Ground beef! The excellent base for your tacos and Bolognese! You can cook it in different ways, like on the stovetop. But can you cook ground beef in the microwave? Yes, you can!
This method is fast and easy and also less messy, unlike when cooking on the stovetop, where you will deal with splatters after cooking. It is a method adored by college students and people who live alone. It also saves you those nights that you forget to plan dinner or you are in a rush.
Microwaved ground beef is quite delicious, and it is difficult to tell the difference between microwaved ground beef and pan-fried beef. So let us understand how you can cook ground beef in the microwave.
Can you cook ground beef in the microwave?
Yes, you can cook ground beef in the microwave. Just ensure that the ground beef is well done by allowing the internal temperatures to hit 1650 F.
You should cook in a high-power setting and in small increments until the meat is cooked well. Meat cooked under lower temperatures might contain microflora that harms your health.
How to cook ground beef in the microwave step by step
Microwaved ground beef is delicious and tender. The good thing is that this method is straightforward, and you get to enjoy your beef in no time. This is the step-by-step guide to cooking ground beef in the microwave:
You will need:
- A microwave-safe bowl.
- Ground beef
- Meat thermometer- to check whether beef has reached the correct internal temperature.
- Cooking spray/oil/butter
Frozen ground beef will need to be thawed first. You can defrost it in the microwave for 3 minutes on medium power or leave it to sit on your counters for 20 minutes before cooking. Cold water can also help with defrosting, but the best way to naturally thaw it is by leaving it to sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Attempting to cook frozen ground beef will only end up in frustration. By the time the internal temperature of the frozen beef mass reaches 165F, the outer area would already be scorching. This means that for you to kill all the harmful bacteria, you will need to start with thawed ground meat.
- Pick a microwave-safe dish
Find a microwave-safe dish that’s glass or ceramic. These two materials can withstand the high heat in the microwave. Do not use plastic dishes as they burn under high heat. There are, however, some plastic dishes that are microwave-safe. Such dishes risk leeching chemicals into your beef as it cooks, so it is good to avoid them.
A large, shallow, and circular bowl is preferable so that the beef cooks evenly. You can also coat the bottom of your dish with oil/ spray or butter. Apply the oil generously without leaving out some patches.
- Understand heat settings
Familiarize yourself with the heat settings of your microwave. Microwave ovens control their heat by turning on and off as you cook.
- Adding ground beef to the dish
Unpack your ground beef, crumble it with a spoon or your hands, then add it to the dish. Spread it evenly in the dish to avoid clumping.
- Cover the dish
Use a plastic wrap or lid to cover the dish. The lid cover should have an opening or make some vent holes in the plastic wrap.
Cook the beef for up to 5 minutes on high power setting or 15 minutes on a medium heat setting. Note that the amount of time needed for the beef to be ready will be determined by the amount of beef you prepare. You can even cook for up to 17 minutes if you are preparing a lot of beef. Decide what power levels to use accordingly.
Be careful as you cook as a high heat setting could quickly burn your beef. On the other hand, low heat settings cannot cook your beef thoroughly. The cooking process is responsible for the destruction of harmful bacteria. Keep turning the dish in quarterly turns to avoid ending up with raw meat in the mid-sections.
Turning the beef is essential in ensuring all sides cook evenly. Let the pinker meat(uncooked) go under and the browner(cooked) outside as you stir and return it in the microwave to cook further.
- Checking temperatures
Using a thermometer, check whether the beef’s internal temperature has reached 1650. If you have no thermometer, you can determine whether it’s ready by checking its color. Pink color means that it is not ready, while brown means that the beef is cooked.
- Removing the beef from the oven
Remove the beef, drain the beef fat over a colander or use paper towels and use it in your favorite dish.
You can cook raw ground beef in the microwave. However, you risk salmonella poisoning if the heat doesn’t penetrate into the beef properly. Raw microwaved ground beef should be cooked on high heat at 1650 F.
Cook raw ground beef in the microwave
Keep turning the beef halfway through the cooking cycle and ensure you cook it covered to retain moisture.
Tips for cooking raw beef in the microwave
Want to get perfectly cooked beef? Then understand:
- Your microwave
The cooking instructions of microwaves are calibrated based on the wattage and power. Low-wattage microwaves cook foods longer compared to high-wattage microwaves. Note that the microwave output can deteriorate with time, changing the figure the manufacturer states.
- Test the microwave
You can test the microwave with ice cubes to determine the wattage. Add ice cubes to the water and stir to ensure the water is ice cold. Continue heating the water on high for 4 minutes.
If it boils in less than 2 minutes, the microwave’s wattage is 1000; if it boils in 2 ½ minutes, it is 800, and if it boils in more than 3 minutes, the microwave’s wattage is less than 700.
- Check for cold spots
After cooking, check for cold spots in your beef in the microwave. The safe temperature should hit 1650 for it to be fully cooked. If there are any cold spots, return it to the microwave and cook further till it cooks well through.
Raw meat can easily lead to food poisoning, due to the presence of harmful bacteria. Still, meat s a perishable food and requires proper cooking, handling, and storage.
Cooking ground beef in the microwave
Ground beef cooked in the microwave is safe to consume as long as it’s well done. This appliance uses energy that penetrates into ground beef.
Some parts might end up colder than others, which leads to uneven cooking. To prevent such, stir the beef as it cooks.
Once your beef is well cooked, add it to your recipes. You can incorporate it in:
Can you microwave ground beef?
Yes, you can microwave ground beef. Cook it on high heat and once it’s ready, turn off the microwave and allow the beef to cool. If it’s for eating right away, serve it and enjoy. If the beef is for later use, allow it to cool, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it until it is ready to be consumed.
I know you are wondering whether you can microwave the cooked ground beef. Well, yes, you can. Follow these steps to reheat cooked ground beef:
- Remove the ground beef from storage.
- Unpack it from its packaging.
- Add the ground beef to a microwave-safe dish.
- Pour in some water into the ground beef.
- Place the dish into the microwave and reheat at medium heat for 2 minutes at 1650F.
Video: How To Brown Ground Beef In The Microwave
Cooking foods in the microwave is popular nowadays, and ground beef is no exemption. The microwave cuts down on your cooking time, and you get a hearty base for your meals even without a stovetop. Other than the microwave oven, you only need a meat thermometer, and you’re good to go!
If you have any excess ground beef after cooking, store it in Ziploc bags in the freezer for convenience the next time you want to enjoy it. The good thing is you can reheat it with the same appliance.
Rita C. Donnell (Jennifer) has spent the last 26 years studying and practicing nutrition science. She has used a larger part of this time in improving people’s livelihoods. She has done so by coming up with unquestionable ideas on how to tackle food problems in her community. Readmore