14 Easy Microwave Meals Even Teens Can Make
Microwaving is pretty much the ultimate life hack for learning how to cook.
Learning to cook for themselves is an important life skill that all teens should know. If your teen hates making food, the microwave is a good place to start.
Whether your tweens or teens want to make themselves meals and snacks at home or are heading away to college and want to make basic food in their dorm, mastering the microwave is essential. Best of all, microwave recipes are often easy to put together and can be made using common ingredients.
Whether you want to make main dishes like macaroni and burritos, sides like veggies and baked potatoes, or fun dessert mug recipes, there are so many ways to prepare meals in just a few minutes using a microwave.
Here are 14 easy microwaveable recipes and microwave hacks your teen can turn to when they're short on time but big on hunger.
1. Microwave Salmon
Salmon is one of the healthiest foods for teens due to its high fatty acid content, but it isn't always easy to make. This microwavable option takes just five minutes and tastes great.
- Single-portion salmon filet
- Freshly-cut lemon slices
- One tablespoon of parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Place salmon skin-side down in a microwave-safe container and season with salt and pepper
- Top with lemon slices and parsley, cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 3.5 minutes.
2. English Muffin Veggie Pizza
Skip the pizzeria and make your own pizza at home!
- English muffin
- 1 tbsp marinara sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Your teen's favorite veggies
- Turkey pepperonis
- Toast an English muffin in the toaster.
- Top with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
- Slice up some veggies, such as green pepper, mushrooms, or olives, and add to the top of the toasted English muffin. (Add pepperoni if desired.)
- Place on a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 30 to 40 seconds until the cheese melts.
3. Mac and Cheese with Veggies
What teen doesn't love a gooey bowl of mac and cheese? Bonus: adding veggies brings additional vitamins and nutrients to this easy dish.
- 1/3 cup elbow macaroni (regular, chickpea mac, or gluten-free)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup shredded cheese (Or 1/3 cup sweet potato puree for dairy-free option)
- 1/4 cup frozen veggies
- Tablespoon of milk
- Combine elbow macaroni with water and frozen veggies, and microwave for 6 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Add shredded cheddar cheese, and microwave for an additional 30 to 45 seconds to melt the cheese.
- Add milk and stir well.
4. Gourmet Granola
Microwave meals aren't just for dinner. This delicious granola kicks breakfast up a notch.
- 4 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup shaved coconut
- 2 cups of nuts, such as almonds, pecans, or peanuts
- 1 cup of raisins or dried fruit
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt and cinnamon to taste
- Combine butter, brown sugar, honey, water, salt, and cinnamon in a large glass bowl.
- Microwave on high for 8 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Add old-fashioned oats, shaved coconut, and nuts, and microwave on high for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Remove from microwave, and add raisins or dried fruit of choice.
Microwaves are a great tool to help teach your teen some beginning culinary skills and how to whip up a satisfying meal for themselves in no time.
5. Baked Potato
Depending on size and type, baked potatoes are easy for teens to prepare in the microwave. Russet potatoes, yellow potatoes, or sweet potatoes are all great options. Your teen can choose their favorite toppings, such as avocado, butter, cheese, or bacon crumbles to complete this lunch or filling snack.
- One large baked potato, with cuts made to let out steam
- 1/4 tbsp butter
- Optional toppings: 1/4 cup shredded cheese, a sprinkle of bacon bits, a pinch of pepper, mashed avocado
- Place potato directly in the microwave, and cook for 3.5 minutes.
- Flip potato around and heat for an additional 3.5 minutes. Add an additional minute if potato is not soft.
- Once cooking is done, remove with a pot holder, place on a plate.
- Add butter and other toppings.
6. Microwave Nachos
Chips and cheddar cheese are the building blocks of this versatile vegetarian meal or snack, but adding vegetables can bring additional nutrients and vitamins to this easy meal.
Topping suggestions include black beans mixed with taco seasoning (which can be added before microwaving to melt the cheese), diced tomatoes or pico de gallo, olives, chopped bell peppers or jalapenos, and anything else your teen enjoys.
- A handful of tortilla chips
- 1 1/2 cups colby jack or taco cheese
- Black or pinto beans
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon powder
- 1/4 cup diced cherry or Roma tomatoes
- Optional toppings: olives, peppers, corn, hot sauce, salsa, sour cream
- Place chips on a microwave-safe plate. In a small bowl, add a can of beans and mix with seasonings and olive oil.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup of seasoned beans over nachos, and microwave for about 1 minute (timing varies based on wattage. add 20-second intervals until cheese is melted).
- Carefully remove dish from microwave and add tomatoes and additional toppings
7. Microwave Bean Burrito
Burritos can be a simple yet filling and healthy meal made with mostly shelf-stable ingredients. Using canned refried beans or canned black beans for filling, burritos are quick to microwave and are a cost-effective and customizable diet staple for teens and college students.
- Flour or corn tortillas
- 1/4 cup black beans, pinto beans, or refried beans
- Optional: cheese, hot sauce
- Spread refried beans or black beans evenly on the middle of a tortilla.
- Add hot sauce or cheese and any other toppings of choice, then microwave for about 30 seconds.
- If burrito is not cooked fully due to wattage, add increments of 10 seconds at a time. Note that filling can have hot spots, so it’s good to let it sit for a moment before eating.
8. Cheese Quesadillas (with beans, peppers, or tomatoes)
Quesadillas are easy to make in the microwave and can be customized to include any ingredients your teen enjoys.
- Flour tortillas
- 1/2 cup Taco or cheddar cheese, shredded
- Canned or fresh diced tomatoes
- Canned black beans, pinto beans, or refried beans
- Chopped bell peppers
- Place tortilla flat on a microwave-safe plate. Add half of the cheese to one side, spreading evenly to cover, then scoop in other desired fillings, including beans, peppers, or tomatoes.
- Sprinkle more cheese on top and fold over the other side of the tortilla.
- Microwave for one minute, adding 10-second intervals until cheese is evenly melted.
- Let cool and enjoy with your favorite salsa and some sour cream.
9. Veggie Fried Rice
Using instant rice or leftover white rice from takeout, low sodium soy sauce, and canned or frozen veggies of their choice, your teen or older child can put together “fried” rice in the microwave, for a filling and healthy meal or side dish.
- 1 cup rice, prepared
- 1/4 cup veggies
- 3 tsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Egg
- Optional toppings: sriracha, sliced green onion (cut with cooking scissors), handful of cilantro
- In a mug, combine 1 tsp olive oil and egg, and cook for one minute.
- Remove and stir, cooking longer in 10-second intervals if needed to scramble. Set aside.
- Cook rice according to directions if using instant rice. Leftover cooked white rice can also be used.
- To cook rice, place in microwave-safe container with 3 tsp low sodium soy sauce and 1/4 cup frozen or canned veggies (if frozen, heat before adding).
- Heat for 30 more seconds, then stir in scrambled eggs.
10. Meatball Sub
Microwavable meatballs can be used for many meals, but an easy idea for your teen is a meatball sub. This meal is easy and comforting, checking off many nutritional needs such as protein, calcium, and iron (if basil and spinach are added).
- Frozen meatballs of choice
- Sub buns/hoagies
- Marinara sauce or pizza sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Optional toppings: grated parmesan, basil, spinach.
- Heat frozen meatballs in a microwave-safe bowl according to the directions.
- Add marinara or pizza sauce and heat 30 seconds longer to warm the sauce.
- The bowl may be hot, so kids should use an oven mitt to remove it, and then spoon the meatballs and sauce onto the bun.
- Serve with potato chips or fruit for a heartier meal.
11. BLT Sandwich
The only element of this classic Sammy that needs to be cooked is the bacon. Most people probably think all bacon has to be cooked stove top, but a majority of kinds of bacon (turkey or pork) can be made in the microwave.
- Two slices of bacon
- One to two pieces of iceberg lettuce
- One slice of beefsteak or Roma tomato
- teaspoon mayo
- two slices of bread of choice
- Optional: turkey and/or cheese
- Microwave bacon according to the directions on the package, cooking on a microwave-safe plate covered with a paper towel. Note: Fully precooked bacon will need less time than uncooked bacon.
- Slowly remove the plate from the oven, and while the bacon is cooling, layer on the mayo, lettuce, and tomato. For extra protein and calcium, turkey and cheese can be added.
12. Omlet in a Mug
Making scrambled eggs in the microwave is a quick way to prep a protein-rich meal. With eggs and cheese, as well as veggies if desired, your teen can throw together a quick, filling omelet for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- One egg
- Splash of milk
- 1/8 olive oil or nonstick olive oil spray/butter
- Sprinkle of salt
- Optional add-ins: Veggies; pepper jack, feta, or cheddar cheese; hot sauce
- Prepare mug by adding 1/2 tbsp butter, olive oil, or nonstick olive oil spray.
- Crack one egg directly into the cup and add a splash of milk.
- Scramble with a whisk and pour into the prepared mug.
- Add veggies and cheese, cover with a paper towel, and microwave for about one minute.
- Remove, fluff with a fork, and add a sprinkle of salt.
13. Microwave S'mores
If your teen is having friends over at your house or hanging out with new friends in their dorm, they can microwave marshmallows for a fun treat — s’mores! Simply setting a marshmallow on a graham cracker
Ingredients for each s’more:
- 1 graham cracker, broken in half
- One marshmallow
- Half Hershey’s bar (or another chocolate bar)
- Set half of the graham cracker on a microwave-safe plate.
- Top with one-half of the chocolate bar and one marshmallow.
- Microwave for about 20 seconds.
- Remove and top with the second graham cracker half. Repeat as needed for more people (or more snacks).
14. Microwave Mug Brownie
Brownies are a great way for teens to get their chocolate fix. And instead of making a whole tray, this brownie-in-a-mug recipe makes just enough for one serving.
- 1/4 cup Chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 4 tbsp flour of choice
- 1 tbsp oil of choice
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tbsp water
- Optional topping: more chocolate chips, and vanilla ice cream.
Mix all ingredients in a mug, and microwave for 1 minute, adding 10 second-intervals until a fork comes out clean. Cook time will vary depending on microwave wattage.
For even more simple and easy recipes anyone can make, check out: 4 Quick and Easy One-Pot Meals Your Whole Family Will Love!
Was this article helpful?
Stephanie Sokol is a writer and editor from the Chicago area. She has a background in news and marketing and has been writing for more than a decade.