I tried cooking dinner for my family in the dishwasher. Yes, you read that correctly


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As a busy working mom, I’m always looking for shortcuts to make dinnertime easier. So when I heard about a hack where you can cook dinner while you’re washing dirty dishes, it seemed like a great way to turn some of my least favorite chores into one time-saving combo.

How on earth does it work? The idea is that the heat of the dishwasher can cook some foods into a perfectly delicious dinner. All you have to do is thoroughly seal the food up so that it doesn’t splatter all over the place. Since it’s sealed, you can cook at the same time as cleaning your dirty dishes, killing two birds with one stone.

One quick scan of the internet, and you’ll see there are actually a number of dishwasher recipes out there, ranging from quite easy (think steamed veggies) to complicated (poached salmon). I decided to take the mid-range approach by making some items that are sometimes hard to get exactly right when cooked in traditional ways. Dishwasher potatoes were a popular recipe mentioned online, as were boiled eggs. So, did it save me time and effort to cook out of my dishwasher? Here’s what happened when I tried.

dishwasher potato

Online dishwasher potatoes seemed simple enough. Multiple recipes recommend slicing a raw potato and adding the seasoning of your choice, then thoroughly sealing the mixture in foil. 

Per online advice, I rolled the edges of my tin foil, making sure everything was tightly sealed in, as the last thing I needed was potato pieces exploding all over my dishwasher. I put the sealed packet on the top rack of the dishwasher.

Next was experimenting with making hard-boiled eggs. You could make your eggs in a pot in boiling water, trying to guess when they might be perfectly done … or go ahead and cook them with the heat of the dishwasher. 

Online tips suggest putting the egg in a sealed plastic bag in case it cracks, which I did, because that’s one mess I simply do not want to deal with.

I nestled the egg among my dirty dishes, put on the 60-minute cycle, and hoped for the best.

The Results

Upon opening the dishwasher—while holding my breath — I was pleased to discover there weren’t food bits strewn all over the place. Everything did indeed stay sealed inside the warm packages. I could see the steam coming off the bags, tempting me that whatever was inside was cooked to perfection. Was my skepticism wrong? Was this, in fact, a cheap and easy sous vide machine that would change my life? No. Not even close…

The instructions I read said to turn off any energy-saving settings and run on a wash and dry, but my dishwasher only has various cycle lengths that include 60 minutes and 2.5 hours. I figured a 60-minute cycle should be enough to cook foods thoroughly. After all, boiling an egg on the stove takes maybe 20 minutes by my estimation (although I always get it wrong) and a potato takes less than 10 in the microwave. Maybe it’s not faster to put these foods in the dishwasher, but at least I didn’t have to keep an eye on them while cooking.

Dishwasher potato

Sadly, an entire hour of sitting in the dishwasher was not enough. Though the tinfoil felt steamy, upon opening I saw that the potatoes were still half raw. I then cracked the hardboiled egg …. only to watch it ooze out into a bowl. To get these suckers really cooked through, I probably needed to run my dishwasher on the longest cycle possible, which would be over double the time.

dishwasher egg

If you have a big load of extra filthy dishes and are planning on eating dinner a few hours from now, sure, try sticking some sealed food in there to steam while you’re at it. Otherwise, all I saw was a waste of water. I was just glad I hadn’t wasted a fresh piece of salmon or compiled an entire lasagna, two other popular dishwasher recipes. 

Final consensus: dishwasher cooking is a gimmick that, just like regular cooking, seems to require getting everything just so to make the perfect meal. If you’re truly looking to save effort, skip cooking food next to your dirty dishes, and just order takeout.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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Featured Image Credit: Jennifer Magid.