Can You Cook Food In Your Dishwasher?

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Can You Cook Food In Your Dishwasher?
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Can You Cook Food In Your Dishwasher?

We're always searching for new ways to use our favorite appliances, but would you try cooking a meal... in your dishwasher? Read on to discover how lasagna, poached pears and even lobster turn out under the wash and rinse cycle.

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Salmon?

The idea of poaching salmon in the dishwasher has been around since the 1970’s, but does it actually work?

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Success

NPR reports that cooking salmon in the dishwasher works. When tightly wrapped with foil and put in the dishwasher’s top rack under a normal wash cycle, the hot water and steam will slowly cook the fish into a soft, tender texture.

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Poached Pears?

Dan Pashman of the podcast The Sporkful tried cooking a variety of dishes, from omelet to curried mussels, in his dishwasher. For dessert, he prepared poached pears by combining sugar, water, honey, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and a little lemon rind with peeled and sliced pears in a glass jar and adding a splash of bourbon.

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Success

Pashman’s dishwasher, which reached temperatures of up to 140 degrees F, churned out a few disasters, but his poached pears were “superb” and the dish he would most likely try again.

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Lobster?

Pashman attempted to poach lobster tail in butter by splitting the tail in half, sealing the meat in a glass jar with one stick of unsalted butter and letting his machine run on a heavy duty cycle.

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Success

Pashman described the resulting dish “as buttery delicious as you can imagine.”

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Turkey?

Last Thanksgiving, Chef David Burke took dishwasher cooking to a whole new level when he tackled turkey breasts. He covered the seasoned meat tightly with plastic wrap, set it in a Tupperware container in the dishwasher and let his machine run four cycles.

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Success

The turkey breasts came out moist and tender, although a bit of broiler action is necessary to get browning and caramelized flavor. “This is so flavorful!” one taste-taster exclaimed.

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Lasagna?

The television show Mythbusters, with the help of Chef Alton Brown, tested the myth that lasagna can be cooked in the dishwasher. The show’s experts determined the inside temperature of the dishwasher hovered between 130 to 140 degrees F, and Alton devised a special recipe with thinly sliced ingredients and a wider, longer pan.

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Success

After nearly three hours under the pots and pans cycle, the lasagna turned out delicious. “In a pinch, you can do it,” Alton declared.

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Bagels?

According to The Stir, one bagel baker claims that you can make perfect bagels, with a crispy crust and chewy center, using a dishwasher.

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Success, Sort Of

To be fair, the dishwasher is never on when the dough is inside and is used in only one step of the recipe. After running one cycle, the warm and humid environment inside is perfect for letting the dough rise. This is followed by a series of cooling and heating steps using the fridge and oven afterward.

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We're always searching for new ways to use our favorite appliances, but would you try cooking a meal... in your dishwasher? Add this machine to the list of the latest household appliances repurposed into multi-functional cooking devices, trumping rice cookers, coffee makers and the good old-fashioned iron.

Speaking of "wash, rinse and repeat", cooking in the dishwasher isn't exactly a new thing. According to the Los Angeles Times, the idea of cooking proteins and fish like salmon in the dishwasher has been around since the '70s, with one of the earliest recipes for dishwasher poached salmon (demonstrated by a Department of Water and Power home economist, no less!) published by The Times.

Does cooking food in a dishwasher actually work?

Dishwashers come in a variety of models, so the temperature ranges and cycle setting can vary. But, in general the appliance uses hot water and steam to create a humid and hot environment that is similar to the wet cooking processes of poaching or sous vide cooking.

Ingredients need to be tightly wrapped in foil, sealed in glass canning jars or packed in air-tight, food-safe plastic bags before they are put in the dishwasher. In fact, for all you brave multitaskers, using the latter two options allows you to clean your dirty dishes at the same time without risk of soapy water contamination.

What foods can you cook in a dishwasher?

Dishwasher cooking enthusiasts say proteins and fish work best, but other ingredients and more complex recipes may require a bit of trial and error.

Is it safe to eat?

Since dishwashers reach varying maximum temperatures, food safety experts worry that harmful pathogens like salmonella won't be killed in the cooking process. It's important to consider the endpoint temperatures you will need to reach to fully cook foods, especially for poultry, beef, pork, fish and eggs.

Check out the slideshow above to discover how foods like lasagna, poached pears and even lobster turn out under the wash and rinse cycle.

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