Small Appliances

 How Does A Microwave Work? All You Should Know

Tim Parry


Microwave with the ability to cook food quickly is recommended as a powerful assistant for busy users in just a few minutes. But do users understand how does a microwave work and some valuable ways to use it?

Definition of microwave oven

Microwave is a familiar item in the kitchen, but few people understand what a microwave is? We can appreciate a microwave oven is an electronic device that works based on convection electric energy, using the physical properties of the magnetic field to heat molecules, thereby cooking food.

Microwaves are known for their primary function of heating food.

With the significant development of technology, today’s microwave ovens have many different models, designs, and capacities, serving from steaming to cooked food.

Structure of a microwave oven

A microwave oven ( not a microwave oven with a grill) usually consists of the following parts: the source of the wave (microwaves), the control electronics, the waveguide, and the cooking compartment.

  • Cooking chamber (drying chamber): This part is also called Usable Space. It is the space to store the product to be cooked. This cooking chamber is composed of baffles, which reflect back and forth microwave rays before the food absorbs them.
  • Microcontroller circuit: This is one of the parts that provide the power to create microwaves. Besides, it is the head unit with countless microelectronic courses, whose main task is to control and control the microchips in the system. Machine. Whether a microwave oven works efficiently and smoothly depends a lot on this part.
  • High-frequency generator – source: Magnetron is a high-power high-frequency (microwave) generator. An electronic oscillator amplified creates a microwave by a magnetron that acts as a three-pole electronic lamp. It is essential since they are the primary source of microwave radiation (drying agents or cooking agents). It includes a hollow metal cylinder consisting of an anode in which deep holes are placed to increase the frequency from 50Hz to 2450Hz. The source of this wave is usually lamps. The structure of the magnetron may vary depending on the model.
  • Waveguides: These waveguides are responsible for guiding the motion of microwave rays.
  •  Other parts: Like some electrical circuits, transformers,…

Did you know the microwave door is covered with a metal mesh? They act as a mirror to reflect microwaves and keep microwaves from leaking out. The mesh size is too small for the wavelengths to escape but large enough to see what’s cooking inside.

Most microwave ovens have a rotating glass table, and it acts as a conveyor belt so that the heat is everywhere. Ensure that a portion of the food is stuck between the hot and cold positions of the microwave in case the food does not rotate evenly.

If you want to learn more about the elements that make up the operating principle of a microwave oven, you can read more articles below:

Do you know how does a microwave work?

The reality shows that although the structure of microwave ovens may differ in shape, size, or purpose of use, most of them share the same basic operating principle. The schematic diagram of the typical microwave oven can be understood as follows:

Microwaves are radio waves. Microwaves in a microwave oven are electromagnetic oscillations with a frequency of 2,450 MHz (wavelength as far as 12.24 cm). With this length, microwaves can be absorbed by most foods. But microwave particles, known as photons, don’t have enough energy to destroy molecules and cause cancers like ultraviolet or X-rays.

When you press the start button, it only takes 2 seconds for the microwave to generate waves and blow into the cooking compartment.

The moisture contained in the foods that are brought into the cooking chamber will be heated. The heat of this water will transfer heat to the rest of the food or food contained in the oven. The heating is divided into two stages: The water in the food is heated by microwaves, and the hot water transfers heat to other parts of the food.

Microwaves use microwaves to cook food

With this frequency, water causes a reaction to microwaves: fats, sugars, and organic substances. The waves inside the oven will be emitted at the right frequency to penetrate deep into the food and transfer energy to the water inside the food, creating significant friction between the molecules and producing heat. Eat hot. From the bottom, cook the food from the inside out.

The heat generated by the friction of the movement of food molecules under the action of a magnetic field

The microwave cooks food faster than conventional cooking methods because all the food molecules are heated up simultaneously, which can shorten the cooking time compared to traditional cookware. Others such as gas stove, infrared stove,…

Only the food is heated, so the use efficiency of the microwave is very high, saving electricity well. But due to the disadvantage that the dish is heated evenly, the surface will not be golden brown or crispy like when baking or frying in a pot, oven.

What is the function of a microwave oven?

Until now, we must have thought that the microwave oven only has the primary function of heating and defrosting food, right? But conversely, microwave ovens today have more uses than you can imagine. Do you think on a busy Monday you can cook rice in the microwave in just 10 minutes? Let’s find out some of the fascinating functions of the microwave oven:

  • Food heating function: This is one of the essential functions of a microwave oven. Some foods you can reheat such as rice, fish, meat, pizza, noodles, etc. It only takes 3-5 minutes, delicious and hot dishes will appear right in front of your eyes, the aroma, taste remains the same. Have you seen the excellent microwave?
  • Automatic cooking function: Have you ever imagined being able to make a 5-star restaurant standard egg tart? With only 5 minutes of choosing the baking mode, you have dessert in the afternoon. But this function is only available in wall-mounted microwave ovens or electric ovens. You need to select the general method to have a convenient and straightforward meal right away.
  • Baking function: Some people think that only the range has a baking role, but no, now you can bake milk bread, make some basic cakes like sesame cake, vanilla custard,… with baking mode. Dedicated but make sure your microwave oven has this function. Since the microwave oven cooks food because the magnetic field exerts an electric current on the internal heating element, some simple baking can be done.
  • Food defrost function: With the flow of modern life, people are gradually busier, have less time to prepare meals, or go to the market many times a day. Therefore, buying and storing frozen food in the refrigerator is a common thing. The microwave will be a great item in defrosting food. A piece of pork takes 1 hour if defrosted in the usual way, but in just 7-10 minutes, you can prepare food to cook in just the microwave. It saves a lot of time.
  • Cooking function: There is a saying that goes, “Save the best for the last.” That’s right, the ultimate process of the microwave oven is sure to leave you with no disappointment. It’s the cooking function. Do you think you will have boiled carrots, broccoli in just 10 minutes? Or minced meat with spaghetti sauce in 15 minutes. Due to the convection heat flow mechanism of the microwave oven, the food cooks evenly without losing nutrients. Try boiling vegetables once in the microwave. That’s so cool!

What should be avoided when using the microwave?

Do you want to use the microwave safely and prolong its life? There are some notes that we need to avoid as follows:

  • These items such as plastic, glass, ceramics do not absorb microwaves, so they are not heated in the microwave. They can be used to make specialized cooking utensils in the microwave. However, care should be taken not to use flexible plastics because they catch high heat. The heat from heated food can cause the plastic to melt and deform. Toxic to health and stinks into food.
  • Metal that reflects microwaves is accessible to cause sparks with the risk of fire and explosion, so it cannot be used in microwave ovens. Therefore, plastic or porcelain dishes decorated with metal patterns should not be cooked in the microwave. It will very quickly cause unwanted explosions.
  • Nevertheless, if your microwave has a grill function, when you switch to baking mode, the heat supplied to the oven will be from a resistance wire or a halogen lamp, not a microwave, so that you can use a metal tool. With other cooking functions, never in the microwave, but do not use metal in the oven.
  • It is essential that: Always create an opening for dishes cooked in the oven: open the cookware lid, pierce eggshells, sausage casings, other berry-skinned vegetables so that when the food is cooked. Volume increases due to heat will not break, explode in the furnace.


If you are a lover of your kitchen and look after yourself, make sure that this article will show you: How does a microwave work? And some tips to use. It will help you have the most realistic and clear view of the oven’s structure, ensuring your safety in fire prevention in the kitchen. Don’t forget some notes about the tools used in the microwave and its incredible functions. To be able to use the microwave effectively and optimize the cooking time. Latter-day, cooking has become too easy when we know the ways to use it effectively.

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Tim Parry

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