Why the Microwave Burns Food (+3 Simple Ways to Prevent it)

Did you accidentally burn the meal you’re preparing in the microwave? If so, you may be wondering why it happened and how you can prevent it.

Or else you may have to patiently wait for each time (for several days) for that unbearable smell to die down.

Fortunately, the reasons why the meals may be getting burnt are preventable if you know what to do and by following a few tips you can restore the fresh, neutral smell faster should you burn the food.

Read on to find out why your meals may be getting burnt and how to get rid of the burnt smell and get your microwave smelling fresh again.

3 Common Reasons Why the Microwave may be Burning Food

If end up with a burnt meal in the microwave, check the following first:

#1. Cooking times set are not longer than necessary. If you set longer than the required cooking times then you’ll end up with burnt food.

#2. Food container or packaging is stuck and not able to rotate for even heating You can also end up with burnt food or packaging if it is not able to rotate within the cavity.

For example, the popcorn packaging can get stuck and a particular spot gets subjected to constant heat from the microwave’s magnetron.

#3. Using a higher power level than is recommended. Higher than necessary power levels too end up overcooking and burning the food too.

All in all, make sure to use the recommended recipe preparation time (usually based on the portions) of food cooked and the power level to avoid ending up with charred remains and smoke in the microwave.

Also, check that the food container is able to rotate for more even heating to prevent food from burning.

Should you Continue using the Microwave? Is it Safe?

This depends on the reasons why the food burnt in the first place. If it is because you used the wrong setting – cooking time or power level or the food container was stuck then it should be okay to use the microwave again.

Should it be a fault with the microwave and not a wrong user setting that can be fixed the next time you prepare your meal then do not use the microwave for your safety.

Get it fixed by a qualified professional or use another microwave.

How to Prevent the Microwave from Burning Food

Sounds cliche but by following the cooking instructions – power level and cooking time as specified in the recipe you should be able to avoid ending up with the charred remains of a meal.

Adjustments to the cooking time and power level

You may have to make the correct adjustments to the cooking time and power level – low, medium, or high based on whether the state of food being prepared is frozen or thawed, its quantity of food (oz), and the type of food too.

Check that you have selected a suitable cooking time for your meal. Some foods such as vegetables -fresh peas or pasta for example generally need shorter cooking times compared to others such as rice.

Use suitably sized containers in the microwave

Make sure that the packaging – in case of popcorn or the microwave-safe container can rotate freely in the microwave too for uniform cooking.

Food Burning – What to Do

Switch off power out the wall outlet

If the food in the microwave is burning, switch off the microwave immediately including at the power outlet as a precaution.

Keep the microwave oven door closed

Keep the microwave oven door closed to starve the fire of oxygen and stop the burning.

Getting Rid of the Burnt odor

Be mindful that it might take several days for the burnt smell to die out. That said, here are a few tips that can make a difference on how quickly the smell fades:

#1. Remove the burnt food from the microwave right away. Do not let it stay in there at all. Make sure to thoroughly clean out any burnt remains

#2. Keep the microwave oven door open for several hours to allow the free flow of air to help remove the burnt smell.

#3. Use an odor remover solution. Heat a solution of about 6 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with water in a microwave-safe dish for about 2 minutes also helps absorb any burnt-out odors in the microwave.

Keep the microwave oven door closed for about 10 minutes while letting the solution stand still.

Closing Thoughts

If your microwave is burning food, check the cooking settings – cooking time, and power level selected to confirm that they are suited to the type, quantity, and state of food you’re preparing.

Hope this helps!

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