Are you curious about convection microwave ovens? I was too, and so I set out to research these appliances and put together a guide to help you decide if one is right for your family.
Convection microwaves have been around for a long time, surprisingly, but are just beginning to get popular again. They have been a hit with those living in small homes, people with kitchenettes, and RV users for many years.
They are a useful item to have for those who regularly make big family meals and for people who need to get a meal made quickly. Whether you are considering one for an RV or as an addition in your full size kitchen, a convection microwave has features that anyone can benefit from!
Best Convection Microwaves- Top 3 Recommendations
This unit has a stainless steel interior and exterior, so it is easy to wipe clean. It has a digital display with touchscreen controls. The capacity is 1.5 cubic feet. There are many built-in presets and sensor functions. This unit can microwave/convection cook at the same time!
The automatic sensor will help you cook to perfection, choosing to auto bake foods like frozen pizza and muffins. The auto roast feature is perfect for things like beef, whole chicken, turkey and pork roasts. You can also choose to use the sensor function to cook things like potatoes, fresh and frozen veggies, rice, casseroles and frozen entrees. You can also save up to three time/temperature settings for easy reuse!
It stands 13 inches tall with a footprint of 21.8 x 21.5 inches, and weighs 44.8 pounds. It comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
What Comes in the Box?
- The main unit
- Glass turntable with control knob
- Elevated rack for convection cooking
- Instruction manual
Over half of the users gave this product a top review! Overall, customers are very happy with the microwave function and feel that it is a good quality unit. The convection feature seems to take most users a little time to figure out, but once they do they are satisfied with the results. People are using these to bake casseroles, whole chickens and various roasts, veggies, along with frozen foods like pizza, fries and entrees.
Some users were unhappy with the noise the convection fan makes, or had units that had other defects. It sounds like some of these units may have problems getting the convection temperature high enough, or conversely, the convection setting makes the temperature too high. Many people complain that the manual is complicated and has no recipes or cooking guides included in it.
This unit has a digital touchscreen control panel and is brushed stainless steel inside and out for easy cleaning. The capacity is 1.2 cubic feet. There are built-in presets for both the microwave and convection functions, and you can cook using both functions at once!
The microwave presets are popcorn, potato, beverage, reheat, fresh and frozen vegetables. The convection presets are roast chicken, cake and pizza. It is easy to switch functions, change the cooking time or increase the temperature while using the unit. It also has two different defrost settings! The multistage cooking option allows you to set up several functions and their times in the sequence of your choice. So you can defrost a casserole, microwave cook it and then convection brown the top, all in one setting!
It stands 21.2 inches tall and has a footprint of 19 x 12.2 inches, and weighs 38 pounds. It comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty!
What Comes in the Box?
- The main unit
- Glass turntable and control knob
- Reversible grill/convection rack
- Instruction manual with recipes
Most users are very happy with their units, with almost half giving it a top rating. They comment on how easy it is to figure out and how the settings are intuitive for both microwave and convection functions. Many users love the multistage feature for easier cooking! People are using their Cuisinart for baking roasts, cookies, cakes and breads, and for heating frozen pizzas and other entrees. The modern appearance and stainless finish get high praise as well.
A few users have had faulty units, or had other problems that required them to replace it. While it comes with a 3-year warranty, several people were upset at the cost of shipping the product back or having to call Cuisinart to figure out if the unit should be repaired or replaced. Multiple users warn that the appliance gets very hot during use, and needs plenty of space around and above it for ventilation.
This digital unit has a touchscreen control panel. It has a black-and-stainless steel exterior and a stainless steel interior. It comes with 9 built-in presets and can microwave and convection cook/grill at the same time. The unit can not convection cook alone.
The presets include popcorn, potato, beverage, fresh and frozen vegetables, roast chicken, cake and pizza. The unit can be used as a microwave or set to convection bake, convection roast or grill, depending on your food choice. The defrost setting can be adjusted by time or temperature, and microwave settings are fast to set and easy to use. When using the convection feature, the unit automatically knows how much time to microwave and how long to convection cook.
It stands 21.7 inches tall and has the footprint of 21.8 x 13 inches. It weighs 48.4 pounds. The manufacturer’s warranty is 90 days.
What Comes in the Box?
- The main unit
- Glass turntable with control ring
- Grill rack and pan
- Instruction manual with cooking guide
The reviews on this product are split. The majority of customers are very happy with their purchase, and most of them have used convection microwaves in the past. The controls are easy to set and the manual is not overly complicated. Most people are using it for quick snacks and meals when they are in a hurry, and to heat drinks and soups. Overall, most people think the product was worth the cost.
Several say that the grill feature (with a separate upper element for direct cooking) stops working quickly or isn’t very useful. Multiple users have commented that the unit is mostly plastic on the outside, and that the door started to rust after a couple years of use. Many users wish they had bought an extended warranty, especially since the manufacturer’s warranty is only 90 days.
Microwave Oven History
In 2010, a new player took to the field, and it was a game changer for reheated meals. Air fryers not only cook foods to a crispy golden brown, but they can be used to reheat food to its original tasty perfection.
Imagine reheated pizza slices with bubbling cheese and a crisp crust; yesterday’s French fries, no longer soggy; or day-old pastries that taste fresh from the bakery. That’s what an air fryer can do for you.
When the first countertop microwave oven hit the market in 1967, it started a foodie revolution. No longer was leftover pizza – or any other leftover – eaten cold by necessity. No, a few seconds in the microwave, and your leftovers had come back to life. Then, there was the introduction of the T.V. dinner – an entire prepared meal that only required a few minutes of heating. Life was good.
The downside of the microwave oven was that food heated within often took on a rubbery texture. Foods meant to be eaten crisp could become soggy, a result of the microwave’s excitation of water molecules to produce heat.
What is a Convection Microwave Oven?
They are a combination of two common appliances: a microwave and a convection oven.
How Do They Work?
Microwaves cook your food by using radiant energy to heat water molecules. Depending on the water content of your meal, these items cook quickly and evenly in a microwave, since the water is being heated within and around your food via steam. They do not create a brown exterior, however, and the outside of the item is usually moist instead of crispy.
A convection oven uses a heating element to cook and brown your foods. The internal fan circulates the hot air around your food, so that the heat effect is intensified. The circulating hot air will cook and crisp your foods much faster than a traditional oven.
A convection microwave can be set for either function, and can do both jobs at the same time! Often foods cook and brown twice as quickly in a combination oven as compared to a conventional one. The microwaves cause the water to heat up inside your food at the same time that the convection fan is cooking your food from the outside-in. This combination means faster, tastier meals than using a single-use appliance.
How to Use a Convection Microwave Oven
You can use the microwave settings just as you normally would any other microwave.
For convection cooking, you will need to use the included elevated metal rack, so that your food has air circulating all around it. You will want to preheat the oven before you put in your food. Most traditional oven recipes can be converted into a convection recipe by lowering the temperature by 25 degrees and checking your progress about 10 minutes sooner than recommend. This is the perfect setting for making a loaf of bread or for baking cookies or a cake!
The combination microwave/convection setting can be used for things like fresh potato wedges and roasts, and for frozen foods like fries or a casserole. Since the food is heated from within and from the outside-in at the same time, larger items cook faster and get beautifully browned as well!
Convection Microwave Oven Comparison
This quick guide explains the different styles of ovens, so you can compare them all together.
Heats water molecules in the food by using microwave radiation. Will heat food efficiently and quickly, but does not brown or bake. Ideal for hot drinks and soups, reheating precooked or frozen foods and for foods cooked with steam.
Fueled by gas or electricity and heats from the bottom or the top, depending on the setting. The heat is from a single direction, so some areas of the oven will get hotter than others. Not ideal for baking because of the uneven browning. Useful for cooking a lot of food or a large item like a turkey.
Has an electric heating element and a fan that circulates the heated air. This allows for foods to cook faster at a lower temperature than a traditional oven, and ensures that foods cook and brown evenly. Ideal for baking and air frying foods when you want even cooking and a crispy exterior.
A combination of a microwave and a convection oven. Allows for even, quick cooking that is browned or baked. Same benefits as the individual microwave and convection oven!
What Types of Cookware Work in a Convection Microwave?
Always check your users manual, as different products have different recommendations.
For the most part, when using the microwave function you can use the same microwave-safe dishes you would ordinarily use. Never use soft plastic or any kind of metal or glass that is not rated safe for the microwave.
When using the convection function, you can use the same oven-safe glass, ceramic and metal pans that you use in a traditional oven. Some units recommended against cooking anything with the inexpensive, single-use aluminum pans or with aluminum foil. Generally, if it is oven safe, it is safe to use in a convection oven. Avoid using plastic items, plastic wrap, metal twist-ties, paper or wooden items in your unit.
For cooking using the combination convection/microwave setting, check your manual for their recommendations. Ideally, the best choices for this setting would be cookware rated both microwave and oven safe, but your unit should come with more specific instructions if it has this option.
Should I Get a Convection Microwave Oven?
These units are perfect for big families who need additional oven capacity, as well as for folks living in small spaces like an RV that lack a traditional oven. They can replace single-use microwaves, air fryers, and countertop convection ovens.
There are built-in and countertop models, so you can pick the perfect unit for your home. If you are considering getting one, be sure your countertop can accommodate the unit and few inches for ventilation. These versatile appliances are really suitable for many different living situations.