Convection microwaves or combination ovens are one of the most versatile tools in the kitchen and can be crucial if you have limited space. Whether you have a holiday home, caravan, studio apartment or simply a kitchen that cannot accommodate a full sized oven, a convection microwave can provide an excellent solution. Here we’ll explore this topic further, so you can learn how to choose the best convection microwave for your home.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Convection Microwaves
A convection microwave combines two different appliances. It can be used as an oven, microwave or in a combination, to allow bake and grill functions. This can be a very convenient and fast method of cooking, particularly when high temperature cooking such as pizza, pastries or roasts. You can quickly preheat to oven temperatures of up to 240ºc for speedy reheating, browning or toasting. While convection microwaves are smaller than a conventional oven, most models can accommodate a large pizza or roast, making them suitable for small families. There are some models with two shelf positions for more versatility. Convection microwaves are also cheaper to run compared to a conventional oven, so you can enjoy energy cost savings.
Unfortunately, it is not all positive as there are some potential disadvantages to convection ovens. They tend to have a smaller cavity compared to conventional ovens, so you’re likely to be limited to cooking one type of food at one time. They can also be more challenging to clean. The oven cavity needs to be adequately cleaned following each use as any grease or residue will be baked on during the next use. This can also slow down microwave cooking as the residue will be cooked along with your dish. Most models feature a stainless steel interior, which can make it more difficult to clean. Oven splashes can leave difficult to remove grease marks. Fortunately, there are some simple tips and tricks to aid cleaning.
Characteristics to Look For
To choose the best convection microwave, there are a number of characteristics to look for. These include:
- Ease of Use; Good instructions on display and easy to use controls will make using your new convection microwave a breeze. You don’t want to choose a model where you need to keep digging out the instruction manual to perform any cooking.
- Easy Clean; As mentioned above, cleaning convection microwaves can be a challenge, so it is a good idea to look for a model that is easier to clean. Look for any seams, crevices or gaps that could trap grease or food, and smooth coatings that are easy to clean. While stainless steel can look great, remember that it will require some attention to keep it looking free of smudges and fingerprints.
- Size; You should check that your usual cooking dishes will fit in your new convection microwave. Your oven will also need clearance for ventilation, so you’ll need a couple of inches at the sides and rear, with between five and 12 inches above.
- Time Adjust; This feature will allow you to decrease or increase your programmed time without pausing cooking.
- Delayed Start; This will allow you to start cooking at your programmed pre-set time, but you’ll still need to be careful not to leave your dish in the oven too long, or it may spoil.
- Sensor Cooking; This feature takes automatic functions a step further using sensors to measure cooking vapors to monitor and control your cooking time.
- Multi-Stage Cooking; Models with this feature allow programming to perform a sequence of cooking functions. For example, you can defrost, cook and then allow to stand without needing to intervene in the cooking process.