Super easy to use and the quiet workhorse of most busy households, a microwave is a kitchen essential. Plus, with energy prices soaring, microwaving can be one of the cheapest ways of cooking. With their strong energy-efficient credentials, microwaves can be quicker to use than heating up an oven and cheaper than turning on the ho, meaning you dinner can be on the table in mere minutes.
It’s possible you’re under-utilising your microwave – it’s a surprisingly versatile appliance that can successfully cook a wide range of dishes, from microwave mug cakes through to entire microwave dishes like risotto and macaroni cheese. It can also be used for everyday kitchen tasks, including cooking an absolute midweek staple – pasta.
Read on to discover how to make pasta in the microwave instead of the traditional hob method. For more microwave inspiration, see our microwave recipe collection, round-up of the best microwaves for everyday cooking, plus our useful cookery guide on how to use a microwave.
Why cook pasta in the microwave?
While we are all familiar with the simple method of cooking pasta on the hob, using your microwave instead is a great hack if you are keen to lower your energy usage or are low on hob space. It can also save you time – while pasta takes around the same amount of time to cook in the microwave as it does on the hob, you don’t have to wait for the water to boil in the pan.
What pasta types can I cook in the microwave?
Short pasta types are best suited to microwave cooking. Shapes such as macaroni, fusilli and penne work well. Longer pasta types can be cooked, but you will need a deep, wide microwave-safe dish to ensure that the pasta is completely submerged in water.
How to cook pasta in the microwave
You will need:
- A microwave-safe large bowl
- A microwave (we used a 900W microwave)
- A wooden spoon
SERVES 1 PREP 2 mins COOK 10 mins EASY
75g pasta (we recommend penne)
sauce of your choice, to serve
1 Tip the pasta into a microwave-safe bowl and season well with salt. Make sure the bowl is large, as the pasta will expand and bubble up as it cooks. Pour around 400ml boiling water over the top – you want to ensure the pasta is completely covered.
2 Microwave on high for 4-5 mins, then give it a good stir so it doesn’t stick. Return to the microwave and heat on high for 2 mins intervals, stirring it each time. It should take around 9-10 mins for al dente pasta. Drain well and toss with your favourite sauce to serve.
To serve two, double the quantity of both pasta and water. You’ll need a larger dish, too.
How long does it take to cook pasta in the microwave?
We used a 900W microwave to test, so lower wattage microwaves may vary, but it takes around 9-10 mins to cook pasta. It is best to cook it on high for 5 mins, then continue to cook and check every minute to ensure it doesn’t stick or overcook. You can use water straight from the tap rather than boiled, but it will take around 11-12 mins to cook for al dente pasta.
How to serve pasta cooked in the microwave
Pasta recipe inspiration
Do you cook pasta in the microwave? Share your cookery tips and recipe ideas in the comments below.