Microwave grills are a fantastic invention.

I mean, who doesn’t want a piping hot pizza complete with charred cheese and crusts within minutes? Or being able to make a dynamite grilled cheese sandwich without getting a single cooking utensil dirty?

Microwave grills unlock a great many new options for quick, easy, tasty – and even healthy! – food. They save time, typically look great, and most importantly – save on dirty dishes.

However, they can be a bit confusing. That’s why I’ve put this quick guide together on getting the most out of your grill microwave.

While the instructions detailed below should apply to almost any microwave, it’s important to clarify with your microwave’s specific manual.

Lost yours? No worries.

Just google your microwave type and model with ‘Manual’ in the search term. There’s almost always going to be an online version to save your bacon! (Or just your day). If you don’t know your specific model, just search the brand. They usually stick to the same styles.

If you don’t know your model number, just search for the brand.

Ever wondered how a microwave works, or what type is best for your kitchen? Check out our full guide on microwaves.

Using a Grill Microwave

Most microwave grill modes operate the same way.

Including a grill in your microwave offers a whole other level of convenience. But sometimes, it also adds a bit too much complexity.

Many users get stuck on how to operate the microwave properly, especially between ‘grill only’ or ‘combi’ options. Thankfully, these are almost always the same on most models.

To use only your Microwave Grill:

  1. Hit the ‘Grill’ button: usually it’s 1, 2, or 3 presses for low, medium, high power.
  2. Use the dial to select the grilling time.
  3. Press ‘Timer’ if you want to add any standing time.
  4. Close the door. (Unlike your oven grill, the door needs to be closed for a microwave one)
  5. Press start.

To use the ‘Combination’ mode:

  1. Hit the ‘Combi’ button to select the setting. Check your user manual or stickers on the microwave for guides. Typically, this is low, medium, and high grill power microwave power is either going to be low or medium.
  2. Use the dial to select the cooking time.
  3. Press ‘Timer’ if you want to add any standing time.
  4. Close the door.
  5. Press start.

Not sure which setting is Grill only?

Don’t worry, there’s a quick test we can use to find out.

Take a microwavable jug or container, and fill it with water. Then place it in the microwave, and run it on standard microwave power for a few minutes. When you test the water, it should be plenty warm. Now do the same again, but use the ‘Grill’ setting. After a few minutes, the water should be much cooler than before. If it’s the same temperature (or similar), then the microwave is also likely on at the same time.

What Utensils Can You Use with a Microwave Grill?

It’s important to have a quick think about what exactly you’ll be putting in your microwave. First off, let’s just do a quick run-through of things you shouldn’t ever put in the microwave:

  1. Aluminum foil. This reflects the microwaves causing plenty of sparks.
  2. Wire twist ties. Just like aluminum, these can cause arcing (tons of blue light).
  3. Recycled paper (i.e. Kitchen Roll). Unless stated as microwave safe, this can include recycles materials that could ignite.
  4. Plastic Bags/Containers. If branded as microwave safe then plastic is fine, but unsafe plastic will start to melt and release harmful chemicals.
  5. Most things without a lid! We’ve all seen a messy microwave. Try to make sure food is always covered, but not airtight.

Those are the basics. But what about with a grill?

When you’re using the grill, we also need to make sure that:

  1. Everything’s heatproof. Microwave-safe goods are safe because they don’t heat up in a microwave. However, they will heat up when placed under a hot grill. Many microwave-safe plastics will melt, so make sure that you have something like Pyrex that will stand up to the heat.
  2. We don’t cover anything. Since the heat is being applied directly from above, covering anything with a lid will just cause you to cook the lid! If you’re using a combi setting, this is the reason why the combination mode doesn’t go above ‘medium’ microwave power. It would cause so much mess.

Want to find out if something’s safe?

An easy test to find out if a utensil or plate is microwave safe is to compare it with a proven microwavable tool.

Here’s how it works:

Place a microwave-safe jug half-filled with water inside the microwave.

  1. Also put in the dishes or utensils you want to test.
  2. Run the microwave on full power for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Feel the water jug. Is it warm? Good – the microwave works!
  4. Now feel the utensils and dishes.
    1. If they are still cool, then they’re not absorbing the microwave energy and are safe.
    2. If they are warm or hot, they should not be used in the microwave!

Best Practices

Microwave grills haven’t been around for a long time, so their best practices are always so well known. Thankfully, there’s handy internet guides like this one to help.

      • If you’re grilling with a wire rack, place a heatproof plate underneath. Grilling typically creates a bit of grease splatter, which we don’t want left in the microwave.
      • Don’t use the ‘Combi’ setting for small portion sizes. It’s simply too much for a small amount of food. Just use the grill instead.
      • Yes, the door must be closed! The microwave is built to extract any excess heat and smoke itself – unlike a conventional oven.
      • Never cover foods while grilling. It can be an easy mistake to make when we’re used to microwaving covered dishes.
      • Stay away from the exterior! When grilling, the microwave exterior may get super hot – especially around the air vents. This is different to a standard microwave functioning, which keeps the heat on the inside.
      • Allow standing time if microwaving. Microwaves can cause some areas to be super hot, while others are cold. Allowing a few minutes of standing time allows this heat to spread out, making sure the food is a continuously delicious level of hot.
      • Clean regularly. Leftover food or grease can get re-cooked and start to smoke (or smell horrible!). For an easy deep clean, place a liter of water in with a few tablespoons of lemon juice. Microwave on high for 10-15 minutes. The lemony-water vapor will loosen up any dirt and grime, allowing you to simply wipe it away with a cloth.