Do you need a cup of hot water for some tea? are you short on time or don’t have a kettle? Luckily it only takes a few minutes to boil water in the microwave.
Boiling water in a microwave is convenient and time effecient. Even more so if you are only boiling a small amount. Although a kettle is quite common, it does not have as many uses as a microwave. So it might be nice to know how to boil water in a microwave.
A lot of people ask, can you microwave water? The short answer is, yes you can. The water is completely safe to drink and use in food. It is also not dangerous to use a microwave to boil water as long as you follow the guidelines in this article.
To boil your water, start with a microwave safe container. For example a glass or ceramic cup. Pour the amount of water you need into the container. At a 1000 watts it will take your microwave around 2 minutes to boil a cup of water.
Try heating it for 2 minutes and see how hot it is. You can usually feel this from the heat coming from the cup. It may take more or less time depending on your sepcific microwave. Be very careful not to keep microwaving it much past 2 or 3 minutes. You run the risk of superheating. Something we will describe in more detail later.
In this article we will go through how exactly you can boil water in a microwave. How long it will take you, and which safety precautions you should take. Don’t worry it is not as bad as it sounds.
Can you boil water in microwave?
Yes you can boil water in a microwave. In fact, it is very easy to do so. The very purpose of a microwave is to heat the water molecules in whatever you put in there. That means water gets heated fast.
Because the heating occurs so fast, there is the risk of superheating. This is where the water is hotter than the boiling point, but you don’t see it as it is still liquid.
Avoiding this is very easy though. You have to avoid heating it for too long. No more than 2-3 minutes usually, depending on your microwave. If you stick to this rule, then you should not have any problems. Always start out less time when you are first trying it.
Is it safe to microwave water
Some people are afraid whether the water is safe to drink or use in food afterwards. This is a myth and there is a general concensus that it is safe to drink.
If you are using the microwave to make water for tea, it might taste a little different. This is due to how the microwave heats water. It creates small “pockets” of hot and cold water, whereas a kettle heats it evenly. Most novice tea drinkers will not notice the difference, but try it for yourself!
You also remember to use microwave safe containers. Some examples are listed below:
- Ceramic cups
- Certified microwave safe plastic containers
- Paper cups
Do not use anything like metal, non-microwave safe plastic, styrofoam or similar.
Risk of boiling water in microwave
The biggest risk from boiling water in a microwave comes from 2 things:
- The risk of superheating
- Handling a hot container
The first one we have talked about earlier, but it is important to reiterate. If you accidently superheat your water it can cause a small explosion when you grab the water. A tip to help you avoid this, is to put a microwave safe object in the cup. For example a wooden spoon.
The second risk is not unique to using a microwave. When only heating a cup or similar it can be hard to grab it without touching a hot part. Use potholders or something to avoid burning yourself. One trick, if you are heating a cup of water, is to pour a little less in the cup so the top part does not get hot.
If you are curious about superheating, mythbusters actually did an episode on it:
How hot does it get
When boiling water in a microwave it can get much hotter than the boiling point of 212 fahrenheit. If you avoid running the microwave for too long, then most likely it will not get hotter than 250 fahrenheit. But be careful!
Boiling water in a microwave
After you have read the above paragraphs on the safety risks of boiling water in a microwave, it is quite easy to do:
- Pour your water into a microwave safe container (e.g. ceramic cup)
- Put in in the microwave.
- Microwave for 2 minutes at 1000 watts (adjust based on table later in article)
- Carefully takeout the container and be careful not to burn yourself.
- If the water is not boiling or hot enough, be very careful of superheating if you microwave it again.
How many watts should I use to heat water in microwave
You can boil water at most watts, but we recommended that you use 1000 watts and microwave the water for 2 minutes. In case you don’t want to do that, consider the following:
- 500 watt: 5-6 minutes
- 600 watt: 4-5 minutes
- 700 watt: 3-4 minutes
- 800 watt: 2-3 minutes
- 900 watt: 2-3 minutes
- 1100 watt 1-2 minutes
- 1200 watt: 1-2 minutes
All the times are quite dependent on the microwave, so always start on the lower end and see if the water is hot enough. If you are trying to boil 2 cups of water you do not need to double the time. Instead try to add 1 minue and see how that goes.
How long does it take to boil water in a microwave
As you can see from the times above, it varies from 1-6 minutes to boil a cup of water in a microwave. It adds a bit more time if you are boiling more water.
Boiling a cup of water in microwave. An example
After reading this article you might be a bit worried if you are doing it right. You don’t want to risk getting burnt or superheating your water. Don’t worry, here is a simple example with all the things you need to be aware of.
Suppose you want to make a cup of tea and you have to boil the water in a microwave. First you find yourself a microwave safe container. A glass or ceramic cup is perfectly fine. If you have a wooden spoon or another microwave spoon, place it in the cup. Next, pour your water into the cup. Make sure not to fill it all the way up, so you can grab the cup somewhere that does not get hot. Place the cup in the microwave and turn it on at 1000 watt for 2 minutes. This is safe and there should be not risk of superheating in this case. Carefully remove the cup from the microwave. Make sure not to burn yourself. If you are still worried about superheating, don’t worry. We have another trick for you. Remember that wooden spoon from before? carefully stir the water with it. If nothing happens, then you are good to go. No superheating has happened. At worst, you will become aware that you have superheated the water and find out without grabbing the cup.
Some last remarks
Boiling water in a microwave is a convenient and safe way to do it, as long as you follow some simple guidelines. Making tea is now no longer a hassle and takes only a few minutes in the microwave.
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