Can you cook microwave meals in the oven?

  • By: Emma
  • Date: August 20, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Table of Contents

Can you cook microwave meals in the oven?

It’s a question that has undoubtedly crossed your mind: can you cook microwave meals in the oven?

The answer is both yes and no. While most microwave meals can be cooked in the oven, not all will turn out well.

Cooking certain types of microwave meals in the oven can result in a disaster. So, before you try cooking your next take-out dinner in the oven, read on for some tips on what to avoid.

What is the difference between an oven and a microwave?

A microwave oven uses microwaves to cook food, while an oven is a more traditional heating appliance. The two appliances work in different ways and use different types of heat.

Ovens:  In an oven, food is cooked from the outside. Radiant heat from the oven walls or flames cooks the food. The oven was first invented in late 1490 using bricks and tiles.

Microwave Ovens:  In a microwave, food is cooked from the inside out. Microwave energy enters through the outer part of the food and is absorbed by the water and fat molecules. These molecules then start to vibrate and generate heat, which cooks the food. Percy Spencer first invented the microwave in the 1940s.

3 things that prevent you from cooking microwave meals in the oven

The film may melt

Microwave meals are packaged with a film that melts at specific temperatures. This is required so the microwaves can penetrate the food. So, if this film melts in the oven but not in the microwave, you know you cannot cook your microwave meal in the oven.

When cooking items wrapped in this type of packaging – like a lasagna, shepherd’s pie, or pot pie – in the oven, oversee the cooking time. If the film melts and the food leaks out, remove it from the oven immediately.

The meal may not cook evenly.

Another potential problem with cooking microwave meals in the oven is that they may not cook evenly. This is because microwave ovens cook from the inside out. While microwaves in an oven may not have a problem reaching the center of food, they may not be able to do so quickly enough.

In contrast, a regular oven cooks from the outside in – meaning that heat travels inwards towards the center of the food more uniformly. If you are cooking a microwave meal in an oven, always check the internal temperature of the food to ensure it has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not every cookware suits microwave

You shouldn’t use cookware that is not safe for the microwave when cooking. Some cooking utensils, including aluminum foil, metal skewers, and bottle caps, are not microwave-safe. If you try to heat these items in your oven, they can generate sparks that cause fires or damage your microwave.

Meals that you can cook in the microwave but not in the oven

Several microwave meals can be cooked in the oven. However, some dishes designed specifically for the microwave will not turn out as great when you cook them in an oven.

Here are a few dish types that can be cooked in a microwave but not an oven:

Cakes and pastries

These items may rise better in an oven than in a microwave. The oven’s high temperatures help them rise more quickly and evenly, producing a consistent texture throughout the dish.


Some dishes with meat may dry out when baked in the oven. That’s because microwaves cook food from the inside out – leaving a moist center while cooking the outer part of the food. In an oven, the outer part of the food dries out while the center remains moist.

Raw vegetables

Microwaving vegetables can help retain their nutritional value better than cooking them in an oven. Ovens can cause water-soluble vitamins to leach out of vegetables and into the cooking liquid. This is not a problem with microwaves, which use less liquid.

Meals that you can cook in both microwave and oven

A few types of dishes can be cooked in both the oven and the microwave without any problems.

These dishes include:

Frozen meals

Many frozen microwavable meals can also be cooked in an oven. Just follow the cooking instructions on the package.

Baked potatoes

Bake potatoes in an oven or microwave them for a shorter time for softer skin.


You can cook pizza in an oven or a microwave. Just make sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package.

Tips for cooking microwave meals safely in the oven

An oven can be a safe way to cook some microwave meals. Just follow these tips when cooking in an oven:

Watch the cooking time

Watch the cooking time carefully and check its internal temperature to ensure it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use the right cookware

Use cooking utensils that are safe for microwaves and ovens, like glass or ceramic dishes. Also, cover the dish while cooking in the oven to prevent splatters.

Don’t use metal skewers

Don’t use metal skewers when cooking in the oven. They can generate sparks that can cause a fire or damage your microwave.

Be careful with aluminum foil

Aluminum foil should only be used to cover dishes being cooked in the oven if they are made of a safe material for microwaves. If you are unsure if the material is safe, don’t use aluminum foil. It can cause sparks that can start a fire.

Check the recipe

Not all microwave meals can be cooked in an oven. Check the recipe before trying to cook it in an oven.

Which one is better: microwave or oven?

Both microwaves and ovens are popular methods for cooking. Microwave ovens are more energy-efficient but are best for heating food, while an oven is better for baking.

Which one is healthier: microwave or oven?

There is no clear answer regarding the healthiest way to cook food. Some people believe that microwaving food can destroy some of its nutrients, while others think that oven-cooking makes food more unhealthy due to the amount of added fat.

Can I reheat food in the oven if I microwaved it first?

Reheating food in the microwave is usually safe if you reheat it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you are microwaving foods that have already been cooked by another method, continue heating them until they are steaming hot throughout.

Can I cook frozen meals in the oven?

Yes, many frozen microwave meals can be cooked in an oven. Just follow the cooking instructions on the package.

Do microwaves cook food faster than ovens?

Microwaves cook food faster than ovens because they use direct heat. Ovens cook food using both direct and indirect heat.

How long can I leave a microwaved meal out at room temperature before it spoils?

You should not leave any food at room temperature for more than four hours. After that, it is not safe to eat.

Does the oven take more time than the microwave to cook meals?

Yes, it does. The oven may take more time than the microwave to cook some meals, but it also uses less energy. Ovens are better for baking rather than heating.

Can I put a metal dish in the microwave?

No, you should not use metal dishes in a microwave. Metal can cause sparks that can start a fire or damage your microwave.

Can I put a plastic dish in the oven?

Yes, you can use plastic dishes in an oven. However, be careful not to let the plastic touch any heat source, like the stovetop. It can cause the plastic to melt.

Final Thoughts

In summary, whether you can cook a microwave meal in the oven depends upon the recipe of the meal and the cookware you will use. So, if you’re looking for a different way to cook your microwaved food, such as in the oven, then the above-mentioned instructions on the package should give you all the information you will need to safely and adequately cook your meal.

Happy cooking!