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? How does a microwave convection oven work?
What is a Microwave Convection Oven
How does a microwave convection oven work? Read on to find out. Scientifically speaking, regular microwaves emit waves that bounce around until they contact food, causing water molecules to excite and generate heat, which then cooks the food. In contrast, convection oven technology uses a fan to force air movement and heat up the microwave’s full interior to cook food from the inside out. That’s why you can use convection microwaves for baking and roast things that would otherwise be cooked too quickly (and not thoroughly) with just a regular microwave.
When Should You Use a Convection Microwave?
Because of its fan that circulates the air, convection microwaves cook more evenly than other microwaves. And, again, they’re better at browning. Which means convection microwaves are great for pies and cookies. (Yes, you can bake in these appliances!) And they’re also especially great for roasting or reheating food. You can reheat meats and veggies here, which will get crispy skin or caramelized exteriors. Are you wondering how hot and fast a convection microwave oven can cook? Temperatures at which the food is heated up or cooked vary from 35°C to 600°C. And how fast the food is heated up or cooked depends not only on the power (wattage) of the microwave oven but also on the portion of the food, the surface area exposure, and the water content in the food. For example, a whole chicken will be cooked more slowly than just a chicken wing or the same portion of meat but diced. Now that you already have an idea of how does a microwave convection oven works, you can now cook good food every day.
Steps to Use a Microwave Convection Oven
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 more quickly and achieve a crispy outer layer of the food, especially meat. 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. Remember, knowing how does a microwave convection oven work is a must to achieve great cooking. To achieve the best results with your convection microwave oven, refer to the product manual for additional cooking tips for your specific model.
Benefits of Using Convection Microwave
Thanks to their versatility, convection microwave ovens can bring several advantages to your kitchen and cooking style. You can achieve faster cooking time due to a combination of convection and microwave cooking. You can also get even cooking with its convection setting. It has 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.
Some Useful Tips
First, avoid using metal and don’t put sharp metal objects into the convection microwave oven. Such will cause sparks or arcing, hence a fire hazard. This includes metal forks, spoons, or even foil that happened to be folded with a pointed end.
Second, make sure that the container or plate used to hold the food in the convection microwave oven is certified microwavable. Not all materials are microwavable, metal included. Some plastics are not microwavable. It can melt and producing hazardous gases, so porcelain or glass is generally used. If in doubt, ask. Or use a different plate or bowl altogether, preferably one that you are sure is microwavable.
Last but not least, do not cook your food in a closed container or vacuum. For example, you may cover the container with a lid but do not close it air-tightly. The excitement of water molecules creates a sudden high pressure, resulting in a minor explosion of the food in the oven. This includes cooking unbroken eggs, which trap steam inside its shell. Last December 2018, a teenager was left permanently blind in one eye after an egg she microwaved exploded in her face upon taking it out. Here’s how to learn more about how appliances work.
Because convection microwaves cook food faster than other microwaves, follow all the proper guidelines to achieve a great result. As much as the convection microwave oven is very useful, there are some precautions we must take to avoid accidents and injuries. Now that you know how does a microwave convection oven work, you can be confident that the food you will serve is good. You can also have more time for other things as you can save time in cooking with a microwave convection oven.