Have you ever wondered what the highest temperature a microwave can reach? Microwaves have been a part of 90 percent of the American household ever since the year 1997.
However, it is still commonly used for reheating and not for professional cooking up to this day. This result may have something to do with how hot they get.
Heat is an essential factor to consider when cooking. Stovetops and ovens are the most common tools used in households since they give a significantly high temperature. But how about microwaves?
This article will be talking about how high a microwave’s temperature can reach as well as the different factors that affect this. And yes, it is not the answer that you are expecting. Or is it?
Well, let’s get into it, shall we?
What is the highest temperature a microwave can reach?
There is NO specific highest temperature that a microwave can reach. It can, however, have a temperature range depending on the heat setting you’re going to use.
When you use your microwave on a high heat setting for an extended period, its temperature can range from around 350 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, it can have a temperature range of around 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit on a low heat setting.
Of course, the temperature ranges are dependent on different factors such as how long you are using the microwave on the given heat setting as well as the wattage of the microwave you are using.
However, at regular intervals, microwaves can reach only 140 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not enough to completely cook food unlike when you use stovetops or ovens.
Does a microwave have a maximum temperature?
Technically, no. A microwave does NOT have a maximum temperature since it doesn’t have specific parts or components for heating, unlike ovens or stovetops.
The heat given off by a microwave depends on what kind of food is being heated inside it. Later on, we’ll be talking about how microwaves work, so you understand how they heat the food, even if they don’t have specific parts responsible for heating.
It only takes around 2 minutes and 30 seconds for a microwave to be hot. However, if you want to heat your food for longer, you can microwave them for at most 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
How does a microwave work?
Microwaves do NOT heat your food the same way as an oven or a stovetop does. I bet you may not have expected this?
A microwave produces radio waves that let the water in your food vibrate. The friction caused by the vibrating water molecules creates heat (it’s just like how your palms slowly become warm the longer and harder you rub them against each other).
The heat that comes from the friction is what heats the food. Hence, if your food has a lot of water content, then it will easily be heated if you use a microwave.
With this, a microwave then does NOT have a specific highest temperature. The heat it produces depends on what is being heated inside it.
As you read further, we will be talking about how hot a microwaved object can reach.
What affects the temperature inside a microwave?
Different factors affect the temperature inside a microwave. Listed below are some of the most common ones that can significantly change how hot a microwave can be.
Food’s size and shape
The size and even the shape of the food can affect how much heat there will be inside a microwave.
Food that is sliced or is already small will be heated much quicker than those in large portions. The inside of the microwave will also NOT be crowded easily.
Heat can be easily distributed if the food is smaller that’s why it is recommended that you microwave them in this size.
On the other hand, food that has a round shape or has very few edges also gets heated much faster than those with edges or are rectangular and oval.
With that, you need to consider and see both the size and shape of the food you decide to heat in the microwave especially if you are in a rush.
How much water does the food have?
As we have talked about earlier, the microwave uses your food’s water molecules when heating it.
The water content of your food will tell you a lot about how fast or how slow it is going to heat in the microwave.
If your food has a lot of water, such as fish, fruits, or vegetables, then you can expect it to heat quickly.
Moreover, if your food lacks some water content, there are ways that you can do to add moisture to your microwave. You may heat your food by steaming it in the microwave.
Of course, you also need to make sure the method you’re doing applies to the food you’re heating so that you don’t ruin its quality.
The wattage of the microwave being used
The wattage and power of the microwave you are using also determine how high its temperature can go.
If your microwave has a high wattage (around 1000 watts or more), then you can expect it to heat your food faster. It is also ideal for defrosting and probably even cooking a lot of simple dishes.
On the other hand, if your microwave has a low wattage (around 700-800 watts or lower), then it will surely take longer to properly heat your food. Additionally, it may also not be very helpful or useful for everyday cooking, heating, or defrosting tasks in your home.
Size of the microwave
The size of the microwave you’re using also affects how fast you’re going to heat your food.
If you’re going to heat small pieces of food, but the microwave you’re using is quite large, then it will take some time for the radio waves to travel from the microwave wall to the food.
It is important that the size of the microwave you’re going to use is proportional to how big or small the food you’re going to heat will be.
There’s no problem if you’re going to use a microwave with a size that doesn’t match the size of your food. It will still do its job.
The only issue will be if your food will fit into the microwave or if it can be heated quick enough for you.
What is the highest temperature an object can reach inside a microwave?
The highest temperature a microwaved object can reach is most probably 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
The given highest temperature of a microwaved object is based on the boiling point of water since microwaves make use of water molecules to heat an object.
At its boiling point, water starts to evaporate and this is when the food may start to burn (and the time when you should turn off your microwave and take the food out of it).
It is, however, possible to let water superheat. Doing this will let the water reach 120 degrees Celsius or 248 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you do decide to try superheating water, always be careful since you risk the possibility of scalding yourself.
Now, you know that microwaves don’t technically heat up. They only make use of water molecules and vibrate them so that their friction creates heat.
I find that very interesting since I always thought that microwaves produce their heat just like how ovens and stovetops do. Well, I guess we all learned something new from looking into this.
Did this make you appreciate the magic of your microwaves more? I surely did.