Why Pasta Sauce Splatters In The Microwave (And How To Stop It)

The microwave has its uses that's for sure. To save some time, chances are you've used it to heat up some leftover pasta sauce. And when that desired bright red tomato sauce is finished warming, more than likely there will be quite a mess to address because that sauce can splatter all over the microwave. So, did you really save any time by avoiding the stovetop?

Those marinara or pesto sauce splotches can be a real pain to wipe up, but what if there was a way to stop pasta sauce from splattering in the microwave? Perhaps heating it up in a different type of container or using some kind of lid would help. Or maybe there's a secret ingredient that prevents splattering.

The good news is that there's absolutely a foolproof method for preventing pasta sauce from bubbling over and staining your microwave's surfaces. It all comes down to a little bit of science and a simple solution for keeping your sauce microwave-safe but splatter-free.

Why pasta sauce splatters in the microwave

You might wonder how pasta sauce manages to splatter all over your microwave, even when you don't fill the entire bowl with sauce. Well, those leaping bubbles form all because of science. That's right — and it all boils down to viscosity and consistency.

Many pasta sauces are thick and/or have chunks of ingredients in them. Unfortunately, thick liquids can trap the steam from the microwave easily. As the steam builds up, the sauce will reach a point where it can no longer hold all of that vapor. That's right — it explodes — and all over your microwave, no less. Although the clear solution to this dilemma might seem like it lies in thinning out your pasta sauces, remember that they'll still be able to trap heat. On top of that, if your sauce is perfect the way it is, why change its texture for the sake of easier reheating? 

Fortunately, there's a simple way to prevent your pasta sauce from exploding all over your microwave without sacrificing its quality.

How to prevent pasta sauce from splattering in the microwave

If you don't change the consistency of your sauce to help stop your pasta sauce from making a mess in your microwave, then what can you do to stop it? Pasta sauce is going to splatter a little bit no matter what, but there are some easy tricks to tone down the mess.

The best way to prevent your pasta sauce from splattering in the microwave is, obviously, not to use the microwave in the first place. Heating sauce on the stove may take longer than reheating in the microwave, but you can easily turn down the heat to a simmer so that your sauce won't splatter all over the stove. 

If you absolutely insist on using the microwave, though, you have a few options to help you avoid making a huge mess. You can stop the microwave after a few seconds to stir the sauce, as consistent stirring helps prevent the dreaded explosion, but you'll have to repeat the process pretty consistently every few seconds. If you don't want to bother with such frequent stirring, you can cover the container holding your sauce with a microwave-safe lid or plate. Making sure that your pasta sauce doesn't splatter in the microwave is as simple as keeping the sauce from exploding, whether you opt not to use the microwave at all or you choose to cover your pasta sauce in the microwave.