I know some people try to use their microwave judiciously, shying away from microwave dinners and whatnot, but I saw a TikTok microwave cooking hack that has opened up a whole new world of ease into my busy life as a person who doesn’t always have time to preheat the oven and has tiny humans who eat mostly carbs. Who am I to deny the awesome powers of the microwave? Here’s what I learned.
Creator Kitty Lipski recently posted a TikTok video sharing her “college survival” hack for “perfect pasta”: simply cook it in the microwave.
The video, which has thousands of likes and hundreds of comments, provides a quick and easy tutorial on the correct tools, measurements, and noodles to pull off this often forgotten cooking method. The idea is that, instead of heating water on the stove and then adding the dry pasta once the water’s at a rolling boil, you add dry pasta to a microwave-safe bowl, cover it with water, and then nuke the mixture for 10-plus minutes to al dente perfection.
I’m exceptionally impressed with Lipski’s visual aids in the video, demonstrating which types of noodles work well with this microwave method. You cannot use spaghetti or other long, thin pasta, she explains, because it will stick together. Similarly, elbow or shell macaroni cannot “hold its own.” Bow-tie or penne works best, she says.
Lipski says she used this cooking hack in college, which implies it’s a good tip for people who don’t have full kitchens. I do have a kitchen but still wanted to try it, because as a busy parent I’ll often get home after soccer or whatever and still have to feed and walk the dog, unload the car, de-mud the kids, make dinner, and then begin bedtime procedures, all in the span of a few minutes. Being able to put something in the microwave and leave it to do its thing while I cover all the other tasks is easier than sticking something on the stove, which could boil over or overcook if left unwatched.
In order to test the microwave pasta method, I convinced my kids to deviate from mac and cheese. I had my daughter pick out a rainbow bow-tie noodle. I didn’t have the glass bowl with a handle that Lipski uses in her video, but I had a big glass mixing bowl. As instructed, I consulted the stovetop cooking time listed on the package instructions and added three minutes to it, microwaved, then drained the noodles in a colander as usual and added the desired sauce (none, just as my kids like it).
My kids were very excited for the “experiment,” and within 18 minutes, we plated the pasta and gave it a whirl. The noodles were perfect. Even my son, still upset about the lack of mac and reluctant to try the bow-ties, enjoyed them.
Instead of spending 20 minutes waiting for water to heat up and sticking close to the stove to make sure it didn’t boil over (and making sure no small hands touched the stove), all the while yelling bedtime prep commands up the stairs while my kids wrestled and caused chaos without my watchful supervision, we all spent those 18 minutes reading. Then we ate, went upstairs, and got ready for bed together.
It doesn’t seem like a huge difference in time, but for busy college kids with no stoves or busy adults who don’t want to watch a pot boil, this one is a winner.