You can cook steak in a microwave, according to some chefs — but after trying it, we have no idea why you would

Kieran's microwaved steak.

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Kieran’s microwaved steak.
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Kieran Corcoran

  • Some people argue you can cook steak in a microwave.
  • INSIDER asked a top chef for his view, and he said it’s definitely possible, although not entirely recommended.
  • Three INSIDER employees decided to give it a try, with mixed verdicts.
  • Here’s what happened.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

When it comes to steak, people can get pretty snobby.

If you’re someone whose choice of steak is a well-done fillet, you’re probably going to be judged.

But perhaps an even bigger sin when it comes to steak is the mere suggestion that you could cook one in a microwave.

And yet, it’s not unheard of – there have been recipes lurking on the internet for years instructing lazy cooks how to create steak à la microwave.

Read more: Yes, you can microwave a steak – here’s how

Naturally, we were skeptical of this cooking technique, so we decided to ask Mike Reid, Executive Chef of M Restaurants in London, for his view.

“Can you microwave a steak to cook it? Yes is the answer but you can also throw it in the deep fryer and no one is shouting about that,” he told INSIDER.

He explained that cooking steak is all about “the Maillard reaction.”

“This is what creates flavor and changes the colour of food,” he said. “It is a chemical reaction between amino acid and a reducing sugar which occurs above 140 degrees.

“During this process, hundreds of different flavor compounds are created, these compounds in turn break down to form more new flavor compounds and so on. This cannot be achieved in a microwave. A pan is great, a grill is even better.”

Three of INSIDER’s adventurous employees decided to put the theory to the test, following this recipe (though the instructions are essentially just “put steak in microwave.”)

Here’s what happened.


First up, it was my turn.

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Rachel Hosie

Despite being Senior Lifestyle Reporter at INSIDER, I’ve never cooked a steak at home in any capacity (I prefer to only eat them occasionally when in a nice restaurant where I know the meat will be good quality and well-cooked). Therefore, I did not have high hopes for my microwaved steak.

Indeed, I had bought sausages as a back-up, should my steak prove inedible.

It wasn’t till I got home from the supermarket that I realized I’d messed up already by buying a fillet steak when the recipe called for sirloin. Oh well. It had cost me £6.25 ($7.95).

As instructed, I let it sit out of the fridge for an hour.


“Pat the steak down gently with paper towels,” the recipe said, so I did, but it didn’t go well.

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Rachel Hosie

How can you mess up patting a steak with paper towels, you ask? I don’t know, but I did. Maybe my superhuman strength meant I accidentally wasn’t gentle enough, but the paper towel all stuck to the meat and was difficult to peel off. So far, not at all good.

I couldn’t help but think this was going to be a waste of a steak.


I seasoned my steak on both sides with some fancy sea salt and some less fancy ground pepper.

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Rachel Hosie

It was time to go into the microwave.

The recipe recommends cooking the steak for 5-7 minutes, flipping it halfway. But considering my steak was likely thinner plus I have no idea what power level my microwave is, I decided to try two minutes on each side.


It wasn’t long until the microwave started making questionable exploding noises. I nervously waited for the two minutes.

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Rachel Hosie

Juices were flowing and it looked OK actually, but the inside of my microwave was splattered with brown specks.


I flipped it over, revealing a pinker underside, and popped it back in for another two minutes.

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Rachel Hosie

Cue more exploding noises and mild concern than I was going to blow up my flat.


It was done!

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Rachel Hosie

Rather well done, actually.

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Rachel Hosie

I could see why the recipe called for cooking the steak in a microwavable dish and then transferring to a plate, because it does get messy. I, however, was lazy, so left my steak sitting on the plate on which I’d cooked it.


To complete the sad appearance of my dinner, I served my steak with some leftover veg I’d also warmed up: roast asparagus and paprika crinkle-cut butternut squash.

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Rachel Hosie

Truth be told, it tasted a lot better than I’d expected.

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Rachel Hosie

Yes, it was more well done than I’d have liked and the texture reflected that, but the flavor was nice and it wasn’t unpleasant. I’d describe it as quite fine, overall.


Next it was the turn of Rosie Percy, Senior Social Media and Global Content Partnerships Editor.

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Rosie Percy

Percy bought a £4.50 ($5.73) supermarket sirloin steak. “I’ve had it a few times but have always fried or griddled it, and it’s been tender, flavorful, and delicious,” she said.


The instructions said to leave the steak out at room temperature for 1-2 hours to prevent it drying out, but she was starving after the gym. “Impatience is part of my nature so I gave it about 30 minutes,” she said.

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Rosie Percy

“I usually pre-massage the steak with olive oil and salt and pepper before frying, but instructions said to leave the oil to prevent a dried out steak. So I seasoned with Maldon sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper on both sides.”

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Rosie Percy

“I reluctantly put the steak into the microwave, going against everything my Bon Appetit subscription has taught me.”

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Rosie Percy

“I apologized as I hit ‘start’: to myself, the steak, the microwave, the culinary world.”


The instructions suggested cooking for 5-7 minutes on high for a medium-done steak. “I like mine medium rare, so I went with 5 minutes,” Percy said.

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Rosie Percy

“Within 30 seconds, the steak hissed and pops so loudly that I immediately ran a mental checklist of my rented flat’s inventory and wondered if I’m responsible for the microwave.”


Instructions suggested turning the steak halfway through. The edges were greying, but there was still a raw red centre.

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Rosie Percy

“It already felt rubbery when flipping, so I turned it over, pressed go again, and prayed.”


The steak emerged from the microwave after 5 minutes of cooking and looked like a crime scene.

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Rosie Percy

“The steak was shrunken in the middle of the plate, which was spattered with a grey-brown aura of sadness,” Percy said.


“I served my sad steak with butternut squash and sweet potato mash, as some form of compensation for what I was about to put into my body.”

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Rosie Percy

“The steak was nowhere near medium rare, despite my hopeful shorter timing.”

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Rosie Percy

“The microwave had blasted my beautiful sirloin to the point of looking like indeterminable street meat – and it tasted like it, too. It was grey, tough, with any ounce of tenderness long lost.”


“It tasted like steak, but from a bulk-bought multi-pack served at a chain restaurant at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday when the usual chef is off sick. I’d be sending this back. The person most excited about this microwaved steak was my cat. But she also once ate scrambled eggs out of the garbage, so it’s not a huge vote of confidence.”

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Rosie Percy

According to Percy: if you like steak at all, don’t do this to it. Steak deserves better.

“Technically I could microwave most foods, but it doesn’t mean I should. Griddling takes about the same amount of time with a much more satisfying outcome for your tastebuds and your wallet.”


Finally, it was the turn of Kieran Corcoran, INSIDER’s London-based News Editor.

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Kieran Corcoran

“For my microwave steak experiment, I chose an aged rump steak from Sainsbury’s, a mid-market UK grocery store,” Corcoran said. [It’s entirely a coindidence that we all ended up buying our steaks from Sainsbury’s. This feature is in no way affiliated with the brand].

“It cost £3.50 ($4.40) for 225g (7.9 oz). I went for their ‘Taste the Difference’ fancy range because I thought higher-quality meat might hold up better in the microwave. I picked the cut mainly because it’s a good shape and size.”


“The recipe told me to let the steak rest for between one and two hours. However, I was hungry and caved after around 30 minutes.”

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Kieran Corcoran

“I patted it down, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and some cumin. I was worried it would not be very juicy, especially without rubbing with oil, which I would usually do but the recipe forbade.”


Then it went into the microwave, on a regular plate. “My microwave is not very easy to see through, but here is my best attempt at a photo where the meat is at least partly visible.”

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Kieran Corcoran

The recipe advised cooking the steak for 5 to 7 minutes, turning halfway through. “This seemed a very long time, so I cut it to 4 minutes. While the steak was turning, I pan-fried some mushrooms and prepped some salad to eat with it.”


Here is the steak after 4 minutes of microwaving, complete with juices:

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Kieran Corcoran

“It looked and smelled like a regular steak – pretty appetizing.”


“I let it rest for about five minutes, then swapped it to a fresh plate (the old one looked too gross) and added my extras.”

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Kieran Corcoran

“If someone served me this without telling me it came from a microwave, I’d be reasonably happy. The meat doesn’t have any crispy charred texture that I like in a steak, but it is recognizably a piece of meat ready for human consumption.”


“Despite a relatively short time in the microwave, this was pretty well done by my standards, with only a hint of pinkness to be found. If I were to do this again, I might stop at 3 minutes, or 2 minutes 30 seconds, to keep it a bit rarer.”

Kieran's microwaved steak.

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Kieran Corcoran

“As for the taste: it was acceptable, but pretty far from great. The steak was drier than I hoped, and I found the meat bland and chewy. The outside was better than the middle, which seemed to suffer the worst from being microwaved. It was fine as a weekday meal for me, but I wouldn’t want to serve it to my friends.”

In conclusion: the experiment proved that you can indeed microwave a steak. Whether you would want to, however, is another matter entirely. Given that you can pan-fry a steak in about the same amount of time, with far better results, I don’t see why you would ever choose the microwave. If microwaving were my only cooking option… I’d probably find something else to eat.