5 Delicious Microwave Recipes in 5 Minutes Or Less

The microwave is a terrific accomplice of sorts. We mostly look at it as a re-heater, a defroster, or a popcorn popper. We turn to the oven and stove for most of our cooking, and if there are leftovers from that, then we’ll pop it into the microwave to be reheated. But as students, we don’t always have the oven, the stove, and the complementary kitchen appliances to prepare something unique, virtually unbeknownst to the dining hall chef. This is when the microwave begs versatility, and you’d be surprised to find that the little box, which can run as low as $25, can indeed pop out a lovechild. Using just what you have stashed in your room or what the dining hall already has to offer, you can pimp out your meal with the press of a button. Here are five inspirational recipes with photos and tips to help you get started exploring the glamorous potential of the microwave.

1. Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Prep Time: 3 minutes

This is a classic snack, usually seen in gourmet gift baskets (although it tastes better when you make it yourself, of course!). It’s especially agreeable to those with a complex palette, since it combines sweet and salty flavors. These bite-size treats are the perfect indulgence while studying or when you’re craving a small, yet satisfying dessert.


  • Heaping handful of pretzels
  • 1 bar of your favorite chocolate (milk chocolate melts easiest)
  • Sprinkles


  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put them in a paper cup.
  2. Place into the microwave for 2 minutes on high. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
  3. Check to see if it is just soft enough to mix smooth with a spoon. If it needs more time, heat it in 15-second additional increments, checking in between for consistency.
  4. When of spread-worthy consistency, lay out pretzels on a plate, plop the chocolate mixture on top and use a spoon to fold the pretzels into the chocolate evenly.
  5. While the chocolate is still soft, toss the pretzels with sprinkles so the sprinkles adhere to the chocolate.
  6. Wait a few minutes and your chocolate-covered pretzels are ready for munching!

Tip: If you don’t have pretzels on hand, look for crackers, bread crisps, or nuts to replace the pretzels and ½ cup (a heaping handful) of M&M’s to replace a traditional chocolate bar. Also, try refrigerating your creation. The chocolate covered pretzels become crunchier and the taste stronger.

2. Apple Pie Filling

(Prep time: 4 minutes)

This is as close as you can get to Grandma’s apple pie, which I promise is comparable. The simplicity of this dish is surprising, considering how tasty it is!


  • 1 apple
  • 1 tbsp (about 2 spoonfuls) butter
  • ¼ cup honey (imagine a small handful)
  • Cinnamon to taste


  1. Start by slicing the apple into thin wedges and then piling the wedges onto a plate.
  2. Toss wedges with mixture of butter, honey, and cinnamon.
  3. Put your masterpiece into the microwave for 3 minutes on high and Voilà!

Tip: Enjoy the apple pie filling atop a generous serving of vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream. It also tastes great served cold! Sitting in the refrigerator, the apple has more time to absorb the flavors of the butter, honey, and spices, making the dish even more intense and delicious!

3. Nachos

(Prep Time: 5 minutes)

Like many students, you’re probably a nacho fiend. It’s the perfect plate to share, and it replaces the usual chips and salsa at parties and other social gatherings. Whether your study group needs an impromptu snack or you’re craving something from your favorite Mexican restaurant, you can’t go wrong with a plate burgeoning with cheesy nachos. 


  • Tortilla chips
  • Beans (any kind work)
  • Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Corn
  • Green pepper
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes or salsa
  • Spices (chili and cumin work great).


  1. Pile chips onto a plate and top with rest of ingredients. The measurements are all to taste.
  2. Microwave until cheese melts (2-3 minutes).
  3. Top with tomato and lettuce before eating. Bon appétit!

Tip: You have a lot of freedom with this dish, so add whatever you like! For a dip, try mashing an avocado with a fork, mixing it with lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper, and diced onion or garlic.

4. Pizza

(Prep time: 4 minutes)

Pizza can be eaten anytime, anywhere, and it’s a surefire way to surprise your friends, and yourself for that matter, with this creative concoction.


  • 1 flour tortilla
  • About one generous scoop spaghetti sauce
  • Cheese
  • Cold cut ham
  • Green pepper
  • Fresh basil or spinach


  1. Place tortilla on plate and top with spaghetti sauce, evenly distributing it on the tortilla while leaving about an inch space between the edge of the tortilla and the sauce.
  2. Top sauce with cheese, pepper, and ham, pulling ham into pieces.
  3. Cook the pizza in the microwave until the cheese melts and begins to become crispy (about 2 minutes).
  4. Finish creation with a garnish of basil or spinach.

Tip: If you don’t have mozzarella, cheddar works well too. Get creative! Add pineapple for a Hawaiian twist or any other toppings such as ground meat, onions, pepper, and mushrooms.

5. Rice Crispy Treats

(Prep time: 3 minutes)

Sometimes you want breakfast in a dessert, and that’s where rice crispy treats come into play. Now you can make them yourself in minutes!


  • Breakfast bowl full of rice crispy cereal
  • 1 cup of marshmallows (about 2 handfuls)
  • 1 tsp butter (about 2 spoonfuls)


Toss together all ingredients and microwave for 40 seconds or until marshmallows are spread-worthy. When ready, use spoon to mix all ingredients together until of one consistency. Refrigerate to harden or eat right away!

Tip: Try adding other sweets to your mixture, such as M&M’s, brownie bits, dried coconut, nuts, and peanut butter (the options are endless).


With a little creativity, you can create some of your favorite treats in a matter of minutes. Don’t underestimate the power of the microwave. Your local grocery store or CVS should have all the ingredients listed. By making any of the above dishes, or one you come up with yourself, you can accelerate your kitchen game and satisfy your taste buds all in one ultimate ding! It’s ready.

Aylin is a senior Government concentrator at Harvard with a citation in German. An avid traveler and lover of languages, Aylin was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, although spending a lot of her childhood in Turkey and Germany. She is a self-proclaimed “foodie” — loves everything food, from home cooking to fine dining . In her sophomore year summer, she went backpacking through Western Germany, researching and writing for the “Let’s Go: Europe” travel guide. She has contributed to several on-campus publications. Her junior year summer, she interned as a production assistant for chef Bobby Flay and Alex Guarnaschelli’s Food Network shows filmed in New York City. She also interned for author and nutritionist Natalia Rose. An entrepreneur at heart, she'd ideally love to open a chain of high-end, health-minded restaurants. Her passions include piano, tennis, and dark chocolate.

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