Convection microwaves are something than many homeowners have never heard of or realized were available. These kitchen appliances are special because they are both a microwave, as well as an oven. With convection microwaves, users can bake and roast meals, as well as use the microwave traditionally—to reheat food. So, if you have been wondering, are convection microwaves worth it? The answer to this is Yes! A resounding yes.
How Do Convection Microwaves Work?
Microwave ovens for home use have been popular for many decades. While convection microwaves have also been around for awhile, they are not as well known as the traditional microwave.
Traditional Microwave Cooking
If you are used to a traditional microwave, you might not see how a microwave can be used much beyond defrosting, reheating, or cooking prepared food. Because of the way that microwaves cook, it is difficult to get most foods brown and crispy, or to cook for extended periods of time.
A microwave oven has technology that produces microwaves throughout the oven and reflecting off the interior walls. Food inside the ovens absorbs the microwaves, and they pass through the food causing its water molecules to vibrate and heat up. The resulting heat is what cooks the food. The microwave energy heats the food rather than the oven. (Although the inside of the microwave oven can get hot if the food gets hot enough.)
Traditional Oven Cooking
A conventional oven heats air inside its enclosed chamber, and it cooks food by transferring heat from the air to the food. Modern ovens usually have two heating elements, one at the top and one at the bottom. The top element is typically used for broiling foods while the bottom lights up for baking and roasting.
A convection oven essentially adds a fan to the conventional oven. The fan forces the hot air to circulate throughout the chamber. The constant distribution of heated air causes the food to cook more quickly.
Convection Microwave Cooking
A convection microwave works by having two operating modes. One mode is the standard microwave mode that allows you to reheat, defrost, and even cook some foods. The second mode is convection mode which distributes the heat evenly throughout the appliance so that you can bake, broil, or roast food in your microwave.
Operating a Convection Microwave
Learning all the best ways to use your convection microwave can be one of the challenging parts of owning and using one; however, once you master the settings and options, you will be able to prepare meals you never dreamed possible in a microwave. Convection microwaves can reach temperatures up to over 1,000 degrees.
One thing to keep in mind is that metal containers should only be used on convection settings. Using them in the microwave on microwave or a combination setting can cause damage to the microwave and possible fires. You should also avoid putting plastic inside of the microwave as well as airtight, closed containers which can explode as heat builds up inside.
Why People Love Convection Microwaves
Convection microwaves are exceptionally versatile and space saving, making them an excellent choice for families who have more confined kitchen spaces such as mobile homes, apartments, or even RVs. Other reasons why people love convection microwaves include,
- Super-fast cooking times that convection ovens are known for.
- More efficient use of cook space.
- More even cooking than a traditional oven due to convection style heating.
- Racks that allow for multiple foods or dishes to be reheated at once, unlike traditional microwaves that only have a rotating plate.
- Can act as a second oven when your traditional oven or convection oven is handling the heavy lifting.
If you are looking to replace your microwave, a convection microwave may be a no-brainer. A convection microwave can serve every single function that a standard microwave can and it has comparable or better size and capacity. If you’re considering upgrading your existing microwave, check out our list of best microwave convection ovens.)
If you live in a confined space, are super busy and do not have time to spend hours in the kitchen preparing meals, a convection microwave is a fantastic option for your family. Heating up multiple dishes at once saves time when it comes to a busy family life and allows the family to all sit down and eat together, rather than individually as plates are warmed.
Convection microwaves are also perfect for dinner parties and keeping plates warm while you are preparing multiple dishes to plate. The fact that the microwaves can also cook, bake, and roast different dishes, makes it ideal as a backup or second oven when you are creating an entire spread for your friends, family, or coworkers. Convection microwaves are so versatile that many users find themselves wondering why they waited so long to get one in the first place.
Some convection microwaves are even controllable via app on your smart phone or tablet and have combination settings that allow you to get a crispy outer skin on foods like chicken, potatoes, and more, similar to frying. You can also program cooking instructions in such as lower or raising the temperature at certain cooking intervals. You will rarely need other appliances when you can do almost everything in a convection microwave.
Disadvantages of Convection Microwaves
When assessing the question “Are convection microwaves worth it?”, you must take a look at the disadvantages as well. Despite their many benefits, convection microwaves are not perfect. These are some notable disadvantages of convection microwaves:
Size. A convection microwave cannot replace a full-size oven. Users will need to keep in mind however that if they cook larger dishes such as whole turkeys, an entire pork loin, or other large cuts of meat, the convection microwave may not be your best option for trying to roast these.
Convection microwaves are smaller than traditional ovens, so if you are in charge of cooking large main dishes on holidays, you might not want to give up your oven quite yet. Although some people have successfully cooked a Thanksgiving turkey in a convection microwave!
Learning Curve. Operating a convection microwave involves somewhat of a learning curve. The settings and cook times you are used to in your traditional microwave or full-sized convection will not carry over to a convection microwave. Also, to get the best results, you will probably want to use a combination sequence. So, the key takeaway, plan to spend some time actually reading the user’s manual.
Also, you might think that cooking times for a convection microwave would fall somewhere between the typical cooking times for a regular convection oven and a standard microwave. Surprise! A convection microwave actually cooks food faster than a standard microwave. So be sure to check on your food to make sure it doesn’t overcook.
Bestselling Convection Microwaves
- Exterior dimensions: 21.77" w x 21.50" d x 12.99" h; Cavity: 15.5" w x 15.35" d x 10.2" h
- Combines microwave and convection cooking in one appliance, with auto bake, defrosting and auto roast menus
- Pre-programmed sensor menu for optimum result of popular foods like frozen pizza, vegetables and more. 120V~ 60Hz
- AIR FRY MODE - Cook healthier, crispier versions of your favorite foods in less time, thanks to an air fryer built into your microwave
- CONVECTION MODE - Achieve crisp, golden brown results in this microwave oven with convection, which includes a special rack that allows air to circulate around foods for even heat distribution
- BROIL MODE - When you have a microwave with a broiler right inside, you can achieve the same effect you do with grill racks, radiating heat to sear or caramelize any food to perfection
- Unit Dimensions: 21.20" L x 19.00" W x 12.20" H | MC Weight: 41.30lb
- 1.2-cubic-foot capacity, 1000 watts
- Brushed stainless with embossed Cuisinart logo and dark tinted glass window
At the end of the day, are convection microwaves worth it? The answer is yes! For most kitchens, a convection microwave would make an excellent addition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can convection microwave replace toaster oven?
Yes. A toaster oven cooks food using heated air. The primary difference is that the convection microwave has a fan that circulates the heated air. The forced circulation may cause some foods to dry out more in a toaster oven than they would in the convection microwave.
Can you bake in a convection microwave?
Yes. You can bake anything in a convection microwave that you can bake in a regular oven. Just be sure to use proper pans and the accessories that came with your unit. (You want to elevate the pan rather than have rest on the bottom of the unit.)
Can I use a metal tray in a convection microwave?
Yes. You can absolutely put metal in a convection microwave. But only when it is being operated in convection mode. Never use metal items while the oven is on microwave or combination settings.
Can convection microwave be used as an air fryer?
Yes. Air fryers use convection technology to cook food. To air fry in your convection microwave, use a dark, perforated pan. The dark color intensifies the heat. The holes or slots allow the air to flow through the pan.
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