This Is Why Your Microwave Spins

When you heat something in a turntable microwave, the plate spins. And for good reason!

A microwave spins to make sure all of the waves inside hit all parts of the food. Otherwise, you’d have a lot of hot or cold spots.

Why a Microwave Oven Spins

Plate of food in the microwave

Everyone knows how frustrating it can be to remove your container from the microwave oven, stir your food, and keep repeating the process until the food is heated correctly. While this is not that uncommon, if the microwave didn’t spin, you’d be doing it a lot more. The microwave’s spinning is there to make sure the food inside your container heats up or cooks more evenly.

In reality, microwave ovens don’t really need to turn in order to heat up your food, but it is a lot more convenient if they do. If the oven stood still as it cooked or warmed your food, the food would still get warm, but it would likely have many more spots of heat or cold. You’d have to stop, remove the container, and stir a lot more often.

Simply put, the spinning of the turntable saves you a lot of time and aggravation throughout the process.

How Do Microwaves Work?

Inside a microwave oven is a rotating plate, usually made of glass. A motor turns that plate so that the waves will hit the food evenly. If the heating process isn’t as even as possible, parts of the food will be cold, hot, or uncooked.

This is especially important when you are cooking or heating food for short periods of time. The less even and more sporadic the heating is, the more likely you’ll end up with a hot or cold spot.

Keep in mind that some microwaves do not spin. This is called a flatbed design, and the energy is generated at the very bottom or base of the microwave, so it doesn’t need a turntable. If you have a plate that is supposed to spin but doesn’t, it’s likely due to the microwave being broken or dirty. Once you repair or clean the microwave, especially the base of the oven, this problem is usually eliminated, and you can start using the oven again.

And if you’re wondering why they make flatbed microwaves, these types of microwave ovens are used mostly as commercial ovens. Most homes do not have flatbed microwaves.

Man reaching into microwave for bowl of food after learning why the microwave spins

Are Turntables a Necessity When Using a Microwave Oven?

If the microwave turntable isn’t there, rotation won’t occur, which means your container of food will not move. This, in turn, allows for more hot and cold spots to occur. For all practical purposes, a turntable is very useful for cooking or heating something up in the microwave.

If you use your rotating microwave without its turntable, you’ll have to stop the oven and stir the food several times because the waves hitting the food won’t be as evenly dispersed. This is especially important when you have a unique or oddly shaped container because it is harder for the waves to hit all parts of those types of containers.

More Spinning, Less Stirring!

Your microwave spins for the waves to hit all parts of the food evenly, therefore reducing the potential for cold or hot spots to occur. Heating or cooking food this way means you won’t have to stop nearly as often to remove your container, stir it, and place it back into the oven. Not only does a spinning microwave allow for more even cooking, but it also means that the process is a lot faster and more efficient, saving you both time and headaches.