microwave energy, the water is heated and eventually completely evaporates to gas. When there is no more water, the food begins to burn.

Suppose you have not set an appropriate time; the food will continue burning as the microwave runs until you turn it off. However, a microwave is often used to heat and cook; therefore, you will usually be either reheating or cooking.

What determines the maximum heating point of an object is determined by the object’s thermal properties, like material.

Microwave Temperature Chart

Time ( seconds) How hot a Microwaved Objects gets (°C)
30 20 to 30 °C
60 ( 1min) 60 to 80 °C
90 ( 1min 30 sec) 90 to 100°C
120 (2 mins) 100 to 120°C


The above data is collected from an average microwave with an average microwaving power of 700 watts. The microwave does not get hot since it does not have heating elements. However, the contents you place in the microwave will be heated.

According to the table above, the longer you microwave a meal, the more the meal becomes hotter. For instance, microwaving a meal for only 30 seconds will not make it too hot, but microwaving it for 2 minutes will.

Can a Microwave Get Too Hot and Shut Down

Yes, a microwave can get overheated to the point of shutting down. When this happens, it is usually due to high-voltage parts inside the unit that might be overheating.

The microwave will prevent further heating that may cause severe damage to the appliance by activating a thermal cut-out switch that shuts the microwave down.

Factors to Consider to Avoid Overheating the Microwave

Once the microwave has cooled off, the thermal cut-out switch resets automatically, and the microwave functions as usual. To avoid overheating the microwave, consider the following

  • Ensure adequate ventilation for your microwave

Leave at least 10 cm of space on the microwave’s back and sides for ventilation. It is even better when the microwave has been placed on a high table or bench so that there is enough air circulation to allow the heat being released from the microwave to disperse freely.

  • Adjust the microwave settings to the gentle cooking

Suppose your microwave has high voltage power; it means it has high cooking power and cooks faster. However, for the same microwave, you could opt to cook at medium or low cooking power to ensure your food is cooked gently.

Also, at medium or low power, the heat produced by the microwave unit is not hot enough to shut down the microwave due to overheating.

How to Fix Overheated Microwave

Unplug the microwave, open the door to ensure sufficient air circulation for ventilation, and seek professional help if the microwave does not automatically go back to normal fuantioning after cooling down.

The microwave is designed to fix its overheating issues without your knowledge automatically. A thermal cut-out switch is activated that shuts down the microwave. Automatically the microwave will shut down for about 15 to 30 minutes.

The first response to an overheating microwave is unplugging it. Ensure the microwave is no longer connected to electricity and open the microwave door to let in the fresh air. Proper ventilation makes sure that the microwave cools faster.

The microwave will go back to its normal functioning after cooling down. If that does not happen, call a professional to check the damage. Unless you are a professional, do not attempt to repair the damage alone. You might end up damaging the appliance worse than it is.

How Does a Microwave Work to Heat Objects and Food

A microwave works by exciting the water molecules in the food. The water molecules rapidly rub against each other as they vibrate to produce heat.

In the same way, the molecules continuously rub against their neighboring molecules, eventually producing heat. It is similar to how you rub your palms together for some time to get warmth.

Immediately the start button is pressed on the microwave, 4.7 inches of waves are passed through the glass, ceramics, paper, and plastic into the food to access water molecules.

Other containers, like those made of metals, will not allow access to microwaves. Metals will only bounce off the metal surfaces or react and form an arcing reaction.

The microwave employs three additional components to ensure you heat food quickly and evenly. The components include Magnetron, a stirrer, and a turntable.

A Magnetron converts electricity to electromagnetic waves, and with the help of a waveguide, the microwaves are channeled into the food.

A stirrer helps circulate the microwaves into the food and ensures equal cooking. While a turntable rotates the food to ensure all sections of the food are cooked evenly.

What Happens When Microwave is Too Hot

A microwave does not get hot when microwaving; however, interior sensitive parts may begin to overheat due to high voltage.

Suppose overheating is the issue; the appliance activates a thermal cut-out switch that shuts the microwave down. Unplugging the microwave and opening the microwave door is best to allow adequate airflow and ventilation.

That way, the microwave will cool down faster. The shutting down of the microwave is automatic to prevent further heating that may cause serious damage to the device. After cooling down, you can plug it in and restart the microwave.

Suppose the microwave does not start again; give it 15 to 20 more minutes before restating. Suppose the shutting down happens more often, or the microwave does not go back to normal, consider seeking professional help.

How Long Does it Take a Microwave to Cool Down

Once the microwave automatically shuts down, it should take 15 to 30 minutes to cool down before it restarts again.

However, to hasten the process open the microwave door and place the microwave in an open space. The fresh cool air will ensure it cools down faster for you to continue heating your meal.

How Hot Does the Interior of Microwave Get

The interior of a microwave is not made of heating elements like an oven. Therefore, the interior cannot get heated to whatever high temperature.

However, the food you place in the microwave may have a particular high temperature. The heat produced by the food in the microwave is determined by the quantity of the food, the amount of water in the food, and the wattage level of the microwave.

What Affects the Temperature in a Microwave

Below is a detailed explanation of the mentioned factors and how they determine the quantity of heat produced in the microwave.

1. The quantity of the food

According to how a microwave is designed to work, it vibrates the molecules to produce heat that warms up the food. The more food you microwave, the more molecules can be microwaved. More food may take longer to heat; however, when heated, it will be hotter than a small quantity of food.

2. The amount of water in the food

Food with excess moisture, like vegetables and fish or soup, contains a lot of molecules. The more molecules available, the faster they vibrate and produce more heat.

3. The wattage level of the microwave

Microwaves with high wattage levels cook faster. The microwave wattage level is determined by the size of the microwave’s Magnetron. The higher the Magnetron a microwave has, the more microwaves it produces to vibrate the molecules in the food.

The higher the molecule vibration in the food, the more and faster the food is heated, producing high amounts of heat.

Faqs About How Hot Does A microwave Get

1. Is it hot inside a microwave?

Yes, it is. A microwave oven produces microwaves, which are high-frequency radio waves that cause water molecules in the food to vibrate and produce heat.

2. Are There Specific Foods That Should Not Be Cooked in the Microwave?

There are some foods you should never be cook in a microwave. These include eggs and fatty meats, and foods with high sugar content. The risk of salmonella poisoning from these particular foods is too significant to take chances, so it’s important to avoid cooking them in the microwave.

3. What Happens If I Put Metal in the Microwave?

When metal is placed in a microwave, the power of the microwaves agitates the metal, causing it to heat up faster. This can result in severe burns to you or people nearby, as well as microwave damage.

4. How hot does a 1000-watt microwave get?

A 1000-watt microwave operates well at an internal temperature of 575 degrees. This is hot enough to boil water, heat soup, and cook frozen meals. The precise heat output depends on how long it’s in use, as microwaves produce different amounts of heat depending on their use.

5. How long would a human survive in a microwave?

A human wouldn’t survive more than 20 seconds in a microwave due to how quickly their cells would begin to burst. Most microwaves have a magnetron, which emits electromagnetic radiation exciting water molecules.

Your body has water that absorbs these waves and essentially boils from within, causing your cells to rupture.

6. How hot is a 900-watt microwave?

A 900-watt microwave gets to temperatures of 525 degrees to operate well. This is done by using sensors built into your microwave’s logic board that tells it when to turn on, what power setting to use, and how long to cook at that temperature or power level.

7. How hot can a 500-watt microwave get?

A 500-watt microwave can heat water or other liquids to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s not too far off from a traditional oven. However, microwaves are meant for warming food, not cooking them through all preparation phases.

8. When heating food in the microwave, what temperatures must it reach?

Foods must reach at least 165degrees F within 15 seconds in a microwave to ensure that all bacteria are killed. Some microwaves have built-in sensors that prevent food from overheating if it’s cooked longer than needed or if a superheated area starts to burn food before it has finished cooking.

Final Thoughts

Microwaves are an essential part of any kitchen; they make heating and cooking food fast and easy. The maximum temperature of a microwave, as we’ve seen, is just below boiling point, at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).

The good news is that different foods cook with different microwave wattages levels, so your microwave will heat each item according to its power rating. Some have a function that automatically powers down after 2 minutes, making them ideal for defrosting or warming smaller items such as drinks.

For best results when using a microwave, always check use-by dates, times, and wattage first before removing the bowl from your appliance. Finally, remember that their internal metal plates become very hot during use, so always exercise caution when handling your appliance.

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