Since microwaves transitioned being one of the military’s best-kept secrets to consumer’s hands back in the 1970s, they’d changed the cooking landscape forever. More and more people started cooking their food using this newfangled device.
This remains relevant in 2020 and 2021 due to people remaining in their homes due to the pandemic and stateside lockdown orders. In other words, microwave recipes and cooking is on the rise for most people in the world stuck in their homes and don’t feel like cooking with the stove.
Further reading: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Microwave Oven that Best Fits Your Needs
Therefore, we believe it’s in your best interest to know what the Best microwave Cooking Cookbooks are out there.
11 Best microwave Cooking Cookbooks Reviews
Here’s a collection of some of the best cookbooks for microwaveable dishes available.
1. A Man, a Can, a Microwave: 50 Tasty Meals You Can Nuke in No Time: A Cookbook (Man, a Can Series) Board book by David Joachim
If you’re a man who doesn’t know how to cook then this is the book for you. It’s a cookbook for dudes and it approaches cooking in a manlier way. It’s like a beginner’s guide to cooking for the average clueless bachelor or husband who’s all thumbs when it comes to doing anything in the kitchen.
If you’re the type of person who only knows how to grill or if you haven’t even experienced how to boil water then this is the microwave recipe book for you. It doesn’t go cutesy with the recipes and preparation typically involves gathering ingredients and watching out for silly things making eggs burst.
Spare yourself another trip at McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, or Denny’s. Learn to cook, even if it’s just the basics of microwave cooking that go beyond pushing the popcorn/pizza button for preparing ready-to-eat meals.
- Amusing take on the drudgery of cooking.
- It’s been part of the New York Times How-To Bestseller List.
- It approaches cooking in a straightforward, no-nonsense kind of way.
- It’s written by David Joachim along with Men’s Health Magazine editors.
- It comes with 50 guy-friendly recipes that you can “nuke” with your microwave.
- It’s amusing and entertaining, speaking in a voice understood by men everywhere.
- You can get simplified recipes for things like “Painless Paella”, “Teriyaki Beef with Broccoli”, or “Italian One-Dish Fish”.
- The book is only 43 pages long.
- Not worth the money because the recipes aren’t impressive.
2. Microwave Cooking for One Paperback – December 31, 1999 by Marie Smith
The main “conceit” of “Microwave Cooking for One Paperback” is to deliver fast and easy recipes for a general audience as opposed to just men as seen in “A Man, a Can, (and) a Microwave”. It’s also made with beginners in mind, but not super beginners as in the case of the previous microwave cookbook entry.
Only a TV dinner or ready-to-microwave convenience store meals are any easier to prepare as those outlined in this book. They also cover a greater variety of dishes from breakfast to dinner. What’s the most impressive thing about this book? It was written back in 1999 yet it remains relevant in 2021!
The variation of the cookbook ensures that more people will get satisfied regardless of their personal tastes. It’s designed to avoid messes, a long day or night of cleanup, loads of preparation, and wasted food or ingredients.
- You can get quick, fresh, and delicious meals covering breakfast to dinner.
- The quickness of the prep time for these dishes is intuitive for even first-timers.
- The recipes from this book is described (and confirmed) as economical, easy, and fast.
- The dishes are chosen for their economical preparation, exact portions, and easy cleanup.
- It’s ideal for singles or those with households too busy to prepare something fancy on the stovetop or conventional microwave.
- Unimpressive recipes and ideas according to the Amazon critics.
- Lacks details and cooking times when dealing with different wattages of the microwave.
3. Microwave Cooking Times at a Glance: An A-Z by Annette Yates
As for “Microwave Cooking Times at a Glance: An A-Z” by Annette Yates, it delivers more sophisticated recipes compared to the previous entries. It makes sense since Annette Yates herself is a best-selling author with loads of bestsellers under her belt (under the “Right Way” series).
The value of this cookbook by our estimation is that it doesn’t only serve as a guide to cook easy recipes. Rather, it teaches you how to properly estimate cooking times the way Annette has in her writing career so that you too can soon make up your own microwave recipes.
- Allows you to unravel the maze of microwave cooking times for different food.
- The author specifically covers cooking time details, which the previous cookbooks lack.
- It’s written by the best-selling author of the bestsellers “Microwave Recipes for One” and “Fresh Bread in the Morning from Your Bread Machine”.
- She uses her expertise in microwave cooking in order to deliver easy-to-understand recipes while explaining the important basics of microwave cooking times.
- Cute names are used in order to easily remember microwave power levels for every recipe (your mileage may vary on their usefulness).
- Some copies have defects or ended up in poor condition.
- The author has her own names for the microwave power levels, which is confusing.
4. The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook: Easy, Healthy Recipes for the Next Four Years & Beyond by Pamela Ellgen
The beautiful thing about “The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook” is the fact that every recipe is made up or researched with student budgets or busy schedules in mind. In order to keep them from going on a never-ending Mac and Cheese spiral, this handy cookbook is available to give their meals more variety.
To be more specific, even the booklet itself is rather cheap in and of itself. However, its value lies in its timeless pages. It has all the breakfast, lunch, and dinner favorites that most students have to save money in order to enjoy, such as Vegan Enchiladas to Thai Chicken Ramen.
You’re even taught to cook your very own classic French toast (always delicious). What’s more, it has recipes covering more cuisine all over the world and vegan options to boot. This is because it was recently published back on February 21, 2017.
- 216 pages of quality recipes for the 21st Century.
- It’s a book specifically aimed at college students everywhere.
- More than 100 recipes using 5 ingredients each for easy preparation.
- Most if not all recipes require only 5 ingredients and take about 30 minutes to finish.
- It keeps in mind student food budgets and ensures they stay as economical as possible.
- The variation of recipes ensures that the students don’t easily get tired doing the same few meals every time.
- The recipes aren’t as simple as advertised even with the 5-ingredient limit.
- Some recipes involving crock pots or any other cooking device aside from the microwave won’t appeal to the poorest of students.
5. 250 Best Meals in a Mug: Delicious Homemade Microwave Meals in Minutes Paperback – January 16, 2014 by Camilla Saulsbury
Around 2014 or so, mug-sized portioned dishes have become quite the trend. Camilla Saulsbury rode that trend by sharing her knowledge of microwave cuisine in cup-sized form. The appeal of mug cakes and mug dishes root from the idea that you’re using available cups and ingredients in your pantry.
There are quite a number of instant-preparation, single-serving dishes that you can do if you’re busy. They’re also known for being budget-friendly and convenient to boot. Watch out though. Some dishes require you to do things perfectly or else the result would be destroyed.
It’s a great recipe book for multiple demographics that range from homemakers to newly widowed as well as college students and single people.
- Various mug-sized breakfasts, soups, meatless dishes, and desserts available.
- Mug meals are the perfect budget solution for solo dining at snack-like speed.
- It has 312 pages and was published on January 16, 2014, by Robert Rose (Publisher).
- The mug-portioned dishes are also small enough to be cooked immediately within minutes.
- Unusual recipes you won’t see anywhere else such as Eggplant Parmesan Mug to Mushroom Barley Soup.
- Genuine cooks will be disappointed by the amount of instant preparation cuisine.
- There are several complaints regarding missing pages (from 33 to 64 in one and from 32 to 65 in another).
6. The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Microwave Cookbook Hardcover – December 31, 1899 by Joyce A. Kenneally
As for “The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Microwave Cookbook Hardcover – December 31, 1899” by Joyce A. Kenneally (yes, it’s listed as 1899, which probably means it was published in 1999), it’s a highly valuable illustrated hardcover cookbook from Good Housekeeping.
Why? It’s made to last if you take care of it, it makes for a good coffee table book, and it’s perfect for picking random recipes when it’s too hot or too cold to work in the kitchen. It has loads and loads of recipes (500 of them) in order to make instant dishes at half the time with your microwave. Just remember to adjust cooking time in accordance to your microwave wattage.
Unfortunately, the cooking times are based on 700-watt microwaves. There’s a lack of conversion charts for the highest wattage microwaves of the 21st century. It’s kind of outdated, just like the “Microwave Cooking for One Paperback” by Marie Smith (also published in 1999).
- It offers good variety among its 500 recipes.
- 400-page English language cookbook published by Hearst Books.
- It’s been described as complete and well-written by certain reviewers.
- Step-by-step instructions that can easily be followed by even the most novice of microwave users.
- It includes nutritional data and offers menus for all occasions (breakfast to dinner dishes for all holidays).
- Written around the time when most microwaves were 700 watts.
- It’s weirdly listed on Amazon as being published back on “December 31, 1899” despite being a microwave cookbook.
7. Meal in a Mug: 80 Fast, Easy Recipes for Hungry People―All You Need Is a Mug and a Microwave Paperback – June 16, 2015 by Denise Smart
As for “Meal in a Mug: 80 Fast, Easy Recipes for Hungry People”, its contents fulfill the promise of its title. It’s a rather short book at 128 pages published by Atria Books on June 16, 2015.
It shows in a simplified way how to cook a home-cooked meal for breakfast while you’re on your morning dash to school or office. Even if you don’t have a spouse or roommate to help take care of the cooking, you can depend on this book(let) to get a quick-prep dish.
It offers savory and delicious meals such as fruit-packed breakfast muffins, Eggs Florentine with Hollandaise, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Tagine, Chili Con Carne, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Thai Shrimp Curry, or peanut butter and jam porridge.
- It’s short but sweet at 128 pages.
- It has dishes for kitchenettes to crowded dorms as well as rented apartments.
- 80 (mostly) fast, easy recipes you can prepare at the comfort of your home or office.
- Its recipes are mainly targeted at busy college students who only have microwaves on hand.
- It was published back in 2015, thus you’re given more contemporary recipes for vegan diets and international flavors all around the globe.
- Some recipes seem to be on the small size servings-wise.
- The ingredients listed can be quite expensive for students.
8. Betty Crocker’s Microwave Cookbook Hardcover – September 12, 1981
This is a medium-sized 288-page cookbook published by Random House on September 12, 1981. On one hand, it’s a cookbook from the Eighties. Therefore, it mostly have 1980s and before recipes for the microwave (a relatively recent invention at the time).
On the other hand, this cookbook is kind of timeless. Aside from being a good companion piece from the rest of your library of coffee table books, it’s also practical. You can always pick it up and leaf through promising dishes.
We’ve also noticed that some of the recipes here find their way into the other cookbooks on this list, making this potentially the originator of such recipes. It’s like the first-edition microwave cookbook that many other cookbooks are based on.
- Long-lasting hardcover cookbook back in 1981.
- It’s well-written and offers good recipes that range from appetizers to soups.
- It offers 250 classic delicious dishes that remain relevant even in today’s world.
- The Betty Crocker brand naturally offers some of the most varied and creative dishes even back in the 1980s.
- Millennials and Gen Z will be fascinated by some of these dishes in the past they might not see in 21st Century cookbooks.
- It’s difficult to match this cookbook with modern full-power OTR microwaves.
- It’s kind of an old and outdated cookbook since it was published in 1981, so no vegan options.
9. The Cook-Zen Cookbook: Microwave Cooking the Japanese Way–Simple, Healthy, and Delicious Paperback – Illustrated, May 30, 2007 by Machiko Chiba
The “The Cook-Zen Cookbook: Microwave Cooking the Japanese Way” is a 176-page cookbook by Machiko Chiba. If the “Betty Crocker Microwave Cookbook” is the “Holy Bible” of microwave cookbooks, then “The Cook-Zen Cookbook” is arguably the “Art of War” of microwave cookbooks.
Published back on May 30, 2007, by Lake Isle Press, the Cook-Zen is characterized by innovative, creative recipes for healthy, delicious meals within meals. Machiko’s approach to cooking is mainly rooted in Japanese-style dishes involving vegetables, rice, and other dishes.
They also cover microwaveable meals involving meat, chicken, fish, and desserts. What’s so “Zen” about it? It is more nuts and bolts about its meal instructions. On one hand, it’s not as entertaining to read like “A Man, a Can, a Microwave”. On the other hand, it’s specific and precise.
- Easy to follow instructions for microwave ovens.
- Innovative and creative recipes from a unique point of view.
- Asian cuisine and vegan options are incorporated into the mix of international flavors.
- You can cook or microwave items you won’t find in “western” cookbooks like sushi and salads.
- The cookbook shows you step-by-step how to properly cook meat and vegetables in a way that retains their nutrition and color.
- It’s bordering on booklet length at 176 pages.
- It’s more of an instruction manual than a cookbook (much to the chagrin of several readers).
10. Easy Livin Microwave Cooking P Paperback – August 15, 1989 by Karen K. Dwyer
The “Easy Livin Microwave Cooking” cookbook is a 264-page cookbook for microwave recipes published by Griffin on August 15, 1989. The thing that makes this cookbook unique from the likes of “Betty Crocker Microwave Cookbook” and “Cook-Zen” as well as “A Man, a Can, a Microwave” is that it covers the most basic recipes.
Although it’s designed with beginners in mind, the recipes aren’t too basic. It’s not just about how to cook bacon (which you can look upon the Internet) or eggs (ditto or you can figure things out trial and error). It’s varied enough so that you won’t get tired of the dishes quickly.
It also covers how microwave ovens work and what to watch out for overcooking or drying out the ingredients. Long story short—it has recipes you can’t easily lookup on the Internet, allowing you to taste a rainbow of flavors.
- One of the best microwave cookbooks out there.
- It comes complete with special tips and fancy recipes.
- A rather thick book is full of not only recipes but cooking tips at 264 pages.
- Experienced cooks will love this cookbook because it goes beyond the basics.
- Karen K. Dwyer is an author who’s a microwave specialist that specializes in Sharp Microwave Ovens.
- Many of the recipes are too advanced for beginners (learning curve problems).
- Some of the books ended up in the hands of customers rather filthy and damaged.
11. Moghul Microwave: Cooking Indian Food the Modern Way Hardcover – September 1, 1990 by Julie Sahni
This is a 512-page English cookbook by an Indian author published by William Morrow & Co on September 1, 1990. While it’s a little outdated in the way it exclusively caters to 700-watt microwaves, the many Indian dish recipes available is unknown to many a westerner out there.
It’s as eye-opening as Edith Hamilton’s Greek Mythology book. You can discover the many ways you can use turmeric and other spices. You can also figure out the modern, microwave-based way to prepare traditional Indian cuisine featuring chutneys, fish, chicken, seafood, pilafs, vegetables, meat, and even vegetarian dishes (to make them vegan, avoid eggs).
- It’s a durable hardcover coffee table cookbook for microwaves.
- A super-thick classic microwave oven cookbook with a myriad of Indian dishes.
- It’s much better than expected because it showcases the true variety of Indian cuisine.
- You’ll get real recipes for genuine Indian food rather than watered-down western versions of the dishes.
- It’s a bit outdated like the 1980s Betty Crocker cookbook, so no vegan recipes for you.
- Requires adjustment for today’s microwaves since it’s made for 700-watt microwaves.
- Microwave Cookbook: 80 Delicious Recipes for Easy and Quick Family Meals Hardcover – January 31, 2021
- Air Fryer Cookbook For Beginners: 1000 Frying Recipes For Quick And Easy Meals
- Air Fryer Cookbook: 600 Effortless Air Fryer Recipes for Beginners and Advanced Users Paperback – December 12, 2019
What to Look for in Microwave Cookbooks
When looking for microwave cooking books or cookbooks, you should keep the following in mind. You should read customer reviews praising specific cookbooks for their use of recipes that maximize the speed and convenience of the microwave oven.
More Than Just a Leftover Reheating Tool
You know you have a good microwave cookbook in your hands if it recognizes the fact that it can perform magic in your kitchen. In other words, it can cook things faster with the proper precautions.
For example, it makes you heat a quiche-in-a-cup up at 30-second increments instead of 30 minutes. The fact that microwave ovens can clearly heat up leftovers without turning them to charcoal (usually) in as fast as a minute or less makes them indispensable in the kitchen.
They’re not just popcorn poppers or frozen food thawing machines. A cookbook that recognizes microwave capabilities is what you should go for. A thick book full of different ingredients you can hunt for at your local grocery is your best bet.
Recipes That Make Sure The Flavor Remains
First-time users of the microwave tend to learn fast that using this oven isn’t a simple affair. You can’t just cook it for more than 3 minutes straight because you risk dehydrating the food. This affects the flavor of the dish, even if you’re just reheating it and it’s just leftovers.
When properly used, a microwave recipe can lock in the flavor of your dish’s ingredients while at the same time keep the nutrition it has lost from the cooking process. A good recipe from a great cookbook should also make clean up a breeze. Be on the lookout for these benefits in any microwave cookbook review.
A Cookbook That Understands Microwave Benefits
A good microwave cookbook is capable of showing to you the many benefits of using a machine that you’ve probably viewed as nothing more than a 1-minute coffee heater for the longest time. When you actually use the microwave for honest-to-goodness cooking, it retains natural flavors and tastes better (when used properly).
Furthermore, studies show that more vitamins and minerals are retained in your food when cooked through a microwave oven instead of a traditional oven, leading to better nutrition. Let’s also not forget that the hassle of needing to preheat the oven is removed due to the nature of microwaves.
They reheat by interacting with the water molecules of your food instead of slowly but surely producing conductive heat waves that reach the food from the outside to the inside. A microwave oven’s radiowaves make water molecules of food heat up from the inside out.
Famous Cooks That Apply Their Culinary Expertise
Another rule of thumb is to search for a culinary expert like Gordon Ramsey or Giada De Laurentiis. They should have microwave ideals that, for lack of a better turn, can give you a shabby chic kind of dish—affordable yet high quality.
On top of understanding that microwave cooking results in less of a mess to clean up and less electricity used, these cooks and chefs also know how to utilize the strengths of the microwave. They can make dishes ranging from Chicken Creole to zucchini casserole as well as mug-sized chocolate chip cupcakes.
At the End of the Day
A microwave rice cooker kind of works like an electric rice cooker, but this time it uses microwave radiowaves to cook the rice much quicker. In contrast, an electric rice cooker heats up the water a la electric kettle.
Thanks to the nature of microwave rays, they warm up organic material like rice granules to cook them and make them silky soft. This shorter cooking time is present in all of the microwave rice cookers available on this list. Therefore, choosing the right one is more a matter of its other characteristics.
Is a microwave rice cooker made of durable materials? How long can it last? How consistently does it cook rice? Those are the things you should keep in mind.
- Johanna Burkhard, “125 Best Microwave Oven Recipes“, FireflyBooks.com, Retrieved March 13, 2021
- Lynne Jaques, “10 Important Do’s and Don’ts of Microwave Cooking“, Foodal.com, October 16, 2014