How to Boil Water in a Microwave

There are many ways to go about heating water - boiling over gas, boiling over electricity, etc. If you are time-conscious, using these mediums to boil water is no not very quick, especially if it's a small quantity of water you intend to boil.

But how about using a microwave to boil water? Can you boil water in the microwave? The simple answer is yes. Boiling water in the microwave is time-efficient and safe as well. In this how to boil water in a microwave article, you will learn the steps to boil water in a microwave.

Safety of Boiling Water in the Microwave

Safety Of Boiling Water In The Microwave

Microwaves boil water rapidly due to its electromagnetic waves. These waves heat water to its boiling water temperature, but evenly. That’s why it’s vital to stir the water while it’s boiling.

There are no known health issues that are linked with boiling water with a microwave. So it’s safe using it.

Precautions Before Boiling in a Microwave

Precautions Before Boiling in a Microwave

Boiling water with a microwave can be convenient, but that doesn’t mean it’s without risks. Protect your skin when removing the container from the microwave. Use approved microwave-safe containers to boil water and read the manual carefully before use.

How to Safely Boil Water In the Microwave

How to Safely Boil Water In the Microwave

Boiling water in the microwave is fast and easy. It takes some seconds to about a minute to do so, but you have to be careful. However, it’s risky heating water in the microwave if you don't follow some precautions. The effects are usually burns and fire damages.

So how do you boil water with a microwave?

Pick a “Microwave Safe” Container

The first step to boiling water in a microwave is to find a suitable container. By suitable, we mean a container that’s microwave safe. Putting this type of container in a microwave means that there’s less risk of damages to you and the container.

Pick a “Microwave Safe” Container

If you are probably wondering which type of container is microwave-safe, we have a list of them that you should use, and you shouldn't.
The following containers will have no issues boiling water in the microwave.

  • Glass
  • Paper
  • Ceramic material
  • Wax paper

Generally, containers with "microwave-safe" are usually labeled at the bottom. So if you should see an item other than the ones that we have mentioned here with the label, you should not hesitate to buy and use it to boil water.

Other materials that you shouldn't attempt to use and boil water in the microwave include;

  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic containers
  • Airtight containers or containers with lids
  • Brown paper containers
  • Silverware containers
  • Margarine cups and other containers that are designed for one use
  • Styrofoam

These containers can cause a fire outbreak and damage both the microwave and properties around it, like in the case of aluminum foils. Avoid using these materials, if possible.

Pour Water Into Container

Pour Water Into Container

Now that you have your microwave-safe container with you, the next thing is to pour the required quantity of water into it. Before you fill the container, there are a few things you should know.

  • Do not fill the container to the brim. If the container is filled to the ledge, the heat will cause the bubbles to rise. When it rises, the hot water will spill over the edge, giving you some cleaning work.
  • Make sure the container is not sealed: As we have stated here, you shouldn't boil water in a sealed container in the microwave. When the water is boiling, it causes steam to rise. If the container is sealed, the hot steam will get trapped inside, which may cause some explosion.
  • Put a clean, non-metallic object in the water: Place an object like a wooden spoon in the water to prevent superheating. This wooden spoon will help the water bubble, even when the water has passed its boiling point. However, this shouldn't be a concern if you are around to monitor your container in the microwave.

Put Water in the Microwave and Cook

Put Water in the Microwave and Cook

Heat the water in the microwave by placing the container on the microwave's plate. You should not boil water for more than three minutes. However, it depends on the power or wattage of the microwave and the quantity of water.

Let’s look at the wattage of microwaves and the expected time of boiling.

  • For microwaves with 1200 watts, boiling time shouldn’t exceed a minute and 30 seconds.
  • Microwaves with 1000 watts should boil water, not more than 2 minutes.
  • Microwaves with 800 watts and below will have a boiling time between 2 minutes, 30 seconds and four minutes.

The wattage is most often written in the manual, so endeavor to check it before boiling water in your microwave. Knowing this will prevent overheating.

Safe Removal

Once the water has successfully boiled, it’s now time to remove it. To remove it safely from the microwave, use a potholder or a towel to take the water out carefully. You should know that the mug will become hot due to the boiled water, so using a potholder will protect yourself from burns.

Dangers Associated With Boiling Water in the Microwave

Dangers Associated With Boiling Water in the Microwave

You may encounter some dangers while boiling water in a microwave. The two most common dangers you can encounter from hot water are burns and superheating.


When the water reaches its boiling point, it will become hot and make the container hot. Exposing your body without some protective clothing to this hot water might cause some skin burns.

Wear protective clothing when removing water from the microwave. In the advent of burns, apply cool water over the burnt area for more than 20 minutes. Use a moist bandage to cover the area. In the absence of a bandage, use a clean cloth to prevent infection from penetrating.


Superheating occurs when water exceeds its boiling point of 100 degrees Celsius. At this point, bubbles will no longer form, and it could lead to an explosion.

Perhaps, the best thing to do to avoid superheating is to avoid heating the water for an extended period. If you don’t heat water beyond its boiling point, it won’t overheat.

Heat the water for one minute and then stir. Access if the water is hot enough for your purpose. If it isn't, continue to heat. The heating power of a microwave varies, and that's why you must monitor your boiling time.

Why You Should Boil Water in a Microwave

Why You Should Boil Water in a Microwave

Several risks are associated with the use of a microwave to boil water. Despite these risks, people love boiling water in a microwave because of the following reasons.


Before now, boiling water in microwave vs. on stove was usually up for debate. Now, the difference is clear. Microwaves boil water 2x-3x faster than stoves or electric kettles. You can have a cup of water heated for 2-4 minutes, while it will take about 10 minutes to boil water on a stove.

If you are extremely conscious of time, microwaves can be the solution that you need. Apart from heating water faster, they cook food more quickly than traditional stoves because of the direct heat energy transfer.

Kills Bacteria

Using a microwave is a quick and efficient method of purifying water. All you have to do is heat the water for a longer time, and the germs inside the water will all be dead.

However, you should know that overboiling water can lead to superheating. Make sure you have some safety tools on standby like a wooden spoon to keep the problem at bay.

Saves Energy Costs

Microwaving both food and water can save you a few energy bucks. While this is not big, it can save a small amount of energy compared to other conventional cooking methods like gas stoves, which uses 40% more energy.

Additional Tips

Besides the ones we have already mentioned here, there are few others you should be aware of.

Avoid using containers without the “microwave safe” label. This may result in cancer, hormonal imbalance, etc. This is true of plastics.

Supervise children when boiling water in a microwave.

Avoid keeping your face and skin too close to the container after boiling should an explosion occur.

Tutorial: How to boil water in a Microwave

How to Boil Water in a Microwave FAQs

Can Boiling Water in Microwave Explode?

Boiling water in the microwave can explode if the water is heated beyond its boiling point. At this stage, it becomes superheated.

Does Boiling Water in Microwave Kill Germs?

Yes. Microwaves generate and transfer heat to the water directly via electromagnetic waves. Since the bacteria is inside the water, the heat generated by the microwave will kill the germs and bacteria.

How to Boil Water in a Microwave For Coffee

Add water and put a coffee bag into a cup or mug; Put the mug in the microwave, and heat for about 25 - 30 seconds on mid-low power; Allow the mug to sit for some time before removing the bag; Your coffee is now ready.

Is It Safe to Boil Water in a Microwave?

It's safe to boil water in the microwave, especially if you boil a small quantity of water. As far as medical research is concerned, there are no side effects of whatsoever associated with using a microwave to boil water. 

How Long Does It Take For Water to Boil in a Microwave?

The time it takes solely depends on the wattage of the microwave. Typically, it will take about a minute to boil water in the microwave with 1000 watts and above. For microwaves that have low wattage, it could take longer, usually three minutes.


The bottom line is boiling water in a microwave is convenient, safe, and time-efficient, only if you abide by some safety precautions. There are no harmful effects either, making it the best method of boiling water, especially in small quantities.

After reading this how to boil water in a microwave article, we are sure that when next you want to boil water, microwaving it will be your best option.

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