Food & Drink

Foods That Taste Just Fine After Microwaving

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Like an oven on steroids, the microwave is the magical box in your kitchen that heats up food quickly and can make Palpatine-level lightning shoot out of your silverware. But because it tends to turn foods like bread into warm, soggy messes, the microwave gets a bad rap when it comes to food preparation. In the interest of helping you use your microwave to its full potential, here are all the foods that you can heat up in the technological marvel sitting in your kitchen without compromising their flavor.

Almost everything frozen at Trader Joe's

Lasagna, mac 'n cheese, steak & ale pies, Indian meals, and other delicious TJ's consumables can generally be thrown in the microwave without making the dish less tasty in any way. Hell, you can probably throw Two Buck Chuck in the microwave without losing its flavor, especially if you want that piping hot off-the-vine taste of grapes that've sat out in the sun.
 

Soup

Stirring soup while it heats up on the stovetop can be a real pain in the ass. First you have to stand there, and then you have to move your wrist in circles! The lazy man's way to prepare soup is far superior, as you can happily putz around while that bowl of Chunky Soup goes 'round and 'round.
 

Leftover pizza

Some say you should use a skillet to reheat Italy's greatest gift to planet Earth, but the microwave works just fine for most pizzas. Sure, if you leave a slice in the microwave too long, your crust will be ruined, but if you know the settings well enough, there's a sweet spot when your pizza comes out just right.

mac and cheese
Laura Murray/Thrillist

Mac & cheese

Do you have six minutes to spare, plus milk, butter, cheese, macaroni, and mustard? Then you have homemade mac & cheese in a mug. It's super easy to make, and might make you wonder why you ever ate the stuff out of a box, or messed with your stove.
 

Hot Pockets

Let's just say we've done our research. The crust will be crispier if you throw a Pocket in the oven, but this food is as much about convenience as it is flavor. Waiting an extra 27 minutes more than you have to will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
 

Leftover Chinese takeout

Chinese takeout undoubtedly improves after sitting in a fridge overnight. And the microwave is a perfect way to heat it up -- noodles and meat or seafood that've already been cooked-through taste good enough coming out of the rectangle with the electromagnetic waves. Pro tip: make sure you don't microwave the carton.
 

Sauces

Ten seconds of marinara in a microwave-safe dish with a paper towel on top, and you've got pasta sauce that's not lukewarm from an unopened jar in the cabinet, or cold if you took it out of the fridge. And it sure is easier than stirring -- that most soul-sucking of kitchen tasks -- it in a pot for five minutes while it heats up.

microwave popcorn
Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Popcorn

If you're eating room-temperature popcorn out of a bag, that reduces the joy of eating popcorn by approximately 95%, according to an unofficial study we just made up. Hot popcorn straight out of the microwave smells delicious and tastes even better.
 

Pre-cooked rice

Everywhere from Whole Foods to your local supermarket has pre-cooked rice in microwave-safe pouches, and because many types of rice take upwards of 20+ minutes to cook, heating up ready-to-go rice in the microwave is a convenient and just-as-appetizing alternative. Uncle Ben approves, too.
 

Sweet potatoes

As long as you poke holes in the potato so it doesn't explode while it's heating up, it only takes about six minutes to turn this root veggie into a nutrient-rich part of dinner... provided you don't cover it with marshmallows or anything delicious.

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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and eats a ton of sweet potatoes. Follow him to tubers: @LeeBreslouer.