I want my home-made microwave foods to be crisp, but how?
January 9, 2008 11:50 AM   Subscribe

I want relatively crisp reheated food from the microwave. Can can I buy or make something to do this for me, like that silvery-coated paperboard that comes with frozen foods?

Many bread-related frozen foods come with microwave crisping devices - frozen personal pizzas have round trays, hot pockets have wrap-around sleeves, and Lean Cuisine paninis come with the "revolutionary grilling tray". I know I can put together a healthier, cheaper melt sandwich or mini pizza if I make it myself, but the only source of heat in my office kitchen is a microwave. Without the magic crisper thing, I get soggy, unappetizing food.

Using google I've discovered that these coated paperboard things are called "susceptors" and I've found a couple companies that manufacture them for the food industry, but so far nobody seems to sell them directly to the consumer. Do you know where I could buy them? Or, can I make something at home to help crisp up my microwaved foods? I would experiment with aluminum foil, but I'm nervous about setting my kitchen on fire.

I've seen the Waveware Microwave Crisping Dish, but the reviews don't inspire much confidence. If you know anything more about this or similar products, I'd love to hear it.
posted by vytae to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I recently disposed (gave away) an entire roll of this silvery paper stuff. Dangit!

...search for "Micro Magic"
posted by aramaic at 11:57 AM on January 9, 2008

There are also these bags that I think I saw on an infomercial once.
posted by cabingirl at 12:03 PM on January 9, 2008

Best answer: In the heady days of the early 80's, when we thought that all foods should be microwaved, my mother had what was referred to as a "microwave browning dish". It worked okay-- you microwaved the dish to heat it up and then put your food on it and nuked it a second time. Lots of people had them.

Now that the excitement over affordable microwave ovens has long passed, the wisdom is that if you want your food crisp, you don't microwave it. But it really was decent for some things. I just looked on ebay and there are tons of them for sale. You might even find them new if you look harder than I just did.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:13 PM on January 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ooh, As On TV has the Micro Magic wrap, but is only selling wholesale quantities. Someone on Ebay is selling a case of 24 boxes. Hmm... Aramaic, did you find that this stuff worked well? I'll keep hunting the internet if it gets a thumbs-up. I'd still love more suggestions, though.
posted by vytae at 12:33 PM on January 9, 2008

Best answer: The MicroMagic stuff works as well as anything you're likely to find. You might find it at places like Bed Bath & Beyond or other houseware/kitchenware stores
posted by briank at 1:15 PM on January 9, 2008

Another option may be a microwave with a browning element, which is essentially just a little heating element on top which makes it like a cross between a microwave and a toaster oven.
posted by caddis at 1:50 PM on January 9, 2008

Can you talk your employer into getting a toaster oven? I make all sorts of panini-ish things by toasting stuff open face in the oven. You can also crisp up microwaved foods by sticking them in the toaster afterward.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:37 PM on January 9, 2008

I agree. Rather than trying to fit a square microwave oven into a round cooking job, what you really want is a toaster oven. They don't cost all that much.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:12 PM on January 9, 2008

How about duct tape on cardboard? Its silvery, so it'll probably reflect the microwaves. And I don't think it'll spark. (haven't tried it though.)
posted by proj08 at 5:05 PM on January 9, 2008

Better yet, the inside of a Goldfish crackers box! Buy some Goldfish crackers and you'll see what I mean.
posted by proj08 at 5:07 PM on January 9, 2008

Check your manual, and then if it says it's OK use aluminum foil* (as a shield underneath in the same way those paper backed foil sheets are used--they're usually just really thin [cheap] aluminum foil with some paper tacked on to make them easier to cut/handle).

*Before someone jumps on this, I would like to point out the link to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service website above.

Alternatively, if your manual says no, buy a couple of microwave pizzas and save the little trays--wash and reuse.
posted by anaelith at 7:38 PM on January 9, 2008

Best answer: The "as seen on TV" Micro Grill -- someone in my family got one in early December, and loved it so much she gave them to all the women in my family for Christmas. I haven't used mine, but everyone is raving about them, and I have had a credible grilled cheese made on one. They say it works really well and it's easy to clean. The little things you insert for "baking" let you raise the top grill, so you can have open-faced sandwiches or melt cheese over the top of a pizza, and not worry about it sticking to the top grill.
posted by booksandlibretti at 7:39 PM on January 9, 2008

Nthing a good cheap ($20-30) toaster oven. You could even use both if you're really in a hurry - the microwave first to quickly do most of the cooking, and then just a few minutes in a preheated toaster oven to crisp things up nicely; that's worked for me when I'm in a hurry. But a toaster oven by itself almost always gives better tasting results. For a homemade sandwich melt, the difference in time is negligible.
posted by mediareport at 7:46 PM on January 9, 2008

Response by poster: How I wish for a toaster oven at work... Unfortunately the company doesn't want to buy one, the kitchen is short on counter space already, and the circuits at my desk couldn't take the extra electrical load.

My mom seems to have a giant collection of early-80s corningware, so I will check with her first to see whether she's got a microwave browning dish I can take off her hands. If that doesn't pan out, I'll definitely check out the Micro Magic and the Micro Grill.

Thanks for your help, everyone! (And if anybody else wants to chime in, please do.)
posted by vytae at 7:50 AM on January 10, 2008

I'm not too certain about crispiness, but I've found most foods come out of the microwave better if cooked at half the power for twice the amount of time.
posted by tanminivan at 9:22 AM on January 10, 2008

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