What’s the Difference Between Defrost and Normal Settings in a Microwave?

It is very easy to cook food in the microwave oven, but it’s quite difficult to deal with the different options in the microwave oven. Isn’t it?

Have you ever get confused about the different options in a microwave oven? I think yes.

Different Cooking options are easy to cook food and the food cooked with these different options will differ from the normal settings.

Defrost is one among the different settings on the microwave panel.

But, what’s the difference between Defrost and Normal Settings on a Microwave? The main difference between the microwave oven normal settings and defrost setting is power efficiency. In the normal setting, the power efficiency will start and stop in the form of a cycle to defrost food. But in the defrost option, the power efficiency is pre-defined so it takes less energy.

If you are interested in knowing in detailed information about defrosting and normal settings, then scroll down to the below.

Difference Between Defrost and Normal Settings on a Microwave

We can see these normal settings mostly in the traditional microwaves also. Due to the technical improvement, the microwaves are implemented by some of the settings. The normal settings in microwave oven come under the basic settings while the defrost option comes under different/advanced settings of a microwave oven.

microwave oven settings

Normal Settings on a Microwave oven

The normal settings on a microwave oven are namely Start, Power Level, Cook Time, and Stop.

Power level:

The power level decides the amount of power to use for the food it ranges from 100 watts to 1000 watts in the form of levels. Like Power level 1, Power level 2……..power level 10.

The power level 10 will give the maximum power to the microwave oven.

The format of power level may vary from oven to oven. Other may have the power levels in the form of very low, low, medium, high medium, high.

We need to set the power level while cooking the food in normal settings

Cook Time:

Along with the power level, cook time is also the main thing to set before cooking. The time may vary from 9 seconds to 99 minutes 59 seconds.

The time will starts in the oven in the descending order from as a countdown. Once the countdown is completed the oven will get stop by intimating with a bell signal.

This option helps in saving time instead of staring at the food in the oven.


With this option, an oven cannot run. This start option is common in every electronic device.

But we need to press the button only after choose the power level and cook time while cooking with normal setting.

It also helps in checking the food in the middle of cooking whether it is cooked evenly or not. By pressing the start/pause button we can pause the cooking process for a while.


The Stop option is also a common option. Generally, the microwave oven stops by itself when the countdown completes due to automation. But during emergencies, we need a stop button for the immediate stop.

So, though the microwave oven is automated we need a stop button in the case of an emergency.

These are all about the normal settings and now move on to the defrost setting.

Before starting let us know what means defrost in general.

Defrost on Microwave oven:

In general, defrost mean melting the object to the temperature above the freezing point in order to remove ice from the object.

Defrost in the microwave oven is thawing the frozen food to normal without cooking it.

Defrosting in a microwave

Here the food is cooked with a lower temperature for evenly cooked food. For this, we need to set the power levels of the oven to 30 % of the total efficiency.

Because the microwave penetrates easily in the food with water molecules. But it takes much time to penetrate inside the food with ice.

So, the power level with 30 % efficiency will defrost the food slowly. Once the part of the food is defrosted then it slowly passes the heat to the other parts of the food.

This makes the food evenly defrosted without cooking it.

Apart from the timer here in this defrost we need to set the weight because defrost is depends on the amount of the food kept inside the oven. And the timer setting is automated in the oven
By setting the power level and weight, start the oven by pressing the defrost option. (Time is an automated thing)

If your oven doesn’t have a defrost option then what is the solution. Lets us resolve the answer for it too.

Here is a quick video for you for the best understanding about defrosting of food.

Other Defrosting methods

There are 2 methods to defrost the food without the defrost button on your oven. They are

 Defrosting on Microwave oven without the defrost option:

As said earlier, the defrosting requires 30 % of the power level in a microwave oven, and then set the power level to 30 % of the total efficiency.

When it comes to the time setting, the general microwave oven takes seven to eight minutes to defrost one pound weight of the food. So, calculate the time takes for the food to defrost according to the weight.

During the process, stop the oven and flip/stir the food you kept for better defrost.

Normal defrosting

If you don’t have any microwave oven at your home, then follow this method to defrost it.

Firstly, place the packet of frozen food in a bowl of water. Make sure that the defrosting temperature should not increase 40 degrees Celsius because this helps for the growth of bacteria in the food.

Point to Note:

You should cook defrosted food as soon as possible after the defrost process. If the gap between defrost and cooking increases then the bacteria growth also increases in food.

And you can store the food by freezing it again after cooking. But you should cook defrosted food within 24 hours.


Hope that now you are clear about the defrost option in the microwave oven and how it differs from the normal setting. It concludes that the defrost option is best for the budget people where it operates at low power levels and consumes less energy.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is defrosting in the microwave safe? Yes, it is completely safe to defrost in a microwave oven until its temperature began to cook the food. This allows the edges of the food to burn and a raw food inside.

Does meat thaw faster in cold water or hot water? Though the hot water tends to melt the meat faster it will lead to bacterial growth inside the meat. So, it is safe to melt the meat in the cold water in order to prevent it from bacterial growth.

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