Microwaving food often leaves behind splatters which are hard to clean up. When microwaving food from containers, I can usually just put the lid on top, rotated to leave a crack for air to come out. However, sometimes I'm microwaving long enough that this would warp the lid. Additionally, this doesn't work for microwaving things in plates and bowls; it seems weird and unnecessary to have to go grab a lid to use.

How can I avoid the splatters as much as possible, or reduce the amount of splatter so that it is easier to clean up?

  • This may be helpful if your splatter prevention fails: lifehacks.stackexchange.com/q/1824/32
    – apaul
    Dec 15, 2014 at 17:19
  • Sometimes I change the "power level" on the microwave to a lower setting and add some cooking time. This doesn't apply to every situation, but I use it often when heating something like canned vegetables in a bowl with no cover. I lower the power level to 6 and add about 20 seconds (my microwave is 1100 watts). The veggies heat and the liquid doesn't boil over! Jan 10, 2015 at 1:03

6 Answers 6


Cover the food with paper! First, some safety stuff (or you can skip this and just use wax paper, which is safe):

Be warned that there might be some safety hazard. I have used this my entire life without any problems, but that doesn't mean that problems won't crop up.

  • Make sure you don't have metal in the microwave. You don't want sparks to set fire to your paper.
  • Paper burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. Food in a microwave rarely gets above 212 degrees. So the paper should not catch fire
  • "Most paper plates, towels, napkins and bags [are microwave safe]. For optimal safety, use white, unprinted materials." ref So unprinted printer paper would likely be okay. However, note that "brown paper bags and newspapers" same ref are not microwave safe.
  • More things supporting microwave safe:
  • More safety to keep into account:
    • This says the chemicals from paper can transfer to your food.

I didn't find much that specifically talked about printer paper, but you might want to play it safe. Printer ink isn't too good to ingest, but if you don't care about that, you can use old printed paper. If you do care, you could use one-sided printed paper. Or you could just use paper.

If you want more safety, wax paper is completely safe, as can be seen from various references.

Now that safety is out of the way:

For something like a bowl, just lay the paper directly on top if it's not going to touch your food anyways. If your microwave has a tray that rotates, you might have to fold the ends down so that the paper doesn't get pushed off.

For something like a plate, fold the ends down to give the paper some elevation, and fold the center of the paper so it doesn't touch your food much. If you do mind the paper touching your food, you might have to add some supporting folds the other direction. Something like this:

enter image description here

  • Is regular paper good in microwaves? How do you know?
    – Pobrecita
    Dec 14, 2014 at 6:14
  • @iliveunderawesomerock as in does it burn or something? No it doesn't. I've used it all my life, and I learned this from my mom who used it a large portion of her life.
    – Justin
    Dec 14, 2014 at 6:14
  • 2
    I think you should add research. I think this is a marvellous idea, but research is key. You are asking people to trust you, so I think you should be convincing by adding sources from other sites. People may be concerned about burning, so alleviate their fears through research.
    – Pobrecita
    Dec 14, 2014 at 6:17
  • Maybe not a severe risk, but you might try cooking or physics. I was just asking for research or you trying at least, because a lot of answers on this site don't try. 1+ I guess.
    – Pobrecita
    Dec 14, 2014 at 8:58
  • I may have to try this. Could save a ton of money compared to using paper towels for this, since they cost a fortune.
    Dec 14, 2014 at 9:51

Cover the container with food with a piece of baking paper aka parchment paper. This will be fire-safe and keep the boiling droplets from flying out of the container. Parchment paper can withstand temperatures above 500 °C long enough for you to bake a turkey or several in a gas oven. Microwaves shouldn't be a problem.

But don't mix it up with waxed paper or else it will burn!


When I am microwaving some food in the plate, I cover this plate with another similar plate of a bit smaller size (both plates are ceramic) or the "bell" like this (this image is just an example to show you what I did mean by the "bell", it is important that the one you use isn't made of metal):


This is a good resistance to splatters and doesn't hit heating performance (often I am heating cheesecakes in this way, I like them :) ).

  • Joke answer, or are you really suggesting putting a metal bowl in the microwave (which might actually work since there aren't two separated pieces of metal for arcing), but still sounds dangerous.
    – user83
    Dec 14, 2014 at 15:15
  • @Barry no jokes, but this image is just an example to show you what did I mean saying "the bell". Personally I use two ceramik plates.
    – nicael
    Dec 14, 2014 at 15:35
  • To any @downvoter who thought that it was a joke: please see the edit and the above comment.
    – nicael
    Dec 14, 2014 at 16:23
  • I also use a plate to cover my food when I'm reheating on a plate or in a bowl. I also add a drop of water to my plate so it doesn't dry out the food.
    – CustomX
    Jan 22, 2018 at 16:02

Use cling film (plastic wrap) and make small holes close to the centre of the dish. I find that this is enough to let steam escape, and any splatter effect is reduced (compared to covering the dish with something and leaving a small gap at the edge) because the holes are central and small.

  • Won't the plastic melt, or have high risk of melting?
    – Justin
    Dec 15, 2014 at 16:52
  • It goes a bit softer, but certainly doesn't melt, no. Dec 15, 2014 at 16:56
  • Or get the special microwave 'cling' film, it comes with tiny holes and is heat resistant to normal microwave temperatures.
    – Willeke
    Jan 17, 2018 at 16:56

I usually use paper towels to cover the food and if the food doesn't splatter too much I use the same paper towel as a napkin while I eat.

Very similar to the other responses but pointing out that the paper towel serves a dual purpose and doesn't need to be thrown away like parchment paper or washed like a plate.

  • 1
    That answer has already been given.
    – Chenmunka
    Jan 19, 2018 at 9:36

I know this is an old question, but I have another answer.

Just like other answers say to cover the food, well, instead of using 1 time use options, use a "tupperware" lid. You know all those storage container lids that you have socked away in your cupboard without any matches, use one to cover your food. You can easily rinse it when done and wash it later.

Using a lid prevents the paper, or whatever, from soaking up the food. Any moisture the lid collects can be poured back into the food or a sink. And sauce can be wiped back on the food.

The lid also helps prevent heat from escaping and helps heat the food more evenly.

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