Hot Pockets have been around since 1983 and show no signs of slowing down. So if you find yourself short on time but with a hunger that a bag of potato chips just will satisfy, look no further!
From ham and cheese to beef taco, Hot Pockets come in a variety of flavors for you to sample (over 58, to be exact), so it shouldn’t be hard finding something to keep your stomach happy.
The average college student uses a microwave approximately four times a day, so it’s easy to see why Hot Pockets have rightfully been established as a complete campus staple.
Though oven cooking your Hot Pockets will achieve a crispier outer layer, microwaves are just as effective – and far quicker – at heating up your food! However, they can be quite difficult to get just right, especially if you aren’t familiar with the tools available to you – including your microwave.
So if you’re curious about how to achieve the perfect, delicious golden outer shell on your Hot Pockets, we’re here to help you out! We’ve constructed a handy guide and an FAQ section to hopefully provide you with all the answers you need. What are you waiting for?
What Is A Hot Pocket?
A hot pocket is a quick-to-make delicacy that generally contains one or more types of melted cheese, savory sauces, juicy meats, and vegetables – all wrapped up in a flaky crust.
It features a susceptor (also known as a “crisping sleeve”) made from cardboard that is used to absorb microwaves and concentrate more heat onto your hot pocket to ensure a crispier crust.
The Best Method of Cooking Hot Pockets
Hot Pockets take minimal time to cook but are still fairly tasty. There is an argument to be made in support of both methods of cooking a Hot Pocket.
Baking a Hot Pocket in your oven will undoubtedly take longer, but you’ll achieve a level of crispness that will not be achieved by using the microwave. So, we recommend using this method if you have time and patience on your hands.
However, we strongly believe that cooking your Hot Pocket in the microwave is the best method because of its crisping sleeves. The product has been designed with convenience in mind – to make meal preparation as simple as possible.
The microwaving method is tried and tested by millions of people but is especially popular amongst idle college students or those with a busy lifestyle seeking a quick and easy dinner.
You should microwave your hot pocket for a few minutes to ensure all fillings have been brought up to the proper internal temperature. This helps to minimize the risk of harmful bacteria.
It may look like a lot of work to properly cook your Hot Pocket, but cooking it using a crisping sleeve will maintain the crispiness and prevent it from becoming too soggy with little to no effort on your part!
With or Without a Plate?
It’s perfectly safe (and acceptable) to microwave Hot Pockets without a plate. But it may be a lot simpler and cleaner to use a ceramic plate because all the grease and melted cheese will remain on the plate and won’t get all over the interior of your microwave.
It isn’t a good idea to microwave your Hot Pockets on paper plates. These food items produce a lot of hot greases that easily burn through paper plates. It could lead to extreme health and safety issues if the paper plate melts and comes into direct contact with your food.
If you choose to use a plate, we’d recommend opting for ceramic or glass. A large majority of these plate types are microwave-safe and will not pose a threat to your safety as you eat your food.
How To Microwave Hot Pockets?
Microwaving hot pockets is an extremely straightforward process. But, if you’ve been living under a rock and have yet to try one of these delicious yet easy to prepare foods, we’ve created a list of detailed steps for you to follow below.
Method 1: The Simplest of Them All
1. What’s the Wattage?
Before starting, check the microwave you are using and determine whether it has a higher or lower wattage.
2. Microwaveable Safe
Grab a microwave-safe plate. It should be big enough to freely move inside a microwave to ensure your Hot Pocket is evenly cooked through.
3. Plate it Up
Take the hot pocket out from its plastic and cardboard wrapping and place it onto your plate. Put a crisping sleeve around your Hot Pocket.
4. Fire Up Your Microwave
Start your microwave. Cooking time can range anywhere from around 2 minutes to 5 minutes depending on how many Hot Pockets you want to cook. This is also dependent on the wattage of your microwave.
To pass the time, feel free to make yourself a coffee or scroll through your social media. To achieve the best result, we recommend heating only one hot pocket at a time to ensure that all cooking is consistent.
5. Check It Over
Use an oven mitt to remove the piping hot plate from the microwave. Carefully remove the crisper cardboard and check the hot pocket from the center.
Be careful as the filling does tend to reach boiling temperature levels. If the food is not properly cooked from the center, it’s relatively simple to place the product back into the microwave for another 30 seconds of cooking time. Take it out when it is piping hot the whole way through.
6. Done and Dusted!
…And you’re done! Your hot pocket is ready for you to enjoy.
Method 2: Tried and True
For a more thoroughly cooked Hot Pocket, feel free to try out this method.
- Microwave your Hot Pocket for 75% of the recommended cooking time.
- Remove the Hot Pocket from the microwave. Hold it at both ends and shake it so the filling on the ends meets the colder filling in the middle.
- Place the product back into the microwave and cook for the remaining time.
- Take it out and check it is officially cooked through. If it needs a little bit longer, simply put it back into the microwave. But if it doesn’t, wait for it to cool down and then enjoy!
…What About Cooking Two At a Time?
If you choose to cook two separate Hot Pockets at once, then you must be more cautious about how you cook it. In an 1100 watt microwave oven (on high), you should cook both products for 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
However, in a lower wattage microwave, you should leave your items to cook for 5 minutes and 30 seconds to ensure they are ready to eat.
After taking the Hot Pockets out of the microwave you should leave them to cool down for at least 2 minutes so you don’t burn yourself.
Our Top Tips
One of the only problems with biting into a Hot Pocket is the temperature. The internal temperature usually reaches around 74 degrees Celsius or 165 degrees Fahrenheit, you are finished microwaving and it is safe to eat.
So it may not come as any surprise if you burn the roof of your mouth or your tongue. We’ve all been there at least once in our lives! There are ways of preventing this.
- Make sure the internal temperature of the hot pockets reaches around 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure it is fully cooked.
- We’d recommend trying to use a ceramic or glass plate if you can. But if you find that you can’t, you can use a paper towel or a piece of parchment paper instead of a paper plate.
- Hot Pockets are perishable. Therefore you should keep your Hot Pocket in the freezer until use. Never keep it in the fridge!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Safe to Cook Hot Pockets in the Microwave?
Yes, it is. As long as you make sure to stick to the recommended cooking time, and use a microwaveable-safe plate underneath your food.
How Long Does it Take to Cook Two Hot Pockets?
This largely depends on the wattage of your microwave. However, these are the average figures that are advised by the manufacturer:
- An 1100 watt microwave will take around 3 and a half minutes to cook two Hot Pockets/
- A 700 watt (or lower wattage) microwave will take approximately 5 and a half minutes.
How Do I Cook a Hot Pocket Without It Exploding?
In place of using a crisping sleeve, you could put your Hot Pockets upside-down on a preheated microwave crisper pan that features a lid to help reduce the risk of ‘explosion’ Not only will this reduce the cooking time but it will also help to make the Hot Pocket much crispier.
Our Final Thoughts
Hot Pockets are simple to prepare and are an ideal dinner option if you’re fixed for time (or if you simply like the taste. We won’t judge!)
They come in a variety of flavors for you to choose from, so there’ll be something to appeal to your specific taste. But the way you choose to cook your Hot Pocket can completely alter the way it tastes, so you must be thorough.
While baking it in the oven will result in a crispier outer coating, it takes a fair chunk of time out of the day for a busy working individual who may find themselves with minimal time to cook food.
The items are pre-cooked and frozen so you can microwave the Hot Pockets without having to worry about whether it is properly cooked. To ensure the food is uniformly heated you need to pay close attention to the wattage of your microwave.
Compare this to the manufacturer cooking instructions on the Hot Pocket box to find out just how long you need to put the food in the microwave. We recommend taking it out halfway through and shaking it up to make sure the filling is fully heated.