At a glance, a convection oven vs. microwave represents quick and easy ways to prepare meals in the same way. They do both offer less preparation time and easy cooking through heat transfer, but there are many ways in which they differ. The choice of a convection oven or the best microwave will differ based on your intended use of other kitchen appliances; like a toaster, steam oven, and speed oven.
It also depends on what you’re looking for in terms of configuration, method, temperature, and material, like stainless steel.
A microwave is aptly named because it releases microwave energy to cook food. This technique uses the microwaves to heat water molecules contained in your food. It is ideal for warming up canned foods, frozen foods, and leftovers that were refrigerated leftovers. It is also suitable for steaming or baking in some cases.
A convection oven cooks items faster and more evenly. The use of a fan distributes heat throughout your food, ensuring it cooks evenly. A microwave can cause certain parts of your food to be scalding, however, while others are still cool.
Each machine has a different configuration. Both are compact and take up minimal space on your counter. If you choose not to buy a countertop convection oven or microwave, you can get units installed above your stove. They’re out of the way and more convenient.
Typically, a microwave cooks your food by emitting radio waves while a convection oven uses electricity or gas to power a fan that distributes heat evenly. You can purchase a microwave with convection to cut your kitchen appliances down to only one unit. This convenience saves space and makes things easier on you.
The primary difference between a convection oven and a microwave is the way they cook food. A convection oven relies on the transfer of heat and a fan. It distributes the heat evenly, which ensures your food is evenly cooked, but it can also aid in crisping and browning.
A microwave uses non-ionized radiation for cooking. Fat and water in the food absorb the radiation, and the food is heated. If fat and water are not distributed evenly throughout the food, it will heat unevenly, which is why placement and frequent stirring are critical using this heating method.
In a convection oven, the air is warm, and the fan continuously circulates that warm air, which aids in the browning and crisping process. In a microwave, the air is room temperature, so it’s nearly impossible to brown or crisp food.
Cooking Time and Temperature
A convection oven cooks much faster than a microwave because it eliminates the layer of cold air covering the food. However, both methods are fast when compared to a traditional oven.
Convection ovens can cook at a lower temperature because it uses the heat more effectively. As a microwave relies on microwaves to cook the food, it takes longer and requires a higher temperature.
A convection oven is best used if you like to bake. You can also use it for roasting, grilling, browning, or caramelizing. A microwave is better suited for warming up food that’s already been cooked, but you can also use it to make popcorn, defrost frozen foods, heat milk, boil water, or make pasta.