November 21, 2016
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This is the main difference between a microwave and a convection oven

There are different kinds of ovens but only two of them are specifically designed to heat food inside and out.

There’s the convection oven and the microwave oven. They both heat food evenly, inside and outside, but they use different methods. But if they’re similar in what they aim to do, which method is better? Of course, that really depends on what you’re really trying to do, what you want your food to taste like, and how much time you have.

Convection ovens

convection

Pros

The central part to what makes a convection oven what it is its fan. (If you’d like to read more about convection ovens, go here.) A convection oven’s fan helps evenly distribute heat to every surface of the food to cook it better and faster. This means you can roast chicken or a huge slab of meat down to the very center without burning the outside of it because the source of heat isn’t localized in on place. Instead, the heat is applied all over its surface. No need to turn over that slab of meat.

We mentioned earlier that convection ovens cook faster because of the even distribution of heat. That also means you can cook more in the time it takes you to cook that one thing using a different sort of appliance. A convection oven is also capable of baking multiple items, provided that the convection oven is big enough. Unlike a conventional oven where the heat source is located in only one area, the circulating heat provided by a convection oven makes sure that all of the food you’re trying to bake, no matter how many, are going to be cooked evenly and at the same time.

You don’t have to worry that the food farthest from the heat will be cooked later than the ones nearer to the source because, as we said, the heat is distributed evenly inside. No need to worry about location or time. All is equal under the convection oven. And with faster cooking times, you can finish cooking earlier, saving energy.

Cons

Despite all the pros of the convection oven, they aren’t perfect. For example, some food items aren’t supposed to be cooked in an evenly heated oven. Cakes and breads don’t rise well in a convection oven so remember this when you’re baking. And since the method of cooking is different in convection ovens, you might need to always adjust your recipes.

Convection ovens are also quite possibly more difficult to maintain. Compared to other ovens, convection ovens have more moving parts such as the fan. More parts means a greater possibility of breakage. In the past, consumers have reported complaints regarding the noise of the fans, possibly due to improper use, breakage, and age. However, the number one drawback of convection ovens is its cost. Most conventional ovens are sold at around AED 1,800 (average model) but a convection oven can cost AED 3,700 on the low end to AED 9,000 or more on the high end.

Microwave oven

microwave

Pros

A microwave oven uses microwave radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum to heat food. Its easier to heat food with high water content and more difficult to heat denser food items, thus requiring the need to adjust power.

The microwave oven is one of the most convenient electric appliances around. With proper use and the right setting, we can heat or cook food quickly without burning it. No need for oil when baking fish or meat in a microwave oven, plus you can cook all sort of food in there like steamed vegetables and a personal favorite, mug cakes. The main draw of microwave oven is how convenient and fast it is.

Cons

But microwave ovens aren’t perfect, too. For instance, food with preferably dryer or crunchier exteriors (like fried food) become soft and moist once you put them in the fridge but reheating them in a microwave oven won’t bring back this original state. Baking and frying food eliminates the moisture from food and when they cool down, they suck in the moisture from its environment because that’s how the laws of physics work. Hot air and cold air will always seek to balance themselves out and since fried/dry food are devoid of moisture, moisture will always seek dryer areas. So if you really want to reheat fried food, pastries, and bread, just use a toaster.

There are also times when food won’t be cooked evenly for a couple of reasons: it could be the type of food, density, how cold it was before you reheated it (terrible idea to microwave food that are frozen solid), and the power setting. Somehow these factors should align perfectly in order to properly heat the food. Moreover, some food items aren’t supposed to be microwaved like breast milk.

While it’s common sense not to put things you’re not supposed to in any oven out there, microwaving certain items can lead to food poisoning and destruction of property. The microwave’s convenience can lull people into a false sense of security and thus lead to accidents because of lack of knowledge in how the oven works. Lastly, microwave ovens are smaller, so if you’re cooking a huge amount of food, you might need two to three rounds of microwaving.

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Now, it doesn’t have to be an either/or dilemma. Having both would be awesome! Neither of these two ovens are better than the other, they just serve different purposes. It’s all just a matter of priority. If you don’t have either, which one would you rather get first?