Cheese is love. Cheese is life. If you’re here, I am sure you agree with me on this. I mean, who doesn’t love cheese? As a cheese lover, I must say that the best type of cheese is MELTED… and I’m sure you agree too.
For years I have struggled to properly melt my cheese in the microwave to get the most delicious outcome – perfectly melted cheese that excites my taste buds.
Now that I’ve learned the best techniques of melting cheese, I’m more than happy to share my tips and tricks with you, my fellow cheese lover!
(I even added a few extra pieces of info you might need, like a personalized cheese chart, so you know exactly how each cheese needs to be melted.)
Melting Cheese In The Microwave In 7 Steps
Melting cheese in the microwave, when done correctly, should give you a perfect result of low moisture and the desired consistency of a stringy gouda in a grilled cheese sandwich.
However, you should keep in mind that not every cheese can melt well in a microwave. Here are a few things you should know before melting cheese in a microwave:
• Cheeses that melt the best in a microwave due to their low acidity and reduced moisture: American cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere and Velveeta cheese.
• Cheeses that won’t melt well unless you add some other ingredients to it (such as lemon juice or cornstarch): queso panela, queso fresco, paneer, halloumi, feta, cotija, ricotta and soft goat.
• Cheeses that melt better in a pan: Havarti, Monterey Jack, Asiago, Colby, Fontina, Muenster.
Okay, now we can proceed with melting cheese in the microwave:
1. Get a microwave-safe bowl
Microwave-safe bowls are a must-have for anyone who likes to melt cheese. They are often made of glass or ceramic, which are durable and easy to clean.
You can also use a ceramic plate if you don’t have a microwave-safe bowl. They can also withstand the low heat of an oven or stovetop without cracking.
PRO TIP: Never use metal in your microwave!
2. Choose cheese, cut it, or grate it
There are more than five hundred types of cheese in the world, and they vary in flavor, texture, and kind. Knowing how a certain type of cheese melts will help you find the right one for you.
Here are a few examples:
• Hard cheese such as Parmesan will melt well when heated up in a pan or under a grill, but it will not melt well when melted over low to medium heat.
• A soft cheese like Brie will melt well over high heat but not in a pan or under a grill.
After getting your cheese out of the fridge, remove the packaging and cut or grate the cheese, as you prefer (if you didn’t buy pre-cut or pre-grated cheese).
If you are cutting your cheese, use a knife to cut it up into small pieces to ensure the microwave will melt it easily. For hard cheeses, I recommend using a grater.
3. Place cheese evenly in the bowl
I know this sounds kind of basic but we want our cheese to melt evenly and not be hard in the middle and gooey on the outside. This is why we cut or grate our cheese and put it into a bowl that distributes heat evenly.
So, another step to melting our cheese perfectly is to spread the cheese evenly throughout the bowl. In other words, we don’t want a pile on one side and no cheese on the other. This will result in unevenly melted cheese.
4. Add liquid to cheese
Adding liquid to cheese will help liquefy the cheese, and it will also make it easier for the heat of the microwave to melt it. Just a small amount will do it, and you can add water, lemon juice, or milk.
Sure, you don’t need to do so when melting mozzarella or feta, but hard cheeses like Gruyere and Emmental will evaporate and lose their texture when no liquid is added during the melting process.
5. Cover bowl
After placing the cheese evenly in the bowl, the second step is to cover the bowl with a lid or plate.
This will help prevent moisture from escaping and will also prevent any splattering or leaking. It will leave your cheese extra stringy. Who doesn’t want that, right?
6. Place the cheese in the microwave and choose the setting
Now it’s time to choose the microwave power level. Regardless of your microwave’s voltage, there should be at least three power settings: High, medium, and low.
Here’s a short guide on how to use them:
• High power – Used for cream cheese, American cheese, and mozzarella; generally melts within periods of a few seconds.
• Medium power – Used for medium hard to medium soft cheeses like Parmesan and cheddar cheese.
• Low power – Used for sharp cheddar and similar extra hard blocks of cheese. I recommend using some kind of liquid for these cheeses so they don’t evaporate.
7. Choose time accordingly
The best option is to microwave cheese for 1 minute and 30 seconds or up to 2 minutes on high power.
This will melt the cheese without burning it. Of course, there are different types of cheese and, therefore, different times required to melt them.
Soft cheeses melt faster, so most of them will only need 1 minute and 30 seconds, while medium to hard and aged cheeses will need up to 2 and a half minutes at high heat settings.
WARNING: Some caution is needed when heating cheese in a microwave. Power or wattage that is too high can cause the cheese to be too hot to eat or for it to explode. Also, some plastic bowls can melt in a microwave and some glass bowls can break.
Melting 11 Different Types Of Cheese
Different types of cheese require different handling. For instance, a block of cheese requires high heat, while shredded cheese can be melted at room temperature. This section outlines how to melt cheese for each type individually:
1. Mozzarella cheese
If you need to make a quick and easy appetizer or topping, then microwaving Mozzarella is the best bet. It is also simple to prepare – just set it on high power and microwave it for 1 minute and 30 seconds. This way, you will make a delicious, gooey, melty cheese sauce.
2. Cottage cheese
Microwaving cottage cheese will make it easier to spread on bread. Microwave the cheese on low power initially for a 15-second interval.
Then, open the microwave and see if your cheese is melted. If not, repeat the same 15-second interval procedure. This should give you extra creamy results that won’t burn your cheese.
3. Velveeta cheese
Microwaving Velveeta cheese is a popular way to make a quick and easy macaroni and cheese. It’s also an easy way to get rid of the excess water in the cheese, which can cause it to become too dry.
PRO TIP: Make sure you don’t add any water into your bowl when microwaving Velveeta. To melt it, put it on a medium setting and let it microwave anywhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
4. Feta cheese
There’s still a lot of people who aren’t sure whether feta cheese melts. Well, it can be melted but it doesn’t melt in a classic way.
If you want to melt feta cheese, you need to place the cheese in a microwave-safe dish, add lemon juice and cornstarch, and heat it for about 30 seconds. This will make the cheese melt in its own unique way.
5. American cheese
American cheese is synonymous with grilled cheese sandwiches, and it’s definitely one of my favorite melted cheeses.
The process of melting this cheese in the microwave is simple: just put it in your microwave on a high setting and let it heat up for 1 minute and 30 seconds. This will leave you with a stringy mess of goodness.
6. Sharp cheddar
If you’re looking for a quick and easy cheese sauce, then microwaving sharp cheddar is the way to go. (It’s also an easy way to get rid of any leftover sharp cheddar that you might have in your fridge.)
Set the microwave on the highest power level and microwave it for a little longer than 2 minutes. The optimal time is 2 minutes and 20 seconds. This technique will melt even extra sharp cheddar cheese.
7. Cream cheese
A delicious cream cheese spread is best done by microwaving cream cheese. When placing it in the microwave, make sure it’s covered and set it to a medium heat for up to 1 and a half minutes.
If you’re working on a spread, make sure to stir the cream cheese with a spoon or spatula until it is completely melted.
Microwaved Parmesan cheese will add a unique flavor to your dishes.
To microwave this cheese, place it in a microwave-safe dish with the lid on top of the dish and cook for about 30 seconds on medium power.
Then, open the microwave and check whether it’s melted. If it’s not, then add another 30-second interval, and so on.
9. Shredded cheese
If you want to make a delicious, gooey cheese sauce, then all you need to do is microwave shredded cheese.
Do so by placing it evenly in your bowl or over your food and microwaving it on medium for 2 minutes.
10. Gouda cheese
This is an easy way to avoid the mess of melting the cheese in a pan. Just place your gouda in the microwave and heat it on a medium setting for 30 seconds.
Since this is a hard cheese, make sure you add a little water to your bowl and cut the cheese into slices.
11. Nacho cheese
Microwaving nacho cheese will make your nachos cheesy and delicious! Do this by microwaving on high for 1 minute, stirring, and then microwaving for another 30 seconds or until melted.
I couldn’t wait to try this either!
Is it okay to microwave cheese?
Yes, it’s okay to microwave cheese and melt it. However, microwaving cheese is a controversial topic. Some people say that it is not safe to microwave cheese because it can cause the milk proteins to denature and form toxic compounds.
However, there are many people who believe that microwaving it does not pose any health risks as long as you follow the instructions on the package. I agree, and here is the reason why.
Microwaves heat up water molecules in food more than they heat up fat or evaporated milk molecules, which means that when you microwave anything, you heat the water or moisture content in it.
“The ‘myth’ that microwave ovens cook food inside out comes from the fact that the inside of a food dish is where the moisture is most probable to be found (e.g. the gravy or sauce). This is what gets hot first.” (1)
You are not bringing the cheese to a melting point but the water inside of it. Therefore, once you put it in a microwave-safe bowl, microwaving anything from Parmesan to grated cheese will be safe.
How long does it take to melt cheese in the microwave?
It takes about 2 minutes for a slice of cheese to melt in the microwave. Still, this answer is not as simple as you might think.
The time it takes to melt cheese depends on a number of factors, including the type of cheese, the size of the microwave, and its power level.
Cheese melts at different rates depending on its composition and texture. In other words, making nacho cheese sauce on medium heat will require less time than melting a block of cheese at high heat.
So, the average time for melting cheese in a microwave is 2–3 minutes for soft cheeses like queso blanco and 4–5 minutes for hard cheeses like cheddar. Of course, this is on a high setting.
Why is my cheese not melting in the microwave?
Generally, your cheese is not melting because it is not at its melting point. This usually happens for three reasons:
• Your microwave is at a low setting.
• Your microwave has a low wattage.
• You keep opening the door and lowering the temperature inside.
Cheese melts when it’s heated to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit and some microwaves only heat food to approximately 140 degrees.
Therefore, set the temperature setting to the highest possible heat and set the timer to one minute or more without opening the microwave door. If your cheese still isn’t melted, add a minute to the cooking time or try this on a stovetop.
I hope you enjoyed reading all about the cheese melting process because I sure enjoyed writing about it.
Microwaved cheese is perfect for when you’re in a hurry or just want to avoid the mess of cooking on the stovetop or in the oven.
It’s also a great option if you’re not sure what you want for dinner, as it only takes a few minutes to prepare and is great to have with tacos or tortilla chips. Happy melting!
1. Cyberphysics, The Microwave Oven, accessed 13 March 2023, https://bit.ly/3l1I3ow