The Microwave Hack That Prevents Fried Garlic From Becoming A Burnt Mess

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Fried garlic is a versatile garnish that can bring crunch to any dish, but unfortunately, it's not the easiest to make, despite the fact that oil and garlic are its only ingredients. There's a fine line between perfectly fried and completely burnt, and it can get crossed pretty quickly when you're not careful. Luckily you can find fried garlic at the store, but there's actually another way to hack it if you don't have your frying technique down.


Originally published in the cookbook "Cook Real Hawai'i" by Sheldon Simeon and Garrett Snyder, this fried garlic hack forgoes the stove completely and uses the microwave instead. Rather than heat oil in a pan, you simply microwave it in a bowl along with the garlic. While you might assume this would simply warm up the two ingredients, it actually fries the garlic. It's also a lot more foolproof because it gets microwaved on and off for about two to four minutes, making you less likely to burn it.

The best way to fry garlic in the microwave

It goes without saying that a microwave's strong suit is reheating, not cooking. If you've ever attempted to cook something as simple as an egg, you may know this all too well. When it comes to fried garlic, however, the microwave works surprisingly well, as long as you follow a few key steps.


To properly pull off this hack, you'll want to start by adding your garlic to a bowl, then covering it but not drenching it with oil. Next, you stick it in the microwave for one minute. When you pull it out, you won't see any visual differences, but that will come later. Give the garlic a stir, then put it back in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, repeating until the garlic starts to brown. When this happens, switch from 30-second increments to 15-second ones, and stop once the garlic is fried. For best results, give the garlic a stir every time you take it out of the microwave to ensure even cooking.

Why this hack works

Being able to fry garlic in the microwave might seem too good to be true, but there's a reason this hack works. It boils down to the fact that garlic is naturally prone to burning, and the microwave offsets the effects of it. Garlic has a low water content, and that means it cooks relatively fast, especially when the garlic is minced into tiny pieces or sliced very thinly, which is usually the case when you fry it.


The temperature of the pan also contributes to garlic's likelihood of burning, which is why frying garlic in cast iron is generally advised against. When you microwave garlic, however, there's no pan involved, and a plate cannot get as hot as one or retain as much heat as one, even when the oil heats up. This combined with the fact that the garlic gets microwaved in short intervals rather than being blasted with heat amounts to a more controlled cooking process that's less likely to result in burning.