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I hear that chicken breasts can be cooked in microwave and that it's the best way to get it juicy and tender. I have also seen some articles about it on the internet.

I wonder if this is just a myth or if professionals also use this trick?

Wouldn't you risk that parts of the chicken is not cooked properly then causing infection?

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One of the first dishes my husband ever made me was a delicious chicken dish he cooked in the microwave (a dorm microwave, no less). It can be done! –  Iuls Aug 4 '10 at 22:54

5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

While yes it can be done, I wouldn't choose to do it over another technique unless that was my only option or I just needed some chicken cooked quickly for a recipe where it is used in the cooked form and will have a lot of other flavors added (chicken salad). Remember that a lot of flavor is due to browning and cooking in the microwave eliminates those flavors. At least with poaching, if the liquid is REALLY well seasoned you'll still impart flavor.

Any cooking technique can lead to tough and dry meat, including poaching where it's being cooked submerged in hot liquid. Regardless of the technique, if the proteins heat too hot and too quickly they will constrict quickly and squeeze out the juices. The result will be tough, dry, saw-dusty chicken or other protein. This is the same thing that happens when scrambled eggs are rubbery...cooked too long over too high of heat. The proteins act like sponges that are being wrung out.

Personally I think you have much less control over meat cooked in a microwave because the cooking occurs from the inside outward and the residual heat continues to build more intensely than if it was cooked in a saute pan or on a grill.

Is this something that professionals do? No. Microwaves in a professional kitchen are mainly used for melting butter, chocolate, reheating things quickly...much the same as I recommend people do at home. We do not use them for "cooking". Although I do use it for sweating onions if that's the only thing I'd be dirtying a pan for...put the onions in a bowl with a little butter, cover and nuke for about a minute until tender.

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All true except that microwaves don't cook from the inside out, they cook by exciting the molecules of the food they cook but the heat still propogates through the food from the outside in. The only reason that this applies is that by lowering the power level, you can slow down the cook and prevent all the water from evacing your food. –  sarge_smith Aug 5 '10 at 0:28
    
There are microwave browning pans, here's an example microwavecookingforone.com/Charts/Browner.html I would guess that if there was a way to make chicken come out good in the microwave, you'd need something like that. –  Tim Apr 22 '13 at 20:09

Couldn't say if it's being used much, but can't see why it wouldn't work. I don't have a microwave myself, so can't test it, but you just have to cut it to see if it's cooked. If it's still red, or has red spots. Don't eat it/cook it a bit longer.

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I personally feel the best way to get a tender juicy chicken is to make beer can chicken: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/the-surreal-gourmet/beer-can-chicken-recipe/index.html . I've done it several times and the chicken always fabulously moist. Of course, to do this, you need to cook a whole chicken and not just the breasts.

With that said, I've always felt that microwaved food has a rubbery texture due to the way microwaves cook (heat from microscopic vibrations in the water molecules in food).

Although it may be rubbery, it will still cook fully in a microwave. Just make sure there is no pink when you slice into the breast, the same check you'd do if you were cooking it any other way.

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I am very skeptical that a microwave can produce "the juiciest" results. You really can't beat a marinated/brined piece of chicken, pan seared in butter, and finished in an oven on medium heat. Don't overcook it; that is the key to moisture. Or a nicely breaded piece of chicken deep-fried in oil. Or a well-basted piece of chicken roasted in a hot oven. Or a well-seasoned piece of chicken grilled over medium heat.

I'd almost suggest anything but a microwave.

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p.s. whatever you do, don't use the "wrapped in aluminum foil" method for your microwave. –  Ocaasi Aug 5 '10 at 2:02

It can be done ... just like cooking omelette in the microwave. Have to do it in 20-30 secs at a time and open the microwave door. If I am not using the steam function for the microwave, I place a glass of water next to the chicken in the microwave. Chicken comes out juicy and tasty - and cooked.
Cooking omlette is also easy. I googled and found some suggestions which I followed except i don't wrap my dish in pastic wrap (I never use plastic wrap in the microwave). Just watch the egg and stop the microwave every 20-30 seconds, until the egg is cooked the way you want. Can add it cheeese, tomatoes and whatever.

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