The $8 Microwave Hack That Helps Food Cook Evenly and Prevents Messes

published Dec 21, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Regularly cleaning the microwave should be a top priority for every home cook. If you’ve ever walked into someone’s cooking space and noticed weird smells emanating from unknown places, there’s a good chance one of the perpetrators is this fast-heating oven. Not only that, but once flecks of food dry inside, the microwave becomes such a pain to scrub. You have to crouch down and bend your arms at unnatural angles — it’s a whole ordeal. That’s why the best solution is to prevent splatters in the first place.

Personally, I’ve long used paper towels to cover plates, but this method has its flaws. Sometimes the curved bits of paper roll off during longer cook times. In other cases, the towel will sink into the bowl, becoming drenched in sauce or cheese. (The struggles I go through for my TV dinners.) Not too long ago, though, we discovered an Amazon product that eliminates all of these problems, and you can get it for less than $8!

Meet the protective microwave mat by Progressive. This gadget will help protect your appliance against food explosions and hard-to-clean soup spatters. It’s essentially a round silicone mat that you can place atop your plates and bowls before microwaving them. It’ll not only keep the food inside the dish, but the mat also helps evenly distribute heat to all areas. (No more cold centers!)

But that’s not all this item good for! Silicone serves as a great protective material against high temperatures. Therefore, you can use one mat to cover your meals and buy another to use as an oven mitt. This tool is way better than a traditional fabric mitt, however, as it won’t stain or tear over time. Whether you’re removing a roast from the oven or lifting a pan from a hot stove, this mat will keep your hands safe.

It’s not hard to see why Amazon shoppers can’t get enough of this product. It has more than 6,700 five-star ratings, and that number is sure to increase thanks to its many uses. “We recently moved into a new apartment and now have a glass-top stove,” one reviewer wrote. “We also have two cats that are very curious and like to be on the counters… So we’ve been using this to cover the burners after cooking to add a small protective layer in case they decide to walk across the stove while we’re not looking. We’ve also been using this to put under pots after cooking to protect the counters.”

Other buyers use their mats as a spot for dirty or freshly washed dishware, place them under cutting boards for a secure grip, or use them to open stubborn jars and bottles. Basically, there’s almost no limit to how you can use the protective microwave mat. You haven’t seen versatility like this!