Let’s be honest – cooking is something that few people have a lot of time to devote to, despite our love of good food and resolutions to eating healthier.
Microwaves help with the time aspect, cooking our food quicker than any oven or stovetop ever could, and microwave crisping trays and pans help make sure that food stays deliciously crispy and, if you do it right, even a little bit healthier.
So what is the best microwave crisping pan? Our top pick is the Microhearth Grill Pan for Microwave Cooking, which will cook all your favorite foods in minutes, making sure they’re crispy and delightful on the outside while still moist and soft on the inside.
In this article, we’re going to look at the best microwave crisping trays and pans on the market. There’s a lot to consider in microwave crisper though, and we’ll take you through all the best features and drawbacks to help you make the most informed decision possible.
What is a Microwave Crisping Tray?
Microwave crisping trays are designed specifically to help crisp the outside of food when it’s being cooked in the microwave. I’m sure you’ve had plenty of experience with warmed up soft and floppy foods.
Texture is a huge part of the art of eating and some food just doesn’t taste as good if it doesn’t have a nice crispy crunch.
Think bacon, French fries, pizza, chicken wings, or even grilled cheese sandwiches. Do you even want any of those tasty treats if they’re missing the perfect crisp?
If you’re super lucky, your microwave might come with a crisp function. If it does, it probably also arrived with a crisping tray.
If you no longer have the original tray, or your microwave doesn’t have this function, a specially designed crisping tray will help your microwave heat your food from the bottom, giving it the crispiness you desire.
How Microwave Crisping Pans Work
There are a variety of pans that each work slightly differently. A basic pan will usually have tiny feet that keep the tray from touching the microwave directly.
It gets pre-heated so that when you place your food on it, the heat transfers to the outer edges of your food while the microwave does its standard cooking.
Some crisping trays have grooves, holes or a grill shape. The air pockets between your food and the tray create a type of broiling effect in your microwave, focusing a more intense heat on the surface of your food rather than a more even heat that sinks straight into the center of your food.
Finally, other types of crisping pans come with a lid. This protects your food from all microwave energy and allows it to cook solely from the heat generated by the crisper.
This means your food cooks nice and fast, like regular microwave cooking, but all outer edges are crispy and delicious.
WARNING: Almost all microwave crisping pans require you to preheat them before adding your food. This can be dangerous for two reasons:
- If you don’t read the instructions on your unique model, it can cause your pan or tray to malfunction. Some require a bit of oil, others don’t. Some need to be warmed with a lid, others won’t heat up properly if warmed with the lid on. Read your instruction manual carefully before using any microwave crisping device.
- These trays and plates are designed to get really, really hot. You must be prepared to use baking or oven mitts when moving the trays in and out of your microwave and you should always have a mat ready to protect your countertop. These plates can get up to 400F, which is just like touching an electric griddle on full power, so be very, very careful.
How to Use a Microwave Crisper Plate
Any microwave crisping tray that you buy will come with its own set of instructions on how to use it for the best results. Many of them even come with little cookbooks to guide you towards some of the best microwavable comfort foods you’ve ever tasted.
With that said, most of them work remarkably similar. With a few small variations, this is what you’ll be expected to do if you make the wise decision to get yourself a microwave crisping pan:
- Prep your food according to your recipe
- Preheat your crisping tray or browning dish in your microwave according to instructions, usually 3 – 4 minutes
- This helps to transfer heat directly to the outside of your food, crisping it up for you while your food cooks throughout
- Place your food in a single layer on the crisping pan, with space between each individual piece if possible
- Cook as recommended by your recipe, making sure to flip your food at least once midway to make sure it gets crispy on both sides
- If your food needs to be browned or crisped on more than 2 sides, you’ll have to flip accordingly. The side that touches the tray is the side that will be browned.
The 5 Best Microwave Crisper Pans and Trays
Below are our top picks for crisping up delicious food in the microwave.
|1.||Whirlpool Microwave Crisper Pan With Handle||Detachable handle, non-stick surface|
|2.||Allstar Innovations Reheatza Microwave Crisper||Cooking guide included, made for all foods|
|3.||Prep Solutions by Progressive Microwavable Bacon Grill||Grill grooves for grease, dishwasher-safe|
|4.||MACONEE Microwave Sandwich Maker and Crisper||Detachable handles, non-stick|
|5.||Microhearth Grill Pan for Microwave Cooking||Ceramic coating, recipe booklet|
1. Whirlpool Microwave Crisper Pan With Handle
This product comes with certain models of Whirlpool microwaves, but it will also fit most standard-sized major brands of microwaves.
This crisper pan is made to warm up leftovers with a fresh crunch and work just as well for frozen foods like pizza, French fries or onion rings.
- Comes with a detachable handle which makes removing the super hot pan from your microwave easy and safe
- It’s dishwasher safe, so clean up is a breeze
- Has a non-stick surface, so your crisped foods will come off the pan cleanly
It doesn’t come with a lid, which is unfortunate because a great many types of food that you would want crisp (bacon!) tend to splatter in your microwave.
To counteract this sad fact, you can simply cover your food with a paper towel or a standard microwave splatter guard that you may already have.
2. Allstar Innovations Reheatza Microwave Crisper
This is an “As Seen on TV” product and it has had raving success because it works really well.
All your leftovers or microwave cooking will get a crispy exterior in minutes, and it’ll fit almost any microwave that has a turntable. It’s also quite stylish.
This is one of the crisping trays that comes with a lid, so your food isn’t directly microwaved.
Instead, the heat from the microwave is transferred to an element in the base of the tray, which converts the energy to conductive heat as you would get from direct stovetop cooking.
You get the best of both worlds – the quick results of a microwave and the crispness of a pan-fried food.
- Perfect for getting fried leftovers back to their original crispness
- Works well with pizza, sandwiches, frozen treats and much more
- You can even get grilled quality fresh veggies straight out of your microwave
- Comes with a cooking guide for multiple types of food
Full disclosure, this product does have a number of less than stellar reviews but, from what we can tell, they’re mainly from users with fairly old-style microwaves.
In new microwave oven technology, there are sensors to detect different types of metal and they also get hotter, allowing the product to work more effectively.
If you’re interested in this product, check your microwave oven manual – is it 1200w or higher? Can you use aluminum foil or metal trays? If the answer to these questions is yes, this product should work wonders for you!
3. Prep Solutions by Progressive Microwavable Bacon Grill
This product is designed specifically for making bacon any which way in your microwave, but it will also conveniently cook and crisp up other meats like sausages or patties, as well as frozen treats like taquitos, spring rolls or pizza pockets.
It’s not technically marketed as a crisper, but the design helps to evenly heat food and prevents soggy, floppy and soft results, which is really what a crisping tray is all about.
- The grill design keeps your bacon and other foods elevated, allowing grease and moisture to sink into the grooves and protecting your foods from soaking in the liquid while it cooks
- It comes with a cover, so you don’t have to worry about a major microwave clean up job after breakfast is finished
- Easy to clean, just pour out the grease and either wash with hot, soapy water or rinse well with boiling water before putting in your dishwasher for a good clean
It’s made from plastic and, even though the manufacturer says it’s BPA free, it’s hard to know what else is in the plastic that might be found dangerous in the future.
4. MACONEE Microwave Sandwich Maker and Crisper
This is another product that sells itself as one thing but is, in fact, highly versatile. Getting the perfect grill on a sandwich in a microwave sounds a bit like magic, but with this sandwich maker, it can be your reality in a snap.
You can also use the press to grill waffles and pancakes, burger patties, veggies, and even fish or meat.
Anything that you might cook on an electric press-style grill you can now cook in your microwave, only quicker.
- The non-stick aluminum plates detachable silicone handles that make using this set safe and easy, as the handles don’t get hot and allow you to set it down on your counter or tabletop without risk of burning yourself or your kitchen
- Everything comes apart for easy cleaning and its even dishwasher safe
- The manufacturer has gone through the expensive and lengthy process of getting EPA and FDA approvals, so you can be assured that this product is definitely safe for all your microwave cooking adventures
It’s not overly large, which does limit what you can cook on it. Also, the bottom plate doesn’t have a ridge to collect any grease or liquid that might leak out of what you’re cooking, so it might make a slight mess in your microwave, depending on what it is that’s being grilled.
5. Microhearth Grill Pan for Microwave Cooking
We’ve saved the best for last. Again, this is not specifically a simple microwave crisper tray. It’s much more.
This grill pan can be used to cook nearly anything in your microwave quickly, easily and with the crispy exterior that you’d want from a traditional grill.
What sets this pan apart from all the others is that it’s designed not just to give you crispness, but also to protect the natural moisture of your food.
It’s no good to have a super dry, chewy French fry with a crisp outside; you want one that’s crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside, right?
- The lid helps to keep the moisture inside your food and is made with a ceramic coating that protects your food from drying out
- The specially coated grill gives you the sear you love and keeps your food out of any grease or moisture that might leak, so you’ll still get a nice, crispy exterior
- It comes with a recipe booklet that’ll help you serve sides, main dishes and even desserts all using this one, super convenient and versatile microwave grill
The biggest drawback, in my opinion, is that it seems the manufacturer doesn’t respond to feedback. There are some negative reviews about potentially dangerous situations that the manufacturer never responded to BUT other users have.
It’s very important to read all the instructions before using this (or any specialty product). If used correctly, you could be enjoying lovely grilled foods from your microwave the day it arrives.
Is a microwave browning plate the same as a crisping tray?
Yes, microwave crisping trays have various similar names, including browning plate. You may also hear them called crisper plates or pans and browners or browning dishes.
When you’re shopping, the most important word to look for is “microwave” because there are crisping trays designed for use in ovens that look and sound remarkably similar, but may not be suitable for use in your microwave.
Why do Hot Pockets have sleeves?
The cardboard sleeve that Hot Pockets and many other microwavable food items come in act similar to a crisping tray in that it helps crisp up the exterior of your delicious treat. The official name is a “susceptor” and it concentrates the heat waves into the Hot Pocket, essentially broiling it inside your microwave.
Can you brown food in a microwave without a browning dish or crisping plate?
Without getting too scientific, microwaves typically cook food from the inside out. If you want to brown or crisp your food, you need to make sure the food is already cooked so that you can crank up the temperature for a shorter burst of time.
If you have any microwave-safe dish or tray that has grooves or a grill like structure, use this. Check your manual and, if aluminum foil is ok in your model, cover the bottom of your dish with foil. If not, any dish will create reasonable results.
If your microwave has a grill setting, this is what you’ll want to use. Turn your setting on high and crisp your pre-cooked food for 1 minute or less, depending on the item and how crispy you want it. This is not fool-proof nor ideal, but it’ll usually work if you’re in a pinch.
Up Next: Can You Microwave Fish Sticks?