How Microwave Oven Works? | Microwave Oven Working Principle

So you’ve been working and experimenting with different recipes on your microwave. But have you ever thought about how a microwave oven works?

Well, keep reading because today we are not only going to discuss the working of microwave ovens. But we’ll also discuss deeply what microwaves are and how they cook our food.

But before going ahead, do you have a microwave oven? Or are you thinking to get one? Make sure to check our detailed review guide about the best microwave ovens in India. Hope it helps you choose the correct one for you.

A microwave oven in a kitchen can really make things easy for us. Be it cooking from the scratch or just reheating food to get that original taste back.

Microwave ovens can do a lot in the kitchen and let things get automated. But how does it really work? What is the mechanism? Why microwave oven is such an important kitchen appliance? Let’s find out today in this article.

How a Microwave Oven Works?

A microwave oven works on the principle of electromagnetic waves called ‘Microwaves’. These electronic and magnetic energies combined together and subjected at a high frequency generate heat inside the oven resulting in food getting cooked.

Detailed guide about how microwave oven works

Microwaves produce constant vibrations in the water molecules. This is the reason why food intact with moisture gets cooked even faster in an oven. For eg, Vegetables rich in water are cooked easily inside an oven.

A microwave oven does not really cook food around the inside-out pattern. Instead, it goes layer by layer which means the outer layer gets cooked and heated first resulting in heating the inner one.

Principle & Working of Microwave Oven

Let’s understand the working of a microwave oven step-by-step. Here is how it goes!

picture explaining working of a microwave

Inside the microwave oven, there is an electromagnetic field generator installed called the ‘Magnetron’. As it is the main part of the microwave, it also comes with few years of warranty.

The electromagnetic field generated by the Magnetron is called the ‘Microwave’. When the microwave oven is turned on, the magnetron starts producing the microwaves at a high-frequency. Let’s break it more into steps.

When the microwave is turned on, the magnetron results in heating up the filament which causes the release of the electrons. There is a circular magnet installed near the filament and that takes the process up further.

The circular magnet does not let the electrons stick to the anode. It is positioned in such a way that it creates a flowing loop of the electrons. This flow of loop of electrons forms the microwaves.

Further, the microwaves start attacking the food and water molecules to vibrate which ends up heating and finally cooking the food.

The FAQ Section

This is the most simple explanation of how a microwave oven works. We tried making complex things easier to understand for you. But still, here are a couple of answers to the questions which keep revolving in the reader’s mind.

1. Do Microwaves destroy nutrients in food?

A modern microwave oven is very efficient because not only it cooks food faster but also retains its nutritional part. This is because as they do not require much heat or water for cooking.

Whereas, traditional cooking requires a lot of water and more heat which possibly reduces the nutrition of the food. As compared to the traditional methods, microwave cooking is considered very safe and it does not spoil the nutritional contents of the food.

However, there are some rules and regulations of a microwave which you need to take care of while using one. You can not use the same steel or any other built utensils inside a microwave oven. Here is the proper scientific explanation behind this statement.

2. Why you should not use steel utensils in a Microwave?

Microwaves produced and subjected at a high-frequency do not pass through the steel utensils. This means the metal also gets subjected to the same frequency and gets heated a lot. It can burn your fingers if you use bare hands to touch and put it out from the oven.

Also, as the microwaves do not pass through it, the food inside the container does not get heat through the frequency. That is the reason why you can’t use the same traditional utensils while working with a microwave oven.

3. What are some safe containers to use in a Microwave?

Every problem is built with a solution and guess what that is why there are particular containers made for the microwave. Most of the brands do provide essential microwave components like microwave safe and containers included in their starter kit.

These microwave safes are mostly built with glass, plastic, or ceramic material. The generated microwaves can easily pass through these materials and are completely safe to take in use. But here’s one more thing you need to keep in mind. 

4. Why you should not use plastic containers in Microwave?

The microwaves do not really heat up these containers as the waves can easily pass through them. But still, as the inside food gets cooked and heated, it can raise the temperature of the container as well.

We highly recommend not to use plastic containers with microwave ovens. As the plastic can easily get melt if kept for a long time in an oven. It can spoil your food and damage the oven interior as well.

Although, all these instructions are given to you inside the manual. But most of the people skip reading it, that is why here we are covering that too. Also nowadays brands do provide a list of the type of containers you can use with their particular models.


The actual science of a microwave oven is a really lengthy and complex process. But here we tried to make things as simple as a sixth-grade kid can also understand.

Microwave ovens have become a very crucial part of every kitchen. People have started realizing its importance and day by day it is getting trendy in India as well.

This was our simplest explanation of how a microwave oven works. If it helped you in any way do share this with your mates. Having any queries, please leave them for us below in the comment section. Thanks for reading this one, see you soon in another post.

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