The physics of Hot Pockets


Pro tips:

  1. Yes, you really SHOULD leave it in the microwave for the indicated time AFTER cooking.
  2. As difficult as it can be to change this habit, avoid placing food in the exact center of the microwave turntable. Place things on the outer edge to avoid food sitting in cold spots.

So is the lesson to defrost the hot pockets in the refrigerator the night before?

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The lesson is don’t eat Hot Pockets. Who doesn’t know this??


(a) Because you didn’t let it sit for a few minutes after cooking, like the packaging says.
(b) Because you used the shorter high-wattage-oven cooking time in a low-wattage oven.

TL;DR: RTFM. Hot Pockets are pretty tasty once you slow down and follow the instructions.

Well. I don’t know about “tasty”.

Everyone under the age of 30.


If it’s all about ice lattices, then how does defrosting in a microwave work, and is there a way to do it better?

In the fridge for a couple of days, ideally. Otherwise let sit at room temp or bathe in warm water to speed things up a bit.

Well, yeah, I meant tricks for improving it in the microwave. It’s odd, sometimes it seems to work well, other times it doesn’t. I haven’t figured out a pattern yet.

See item in Twitter. Click link.
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Taken to another page or something, with another link.

I don’t want to know this badly. I’m out.

Most frozen microwaveable meals include a “let stand in microwave for x minutes”. Is the idea that there is some thermal conduction going on that continues the cooking process after the microwave shuts off? Or is it something else?

Caution: Product will be hot after microwaving.

Yes, in general foods still cook after being removed for the heat source since they still retain that heat.

My microwave has this nifty “power” button. I set it at 50% and then double the time. Magically it comes out hot all the way through. Of course I do this with most microwaveable products, which means I don’t end up with the edges of mac and cheese burnt to oblivion, ect.

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Yes. The absorption spectrum of ■■■■■ food is such that the microwave radiation mostly passes through the pastry, and is absorbed by the outer region of the pocket, so it can;t penetrate to the center. Thermal conduction is the only way that can happen.

This is why when defrosting large volumes of stuff, you need to stir or turn them in the middle.

In my experience, ignoring “let stand in microwave” is why it’s molten on the outside, and ignoring “for 1100-watt microwaves, cook an extra minute” is why it’s frozen on the inside. It makes sense that there’d be a continuing cooking process as well, though.

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As far as I’ve been able to tell, Hot Pockets all contain meat, so I’m not interested.

Most microwave food does have the “let it sit for N minutes” instruction, which lets the lava-hot parts cool down and the not-hot-enough parts warm up. Sometimes this helps.

There’s a few meatless varieties. “Four Cheese Pizza” is the only one I can recall. I think all the meatless ones have cheese, though, so still not suitable for vegans.

I am fond of either the reduced power/double time method like you or the layered construction method when reheating leftovers. The theory on the second one being that less food material in the bowl = less to heat all the way through.