Since its popular days in the 1970s, microwave ovens have undoubtedly hauled up household convenience to unprecedented levels.

Most of us are now able to easily toss just about anything into the microwave, press a button or two, and voila! There goes a ready meal in a minute! Or two.

In this article, we run you through the most important feature of microwave ovens; Time. So, if you wish to fully understand all the key details of microwave cooking times, Read through.

What is 5 1/2 minutes on a microwave

What is 5 ½ minutes on a microwave?

Other than it being five minutes and thirty seconds, there is basically nothing special about 5 ½ minutes. Even with a microwave involved.

While your mind might try to fool you into thinking there’s a trick or two involved, there really isn’t. All you have to do is set your timer to 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

How do you use a microwave timer?

First things first, a microwave timer is a self-standing mechanism and it has absolutely nothing to do with the microwave’s actual function of cooking the food items in it.

Microwave timers are normally set to operate in minutes and seconds. Most people however tend to be at sea on how to correctly use the timer.

After reading through your recipe and identifying the exact amount of time required to reheat or cook your meal, you can easily set your timer in these 4 simple steps:

To start, press the Timer Set/Off Button. The Timer icon should immediately pop up on the display

When the “Enter Time in Min and Sec” scrolls up on the display, use the numbers pad to key in the required time.

To start the Timer, touch the “start” button or the Timer Set/Off button.

At the end of a successful reheat/cooking, or rather, when the set time ends, you’ll notice ”End” on the display. But if you’d rather do something else while the food cooks, you’ll obviously fail to notice the “end” signal. Rather, there’s normally a tone/beep at the end of the cooking time.

Now that’s just setting your timer.

What if something comes up in the middle of the cooking or better still you just feel like the food has been heating up for a while and your intuition tells you that it’s ready but the countdown is still running?

You can easily cancel the timer by touching the Timer Set/Off button or the “cancel” button.

Be advised though that canceling the timer does not stop the timer (I know. contradicting?). It will instead stop your food from cooking. If you canceled before your food was ready, well, need I say more?

What is the difference between microwave time and oven time?

You may wonder how a microwave’s time measures up to the oven’s time. While the two appliances heat frozen foods and cook healthy meals alike, the time that each will take to do the task will vary.

By and large, microwave ovens have been proven to cook in up to 75% less time than regular conventional ovens.

The difference between microwave oven time and conventional oven time is ¼. Normally, a microwave requires only ¼ of the oven’s cooking time.

To give you an idea of the concept, if your oven’s recipe requires 20 minutes to cook your meal, a microwave will require ¼ of 20, which is only 5 minutes.

And when you want to change microwave time to oven time, all you have to do is multiply the given time by 4.

For instance, if you want to use your oven to cook something that usually takes the microwave…let’s say 4 minutes, the oven will take 4*4 minutes. That rounds up to 16 minutes.

Microwave timer

How long is a microwave minute?

While it is understandable for most of us to think that a microwave’s minute is different from the normal minute, well, the truth is it’s not.

There are no different minutes. Even in microwaves, one minute is 60 seconds anywhere in the precise universe.

So if you are wondering how long a microwave minute is, stop wondering.

But again, a more advanced answer to how long a microwave’s minute is…is approximately 58 seconds.

So what happens to the 2 seconds you ask?

Typically, microwaves take about 2 seconds for the magnetron filament to become hot enough to boil off the electrons needed to generate the microwaves that in return heats up your food.

How do microwave ovens work and why do they cook so fast

It’s an open secret that microwaves cook food faster than their counterpart ovens and their alternatives.

How microwave ovens work is a complicated mystery. The appliance makes use of invisible electromagnetic waves known as microwaves.

Microwaves are a form of energy. The waves fly through space at the speed of light(300,000Km).

The microwaves are generated by a magnetron: a device that channels electrical energy from a power outlet to a heated filament, creating a flow of electrons that in turn blasts the microwaves into the food compartment through an antenna.

The microwaves bounce back and forth around the food compartment, eventually infiltrating the food that usually sits on a revolving glass turntable, rotating slowly around to ensure even heat distribution.

The microwaves penetrate inside the food, traveling through it and making the molecules inside it to vibrate rapidly.

The vibrating molecules have heat. This means that the quicker the molecules vibrate the hotter the food becomes.

yellow microwave timer

Microwaves cook so fast compared to their alternatives. This is because they channel heat energy directly into the tiny molecules inside the food.

The heat energy penetrates both the inside and the outside of the food at the same time. Unlike other appliances that heat up the surface of the food first before the heat gradually moves towards the center.

Another reason is that Microwave ovens do not necessarily require preheating. They begin to cook immediately, thus being faster than other appliances that require preheating.


In a nutshell, 5 ½ minutes on a microwave is just simply 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

You can make use of your timer to set this and any other time of your choice. Simply press the Timer Button, enter time in minutes and second then press the Timer or Start Button to begin the countdown.

Microwaves are convenient because one, they are small which makes them flexible. But above all, their faster cooking speed is what makes them stand out.