Can You Actually Cook Raw Chicken In The Microwave?

In a professional kitchen, most chefs consider the microwave to be a torture chamber for food where flavor and texture go to die. However, most of us aren't professional chefs and sometimes you have time constraints or no other option than to cook food in the "magic oven" — and there's no judgment in doing so. 

That being said, there are foods that cook great in the microwave, like popcorn, and others that some might think are too risky. Take, for example, raw chicken. There's been an ongoing debate whether or not it's safe to do so, with some people afraid they might not cook it properly and sicken their families or dinner guests, as seen in this question posed on the Can You Microwave? forum. So, can you safely cook raw chicken in the microwave? The short answer is yes. The real question is: Will it taste good? That requires a longer explanation.

As the responder says on the forum, "Yes, you can cook chicken in a microwave as safely as any other method." Though, they do point out that cooking times are different based on the type of chicken you're using. As they mention, when selecting a cut of the bird to microwave, keep in mind that boneless will always cook much faster and probably taste better as a result of less time spent in the appliance. You'll also want to make sure that your chicken has been safely and fully thawed so that it can cook quickly and thoroughly. Do so in the refrigerator, notes the site, so that no bacteria can grow, which is a risk of leaving it out on the counter.

To ensure that your stomach doesn't cry fowl, the USDA recommends that poultry reaches a temperature of 165°F to be consumed safely. So, have your meat thermometer handy and be prepared to check the temperature in the thickest part of the chicken throughout the cooking process. That takes care of the safety issues, but what about the flavor and texture?

Here are the best tips for microwaving raw chicken

Microwaved chicken doesn't have to bounce like a basketball to your table, and there are a few tried and true methods to get a juicy piece of poultry on your plate using this cooking method.

First, start with a microwave-safe dish that allows for a bit of space between each piece of raw chicken. Healthline says to avoid microwaving food in a plastic container, as the longer cook time might warp it and can sometimes impart some nasty chemicals and flavors into your food. The English Kitchen also recommends seasoning your poultry according to your recipe (or just use plain old salt and pepper) and then place it in a dish with the thickest part of the chicken at the exterior of the container.

Next, the site says, add a liquid like chicken stock combined with citrus juice, or even a favorite liqueur to impart moisture and flavor throughout the cooking process — The English Kitchen notes to pour it so it covers 1/3 of the chicken. You'll then want to cover your dish with a microwave-safe lid or a piece of parchment paper, which will keep the liquid inside the dish to create a steam bath as it heats. Cook in the microwave on high for about four to five minutes per piece of chicken, says the site, or until your meat thermometer reaches 165°Fahrenheit.

Following these steps, you can cook raw chicken in the microwave, and you can even make it taste good!