Microwave Turntables (need to know)

Can I Use a Microwave Without a Turntable?

Yes, you can use a microwave without a turntable.

Just keep in mind that your food will not cook evenly unless it is manually turned or stirred periodically. 

You will need to either rotate the container your food is in periodically while you microwave to prevent the food from cooking very unevenly.

If you microwave without a turntable often you could damage the magnetron in your microwave. Magnetrons are the device that actually emits the micro waves.

Are Microwave Turntable Motors Interchangeable?

The short answer is yes, the motors are replaceable. They are not all interchangeable though. 

Basically the motor has to be the same size and work with the same voltage and connectors that come with your microwave. 

If the motor that you want to put in your microwave is much different than the one that came with it then the replacement will not work.

So you really need someone with electronics experience to replace your turntable motor for you.

How Important is it to Have a Turntable in a Microwave?

We know that because some microwaves come without turntables (or at least used to not) that it is ok to microwave food or other items without a turn table.

So it is important to have a turntable but not mandatory to use one.

Why do Microwaves Have Turntables?

Microwaves have turntables for two primary reasons: 

1 To heat the food evenly 

Without turntables, microwaves cook some of the sides of food more than others. 

The spinning process in the microwave ensures the food cooks evenly. This is similar to how a whole pig or animal is slowly turned over a fire while roasting.

Because the wavelength of microwaves are one inch long, the space between them is what causes cool spots to form.

3 Ro absorb some of the heat that the magnetron emits.

When there is only a small amount of food or material in the microwave to heat, the excess energy is redirected back on the microwave’s magnetron which can damage the magnetron over time.

Is it Safe to Eat Food from A Microwave Where the Turntable Didn’t Spin?

The short answer is that it depends on whether or not you heated your food to a high enough temperature for long enough to kill any bacteria or viruses. 

Turntables are only there to evenly cook your food.

This is the primary factor that determines food safety: was the food heated to a high enough temperature for long enough.

So if you manually turn your food periodically as you microwave and you basically replicated the effect of the turntable then your food is most likely safe to eat.

You could also do what I do: microwave for 30-45 seconds and then stir the food (if possible). Repeat the process until the food has been heated sifficiently.

Remember to check the temperature of your food and ensure that it has been heated to CDC guidelines.

Should Food be Placed in the Middle of the Turntable?


By placing your food at the edge of the turntable you ensure that your food will be cooked more evenly.

This is because all microwaves are different. The hottest part of each one can be different. Some are hottest in the center. Some are hottest at the edges.

By not using the center of the turntable your food will travel through more of the hot and cold parts which will spread out the heat more.

How Fast do Microwave Turntables Spin?

Turntable plates spin at roughly one revolution per ten seconds. This is six revolutions per minute.

Why Does My Turntable Spin Both Clockwise and Sometimes Counter-Clockwise

The motors that spin turntables in your microwave change directions because they are weak. If they cannot spin in one direction they reverse directions which often lets them start to spin.

The reason this happens is that the gears in the motor could be touching. This effectively makes them stuck. By reversing directions the gears can do the direction that they are not touching.

Why has My Turntable Stopped Working?

Your turntable has stopped working because the motor that spins it is bad or your turntable is not seated on the device that spins it in the first place.

Try picking the turntable plate up and seating it correctly in the part that spins it.

Or you can observe the part that is supposed to spin actually does spin while your microwave is on. 

If it spins then you need to place the plate on it correctly. If it doesn’t then your motor has stopped working and will need to be fixed or replaced.

How Do I Clean a Microwave Turntable?

  1. First wet the turntable in your sink.
  2. Scrub the turntable as you would any other dish with dish soap.
  3. Thoroughly rinse the turntable
  4. Dry the turntable with paper towels or set on a dish rack

Make sure to thoroughly rinse the turntable to ensure soap odors and taste don’t get in your food.

Should I Buy a Microwave with or without a Turntable?

This is a topic that is too lengthy for this post. However, we will answer it briefly here. 

In short, if you are a home consumer, you should probably just get a microwave with a turntable. Microwaves with turntables last longer and cook food more evenly.

How Do I Fix My Turntable Making Noise?

Here are some reasons your turntable may be making noise:

  1. Not seated properly on the turntable coupler
  2. Food buildup or something else that the turntable is scraping on as it spins
  3. A part connected to the motor is scraping on something

So check to make sure the interior of your microwave is clean.

If your turntable still makes noise then consider having a microwave technician inspect the motor part.

Or just buy a new one. That is the American way after all.

Is there a Universal Turntable?

Yes, there are universal plates. These are plates that all have the same fitting that connects to the microwave.

You can find these replacement plates at major retailers.

Make sure to check that the one you are buying is for your microwave brand.

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