What is the Six Minute Per Pound Rule?

With but a few exceptions, foods (meats, poultry, vegetables and fruit) will cook to done in a full size oven (650-800 watts) at High power (100%) in 6 minutes per pound. An exception to this is fish and seafood, which take approximately 3-4 minutes per pound. In higher or lower wattage ovens, simply shorten or lengthen the cooking times slightly.

When cooking is complete, allow food to stand 20-25% longer. Eighty percent of the cooking occurs in the microwave while it is on. After the microwave shuts off and during "standing time", food will cook 20-25% more. This is caused by the heat created by vibrating water molecules as they are slowing down to a stop. Remember, while molecules are moving, they are producing heat and will continue to cook our food. Standing time allows this "ongoing" cooking to complete, which is critical to cooking good food in the microwave. Do not cook foods until "done," it will be "overcooked" and tough after the standing time and "ongoing" cooking takes place.


Cover food you remove from oven for "standing time" so heat will not escape.

For each 1 minute in a 650 - 800 watt oven, try cooking .45 seconds in a 1000 watt oven and .40 seconds in an 1100 watt oven. Also, remember that power fluctuations from your electrical source may occur throughout the day, which can cause slight differences in cooking times. Use this information as as guide, but always remember that when in doubt, cook less time, or lower the power level by 10 - 20% followed by "standing time". More time can always be added, but overcooked foods are ruined.

Adjusting the Six-Minute-Per-Pound Rule for Higher Wattage Ovens

Higher Wattage  = Less Cooking Time

800 watt oven = 6 minute per pound

1000 watt oven = 4 - 5 minutes per pound

1100 watt oven or higher = 3 1/2 - 4 minutes per pound