Since 1964, the Italian company Ferrero has been churning out tubs of its delicious hazelnut spread. Palm oil and soy lecithin help to keep the product spreadable in most conditions.
If you’re in a very cold climate or you want runny Nutella, can you microwave it? We ran a few tests in the kitchen and photographed the results to get you the answers.
Is Nutella suitable for the microwave?
From our tests, we found that Nutella can be microwaved in 15-second bursts until the desired consistency is achieved. One tablespoon will be spreadable within 20 seconds of heating and pourable in 60 seconds. We do not recommend heating the spread in its original jar; instead transfer the product to a suitable microwave-safe dish.
Although some other websites mention heating on a medium or low setting, this wasn't necessary. The combination of ingredients meant it was quite hard to seize or burn, so long as it gets stirred frequently.
What will happen to microwaved Nutella?
If Nutella isn’t over-cooked and is stirred frequently during heating it will melt into a silky-smooth consistency. If overheated, hot spots will quickly seize or turn into an unpleasant burnt patch.
The results of heating one cup of Nutella
Best uses: to melt for dessert recipes, baking, and dipping.
We heated one cup of Nutella in an 800-watt microwave oven to show you the results. Check out what we discovered below.
Here’s a cup of Nutella in a dish that’s been in the freezer for about half an hour. The starting point texture is firm and a challenge to spread, let alone use as a liquid.
Heated 30 seconds
After microwaving the spread for 30 seconds on high it had transcended into a decadent texture, easy to spread. While not pourable, it could easily be scooped onto desserts like ice cream.
Heated one minute
At the 1-minute mark, one cup of Nutella has taken on a smooth, pourable consistency. Don’t expect it to be as runny as heated chocolate though. The emulsifiers and other ingredients will stop it from becoming extremely viscous.
What happened when we heated one tablespoon of Nutella?
Best uses: for easy spreading
If you’re looking to microwave a tablespoon of Nutella, then heating times are reduced. If you just want a splodge of the good stuff for toast, then twenty seconds is sufficient. Here’s what it’ll look like.
To get the spread runnier, then you’ll need to zap it for up to 60 seconds. Keep in mind that our microwave was a mid-strength appliance. If you have 1000-watts or over then it’ll cook quicker.
We found that the danger zone cooking a tablespoon of Nutella was around 90 seconds. At this point, hot spots were bubbling up visibly and some of it was seizing. At two minutes, your spread will probably be burnt and need to be tossed out.
How to microwave Nutella
Whether you want to soften hard Nutella that is unspreadable or you want it runny for baking or dipping, follow these quick and easy steps.
- Use a spoon to scoop the required amount of Nutella into a microwave-safe dish.
- Position the dish in the center of the microwave to ensure it is heated evenly.
- Heat on a low setting for 15 seconds and then check the spread’s consistency. If necessary, give it a quick stir then continue heating in short 15 second intervals.
- Microwaves don't heat food evenly so there could be hot pockets within the spread that burn. Always take caution.
- Placing a lid over the container, with a small gap, will help keep the spread from drying out.
- Nutella will seize and turn hard if it is overcooked so keep a close eye on your spread.
- Pyrex, glass, or ceramic dishes are ideal for microwaving. A gravy boat is excellent if you’ll pour it over a dessert.
Alternative ways to heat Nutella
Although it's possible to microwave Nutella, there are some better options if you don’t need it completely melted.
1. Hot Knife
Run a knife under hot water for 10 seconds and it will easily scoop out and spread your chocolate hazelnut spread. Ice cream shops use this simple method to make scooping their product into cones much easier.
2. Water bath
Add hot water to a bowl and place the entire Nutella jar into the water for one minute. This is a gentler method of heating which allows the entire tub to soften.
What can I use Nutella for?
Drinks: Incorporate into cocktails, milkshakes, or combine with hot milk to make a mouth-watering hot chocolate. It’s also perfect for rimming a cocktail glass.
Ganache: Combine with cream to make a delicious ganache for spreading over cakes or cupcakes.
Dipping: Use melted Nutella like fondue – dip your favorite bite-sized pieces of pear, apple, strawberries, grapes, or even cookies.
Related reading: Can you microwave ice cream?
Can you reuse melted Nutella?
If you’ve got leftover runny chocolate spread, then scoop it into an airtight container and store it in the pantry. The Nutella will harden, but won’t be the same texture as the original product, so don’t return it to the jar it came in.
3 uses for leftover Nutella at the bottom of the jar
1. Breakfast oats
Scoop half a cup of oats into the jar and leave overnight. The next day top with your favorite fruit, chia seeds, and coconut for an alternative type of Bircher muesli. You can also use the tub like a mason jar for easy transportation to work.
2. Ice cream sundae
Add a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream to the jar along with chocolate chips, extra fudge sauce, and slices of banana or mango. Using a sundae spoon, enjoy your dessert straight from the jar.
3. Hot chocolate
Pour ¾ cup of almost boiled water into the jar and seal the lid tightly before shaking for one minute. Pour the mixture into a cup and you’ll discover a delicious hot chocolate, waiting for the marshmallows.
Commonly asked questions
Can you microwave Nutella in its jar?
Nutella's manufacturer does not recommend microwaving its spread in its original plastic container. Although the chocolate spread is sometimes packaged in glass, it still may not be suitable for microwaving. Your best option is to transfer it into another dish. If you ignore the warnings and put the whole container in the microwave anyway, it is important to remove all the foil seal as it is a fire hazard.
Can Nutella be used as a healthy substitute for peanut butter?
Although both spreads can be used in similar ways at the table, peanut butter is a much healthier option. It contains less sugar, and higher levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
How can I keep Nutella soft?
To keep Nutella soft and in the best condition, you are best to store it in the pantry or any cool, dry position. Palm oil should keep your Nutella spreadable.
How to harden Nutella?
To get hard Nutella, then you can leave it in the fridge for an hour or freezer for 20 minutes. If you want it to harden on desserts like ice cream (in the same way that choc shell does) then stir coconut oil into melted Nutella. Once poured over your chilled dessert, it will turn hard.
It’s fine to warm Nutella in the microwave, but if you’re thinking about doing it in the original jar then we advise against it. Leftover foil on the lid will cause sparking and the plastic can potentially melt. Best case scenario – no problems occur when heating the jar, but are you confident that toxic chemicals haven’t found their way into your food?
The one time you can microwave a Nutella jar is if the packaging says microwave safe, but we haven’t found that on one yet. Maybe you’ll get lucky? But is it really that hard to scoop your hazelnut spread into a separate dish?
We found Nutella to be much more forgiving than chocolate when heated. It doesn’t seize as easily and you’ll find it turns into a silky, smooth liquid; perfect for baking, desserts, or some kind of fun couples activity.