Why Are There Turntables In Microwaves?

Microwaves are the holy grail for many of us when it comes to cooking. These machines heat, reheat, defrost, and cook foods in a quick and simple fashion. Microwaves are a convenient no-fuss way for any person to create a quick and easy meal.

Most of us are familiar with the way microwaves work their magic. If you aren't familiar with the kitchen gadget, don't fret because the buttons explain themselves. Each is coded for reference. Interestingly, the microwave was invented accidentally in 1945 (via Insider) and, according to Smithsonian, has since excelled in becoming an American household kitchen staple. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 97% of American homes own a microwave.

Have you ever wondered why the turntable exists when placing your food into the microwave? Would the food taste the same if the rotating shelf weren't there? We're here to answer your microwave turntable questions, so keep reading.

What is a microwave turntable for?

Microwaves are tiny waves of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths that vary in length from 30 centimeters to 1 millimeter (via Live Science). These microwaves bounce around inside the appliance and interact, creating the warm temperature necessary to cook your food. Lan Lam, the Senior Editor at Cook's Illustrated, said, "Some manufacturers put turntables into microwave ovens so that your food moves into and out of those spots to help the food heat evenly. Others skip the turntable and try to even out the heat by embedding a fan-like device in the walls of the oven that directs the microwaves in a couple of different directions," (via Eat This, Not That!).

According to Kitchen Pickup, microwave turntables help warm food evenly, without leaving hot or cold spots in the food. The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service also recommends stirring your dish, turning it, or rotating halfway through microwave cooking times. Doing so evens the cooking and eliminates cold spots that harbor bacteria. This bacteria is dangerous and can make you sick. This recommendation includes microwaves with and without turntables.