If you use a microwave often, you're probably familiar with that loud pop that typically means your meal was just ruined. 

It’s the sound of food exploding in the microwave, and once you open the door, the entire thing is covered in whatever you were preparing!

Read more: 15 things you should never put in the microwave

Why does food explode in the microwave?

In a YouTube video, microwave expert Sue Snider explains that the mess in your microwave occurs when water in the food is heated rapidly, producing steam.

When there’s no way for the steam to escape, an explosion takes place.

These foods can explode

Any food that has a skin or membrane can explode in the microwave, according to Snider, a professor at the University of Delaware.

Hot dogs, eggs and potatoes are just a few common examples.  

But there’s a way to safely cook these foods using your microwave oven and prevent your food from going to waste, according to Snider. 

A simple fix

In order to reduce the odds of food exploding in your microwave, you want to give the steam a place to escape. Simply take a fork and pierce the food item several times, Snider suggests.

It's the same technique you’ve been using all along before heating those frozen dinners.

Superheated water

Did you know that water can explode in the microwave as well? It’s actually very dangerous.

If you put water into the microwave, it may reach a boiling temperature without a visible sign that it’s actually boiling – until you go to take it out.

Snider says that’s when an explosion can occur, putting you at risk for serious burns.

Read more: 8 foods you should never reheat in the microwave