How to Microwave Tuna

How to Microwave TunaTuna is among the easiest meals I depend on when I have limited time.

Two main issues that could make microwaving tuna hectic for you are the fishy smell and lack of microwave instructions on some of their cans.

Luck of instructions may lead to over microwaving the tuna, giving it a tough, dry, and rubbery texture.

Below is how to microwave tuna.

Transfer the tuna to a microwavable bowl with a fitting lid—Microwave the tuna at high power for 30 seconds. Stir through the tuna to ensure it is cooked equally. You may repeat the microwaving and stirring process until the tuna is equally cooked to your liking.

Microwaving is a perfect method for me for two main reasons. I don’t have to use cooking oil, and the process is very fast. The longest I can microwave tuna is 2 minutes; even that long requires a large quantity of tuna. Also, since I am cutting on my calorie intake, microwaving is a perfect method since it requires no addition of cooking oil.

This article focuses on how to microwave tuna. Other discussed topics include Helpful Tips when Microwaving Tuna, How to Microwave Frozen Tuna, Can you Microwave Canned Tuna, and whether it Is Safe to Microwave Tuna.

The step-to-Step Procedure for Microwaving Tuna

The procedure discussed below will guide you through microwaving the tuna without leaving it with a tough, dry and rubbery texture.


  • Tuna
  • Microwavable bowl with a fitting lid
  • Stirrer
  • Your favourite spices (optional)


1. Transfer the tuna to a microwavable bowl

Tuna often comes packed in metallic tin. The tuna should never be microwaved in its metallic tin. Metals react with microwaves, which could explode, causing serious damage to your microwave. It could also cause a serious accident if it explodes to the extent of blowing the door open.

It is, therefore, essential to ensure the tuna is transferred to a plate with a clear microwave-safe symbol or one made of glass or ceramic material. Avoid plastic containers; most are not designed to handle microwave heat.

2. Add some spices

Adding spices to your tuna is an optional move. You can microwave them the way they are, add the spices later, or eat them as they are. However, if you want to taste spices in your tuna, this is the best time to add them. The spices may also help reduce the fishy smell the tuna may produce when microwaving.

3. Cover the bowl

Ensure the lid covering the bowl fits well and is also microwavable. The lid will help keep the steam in the bowl, preventing the tuna from losing moisture and becoming dry and rubbery. Also, the lid will prevent the spread of the fishy smell from the bowl while microwaving.

4. Microwave the tuna

Place the tuna in the microwave and heat at high power for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the tuna to ensure it cooks evenly. Ensure the stirring is gentle; tuna is a soft meal. You could repeat the process if you feel like the tuna is not cooked enough to your liking.

Helpful Tips when Microwaving Tuna

When microwaving tuna, add some flavour, microwave in smaller intervals, and ensure to cover the bowl.

  • Make use of spices

Although adding flavor to your tuna when microwaving is not a must, it is among the best tactics for dealing with the fish smell. The fishy smell must be produced when you begin to microwave the tuna.

The spices also give the tuna a different distinct taste. Suppose you are among those that avoid tuna fish due to its smell. Consider adding some spices, and you might end up enjoying it.

  • Cover the tuna while microwaving

Secondly, covering the bowl while microwaving tuna has two benefits. It prevents the tuna from drying in the microwave and also limits the spread of the tuna’s fishy smell. The tuna will produce a fish smell whether you like it or not; leaving it open while microwaving will only cause the scent to spread even further. However, a lid will limit how far the smell will travel in your home.

  • Microwave in smaller intervals

Do not over-microwave tuna. Ensure to microwave it at an interval of 30 seconds. After every 30 seconds, remove the bowl from the microwave and stir to distribute heat. Suppose the tuna is yet to cook to your liking; microwave again for 30 more seconds. Microwaving tuna for a long time will dry it, leaving it with a rubbery texture.

  • Make use of pot holders

Each time you remove the tuna from the microwave to stir and check the doneness, ensure you use tongs or pot holders. Tuna heats up too fast due to its oily nature and could cause the plate to be too hot to hold, causing burns on your hands.

How to Microwave Frozen Tuna

How to Microwave TunaPlace the frozen tuna on a microwavable bowl and microwave on defrost mode for 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the frozen tuna from its package and place it on a microwavable plate. It is better if the container is made of glass or ceramic material. Place the tuna in the microwave, select the defrosting option and adjust the microwaving power to medium.

Set the microwaving time to 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the microwave halfway and check on the tuna. Ensure the less thawed pieces of the tuna are placed on top and the edges of the plate. That way, the tuna will be in a perfect position to directly access heat from the microwave.

Return the tuna to the microwave and continue microwaving for the rest of the time. Once the tuna is flexible, remove it from the microwave, and rinse the pieces before you finally cook them.

Can you Microwave Canned Tuna

Yes, you can microwave canned tuna; however, canned tuna is already cooked and could be eaten the way it is, but microwaving gives it a great taste. Below is how you microwave canned tuna.

Transfer the canned tuna from its can to a microwavable bowl. Use a microwavable lid or paper towel to cover the bowl and place it in the microwave. Microwave the tuna at high power for 30 seconds. Stir the tuna while you check the doneness. Suppose it is not cooked enough—microwave for an extra 30 seconds.

Microwaving canned tuna may be difficult since most manufacturers have not considered it a priority to provide microwaving instructions. This has led many to make mistakes like microwaving the canned tuna for longer than expected. This is why microwaving canned tuna at 30 seconds intervals is recommended to ensure you do not overcook the dish.

Apart from ensuring the tuna does not overcook, use a microwavable bowl and a lid. The best microwavable bowl to heat your canned tuna should be made of glass or ceramic. If the bowl is not made of the mentioned material, at least ensure that the container has a microwave-safe symbol.

Finally, the lid will help prevent excess moisture loss from the tuna. It will keep steam inside the bowl instead of evaporating, preventing the tuna from becoming too dry, chewy, and rubbery.

Is it Safe to Microwave Tuna

How to Microwave TunaYes, it is safe to microwave tuna. No known harm is caused by placing tuna in the microwave. However, it is only a few things that you may do while microwaving that may cause harm. For instance

  • Using non-microwavable containers

Using containers not clearly indicated to be safe in the microwave is prohibited for cooking any meal. As stated earlier, the best containers for microwaving tuna are made of glass or ceramic.

It is even advised to avoid microwaving tuna in the cans they come stored in. the can are made of metal materials that react with the microwaves and explode. Some plastic containers can also not be microwaved since they can melt in the microwave, mixing with the tuna. Consuming meals contaminated with melted plastic content could cause serious health issues in the near future.

  • Microwaving tuna that has been opened and stayed at room temperature for longer than two hours

Once the tuna can has been opened, ensure to heat the tuna within the first two hours. Allowing it to stay at room temperature for longer allows the growth of bacteria that may not be killed when microwaved. You could suffer from foodborne diseases due to consuming such tuna.

  • Not protecting your skin when microwaving tuna

Since tuna should be microwaved in smaller intervals of 30 seconds, you should be careful when removing the bowl from the microwave to check whether it is cooked enough. Use tongs or kitchen gloves to protect your skin, or it may harm you by burning the tips of your fingers.

  • Microwaving leftover tuna that has expired

Often leftover tuna is stored in the fridge or freezer. However, it should not stay in the refrigerator for four days and not be longer than three months in the freezer. Microwaving leftover tuna that has overstayed in the fridge and freezer and consuming it will cause harm to your body. It may lead to food poisoning.

Final thoughts

Microwaving tuna is the fastest heating method. It is also a perfect method when watching your calorie since the method does not necessarily need cooking oil. The most important factors to remember when microwaving tuna are avoiding over-microwaving and using non-microwave containers.

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