Microwave Candy: Do Some Colors of M&Ms Melt Faster than Others?

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Author: Tricia Edgar
See in slideshow:
10 Food Experiments for Kids

Have you ever wanted to microwave candy? If you’ve ever stood in the sun wearing a black shirt, you should know that darker colors absorb light better. But will certain colors absorb microwave radiation better than others? In this cool candy science fair project, we’ll find out by placing different colors of M&Ms in the microwave. Which ones get hot and crack first?


Do certain colors of M&Ms absorb more microwave radiation than others? Do some colors of M&M's melt faster than others?


  • A package of M&Ms (If possible, get a package of coconut M&Ms. This package will have three colors: green, brown, and white. If this isn’t possible, get the good old traditional M&Ms with five colors: yellow, red, blue, green, and orange.).
  • Microwave
  • Jar lid
  • Pencil
  • Paper plate
  • Glue
  • Ruler


  1. Get your flat, microwaveable plate.  The plate needs to be paper, not plastic, since some plastics might heat in the microwave. Why do you think we want to avoid picking a plate that heats up in the microwave?
  2. Measure the distance to the center of the circle, and make a dot in the middle.  Center the jar lid over the dot and trace the lid with a pencil to create a circle.
  3. Take your M&Ms out of the package, and pick only the candies that aren’t cracked or oddly shaped for your experiment. Why do you think it’s important that we pick normally shaped candies?
  4. Time to get your candies in position! Make three or five clusters (depending on the type of M&Ms you are using) of three candies each, placed at equally spaced points around the circle. Refer to the illustration below:

M&Ms arranged on a plate

  1. Make sure that the clusters of M&Ms are equally far away from each other. Then, use a dot of glue to attach each candy to the plate. 
  2. While waiting for your glue to dry, create a hypothesis, your best guess about what is going to happen. When you cook these candies in the microwave, which colors do you think will get hot and crack first? Why?
  3. Place the plate in the microwave. Different microwaves take different amounts of time to do this step, so if your microwave is not very strong, this can take quite a few tries. Heat the candies for 30 seconds, then remove them from the microwave and observe them. Are there any cracks? Record the number of cracks and any other observations in a table like the one below:

Color of Candy

Number of Cracked Candies

0 Sec

30 Sec

60 Sec

90 Sec

120 Sec

150 Sec

180 Sec















  1. Heat your candies again for another 30 seconds, and observe them again. Continue to repeat this step until one of the candies cracks. What was the color of the first candy to crack? Make sure you record any changes after each 30 second cooking period.
  2. Do this experiment several times with new sets of M&Ms placed in the same position on fresh plates. Why do you think we want to repeat the experiment more than once?
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