The concept of a convection microwave is still not clear to many. Some people are still figuring out the difference between convection and other types of microwave ovens. I know you have plenty of questions on your mind, too. You must have come to cross a heap of options around you. So, what is a convection microwave? My detailed research is here to your rescue.
Table of Contents
- What is a Convection Microwave?
- Mechanism of a Convection Microwave
- Design of a Convection Microwave
- The versatility of a Convection Microwave
- What are the positives of a convection microwave oven?
- What are the negatives of a convection microwave oven?
- Few alternatives to Convection Microwave Ovens
- 1. Microwave Oven
- 2. Solo Microwave
- 3. Inverter Microwave
- 4. Toaster Oven
Should I begin by introducing myself?
Though not a well-known personality, I’m still an experienced one. My only motto is to get into the depth of every appliance. Why? To clear your mind and keep you away from all the perplexities. Now, let’s get back to the subject.
What is a Convection Microwave?
Microwave debuted in 1970. It has come a long way ever since then. I wouldn’t be wrong if I call it the most resourceful and versatile kitchen appliance. If you are on a microwave hunt, you have surely noted a significant difference in the price of a convection microwave and a traditional one. What sets it apart?
The mechanism? The design? The versatility? Or everything?
Mechanism of a Convection Microwave
A convection microwave employs a fan to circulate hot air all around the food. It helps not only with quick reheating but also even cooking. Because of this cooking technique, you can easily do baking, grilling, roasting and broiling. The heating coil efficiently allows the appliance to brown and crisp the food items. In this entire process, the moisture level is retained, and the flavours are amplified. The continuous circulation of air can make the oven reach a 200-degree mark temperature. The fan will turn on and off to maintain the temperature.
Design of a Convection Microwave
This hybrid appliance is designed to ensure no food is unevenly cooked or undercooked. The hot air is circulated by a fan, which is at the back of the appliance. There is also a heating source at the bottom of the appliance. This placement makes sure the food at the top rack gets cooked faster. It is because the channel rises the heat to the top.
The versatility of a Convection Microwave
Whether you are looking to bake cookies, cakes, pastries or pizzas, a convection microwave can do it all to perfection. Besides baking, you can also use this versatile appliance for caramelizing, browning, roasting, grilling or even making your food super crispy. You can use this all-in-one appliance to prepare a quick meal for you or just heat already cooked food. Choose the mode- standard or convection, as per your requirement.
Now that we know the working of a convection microwave oven, let’s talk about the pros and cons.
You are now familiar with all the benefits and drawbacks of using a convection microwave oven.
Let me give you a list of food items you can cook best in a convection oven. Have your friends over and treat them to all these delicacies.
- Crispy french fries
- Grilled chicken
- Roasted meat
- Toasted nuts
- Thin crust pizza
- Baked vegetables
- Potato wedges
- Chicken peas
- Loaves of bread
- Mac and cheese
- Farfalle pasta with mushrooms
- Baked Palak ki mathri
- Pumpkin french toast
- Corn and paneer samosa
Hang on; there’s more! Get in touch with me about getting to know other examples. Your guest is in for a lavish feast. They are not leaving your home without being impressed by you. Tempted to get this appliance home? Let me pen down a few best convection microwaves. Which one’s are trending in 2021?
How do you choose one of these three listed convection microwave ovens? Here are a few factors you need to consider before bringing one home.
You could count a convection microwave as luxury. Therefore, it is so important you use it the right way. Let’s get to some tips for using and maintaining one.
- Enable the convection setting when you need to cook any of the above-listed food items. They need to be crisped and browned. You cannot do it in a normal microwave setting.
- Use the microwave setting for heating food, defrosting, cooking packaged meals, etc.
- In case of using any metal object, make sure the convection setting is activated. Do not enable the microwave setting.
- Avoid overcrowding of utensils.
- Make sure the door is sealed properly.
- Do not use plastic in convection mode.
- Use the right size of utensil. It should not hit the interior wall.
- We have discovered how most of the recipes are written as per conventional microwaves. It is mentioned in the manual. So, make alterations if needed (time and temperature).
- Preheat the oven for quick cooking.
- Use cookware with lower sides for enhanced air circulation.
- Make sure the fan is not blocked.
What is a convection microwave? You have a detailed explanation of this. Usage, pros, cons. You know it all.
Few alternatives to Convection Microwave Ovens
Now, let’s discuss a few alternatives to convection microwave ovens.
1. Microwave Oven
A microwave oven is used by almost every household. This appliance has a heating element at the bottom and top of it. The microwave technology quickly aggravates the water molecule in the food. The basic fundamental of a microwave and a convection appliance is the same- the food goes in cold and comes out cooked. The main difference is in the technology of both. Let’s have a look at the difference between both the appliances.
Convection Microwave vs Microwave Oven
Heating procedure: The heating mechanism of both the appliances is completely different. We have discussed how convection microwaves use fans to circulate hot air to cook food evenly. Microwave ovens bring out radiations on the end of the radioactive spectrum. These radiations generate heat by exciting water molecules in the food.
Cooking mechanism: A microwave can cook 25% faster than a convection oven. It means if you are cooking food of the same quantity and texture, a microwave can do the job quickly. You can use convection for browning or broiling but can’t use a microwave. Let me explain to you the procedure in layman’s language. In a microwave, the cooking starts from the inner layer and then passes to the outer layer. However, in convection, the cooking starts from the outer layer and then moves to the inner part.
Cooking uses: If your sole motto is reheating food, a microwave should be a better option than convection. The heating process is much quicker in a microwave. If you are exclusively looking for grilling and baking, convection can do the drill for you. The heating surface process starts from the outer surface. It crisps the food from the out and makes it moist from inside. However, some microwaves do come with the convection cooking option. Defrosting has also become a common need due to the high demand for frozen food. A microwave is a better option for that compared to convection.
Cookware: We all know how important it is to use microwave-safe cookware. It is because the molecular acceleration of microwave has strong and powerful radiations. Metal or any other microwave-unsafe utensils can react badly to it and damage the appliance’s inner workings. In the case of convection, you can only place utensils with enough heat resistance. As you can likely see by now, there isn’t really any difference about what things can work in a certain type of oven. They both have issues with the same kind of material. Microwave-safe plastic can easily catch fire and melt, though. I would highly advise using microwave-safe cookware made from glass or ceramic instead.
Energy Efficiency: Earlier, I said that convection ovens can be very power efficient. And they are, but a well-made microwave oven can easily compete with the energy savings offered by a convection oven. We have already discussed which appliance cooks quicker. So, would it be wrong to say that a microwave is more energy-efficient than convection?
A convection oven would consume 2,500 to 5,000 watts. A microwave consumes around 1200 watts. Also, on a standby mode, it could consume 2 to 7 watts of power. However, this is an approximate calculation. A microwave can use 30% to 80% less energy than convection as per the energy star rating.
Cleaning complexities: A convection oven is pretty compact. Hence, cleaning it is very easy. However, there is a catch to it. You can clean the appliance only when the heat of the heating elements is reduced. Convection also has grills which can be a bit time consuming to clean. Cleaning a microwave is way simpler and quicker. You can do it immediately with the help of a damp cloth.
Convection microwave vs microwave: Quick Difference
|Cooking Purpose||Best for heating, reheating & defrosting||Best for grilling, baking & broiling|
|Even heating/cooking||No. Certain angles remain less affected by the heat||Yes|
2. Solo Microwave
A solo microwave is one of the basic models and is also known as a regular microwave. The heating process involves microwaves and magnetrons. This mechanism is called dielectric heating. The radiation aggravates the polar molecules in the food and produces thermal energy in return. The appliance is great for delivering all basic microwave needs like – cooking, reheating and defrosting. Grilling and Baking? That’s a big no, though. You can use plastic or microwave-safe cookware. The difference between convection and a solo microwave is almost the same as the above. However, let me run you through some major disparities.
Convection Microwave vs Solo Microwave (regular)
Types of cooking: A solo microwave can efficiently cater to normal cooking, reheating and defrosting. A convection microwave is one step ahead of that. Besides the three types of cooking mentioned above, you can also use the appliance for grilling, baking and roasting.
Temperature control: While using a solo microwave, you cannot control the temperature. The only way to do that is while switching to the convection mode. However, in the case of convection, you can easily set the temperature. Let me guide you a bit on that. If you are planning on baking cakes or bread, lower the temperature by 25°F and keep it for the same period. For example: If in the recipe it says 325°F, you should set the temperature at 300°F.
Cost: A solo microwave is a pocket-friendly option. The pricing of the appliance is economical because it has basic features. But a convection microwave can get a bit expensive. It comes with all the advanced features.
Convection Microwave vs Solo Microwave: Quick Difference based on food
|FOOD TO COOK||SOLO MICROWAVE||CONVECTION MICROWAVE|
|Cakes & Cookies||No||Yes|
|Bread & Croissants||No||Yes|
|Pasta & Noodles||Yes||Yes|
|Tea & Coffee||Yes||Yes|
3. Inverter Microwave
Unlike the traditional microwave ovens, the inverter one delivers consistent and ordered cooking. Even in low-temperature settings, you can expect precise cooking. The inverter technology consistently maintains the flavour and texture of the food.
This controlled functioning ensures no overheating. Inverter microwaves operate at a fraction of their power level throughout. You don’t have to turn the appliance on and off. Let’s compare an inverter microwave with a convection one based on a few factors.
Convection microwave vs inverter microwave
Power Control: A convection microwave functions at high power. It can sometimes, rarely though, result in overcooking. In the case of an inverter microwave, the technology is designed to deliver precise power control. Hence, you can expect 100% accuracy.
Energy Efficiency: Undoubtedly, a convection microwave is an energy-efficient appliance. In the case of an inverter microwave, we have already discovered how accurately it can control the power. It means the use of power is super effective. So, you can expect the lowest energy bills with it.
Delivery of Heat: In a convection microwave, the delivery of heat is magnified. The transfer of heat is quick and high. The fan in the appliance helps in delivering the heat throughout the microwave. It has radiation as well as convection heating methods. In the case of an inverter microwave, it has only the radiation heating procedure. It is one substantial difference between both the appliances. The other difference is that the inverter microwave promises a consistent amount of power control throughout the cooking time.
Cooking uniformity: Convection and inverter both assure even and uniform cooking. However, the process of doing so in both are completely different. In a convection microwave, the in-built fan ensures no cold spots or overcooked edges. In an inverter microwave, there is no constant hot air circulation. But the constant and precise power supply promotes even cooking.
Food result: In the case of a convection microwave, expect perfectly cooked and quick food. Without any supervision, you can get the best results of baking, grilling and roasting. An inverter microwave delivers the same food result as a regular microwave. It only scores an edge over the regular one due to its consistent heating.
Cost: Unquestionably, convection microwaves are expensive. An inverter microwave costs more than convection microwaves also.
Let’s get one thing straight. The major difference between a convection and inverter microwave is the power control.
- Inverter Microwave– Linear power control – High precision control.
- Convection Microwave- on/off power switching- Max power control.
Convection microwave vs inverter microwave- there’s no clear idea who wins. Each has its downsides. However, I hope I gave you all the information you need to make a solid choice.
4. Toaster Oven
Toaster ovens are not as established as microwave ovens. However, they can be useful as well. They function by using a broiler to heat the food. The hot air allows convenient browning and crisping of food. This appliance can preheat quickly and is capable of effective broiling and baking.
Toaster ovens are advanced versions of regular toasters. Heating elements placed at the bottom and top of the appliance cause quick warming. It will warm up the surrounding air in no time. The hot air then works on toasting, baking and broiling. You could also use this appliance to prepare pizza, cakes, vegetables and meat. In short, a complete meal.
Toaster ovens are not a part of every kitchen so let me walk you through the food you can prepare with this appliance.
- Garlic bread
- Baked chicken
- Roasted chicken
- Parika roasted potatoes
- Broiled grapefruit
- Homemade bagels
- Hard toasted eggs
- Kale chips
- Pork chops
- Puff pastry pizza
Let’s get to the advantages and disadvantages of a toaster oven:
Convection oven vs toaster oven: Quick comparison
Energy Efficiency: Cooking in a toaster oven is quick. However, sometimes it can take longer. So, the consumption of energy can be higher. On the contrary, the hot air circulation increases the cooking span in the convection tremendously. Therefore, it consumes less energy.
Temperature settings: We have spoken above about how the user must set the temperature 25 degrees less than what is instructed in a convection oven. It is because of the constant hot air circulation. In the case of a toaster oven, it uses a quick warming heat source. Therefore, you should use the same temperature as a regular oven.
Food Type: Although you can use both appliances for preparing similar meals. Yet, I can tell you how to differentiate. If you are looking to bake something soft and delicate like souffles or custards, then a toaster oven should do the magic for you. But if you want to roast veggies or meat or bread with a nice crust, you may need the help of the convection fan.
When it comes to size, space consumption, maintenance and cost, both convection and toaster ovens are very similar. There is not much difference between the two appliances on these three parameters. If you want the best of both worlds, I have a suggestion for you.
You can now have access to hybrid models. These are all in one appliance. Let me tell you how it works. You can choose a toaster oven with the convection mode. There’s another option as well. You can also invest in a convection oven which has the option of turning off the fan. It will then function as a toaster oven. You only need to be prepared with high pricing. Looking for some recommendations?
Some best Toaster Oven options
One Last Thought
And that is a wrap to my complete guide on convection microwave ovens!
Is there any room for confusion? I don’t think so. You know everything about this appliance and in-depth. Not just that, you are well versed with all the alternatives. A regular microwave, a solo microwave, inverter microwave and toaster microwave. Now the concern here is that how do you choose one out of all the above appliances?
The sole purpose of all the appliances is to prepare your favourite meal. You know what your cooking requirements are. So, you should be able to decide in a breeze.
Who wins the race? First, tell me, what type of food do you cook most often? The answer to that is your winner.
Nonetheless, whichever appliance you choose, you are in for a true treat!
Also, browse through Different Types of Microwave Oven: Explained and 9 Best Microwave Ovens in India 2021- Reviews & Buyers Guide.
So, go on. Eat good, feel good!
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