Whether you plan to make the perfect cheese sauce for nachos or a piping hot queso dip for an appetizer, you’ll need to know the right way to melt shredded cheese in the microwave. For mouth-watering results, follow the ultimate guide to melt cheese in the microwave so that you achieve the perfect flavor and texture every time.
From extra sharp cheddar to low-moisture mozzarella, shredded cheese comes in a variety of different types. When it comes to the thin uniform shape, shredded cheese melts more quickly, easily, and evenly compared to a whole block of cheese.
It’s important to take time to shred the cheese before microwaving or use already shredded cheese as an option to make your life easier.
The best way to melt shredded cheese in the microwave is to start by bringing the cheese to room temperature beforehand. Place the grated cheese in a microwave-safe bowl instead of a plate, use a low power setting and nuke for 15 seconds. Stir the cheese and repeat with 15 second intervals until the pieces of cheese are fully melted.
Reducing the microwave power level to low exposes the cheese to less heat, which will help prevent a rubbery or greasy result. High microwave power level can quickly evaporate the moisture and separate the fat from the cheese. If the cheese becomes hard and crispy, it is most likely the result of being overcooked in the microwave.
Seems like melting cheese is not very difficult, but is it ok to microwave shredded cheese?
Is it ok to put shredded cheese in the microwave?
To prevent burnt bits, melt shredded cheese in the microwave on a safe plate, use the proper temperature setting and appropriate cook time.
Microwaving shredded cheese is safe and easy to do. The cheese melts much faster than when using a stove top cooking.
And if you are using a microwave to melt grated cheese, you will notice some liquid or oil run off. Doesn’t necessarily mean that the cheese is loosing its protein or nutritional value, simply give the melted cheese a quick stir and emulsify the molten liquid back together.
The only change that will happen is the solid to liquid transition. What else happens if you microwave shredded cheese?
What happens if you microwave shredded cheese?
To melt cheese pieces in the proper manner, you need to understand the general concept of what exactly happens to shredded cheese when heated inside the microwave.
At 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), the solid milk fat inside the cheese starts to softens and beads of melted fat rise to the surface. As cheese gets hotter, the proteins begin to breakdown which eventually turns the cheese into a thick molten liquid.
However, not all cheeses have the same melting point. Mozzarella is soft with a high in moisture that requires 130 degrees Fahrenheit to melt. Low moisture cheese, like cheddar cheese, require 150 degrees Fahrenheit to start melting.
The fat content and acidity level helps determine how fast or slow cheese melts in the microwave. But sometimes shredded cheese just won’t melt, why is this happening?
Why is my shredded cheese not melting?
Before proceeding, it’s important to recognize that all cheese is not meant to be melted. Aged varieties, fat content and powdered coatings can affect the ability to become liquified by heat.
Store bought grated cheese is covered with preservatives such as cellulose, potato starch or natamycin. These components keep the cheese shreds from clumping together in the bag, but the additives make prepackaged shredded cheese hard to melt when heated in the microwave.
Pre-grated cheese is convenient, but the risks outweigh the reward. As a result, it’s best to shred your own cheese at home.
Finely shredded is the best shape to melt cheese, more surface area and hastens the speed that cheese reaches the melting point. Large chunks or cubes of cheese can melt on the outside and potentially be overcooked, which results in a clumpy or oily mess before the inside of the cheese starts to flow.
Another issue you may face is the cheese become rubbery and greasy. The reason this happen is the temperature got too hot and the cheese is heated too long. In this situation, the protein molecules in the cheese tighten and forces water and fat out.
In the end, shredded cheese is similar to other shapes of cheese because once it looses its shape, it’s impossible to return back.
How long does it take for shredded cheese to melt in the microwave?
Microwave on low or medium power level to achieve the melting point for most types of cheese. As temperature stays the same, the cook time inevitably changes for each type of cheese.
In general, it takes about 15 seconds to melt ½ cup of shredded cheese in the microwave. You may need to stir and nuke for an extra 15 seconds to reach the full melting point.
The microwave wattage also plays a determine factor, however this is easily overcome. Depending on type, amount and the thickness of the individual cheese shreds, adjust the cook time slightly if necessary.
Things to know before melting shredded cheese in the microwave
Shredded cheese melt in the microwave the easier and faster than other shapes. However, it easily turn into crisp or burnt mess in the blink of an eye without cautious.
Here are important things you need to know before melting shredded cheese in the microwave:
- Avoid stirring too much. Over-stirring makes the proteins clump together into a stringy and lumpy texture.
- When serving, don’t cool the melted shredded cheese. Once it cools, the cheese starts firm up and clump together.
- Always use a microwave-safe bowl instead of plate. It’s easier to control the molten mess and keep the goopy liquid instead of making cheese crisp.
- Use cheese with less aged to melt in the microwave. As cheese ages, the proteins tend to form tighter structures. The water and fat bonds become harder to break. Despite the high moisture content, aged cheese is much more difficult to melt.
- Do not use reduced fat cheese. Low fat varieties do not melt as well a full fat shredded cheese in the microwave.
Melting shredded cheese in the microwave may seem fairly straightforward, but there can be a few obstacles. Understand your cheese before getting started, learn about the age, type of cheese, fat content, moisture content and coating contents in order to apply the right time, technique and melting point.
Whether you top the melted cheese on nachos or make a grilled cheese sandwich, use these rules of thumb to avoid any risk. Use a low to medium microwave power setting, nuke for 15 second increments and stir after each duration to melt shredded cheese in the microwave and avoid burnt, lumpy or separated results.