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How to Steam Vegetable in Microwave

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Have you ever tried to steam vegetables in the microwave? Steaming veggies in the microwave is one of the simplest methods of preparing vegetables with the fullest nutrient, mineral, and vitamins compared to any other cooking method.

And it is known that microwave steamed vegetables are healthy and do not lose nutrients when properly cooked in the microwave.  

How do you steam vegetables in microwave? Rinse, trim, and chop up the vegetables to a similar bite-size and place them in a single layer inside a microwavable dish.

Pour 2 to 4 tablespoons of water to cover the lower part of the vegetables. The amount of water will depend on the type of vegetable and amount being microwaved. 

Cover the bowl with a lid or microwave-safe plate and heat for 2 minutes at high temperature. If the veggies aren’t ready, consider flipping and continuing to microwave at 1-minute intervals until done.

Whether the assorted vegetables are fresh or frozen, microwave vegetables are a convenient way to prepare healthy side dishes. It makes the texture of veggies soft and tender enough to consume by themselves or stir-fry in a short time.

Since every vegetable steams a bit differently, in this article, we are going to share expert tips on how to steam vegetable in microwave properly, correct power setting, and microwave timing for each veggie to fully steam.

Can I Steam Vegetables in Microwave?

Yes, you can steam vegetables in microwave. In fact, steaming veggies using a microwave is the easiest and healthiest way instead of boiling, sautéing, or stir-frying.

Always wash, trim, and slice the vegetables into smaller equally sized pieces. To steam bigger root or stemmed vegetables, cut them into manageable equal sizes and heat in a microwave for the appropriate time.

How Do You Steam Vegetables Quickly?

In stove, it takes about 10 minutes to boil water and steam vegetables. However, steaming vegetable in microwave is a quick way to get the job done. 

To steam veggies in a pinch, lay a single layer on a dish that is microwave safe. Use a triple layer of damp paper towels to cover the top, or add 2 to 3 tablespoon water and cover with a heatproof lid. 

Place the container in the microwave and heat at high temperature until the veggies become tender; this will take between 2- 5 minutes depending on the microwave wattage, type of vegetables and amount being steamed.

Steaming time in microwave for different vegetables:

  • Carrots: Depending on the thickness of sliced carrots, it takes as short as 3 minute to fully cook. 
  • Cauliflower: To fully steam cauliflower, it takes approximately 3 to 4 minutes. 
  • Broccoli: To steam broccoli, it takes about 2 to 4 minutes in total.
  • Spinach: Takes about 2 minutes to steam 12 ounces of spinach in a 1000 watt microwave.
  • Peas: Fresh peas will take between 1 to 3 minutes to fully steam.

How to Steam Vegetable Without A Steamer

It is possible to give any vegetable a nice steamed cook without using a steamer or steamer basket. To steam vegetable in the microwave, you may use microwave steamer to enhance the experience, however it does not change the taste or texture as without them.

If you are looking for a quicker or more simple method of steaming veggies without a steamer, a microwave is the best option. Vegetables will thoroughly be cooked and come out appearing moist, plump and fully cooked.

In order to steam vegetable without a steamer, for any long shaped vegetables, wrap them with a damp paper towel. Place them in the microwave and heat for 2 minutes. 

When it comes to shorter veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli, just put them in a microwavable bowl and add a splash of water at the bottom. 

To acquire the best results, consider covering the bowl with microwave safe plate, lid, wet paper towel or microwaveable plastic wrap while leaving a small vent in a corner to allow the steam to escape.

Ensure veggies are not overcrowded by placing is a single layer, then microwave for about 2 minutes. Check to see plump and soft vegetables, if needed microwave for 30 second intervals until desired doneness is achieved.

Once the vegetables are fully steamed, carefully transfer into serving dishes and garnish with your favorite seasonings and toppings to enjoy.

Tips to Steam Vegetables in Microwave

Steamed vegetables are a healthy side dish to pair with any meat or pasta dish to make balanced and filling meal. However, simply throwing frozen or fresh vegetable in the microwave does not steam properly. 

Below are list of useful tips to steam vegetables in microwave to get the best results every time:

  • Cut vegetables into small, uniformed size pieces. This will more likely to steam quickly and evenly than the whole.
  • For food safety, always use a microwave-safe dish and lid or plate over the top.
  • Covering with a lid, damp paper towel or microwave safe plastic wrap while steaming will help cook faster and retain adequate water at the bottom of the microwave safe container.
  • When steaming veggies, the amount of time required might vary depending quantity and thickness of each vegetable piece.
  • When taking the steamed vegetables from the microwave, handle the bowl with caution to avoid burning yourself. Hold the bowl with an oven mitt when removing it, and open carefully to let the steam dissipate.

Best Way to Steam Vegetable in Microwave

The best way to steam vegetable in the microwave is by starting with washing and prepping the vegetables thoroughly by rinsing them in lukewarm water and cut them into uniform serving-size chunks using a kitchen knife, pieces should not exceed 2 inches in size.

Place the cut veggies in a large dish. Confirm the bowl is microwave-safe or use a glass or ceramic baking pan instead. 

Arrange the vegetables so that they form a single layer at the bottom of the dish. If the veggies are more than a single layer, consider steaming in separate batches.

Add a tiny amount of water, just enough to cover the bottom of the container. A splash of water is required as the vegetables will be cooked by steam emanating from the water when hot, and as the vegetable heat up they will gradually release more water. 

For thin leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale, no need to add water. In contrast, thick vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and turnips require a bit more water to get started.

Cover the bowl with microwavable plastic wrap, wetted paper towel, lid, or microwave-safe plate. However, ensure a small gap is left uncovered to prevent steam built-up from popping the seal. 

If microwave plastic wrap isn’t your preference, substitute with a large ceramic, porcelain, or stoneware plate that has vent.

Put the covered bowl of vegetables in the microwave and heat for 2 minutes on a high setting. Steaming time may vary depending on the amount of veggies, density of each vegetable piece and microwave wattage.

After 2 minutes, test if the vegetables are tender. If the veggies are undercooked, turn them over in the bowl using a fork and continue microwaving.

To know if the veggies are well steamed, poke them using a fork and it will easily pierce tender vegetables and vice versa. If the veggies are ready, they should have a soft texture and also remain moist without being too mushy. 

Garnish, season and serve the veggies once they are hot.

These are general steps to steam vegetables, however the preparation method, power setting and cooking time may vary for each vegetables:

  • Carrots: Peel and cut the carrots into smaller sized pieces and add 2 tablespoons of water to the dish. Microwave on high for 3 minutes and let it sit for 1 minute in closed microwave to fully steam carrots.  
  • Cauliflower: Trim and slice into medium florets to microwave cauliflower. Pour a ¼ cup of water and cover with plastic wrap so that it does not touch cauliflower. Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes and let it stand 60 seconds to complete the steaming process. 
  • Broccoli: To steam broccoli in the microwave, trim into small florets and add 4 tablespoons of water for a pound of broccoli. Microwave on high for 2 to 4 minutes depending on the amount of broccoli and size of the pieces.
  • Spinach: If the spinach is too dry to steam in the microwave, sprinkle water on the leaves. Cover with a lid and microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time for a total of 2 minutes. Observe if the leaves starts wilting. Remove excess water and serve the steamed spinach as it is or season to taste with garlic, chili flakes and lemon juice.
  • Peas: It will take between 1 to 3 minutes to microwave peas. Add a tablespoon of water to the bottom of the dish and cover with a damp paper towel. Steam on high heat for 1 minute increments until the peas are soft and tender.
How to steam vegetables in microwave

Steaming Vegetable in Microwave: Conclusion

Steaming vegetables using a microwave is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to meal prep the side dish. Steaming retains the nutrients in your veggies and is one of healthiest option as there is no need to add any fat. 

Generally, steaming vegetables in the microwave requires less water compared to stovetop. This is great advantage since water based nutrients such as Vitamin C can leach into the water. 

When properly steaming vegetables in the microwave, the veggies become soft enough while maintaining a crispy al dente.

To prepare yummy veggies that will offer all the health benefits without altering the natural taste, all you require is a microwavable bowl with a lid, wet paper towel or plastic wrap, a microwave appliance, and a little water. 

Not every vegetables steams in the same way, however follow the general steps to prevent the veggies from becoming mushy and loosing their nutrients.

Always wash the veggies with cold water, trim any dirt or excess leaves, chop into equal bite-sized pieces to help to cook quickly, evenly, and enjoyable to eat in one bite.

Place the prepared vegetable in a microwave-safe dish, add splash of water and cover the dish with a lid or plate. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and check the condition to evaluate if there is more microwave time needed.

Flip the veggies frequently and give enough standing time to let the remaining steam gently carryover cook before opening the lid and releasing the hot moisture. Once the vegetable is fully steamed, transfer into a serving dish, top with your favorite herbs and spices to enjoy!