Microwaves have come a long way since their debut in the 1970s. If you’re shopping for a new appliance, you may have noticed that some microwaves offer a convection option that allows you to bake, roast and more. But what sets a convection microwave apart from a traditional microwave? Is it worth the extra cost? Does a convection microwave speed up cooking, and is it the right fit for your kitchen? If you’re confused, don’t worry – we’re here to help.
What is a Convection Microwave Oven?
A convection microwave combines some of the features of two kitchen appliances – a microwave and a convection oven, allowing you to bake and roast foods in addition to heating them. Thanks to their versatility and small size, convection microwaves can be a good choice for small kitchens, apartments and RVs.
How Does a Convection Microwave Oven Work?
A convection microwave has at least two modes – the first is a standard mode that uses microwaves to heat or cook food. The second is a convection mode that transforms your microwave into a convection oven, which uses a heating element and a fan to evenly distribute heat throughout the appliance. Because of this, a convection microwave lets you use cooking techniques that aren’t available with traditional microwaves – think baking, roasting, broiling and the like. Convection microwaves let you alternate between both modes to cook foods faster.
What are the Benefits of a Convection Microwave?
Thanks to their versatility, convection microwave ovens can bring a number of advantages to your kitchen and cooking style. This includes:
- Faster cooking times due to a combination of convection and microwave cooking.
- More even cooking with convection setting.
- Racks that allow you to microwave multiple dishes at once.
In addition to these benefits, convection microwave ovens reduce your kitchen’s appliance footprint by combining your microwave and oven into one appliance. This makes convection microwaves especially appealing if space is at a premium.
How to Use a Convection Microwave
Successful convection microwave cooking is contingent on the type of item you’re cooking. In general, it’s best to follow these basic guidelines:
- Use the microwave setting for reheating or for short cook times. This includes leftovers, popcorn, steaming or reheating vegetables, prepackaged meals and so on.
- Use your convection microwave setting when cooking items for a longer period of time. Examples include roasted meats and vegetables, baked goods, bacon, pizza and other items that should be browned or crisped.
- If your convection microwave has a combination setting, use it to cook items more quickly and achieve a crispy outer layer. Be sure to monitor your food to avoid overcooking or burning.
- Use your convection microwave’s round convection rack and bakeware with lower sides to allow for proper air circulation.
- Metal items should be used with the convection setting only. Never use metal items on microwave or combination settings.
While these guidelines should work for most convection microwaves, keep in mind that every appliance is different. To achieve the best results with your convection microwave oven, refer to the product manual for additional cooking tips for your specific model.
Who Should Consider a Convection Microwave?
So, should you upgrade to a convection microwave oven? The answer depends on multiple factors. However, people with small kitchens may enjoy the versatility and space-saving aspects of a convection microwave. In addition, their convenience and speed are great assets if you’re frequently strapped for time.
Still not sure which microwave is right for you? Don’t worry – our microwave guide walks you through multiple options to help you find the right fit for your kitchen.
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