How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 654

In a microwave oven, does food cook from the inside out or outside in? — KS, Essex, England
If the piece of food isn't too large, it all cooks at once. The microwaves that heat the food pass deep into it and they deposit energy in every part of the food simultaneously. Only if the piece of food is so large that an appreciable amount of microwaves are absorbed before they reach the center will the center cook more slowly than the outside. I doubt that this shielding of the center is a problem with foods small enough to fit inside a normal microwave oven. However, the microwaves in a microwave oven aren't perfectly uniform, so that some parts of a meal will cook a bit faster than others. That's why it's important to move the food about during cooking to achieve uniform heating throughout.

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