Can you put Frozen Food in Microwave? (Explained)

We know that microwaves can heat or cook any food item. Since every food item has water content in it, microwaves can vibrate the water molecules and heat up the food. But can microwaves defrost frozen foods?

Modern microwaves come with an in-built option to defrost frozen food. As for cooking frozen food directly, then it might not be suitable. So, we shall discuss the possibilities of using a microwave for frozen foods.

Can you put Frozen Food in Microwave

Can you put Frozen Food in Microwave?

You can put frozen food in a microwave for defrosting if the appliance has a defrost option built into it. Without a defrost option, the magnetron will be working at full capacity which will produce microwaves continuously and defrost some parts of the food while the other parts remain frozen. But with defrost option, the magnetron turns on and off at intervals and the microwaves generated are less. This results in the gradual defrosting of the food. 

What Happens When you Microwave Frozen Food?

When you freeze food, the water molecules are formed into ice crystals. Because of that, frozen food becomes tightly packed and eventually becomes rigid due to refrigeration. A considerable amount of energy will be spent to freeze up these water molecules. So, to defrost them, you need to spend the same amount of energy. 

When you let the food defrost itself at room temperature, the heat surrounding it will start thawing the food gradually. Since the room temperature heat is very less, it will take a lot of time. 

There are two things you can do when trying to use a microwave for frozen food:

  • Use the defrost option
  • Use the general microwave heating option

Using Defrost Option

This is the most recommended method to use with any frozen food. Because during the defrost option, you can find the magnetron to operate at a lower capacity and doesn’t generate the microwaves continuously. You can find it to turn on and off at regular intervals to minimize microwave production.

So, when you put frozen food inside the microwave and press the defrost option, you can find the appliance to gradually heat up all parts of the food. 

But you cannot stop with that. Because the energy needed to completely defrost is very high and one or two defrost sessions will not be sufficient. You can find the inner areas of the food to be frozen still and no sign of thawing will be apparent.

So, here is a guide to using the defrost option in your microwave in the most efficient manner to thaw your food completely.

  • Unwrap the frozen food from its cover and place it in a suitable container.
  • Choose the defrost setting with at least five minutes of timing and initiate the process.
  • After five minutes, the food would have slightly thawed but the other parts might be frozen.
  • Flip the food over and restart the defrost setting for five minutes.
  • After performing this, remove the food and using a knife or fork, break apart the food to expose the deep parts. If they are still frozen, repeat the defrost setting after pulling them apart for eight or ten more minutes.
  • Now your food will be defrosted completely and you must cook the food immediately.

Using the General Microwave Heating 

This is not recommended for defrosting the food because, when you select the normal settings, the magnetron will run at full capacity. It will run continuously and produce a lot of microwaves which constantly penetrate the water molecules in the food and start thawing it.

It may seem more efficient. But at the end of the process, you may find it to have burnt one part of the food while the other parts remain frozen or slightly thawed. 

Most of the time when you use this setting, the outer layer will have thawed instantly and may even start to char. The inner side will remain frozen and it will ruin your entire food. 

So, defrost option is the best way to use frozen food in the microwave and this is what happens when you put frozen foods inside it. 

Can you Cook Frozen Food Directly in the Microwave?

No, without defrosting the food, you cannot cook it in the microwave. First, you must break the rigid frozen water molecules to thaw the food. Only then the food will start to cook. So, until then, the energy from the microwaves will be used up for breaking down the water molecules.

So, before cooking frozen food in the microwave, you must first thaw it or defrost it with suitable settings. If you had started to defrost at room temperature or inside the refrigerator itself, then let the process complete and then you can cook it in the microwave.

Similarly, if you are defrosting it in the microwave, then finish the defrosting process before cooking it in the microwave or in other modes. 

It is also very important to cook the food as soon as possible after defrosting because freezing the food might have caused the cells to disintegrate. So, it cannot remain fresh for a long time and due to thawing, the food will become a breeding ground for bacteria due to the suitable conditions of the food. 

So, defrosting the food and immediately cooking it is very important despite the method you used for defrosting.


Microwave is not only used for heating up but can also be used for defrosting frozen food. If you want to instantly defrost your food, then a microwave is the most effective and efficient way. Also, you must follow the above-mentioned procedure to get a complete defrosting of the food. Cooking the food immediately after defrosting is also very crucial. 

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