How to Microwave Chicken Breasts

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Yes, you can cook chicken in the microwave, and yes, it’s as simple as it sounds.
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Yes, you can cook chicken in the microwave, and yes, it's as simple as it sounds. Microwaving chicken breasts will save you time and energy normally required to prepare a meal.

How to Microwave Chicken Breasts

Most chicken breast recipes suggest cooking the meat in the oven or on the grill. But did you know chicken breasts can just as easily be cooked in the microwave? And they'll be just as tasty. On how to microwave chicken breasts, USDA suggests:

  1. Placing the chicken breast halves in a dish with ¼ cup of water.
  2. Microwaving the chicken breast halves 6 to 8 minutes per pound.
  3. Allowing 5 minutes of standing time for the chicken to cool.

Make sure the chicken is fully cooked, with an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, USDA's recommended temperature for poultry. You can measure the temperature with a food thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. If you don't have a thermometer on hand, you can use a skewer to check if the juices run clear.

If you're looking for microwave chicken recipes beyond the standard plain chicken breast, The Children's Health Fund lays out recipes for BBQ chicken and sauce, chicken nuggets and chicken parmesan -- all of which use skinless, boneless chicken breasts.

Read more: How to Bake a Plain Chicken Breast

Microwave Safety Tips

Before you use the microwave for cooking, make sure you're well versed in microwave safety. For instance, The Children's Health Fund advises using microwave-safe containers and dishes, including glass, ceramic and plastic dishes that are labeled "microwave safe." Plastic that's not microwave safe can melt. Don't put aluminum foil or other metals in the microwave, as they can create sparks.

More don'ts: don't turn on the microwave when nothing's inside, as this can start a fire and don't put brown paper bags, thin plastic storage bags, plastic grocery bags or newspapers in the microwave, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

It's also important to know your microwave. The wattage of your microwave will influence cooking times: the higher the wattage, the faster the chicken will cook. You can find wattage in the instruction manual, online or on the microwave itself. If you're thawing chicken in the microwave, use the defrost button, then cook immediately after defrosting,

Read more: How to Bake Boneless Chicken Breast at 400 Degrees

Chicken Storage and Handling

In addition to knowing microwave safety, you should know how to handle and store the chicken breasts you're planning to cook. USDA recommends following four essential safety tips:

Wash hands and surfaces often when handling chicken, separate the raw poultry from other foods to avoid cross contamination, make sure the chicken breasts are cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and refrigerate the chicken promptly if not eating.

Cooked chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days and in the freezer for up to four months and raw chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for one to two days and in the freezer for up to nine months.

If you're planning to defrost chicken at room temperature, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF) advises against it. Chicken should always be thawed in the refrigerator, microwave or with cold water. You can refreeze defrosted chicken if it wasn't defrosting at room temperature or in the refrigerator for more than 24 hours.

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