Which is Better: a Traditional Convection Oven or a Microwave?
Every kitchen has at least one of them, and often both. But most people use a convection oven for certain meals while they use a microwave for other reasons. You can’t back cookies in a microwave and you can’t make popcorn in the oven. Each kitchen device has a specific purpose and a role it plays in your cooking lifestyle. But have you ever ask yourself if you found yourself in a predicament where you could only afford one of these? This is not a silly question, since people just staring out in life and buying home appliances have limited funds and can often only afford one. So which is better to have: a traditional convection oven or a microwave?
Benefits of a Convection Oven
A convection oven uses hot air to heat foods surface to cook or bake it. The chemical reaction from convection often result in more versatility in how you cook items inside. You can broil, back, slow roast or even quick sear food – which often result in different texture and taste of any recipes you use with a traditional convection oven. The chemical reaction from convection oven mean you can caramelize, glazed or make dough rise. Even better, you can be as versatile and creative as you want when it comes to cooking with an oven. There are also plenty of oven-ready meals available at the grocery store, so ovens don’t always mean extra prep time. And there are other kinds of convection ovens than just the typical large model. Toaster ovens, a counter-top rotisserie style grill that uses heating elements to cook are just other ways you can cook using air conduction. The only major drawback of an oven is time, and this is where a microwave demonstrates it’s superior cooking speed.
Benefits of a Microwave
A microwave oven uses radio-energy at a certain frequency to heat food from the inside out, cooking all the fluids and fat from the center outwards. This often lets you cook food that a convection oven would normally take 35-45 to complete in mere minutes with a microwave.
There are those who might say that this limits the kind of texture and flavor that results in cooking with a microwave since it tends to dry out last nights’ leftovers. But this isn’t necessarily true. Yes, if you take some grilled chicken breast and zap it for 45-90 seconds it may taste like chicken jerky instead. But chicken breast is already a dry portion of meat to begin with, so using a microwave isn’t the best for it anyways. Whereas if you have some left over pulled pork with plenty of fat and juice from the crock-pot, it usually comes out just fine.
This doesn’t even take into account how many microwave ready meals are now available at your local supermarket. Most major food manufacturers have taken the hint of the microwave’s ubiquity and have responded promptly, with new meals that were not available in microwavable form until just recently.
Drawbacks of A Convection Oven
Unlike microwave ovens, however, convection ovens are built more for thoroughness rather than time-saving. It’s most appropriate for creating dishes from scratch, which means raw food and a medium-to-large amount of prep time. You just can’t stick it in the oven and push start the way you can with a microwave. You have to let the oven pre-heat first and it often requires extra monitoring as you cook. Also, this makes it easy to overcook if you keep food in there for too long, as most ovens don’t have a countdown that shuts off the heating element when reaching zero like a microwave.
Drawbacks of a Microwave
But the drawbacks of a microwave often don’t balance out the amount of time you save when using one. First of all, you really can’t prepare a meal from scratch and cook it in the same way you would with an oven. This leads to another problem – you are seriously limited in the types of food you can cook with a microwave effectively. If any food you intend to prepare isn’t microwave-ready, it need to be cooked previously or prepared in advance somehow. You won’t get the same kind of chemical reactions that you would with an oven an it has no effect on bread other than making it tougher than normal if you leave it in the oven too long. It takes a little longer to reheat leftovers with an oven, but it’s still possible. It’s impossible to cook a roast or bake desserts with a microwave. It’s just not versatile enough. A convection oven requires much more time and effort, but you can do significantly more with it if necessary.
Final Verdict: Convection Oven