It's not just for reheating leftovers – a microwave can be used to cook a range of quick, easy meals in just minutes, from mug cakes to mash. As well as saving on time, microwaves provide a cost-effective cooking method as they are far more energy efficient compared to conventional ovens, grills and hobs.


When used in the right way, microwaves can also reproduce more intricate cooking methods, from delicate steamed fish to fluffy, baked sponges. So prepare to venture beyond the realms of frozen ready meals and put your machine to good use with our range of delicious, wholesome microwave meals and satisfying desserts.

Want to equip your kitchen with the very best kit? Check out our review of the best microwaves on the market for every budget. We even have a list of handy gadgets for your microwave to make the fluffiest microwaved scrambled eggs and classic sticky rice. Get tips from the experts and learn how to cook in a microwave.

Find out which of your kitchen appliances are bumping up your energy bill, plus get tips to help you reduce energy use - see the free Which? guide to how much kitchen appliances cost to run.

20 best ever microwave meal ideas

1. Microwave chilli

More like this

One of our most popular microwave recipes, this hearty kidney bean chilli from Jack Monroe makes a satisfying veggie dinner. What's more, it's ready in just 15 minutes and counts towards two of your five-a-day. If you think you'll miss the meat in this chilli, add a little chopped chorizo or salami at the beginning of cooking.

Microwave chilli recipe
Watch Jack Monroe making her microwave chilli recipe

2. Microwave mug cake

Two chocolate microwave mug cakes

For those evenings when you need dessert in a dash, this decadent chocolate mug cake does the trick. Simply whip up the cake mixture with a few storecupboard ingredients and microwave in a mug for 2 mins. Like magic, you'll be rewarded with a soft and fluffy sponge – it's even more delicious served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Microwave mug cake

Looking for a dairy-free and egg-free version? Try our vegan mug cake. Also check out more marvellous mug cake recipes.

3. Microwave risotto primavera


The great thing about making a risotto in the microwave is that you cut out any pesky stirring that might normally keep you stuck in the kitchen. Using frozen veg also makes this a budget meal without sacrificing any of the taste or flavour of a more traditional recipe. It is high in fibre, folic acid and low in fat.

Microwave risotto primavera

4. Fastest-ever lemon pudding


Being without an oven and time needn't stop you from whipping up a homemade pudding. This microwave-friendly sponge is ready in just 10 minutes and you will find yourself with a light, luscious, lemony pudding that is hard to resist.

Fastest-ever lemon pudding

5. Microwave kale & chilli eggs


This tasty dish from Jack Monroe is just as good for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even a solo supper.

Microwave kale & chilli eggs recipe

6. Leeky salmon in a parcel


Tender salmon, creamy leeks and peas certainly doesn't feel like your average microwave meal – serve with microwaveable new potatoes for a deluxe and satisfying dinner, bound to give everyone a midweek lift.

Leeky salmon in a parcel

7. Microwave mac 'n' cheese


If you thought pasta always goes mushy in the microwave, think again. Jack Monroe's mouth-watering meal for one can be easily doubled. You can even take it to work: simply pack the components separately, then pop in the microwave. Using just four ingredients, it couldn't be easier – serve with a handful of spinach for a touch of greenery.

Microwave mac 'n' cheese
Watch Jack Monroe making her microwave mac 'n' cheese recipe

8. Microwave banana pudding


Warming, soft and sweet banana pudding makes a lovely treat for the whole family, and is bound to become a favourite. Want to up the comfort factor to the next level? Heat up some ready-made custard for an ultimate treat.

Microwave banana pudding

9. Microwave butternut squash risotto


This cheat's version of a butternut squash risotto is completely delicious, a good source of vitamin C, counts as one of your five-a-day and is ready in under 20 minutes. Top with lots of grated cheese for a comforting and hearty supper.

Microwave butternut squash risotto

10. Tuna sweet potato jackets


If you're often cooking with your microwave then you are probably going to find jacket potatoes become a bit of a staple. Try switching to sweet potatoes and a fresh, spicy topping for a budget-friendly and low-fat lunch or dinner.

Tuna sweet potato jackets

11. Super-quick Scandi supper


This speedy Scandi supper just involves microwaving some salmon, and the rest of the light, fresh flavours will simply speak for themselves straight from the fridge. Pop it all on the table and let everyone help themselves.

Super-quick Scandi supper

12. Microwave peanut butter & jam brownies


Fancy a freshly baked brownie without the long wait? A few storecupboard ingredients and just 15 minutes are all you need to make this chocolatey sweet treat. The addition of peanut butter and jam give it a beautiful sweet and salty flavour twist.

Microwave peanut butter & jam brownies
Watch Jack Monroe making her microwave peanut butter & jam brownies

For another gorgeously gooey bake, try our microwave chocolate cake.

13. Shakshuka


Try this simple and speedy version of a classic Middle Eastern dish. Our healthy microwave shakshuka takes just 10 minutes to prep and cook, making it a quick and affordable brunch, lunch or dinner for one. Enjoy served with a warm pitta bread for mopping up that runny yolk and tomato sauce.

14. Microwave crab risotto with chilli crab toasts

Bowl of crab risotto topped with rocket and with salad on the side

Who said microwave dishes can't be refined? This delicate crab risotto takes less than half an hour to rustle up, making for a deceptively simple dinner party dish. Using a microwave saves you time stirring away over the hob so you can instead make some dainty chilli crab toasts and zesty rocket salsa to serve on the side.

Microwave crab risotto

15. Microwave penne pappa al pomodoro


This perfect personal portion of pasta can be on the table in a mere 25 minutes, with a rich garlic and herb tomato sauce that would have any Italian mama fooled into thinking you'd been slaving over a hot stove.

Microwave penne pappa al pomodoro

16. Spiced hot choc


Okay, so it isn’t exactly a meal, but this simple treat will always be appreciated.

Spiced hot choc

17. Microwave bacon & bean casserole


Get two of your five-a-day in one seriously speedy weeknight dinner. Shop-bought baked beans make a delicious addition to this solo stew with streaky bacon, and they thicken the sauce while adding flavour.

Microwave bacon & bean casserole

18. Apricot & orange rice pudding


Healthy, homemade pudding in under 20 minutes? Try this beautifully creamy and comforting recipe. Delicious!

Apricot & orange rice pudding

19. Microwaveable jambalaya


This recipe feels like a proper meal, rather than just heating something up in the microwave. The end result is a really fresh, fragrant and healthy supper that everyone will enjoy.

Microwaveable jambalaya

20. Microwave coffee & walnut cake

Coffee and walnut cake in a square tin

Craving a teatime treat? This cake takes just 10 mins to cook in a microwaveable tray, yielding a beautifully moist and springy sponge. Finish it off with a silky smooth coffee buttercream and scattering of walnut pieces.

Microwave coffee and walnut cake

Still not sated? Discover all of our microwaveable recipes.

Enjoyed these recipes and tips? Read our other kitchen kit and recipe guides...

Top 10 gadgets to save you money in the kitchen
Best slow cookers and how to use them
Family slow cooker recipes
Best slow cooker desserts
Best microwaves
Microwave pudding recipes
How to melt chocolate in the microwave
How to make scrambled eggs in the microwave
How to microwave a baked potato


What's the best thing you have ever cooked in the microwave? Leave a comment below...

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post