This sounds a little crazy, and it is—in a good way. Cooking food in the dishwasher while it cleans your dishes multitasks your appliance and saves time and energy. And who doesn't want to spend less time over a hot stove?
Most dishwashers wash on the hot setting at temperatures between 125–160°F depending on which stage of the dishwashing cycle they're at, and the high heat drying usually happens at around 140–160°F degrees.
Cooking in an airtight container inside your dishwasher is inspired by both poaching and sous vide cooking. Poaching happens at a relatively low temperature of 160–180°F over a short period of time, and sous-vide cooking happens at around 130–140°F for a longer period of time (fruits and vegetables take longer than proteins and require higher temperatures).
Some tutorials recommend enclosing the food in layers of foil and then running it through a clean dishwasher to avoid the soapy water issue, but you can wash dishes and cook at the same time if you use cooking bags or sealed mason jars or glass containers with screw-tight lids.
Tip: Make sure to choose the highest heat setting and sometimes even the heated dry cycle on your dishwasher when cooking food.
This method works extremely well for vegetables you want to be crisp-tender like green beans and asparagus.
- Trim and wash veggies.
- Season with olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper, or a vinaigrette of your choice.
- Seal in a mason jar or another glass jar with a screw-tight lid (old pickle jars works well).
- Place upright in dishwasher and run through a wash cycle with other dishes.
Alton Brown joins the guys from Mythbusters to try and cook a lasagna in a dishwasher in the video below. They give great tips on how to do it, like cutting any vegetables very thin, browning the meat beforehand, and flipping the aluminum tray upside down. They suggest running it on a pots and pans cycle, which is double the time of a normal cycle.
Spoiler alert: It works! And they actually think it tastes pretty good.
For another good dishwasher lasagna recipe, click here.
Salmon and most other fishes taste best when they are gently or partially cooked, so you can make a delicious seafood meal while cleaning at least one rack of dishes.
Bob Blumer, who probably wins the obscure title of being the world's expert on poaching salmon in the dishwasher, shows you how to do it in the video below.
He, and most other online tutorials, tells you to do this in a couple layers of aluminum foil, which is a good heat conductor. I have done this successfully before, but I always wrap the salmon loosely in the foil and enclose the entire package in an oven bag. That eases any fears I may have about suds hitting my salmon.
Lisa Casali, author and environmental cook, shows how to make couscous with zucchini and mint in your dishwasher in the video below. She also has videos on using a dishwasher to make roast veal and sea bass, if you're interested.
Check out Yumi's illustrated guide on how to use your dishwasher to clean toys, sponges, potatoes, and baseball caps.