Common Microwave Oven Settings: All You Need To Know

Last Updated on 20 February, 2023 by Darshan Chana

If you’re relatively new to microwave ovens, then all the settings you see on one might throw you in for a loop. I know the feeling- you wouldn’t be the first person I heard that from. But, worry not, you can start making great dishes from the get-go once I tell you about all the common microwave oven settings.

Common Microwave Oven Settings

Once you’re done reading everything I’ve got, you’ll be using your oven like a true chef. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.


Most Common Microwave Oven Settings


1. Power Level

Microwave Oven Power Level

This is one of the most basic settings. You can set various levels of power, starting from 100 Watts to 1000 Watts, using power level buttons. Most ovens generally operate within 5 power levels. They are:

  • Very Low: The oven’s power level is either 100 Watts or something lower when this setting is on. You can use it if your recipe requires you to cook slowly. This power setting is appropriate for cooking stuff like Turkey.
  • Low: The oven usually runs around 100-400 Watts when this setting is on. It’s most useful for softening stuff. It can easily melt food like cheese or butter without wasting extra energy.
  • Medium: This setting is good for baking. It’s usually around 400-500 Watts. You can also use it to make meat tender.
  • High-Medium: This setting is around 500-800 Watts. It’s good for baking or cooking vegetables.
  • High: This option offers the highest power level, which is around 800 Watts to 1000 Watts. You can use it for cooking food with a lot of water content quickly.


2. Timer Setting

Microwave Oven Timer Settings

The timer setting is just as important as the power level setting. You can set it to as low as 1 second and as high as 99 minutes and 99 seconds.

To set the time, just press the “Set Timer” button, hit in the input your recipe needs and then press start. The countdown will then start, and you’ll get a notification with a distinct sound once the timer has finished.

You can also back out if you change your mind midway through cooking; there’s a “cancel timer” button.


3. Start

Microwave Oven Start Button

It does exactly what the name implies. The oven starts when you press it. Oh, and remember to set the power level and timer beforehand.


4. Stop

Microwave Oven Stop Button

This button stops the oven’s entire workload, even if the cooking process has already started. Additionally, it also clears the timer and power level values, though some rare ovens come with a “Clear” button that needs to be pressed separately to do that.

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Now, these are the basic settings that every microwave has. I’ll provide information about some other common settings as well. However, do note that they aren’t as common as the earlier ones- you won’t see some of them in older models or certain recent but cheap ones. I’d highly advise getting the best microwave oven with all the settings described below.


5. Defrost Setting

Oven Defrost Setting

This setting allows you to quickly defrost frozen food through microwaves. Most ovens these days come with defrost settings. The amount of input you need to put in varies across models, though. A few will ask for time or power level, or both, though the majority can automatically adjust their settings once the button is pressed.


6. Microwave Setting

Microwave Setting for Vegetables

The “Microwave” setting is meant for boiling vegetables. It works well for those that don’t need a lot of water to cook. The best thing about this setting is that it doesn’t get rid of any of the nutrients contained in the food, even after the microwaving is complete.


7. Convection Or Fan Setting

Microwave Oven Convection Setting

You’ll only see this setting in convection ovens. It ensures that foods brown and crisp evenly using fans equipped with the oven. It’s a great setting for anyone that likes baking.


8. Steam Setting

Microwave Oven Steam Setting

The name says it all. It’s a useful setting for steaming food. It works well with meat and vegetables, thanks to the little amount of water these items usually contain.


9. Grill Setting

Microwave Oven Grill Setting

If you happen to be a fan of grilled food, you’re going to fall in love with this option. It’ll practically turn your oven into an actual grilling machine. Do keep in mind, though, the thicker the item your trying to grill is, the more there is the likeliness of uncooked spots inside the item when you use this setting.

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10. Convection Grill Option

Convection Grill Option

This one is another special perk of owning a convection oven. Since microwaves also have a grill feature, this option basically combines the two features to ensure that your grilled food gets crispy from both sides.


11. Upper Heating Option

When you use Upper Heating, the oven will focus most of its heat on the upper part of the interior. This kind of heating is great for cooking stuff like cakes, which require the top to be cooked more than the bottom.


12. Lower Heating Option

Similarly, this heating type is like the name implies- it focuses most of its heat on the lower region of the oven interior, ensuring that everything from the bottom gets cooked properly and evenly. It’s particularly useful for making pizza since the dough needs to be cooked properly for better taste.


13. Child Lock

Microwave Oven Child Lock

This setting isn’t available in all ovens, but it’s an incredibly handy one. If you have little kids with a habit of messing with the oven settings, turning it on will lock the control panel, so any further adjustments don’t work. They can’t unlock the panel on their own, as it doesn’t have a toggle switch. It can only be turned on and off through a specific button combination, usually supplied in the oven manual.

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Wrapping Up

Did any of these settings catch your eye? I hope you learned something new from this post. With so many fancy and advanced options available in ovens these days, it’d be a shame to miss out on any. It’s always good to be aware of all the common microwave oven settings to cook or reheat better!

Well, that’s all for now. Be sure to check back with us soon for more microwave oven tips and tricks. Have a nice day!

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