How to Set the Clock on a Microwave

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Updated December 4, 2022

Even if you have the best microwave, you won’t get far if you don’t know how to use the control panel display. The settings button gives you access to many advanced features, but you should start by setting the microwave clock time. Regardless of which microwave model you have, whether you have one of the best small microwaves or built-in ones, knowing how to set the clock on a microwave is critical. So, read this guide to learn how to set the time on a microwave oven.


  • Ensure your microwave is powered on, or you may want to power cycle the unit if you recently had a power outage.
  • Press the clock button and select if you want standard time or 24-hour mode.
  • Lastly, type the correct time using the keypad and finalize the time with the clock button.

Luckily, the clock display is one of the most straightforward microwave functions to perform. While models have dial electronic clocks, most modern microwaves have a digital display window with electronic controls. In addition, you can set the current time of day using a 12-hour mode or military time.

So, find the clock icon button on your microwave, and we’ll show you how to set the time on a microwave. Keep in mind that your clock may function differently if you have a flatbed microwave.

For more helpful guides, check out our topics discussing how to use the defrost on a microwave, what is a recirculating microwave, and how to fix a microwave light.

Changing the Time on a Microwave

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 1 minute

Total Steps: 6

Tools: household clock, user manual, cellphone

Insider Tip

If your clock pad or power button will not turn on the display window, your unit may need a power interruption to reset a software issue. Simply unplug and replace the power cord into the outlet.

STEP 1 Power on the Microwave

Ensure that your power cord is connected to the outlet. Otherwise, your unit may stay in power failure mode or remain off. In addition, if you recently suffered a power outage, you may need to unplug and reinsert the power cord.

step 2 Find and Press the Clock Button

The clock button is typically in the lower-left section of the keypad. In addition, you use this same control panel to control the microwave power level.

STEP 3 Select 12-Hour to 24-Hour Clock Mode

You can cycle through standard or military time with the clock button.

STEP 4 Type in Your Time

Use the keypad to type in your desired time. Consider using your household clock or smartphone to see the correct time.

STEP 5 Select AM or PM

Press the clock button one last time to select AM or PM. Also, your microwave may have a dedicated AM/PM button.

STEP 6 Press the Clock Button

Lastly, press the clock button again to finalize your time setting.


If you microwave coffee, consider adding your ingredients before heating the liquid. The hot fluid may splash as you add ingredients, increasing your risk of being burned.


Is it safe to open a microwave while it’s running?

While we do not recommend opening your microwave while it’s running, you should be safe. Most modern models have an auto-shutoff feature that stops the microwave if you open the door.

Why is my microwave clock always wrong?

Unless you entered the time incorrectly, external frequencies could make your microwave clock count extra cycles. For example, if a power line is near your kitchen, it can affect your digital timer. Consider using a power filter for your power plug.

How do I change the time on my microwave without a clock button?

Some microwaves use the power or settings button to activate the clock mode. In addition, some models use the 9-button as the clock setting button.

STAT: According to the FDA, microwave energy decreases dramatically as you move away from the source of radiation. A measurement made 20 inches from an oven would be approximately 1/100th of the power measured at 2 inches from the oven. (source)

Coby McKinley Profile image