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Adjusting cooking times based on microwave wattage

Adjusting cooking times based on microwave wattage

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Dear Lisa: My microwave is 1,000 watts, but most food requires 1,100 watts. How much time do I add for this difference in wattage? -- Carrie.

Dear Carrie: Since microwave ovens can range from less than 700 watts to over 1000 watts of power, you are wise to realize the cooking time needs to be adjusted when using a microwave oven with a different wattage than is recommended by the recipe.

A 1,000-watt microwave will cook quickly and efficiently. Microwaves with 700 watts or less are slower and may not cook evenly. In general, the higher the wattage, the faster the cooking time.

Converting cooking times between oven wattages can be tricky, though, depending on the wattage differential, the food, the oven's interior capacity, and other factors.

In your case, the additional cooking time is not dramatically increased because the difference between the wattages is slight. You will only need to add a few seconds to each minute of cooking time.

For example, a recipe recommending 5 minutes of 1,100-watt cooking time would only need to be increased by 30 seconds in a 1,000-watt oven. A recipe recommending 10 minutes of cooking time would need to be increased by only about 1 minute.

Compare that to a similar conversion for a 700-watt microwave. A 5-minute recipe would require an additional 2 1/2 minutes of cooking time, and a 10-minute recipe would need about 5 1/2 minutes longer.

• Lisa Fritz, a longtime Bryan food and nutrition educator, answers readers’ questions about food, cooking and recipes. Her email address is cheflisa525@yahoo.com.

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