Can You Safely Boil Water in a Microwave? (Useful Tips)

Thinking of boiling a cup of water? This is possible in several ways. You can boil water from a stove, a kettle, or other electronic appliances.

If all you need to boil is a cup of water, using a stove can be quite time-consuming. And you don’t want to waste all the time heating a cup of water, right?

You can easily boil small amounts of water in the microwave. All you need is a microwave-safe cup or container to carry out the task.

So, can you safely boil water in a microwave? Yes, you can safely boil water in the microwave. You just need to put the water in a microwave-safe cup and heat it on high power for 1 to 3 minutes.

Why You Should Boil Your Water in a Microwave

Can You Safely Boil Water in a Microwave

Boiling water in the microwave has a number of benefits.

They include:

  • Time-Saving

Boiling water in a microwave takes less time than in a kettle or stove. While it could take you up to 15 minutes to boil water on a stove, it takes only a minute and a half in a microwave.

This means that using a microwave is the best option, especially if you’re short on time.

  • Energy Saving

Microwaving saves more energy than other cooking and heating methods. You’ll also save a significant amount of energy compared to gas-powered appliances.

  • Helps to sterilize water

A microwave can help you sterilize water quickly and efficiently. Note that water sterilization requires a longer heating time.

The longer you boil your water in the microwave, the higher the chances of killing all the microorganisms in your water.

However, note that since you’ll be microwaving the water beyond its boiling point, you need to place a microwave-safe object in the water to prevent superheating.

How to Boil Water in a Microwave

To boil water in the microwave safely, use the following guide:

1. Choose a microwave-safe cup

To boil water safely in a microwave, you need to get a microwave-safe container. The best to use is either glass or ceramic-made cups.

2. Put the water in the microwave-safe cup

Boiling water in the microwave is relatively easy. To begin with, pour the water into a microwave-safe cup. Don’t seal the cup shut, as this can lead to steam buildup.

The buildup of hot steam can cause an explosion.

3. Put a microwave-safe object in your water

Next, place a non-metallic object like a chopstick or wooden stick in the water. This prevents super-heating.

Superheating can occur if the water in your microwave heats past the boiling point and fails to form bubbles because of lack of nucleation sites.

When a nucleation site is introduced, the superheated water forms steam quickly. This leads to a small explosion of the boiling water.

If you don’t want to place foreign objects in your water, use a cup with a crack or chip on the interior. The crack will act as a nucleation site and help your water to bubble.

4. Place the water in the microwave

Heat the water in short intervals (not more than a minute), stirring until the water starts steaming. If using a cup that holds heat well, be careful not to burn yourself when taking the water out of your microwave to stir it.

You can use a towel to protect your hands from burns.

If boiling the water to purify it, heat it long enough to kill all microorganisms present.

5. Safe Removal

After boiling your water successfully, remove it from the microwave. And once again, you need to be extra careful not to burn your hands during the process.

If you want to the water when it’s still very hot, use a cloth towel or oven mitt to protect your hands. Also, keep your face from the cup right after heating because the steam is usually scorching at this time.

Dangers of Boiling Water in the Microwave

Although you can boil water in the microwave, it’s not without difficulties. Be extra careful since a slight mistake can lead to grave problems.

The 2 primary dangers of boiling water in a microwave include burns and superheating.

1. Burns

This is the most common danger when heating water in the microwave.

Boiling water reaches 100 degrees Celsius. By that time, the water is usually very hot and the container holding it as well.

Exposing your skin to either can cause severe burns or scalding. That’s why you need to wear protective gear when taking the water out of the microwave.

Should you burn yourself, follow these steps for quick relief and healing:

  1. Run cool water over the burnt area for about 20 minutes. It’ll help relieve pain.
  2. Use a moist bandage to cover the affected area. This helps prevent infections.
  3. If blisters form, don’t poke them. Touching them can interfere with the healing process or expose you to infections.

2. Superheating

Superheating occurs when water heats above boiling point. It is an issue that is only specific to heating water in the microwave and might not result from heating your water elsewhere.

Superheating occurs mainly because water bubbles don’t form with ease when heating water in the microwave.

An explosion can occur after taking the water out of the microwave and stirring it. You can avoid this by leaving the water in the microwave for the required amount of time to allow bubbles to form.

And do you know why bubbles don’t form? It’s because they don’t have something to cling to. That’s why it’s suggested that you put a microwave-safe object in the water so that bubbles can form with ease.

You can also choose to use an older container with cracks. Smooth containers make it difficult for bubbles to form.

And when the microwaving is complete, try tapping on the cup carefully with a long spoon. The tapping helps trigger any water movement if superheating has taken place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How long to boil water in the microwave to kill bacteria?

To kill bacteria in your water, you need to boil it for at least 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the microwave’s wattage.

Q. How long to boil water in the microwave to sterilize?

To sterilize water when boiling it in the microwave, you need to boil it past its boiling point. This means that you should boil the water for at least 3 minutes.

Q. How long does it take to boil water in the microwave?

It takes 1 to 3 minutes to boil water in the microwave. This, however, depends on the amount of water being heated and the wattage of the microwave.

Q. How long to boil water in the microwave for tea?

When microwaving on high heat, it should take you about 30 seconds to boil a cup of water in the microwave for tea.

Q. Is it bad to boil water in the microwave?

No, boiling water in the microwave is safe and not bad at all. It’s the best method when heating small quantities of water.

Q. Can I boil tap water in the microwave?

Yes, you can boil tap water safely in the microwave. However, you must use a microwave-safe container to carry out the task.

Q. How long does it take to boil a cup of water in a 700 watts microwave?

It takes about 3 minutes to boil a cup of water in a 700 watts microwave oven.


After going through the guide, we believe that you already have the answer to whether you can safely boil water in the microwave. Just ensure that you follow the listed steps to avoid burns and superheating.

When removing the water from the microwave, always wear protective gear to keep safe.

With a microwave, you don’t have to wait for 10 to 15 minutes to make your instant noodles ready. You also won’t have to keep your guest waiting for a cup of coffee.