A microwave installed above an oven

COMPARING MICROWAVE VS. OVEN: WHICH IS THE BETTER OPTION?

When it comes to reliable, trusted kitchen appliances, microwaves and ovens both deliver delicious results. However, which appliances you select will depend on your cooking style and recipe preferences. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of microwaves and ovens.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MICROWAVE AND AN OVEN?

Of the many differences between microwaves and ovens, methods of cooking and size are the most significant. Microwaves are smaller and cook or reheat smaller portions of food via electromagnetic radiation. Ovens are large appliances that utilize radiant heat from electric or gas heating elements within the oven cavity to bake, broil or roast sizable meals.

These differences produce a variety of effects, including speed of cooking, energy efficiency, temperature range and food results. Microwaves will generally cook faster and use less energy, but they do not get as hot as ovens and are unable to brown or crisp food without specialized features or heating elements. Ovens, on the other hand, are typically more expensive, consume more energy and have longer cook times, but you can select the temperature you want to bake and broil food.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A MICROWAVE?

Microwaves are excellent appliances for quickly cooking food, defrosting frozen food, including chicken, or reheating leftover meals. For example, their settings and features make them a good choice for heating up frozen pizza for a quick ready-to-eat dinner option. Not only are they easy to use, but their functionality extends to boiling, steaming and simmering.

Microwaves are also smaller and have less space to clean than traditional ovens, and there are significant benefits to cooking with a microwave.

Size: Microwaves are smaller countertop appliances that can go over your range or sit on your countertop. Maytag brand microwaves range in size from 1.1 to 2.1 cubic feet.

Speed of Cooking: One of the key benefits of microwaves is how quickly they can cook food. This speed depends on the wattage power of the microwave: the higher the wattage, the faster the cooking. Microwaves will tend to range between 600 to 1,700 watts, with many home models landing in the 1,000 to 1,2000 watt range.

Cooking Method: Microwaves utilize electromagnetic radiation to heat food. This radiation causes the water molecules in food to vibrate, which cooks the food more quickly than most other methods of cooking.

Price: Depending on the size and features you are seeking in a microwave, a compact option can cost around $50, a mid-range microwave between $100 and $300 and advanced feature models from $300 to $700.

Effects on Food: Despite the convenient speed with which they cook, microwaves can affect the texture and flavor of certain foods. Because standard microwaves are unable to crisp or brown, reheated food, such as fried chicken, can lose this characteristic when reheated. Whenever possible, make sure to always follow proper cooking and reheating instructions.

CAN A MICROWAVE BE USED AS AN OVEN?

Some microwaves can be used as an oven or even a convection oven if they carry convection capabilities or other features that allow them to cook pastries, poultry and other baked foods. Convection microwaves utilize convection cooking to circulate heat throughout the appliance; this allows you to bake, broil or roast smaller portions of your meal. For those home chefs looking to quickly put a quality dinner on the table, convection microwaves can be a major assist in the kitchen.

Select Maytag® microwaves include additional features that help your microwave take on more. The Dual Crisp feature1 allows you to get crispy results with an extended cycle that takes on everything from soggy garlic bread slices to frozen fries. Two powerful heat sources come together to deliver better microwaved meals. The Brown function1 provides 1,200 watts of direct, top-down heat add a finishing crunch to the top of food.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AN OVEN?

Ovens are an excellent choice for baking, broiling and roasting. Temperature control allows for greater precision when cooking anything from roasted chicken to spinach and mushroom tarts. Additionally, some ovens come with convection heating, which utilizes a fan to distribute hot air throughout the appliance, distributing heat more evenly from rack to rack.

Due to their overall size, traditional ovens are also able to cook larger dish sizes or multiple dishes at once. These benefits make cooking with an oven an excellent option.

Size: Ovens are larger kitchen appliances that can often serve as the focal point of your kitchen. Maytag brand wall ovens come in 27-inch and 30-inch wide sizes.

Speed of Cooking:  Although ovens typically take, on average, 12 to 15 minutes to preheat to 350°F, oven features on select models such as Maytag’s Power Preheat lets you start cooking sooner. Additionally, some traditional ovens come equipped with convection cooking, which is designed to cook certain foods faster than traditional baking.

Cooking Method: Conventional ovens utilize a heating or broiling element to bake, broil and roast food. For this reason, the dish closest to the active heating element will cook the fastest as there is no way to circulate heat to other parts of the oven like in a convection oven.

Price: An oven’s price varies, as it can rely on the capabilities, size, brand and type. Depending on the size and features you are seeking in an oven, a basic countertop convection oven can cost on average between $100 and $300, whereas a full-sized option can typically range anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000 or more.

Effects on Food: Due to their methods of cooking, ovens are able to brown and crisp the edges of food, impacting their texture and flavor. Similarly to using a microwave, make sure to follow proper baking and heating instructions when using your oven.

HOW DO YOU USE AN OVEN LIKE A MICROWAVE?

If you do not have a microwave, you can use an oven as a reasonable substitute for reheating items by heating the oven to temperatures between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

WHAT IS THE OVEN TO MICROWAVE CONVERSION?

Typically, microwaves range from 600 to 1,700 watts, with most falling between 1,000 to 1,200 watts. As a general rule of thumb, convert oven cook times to your microwave by dividing the time to cook by 4. For example, depending on their size, potatoes can take 45 to 60 minutes to cook in an oven. After converting this time to cook, you should microwave your potato between about 10 and 15 minutes.

CAN I USE A MICROWAVE TO BAKE?

Select convection microwaves can bake foods such as cake or bread by utilizing convection cooking as opposed to electromagnetic radiation. Convection microwaves not only cook faster than regular microwaves, but they also allow for more even cooking results across multiple racks. This Maytag brand model features convection cooking which functions more like a convection oven than a traditional microwave.

SHOULD I CHOOSE: MICROWAVE OR OVEN?

Whether you choose a microwave or oven will depend on your needs. If you bake and cook frequently for your family, or are looking for more overall precision control while cooking, an oven is a smart pick. If you often reheat or defrost frozen food, or if you have limited space in which to cook, a microwave is a good choice. 

With that being said, each appliance provides unique advantages and it is best to have both for increased kitchen versatility.

SHOP MAYTAG® MICROWAVES AND OVENS

Maytag brand kitchen appliances are built for performance, durability and convenience—microwaves and ovens being no exception. Select Maytag® microwaves come with performance features, such as dual crisping or browning, for delicious results. Maytag® ovens feature steady temperatures to produce fast and consistent results.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MICROWAVES AND OVENS WITH MAYTAG Brand

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1. Available on select over-the-range microwaves