How To Set Up A Countertop Microwave

Sometimes you want to whip up a quick dinner that requires a bit more prep than throwing whatever you’re eating in the microwave at once. Here’s a guide that may keep dishes at bay for a while.

Here’s how to setup a microwave to preheated, ready to go. “The microwave has been around since the 80s when people were making hot dogs,” says Eric Liddicoat, general manager of the KitchenAid Professional Kitchen. “Today, it’s one of the most popular appliances. We are a large microwave industry, and we see people using it for all kinds of things. It’s the one of the most useful products in your kitchen. It’s a wonderful tool. One mistake people make in cooking at home is they forget to switch the mode to one that they’re used to.” Liddicoat warns against using the same microwave every day. “The older modes are better for longer term use,” he says. “One mode is great for making popcorn, another is great for making an omelet, and another one is better for eggs. Do a little planning before you use the microwave, so you’ll avoid one mode and have a nice range of settings to work with in each of them.”

Microwave Settings:

The first thing you should know to make sure you’re using the proper mode is to make sure that the power switch is set to “normal,” NOT “off” or “off.” Microwave modes “have no name at all,” says Liddicoat. “No one knows what it means to ‘on’ for breakfast or anything like that. So the first thing you want to do is make sure that you’re actually changing the mode to something that you’re used to in that mode and know the function well enough to use it.” If you use the Microwave to make coffee, set the mode to “quick” mode. If you want it to make a meal, start with the “warm” mode and change gears depending on what you are preparing.

Microwaves have a three-letter abbreviation for each mode for your convenience. For modes 1, 2 and 3, Liddicoat says that most people switch between modes quickly and have good results with them. One problem with quick mode, he says, “is that it’s not as easy to read. Some of the menus have all the letters backward. There is a ‘0’ and a ‘Z’ at the beginning for cooking in the microwave.” If you keep the volume at a constant level, switching modes, he says, is a simple matter of using “one hand to operate the lever and the other hand to switch between modes.” He offers an example: “To get to the coldest temperature in the microwave, to get to 100 degrees celcius or 120 degrees celcius, you press the button with your index finger. The dials move to the right. The ‘1’ will move forward to 100 degrees, the ‘2’ moves ahead to 120 degrees, and the ‘3’ is at your finger. You then slide it up with your thumb.” (Yes, these are Microwave 101-level tips and tricks, not the first level.)

It’s also helpful to know that when you change to cold mode, you leave the Microwave off so that nothing runs through the wires and you can’t start the dishwasher or power up the stove top when the electricity comes back on.

And lastly, it’s a plus if your microwave is in a well-ventilated area because you don’t have to worry as much about the dish being ruined.

Here are the proper Microwave modes:

Mode 1 to 3 : “hot-cold”

Mode 4: “warm-cold”

Mode 5: “quick-quick-quick-slow-slow-quick-quick-slow-quick-quick-slow”

Mode 6 to 10: “normal-normal-normal-normal-cold-cold-quick-quick-quick-quick-quick-quick-quick-slow-slow”

Mode 11 to 10: “warm-warm-warm-cold”

Mode 12: “slow-slow-slow-quick-quick-quick”

Mode 13 : “temperature set to ’60 degree celcius,” or to “turn on” the appliances when power comes back on.