Lemon mug cake with sugar glaze on a white table.

You may think your microwave is solely for heating leftovers, but there’s a reason it’s called an “oven”. With a few simple ingredients, you can cook up microwaved mini-meals that taste so good you will never know the difference. Not everyone has access to a pro range at all times, but we almost always have a coffee mug and microwave at hand. Here are 26 delicious recipes for kitchenless cooks.

Most mug recipes are ooey-gooey desserts, like these 21 tempting mug cakes, and we are so down with that! But sometimes we need a real meal in a hurry. Here are 14 savory microwave mug recipes that are great for quickie office lunches. You might even want to whip one up at home at night, when you don’t feel like dealing with a lot of cleanup or dishes.

The microwave is one of the most versatile cooking tools in a kitchen. In addition to heating leftovers without drying them out, microwaves are great for a number of things:

  • Defrosting meat or fish
  • Steaming veggies the healthy way, without fat and leaving more nutrients intact.
  • Poaching eggs without breaking the yolks.
  • Making mac and cheese. (See our recipe, above.)
  • Cooking perfect polenta.
  • And of course, popping popcorn.

To steam vegetables in the microwave without losing nutrients, make sure that you don’t use a lot of water, which washes away some nutrients. Place your veggies on a microwave-safe dish, cover tightly (don’t use plastic) and microwave for the same amount of time you’d steam it — about four minutes for broccoli, for example. Remove when greens are bright green and still a little crisp.

The best use for a microwave I’ve ever heard of is that it can melt ice-cream to that perfect room temperature that doesn’t give you brain-freeze.

What do you use your microwave for? Tag us on Instagram @britandco.

(Photo via Getty)