If you're in the market for a new microwave or oven, a convection microwave can be an excellent and efficient choice. Convection microwaves are more expensive than regular microwaves, but they are more affordable than many traditional ovens, and they take much less space and power to operate. You can make almost anything in a convection microwave once you learn a few techniques.
Learn about your settings. Most convection microwaves will allow you to cook with microwave radiation only (timed cooking), convection only (cooking with hot, circulating air, at a particular temperature), or both at the same time.
Choose the microwave setting for things you would traditionally microwave, particularly for short periods of time. These foods might include microwave popcorn, reheated leftovers or quick steamed vegetables. When using the microwave setting, cover the food to retain moisture, and don't use any metal pans, racks or utensils.
Choose the convection setting for baked goods or anything else that you want to have a crispy exterior, such as roast meat or vegetables. Elevate the food with a rack, so that hot air can circulate under the pan.
Cook in a convection microwave using the combination setting when you would like your food to finish especially quickly, with a well-done interior as well as a crispy exterior. The microwave rays penetrate thick foods, like whole birds, for quick cooking, while the convection currents and ambient heat give the outside a nice finish.
Be aware when you start to cook in a convection microwave that everything may be done more quickly than it would in a conventional oven, even if you use the convection only setting. Test foods earlier than you would expect, and be careful not to overcook.
Tips & Warnings
- For small living spaces, consider a convection microwave and a free-standing range for stove-top cooking.
- Since you may alternate between microwave and convection cooking, it can be easy to forget not to use metal items, particularly the cooking rack, when microwaving. If your microwave, like most, can't accommodate metal, be sure to get in the habit of removing the baking rack before using the microwave function.