Chicken breast is one of the juiciest and tender parts of a chicken. And for a delicacy that’s enjoyed by many cultures worldwide, there are many ways of cooking chicken breast. One fairly recent method with some unverified misconceptions is cooking chicken breast in the microwave.
So how do you cook chicken breast in a microwave, and is it safe?
Read on to learn more on how to cook chicken breast in a microwave.
Can you cook raw chicken in the microwave – is it safe?
Yes, you can cook raw chicken in the microwave, and it is perfectly safe provided you follow certain simple instructions.
At the same time, according to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), raw chicken meat is more likely to contain bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, or even Clostridium perfringens. Further, the CDC and the FDA advise that chicken should be cooked at high enough temperatures to eliminate any of the bacteria that may be present and any toxins that these bacteria may produce.
So to be on the safe side, ensure you:
- It might seem obvious but try as much as possible to maintain standard hygiene when handling the chic and as with your utensils.
- Use manufacturer labeled microwave safe and BPA free dishes when cooking chicken breast in the microwave.
- Let the chicken thaw in the refrigerator or defrost in the microwave before cooking if the chicken is frozen.
- Always ensure the chicken breast cooks to a point where its internal temperature is at least 740 Celsius or 1650
What do you need to cook chicken breast in a microwave?
For a basic chicken breast cooked in the microwave meal, you would only need a microwave-safe bowl or dish, microwave-safe, BPA-free lid, water, salt, a couple of spices you like, and a microwave.
You can always switch things up by switching the water with chicken stock or broth.
How to cook chicken breast in a microwave? (Step by Step)
Before you get to the cooking part, ensure that the chicken breast has thawed if it was frozen and you’ve washed the chicken breast in running water.
You can also slice the chicken breast into thin slices to help the chicken breast cook more evenly. However, you can skip this and cook the chicken breast in the microwave as is.
Here’s how to cook chicken breast in the microwave:
Step 1: Place the chicken breast in the microwave-safe casserole dish
Step 2: Add water to the casserole dish
The water should be enough to cover the bottom of the dish and partially submerge the chicken breast. You can use chicken stock or breast instead of water.
Step 3: Cover the dish with the microwave-safe lid
Position the lid at a tilt angle to allow for any steam to escape.
Set the microwave to a high heat setting and set the timer for 10 minutes. Once the timer gets halfway, remove the turn over the chicken breast in the dish.
To confirm if the chicken breast is properly cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of each chicken breast. If the chicken breast is done cooking, its internal temperature should be at least 740 Celsius or 1650 Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Remove the cooked chicken breast from the oven
Let the chicken breast cool for a while, then serve with a side of your choice.
How long do you cook chicken breast in the microwave?
How long you cook chicken breast in the microwave depends on your microwave’s capability, i.e., power rating, whether or not your chicken breast is boneless or has bone, and whether or not the chicken breast is thin cut.
On average, each piece of chicken breast should cook for at least 5 minutes, after which you should take it out from the microwave, use a meat thermometer to determine its internal temperature, and check if its juices are clear.
Faqs About How to Microwave Chicken Breast
Can you cook raw chicken breast in the microwave?
Yes, you can cook raw chicken breast in the microwave.
Although it’s not the best method, and some people advise against it, you can safely cook raw chicken breast in the microwave provided you follow the following instructions.
- Always let the chicken thaw in a refrigerator or in the microwave using the defrost option before cooking.
- Always confirm that the chicken breast’s internal temperature reaches at least 740 Celsius or 1650 Fahrenheit before concluding that the chicken breast is properly cooked.
- Only use a microwave-safe and BPA-free dish or bowl in the microwave oven. You wouldn’t want the dish or bowl to melt or risk BPA and dioxins leaching into your chicken breast.
- Turn the chicken breast intermittently or if you’re cooking it in a broth, stir severally. However, this may be unnecessary if your microwave oven has a rotating mechanism. This ensures that heat spreads uniformly and that the chicken breast cooks evenly, which is key in ensuring any harmful bacteria are eliminated.
How do you microwave chicken breast without drying it out?
You microwave chicken breast without drying it out by ensuring at least 1/3 of the chicken breast is covered in liquid. This liquid can be plain water or even chicken broth.
In addition to this, you would also need to have a microwave-safe lid to cover the microwave-safe ceramic dish or bowl that has the chicken breast and stock. Position the lid at an angle such that it’s secure enough to prevent any splatters in the microwave, while at the same time, it should allow any built-up steam to escape.
Why you shouldn’t cook chicken in the microwave?
You shouldn’t cook chicken in the microwave because you risk having food poisoning if you don’t cook it properly.
Why is this?
According to the Centre for Disease Control (the CDC), there’s a likelihood your raw chicken may be contaminated with Salmonella, Campylobacter, or even the Clostridium perfringens bacteria. The only way to eliminate these bacteria if they’re present in the chicken is by cooking the chicken properly to a point where the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 1650 Fahrenheit or 740 Celsius.
The downside to cooking chicken or any other food in the microwave is that, since a microwave oven relies on the availability of water molecules to heat food, the chicken may not cook evenly. As a result, certain parts of the chicken may not attain high enough temperatures to destroy potential bacteria in the chicken.
However, if you’re certain that your microwave is powerful enough and make a point of soaking your chicken in marinade before and even as it cooks in the microwave, you can cook your chicken in the microwave.
Why does my chicken explode in the microwave?
Your chicken explodes in the microwave because of the built-up pressure from steam that tries to escape.
Here’s how a microwave works and why your chicken explodes in the microwave to make this clear.
A microwave oven works by emitting microwaves, which then excite and increase the vibration of water molecules in whatever is being cooked or reheated in the microwave. This increased vibration of water molecules causes an increase in temperature for the water molecules, which causes the water molecules to turn to steam. At the same time, this heat is transferred to nearby molecules close to the water molecules increasing the food’s overall temperature.
In the case of chicken in a microwave, the water molecules turned steam have to get out by any means. But since chicken meat tissue is impermeable, as temperature increases, the pressure from the steam increases. At some point, this pressure causes the chicken tissue to rapture to allow the steam to escape causing the chicken to “explode.”
How long should I grill chicken in the microwave?
You should grill the chicken in the microwave for 10 minutes for each piece. Halfway through, you should turn the chicken in the microwave.
The reason for this is to allow the chicken to sear and have it cook properly to a temperature that ensures any bacteria or toxins that may be present in the chicken are destroyed.
Additionally, do not use microwave-safe plastic dishes or bowls when grilling chicken in the microwave because they’re most likely to melt.
Can you microwave fried chicken?
Yes, you can microwave fried chicken.
Although this is not the best method since the fried chicken tastes different, it is doable, and it’s perfectly safe to microwave fried chicken.
However, if you’re keen on better results and even better tasting chicken, you should stick to the rule – cooked by frying, reheated by frying.
Can you cook frozen chicken in the microwave?
Yes, you can cook frozen chicken in the microwave.
However, it would be best to let the frozen chicken first thaw in the refrigerator or the microwave for your safety using the defrost option before cooking it in the microwave.
When you cook frozen chicken directly without letting it thaw, its temperature may not rise rapidly, giving any bacteria in the chicken optimum conditions to multiply or create toxins. The FDA further states that even though the food may be cooked at approved high temperatures, this may not be enough to destroy the bacteria or even the toxins that are produced.
So while you can choose not to defrost or thaw the frozen chicken, remember you’re exposing yourself to food poisoning.
How do you know if chicken is done cooking?
You can know if chicken is done cooking by cutting into the thickest parts of the chicken you’re cooking.
Chicken that is properly cooked normally has clear juices when cut into, whereas somewhat pink juices mean the chicken is not yet done cooking. While this is a foolproof method, the FDA suggests another even better method.
Once you believe the chicken is done cooking, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest parts of the chicken and take note of the temperature readings. According to the FDA’s standards, chicken that is properly cooked and safe should have an internal temperature reading of at least 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite unverified misconceptions about cooking chicken breast in the microwave, it is perfectly safe to cook chicken breast in the microwave.
You should be fine if you follow the basic hygiene and safety protocols to ensure the chicken breast cooks evenly and reaches the recommended core cooking temperature.
Remember to always use microwave-safe and BPA dishes and lids in the microwave to prevent BPA toxins from leaching into your food.
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