Microwave vs Steam Oven
What to know

Microwave vs. Steam Oven: What’s The Difference?

A steam oven uses steam in order to cook food, so like a steamer but in oven form. In contrast, a microwave uses microwave rays or short-frequency radiowaves in order to excite the water molecules of food to cook them fast.

A steam oven works kind of like a microwave. While a microwave cooks food by vibrating their water molecules or juices to immediate boiling hotness to reheat them quickly and evenly, a steam oven—like a steamer—cooks food with hot steam along with conduction heat.

In regards to microwave vs steam oven, they differ as much as a conventional oven vs. a microwave oven. One uses inward steam to cook food while the other uses outward steam to do the same thing.

Microwave vs. Steam Oven

The steam oven also serves as an excellent kitchen appliance, just like a steamer but in oven form. It produces hotter air, cooks better, and promotes mindful living since it doesn’t use grease in order to heat up your food. It works kind of like a microwave but uses steam cooking action.

However, a microwave works in contrast by using microwaves to excite the water molecules of the food, causing it to heat up by friction and cooking it in its own delicious juices. It uses magnetron instead of hot water vapor in order to access the water within the food.

 Cuisinart Convection Steam Oven
Cuisinart Convection Steam Oven

Both Appliances Technically Cook Food with Hot Water

Steam ovens quickly cooks food by steam through steaming it while at the same time heating it conventionally, like a twin-pronged baking attack of sorts. It’s kind of like a microwave in terms of the quickness it cooks the food due to how fast it could reach cooking temperatures.

However, a microwave does its magic by microwave radiation—also known as short-frequency radiowaves—that affect the water content of food in order to essentially cook itself from the inside.

Regardless, in order to figure out the true value of a steam oven over a microwave and vice-versa, you should know how each appliance works, what types of food you can prepare in them, and their cost when push comes to shove.

 

How Do Microwaves Work?

Microwaves work as the all-in-one versatile kitchen help with one particularly important skill—heating up food quickly without preheating its oven or heating up grease or oil. It uses microwave rays to do the job for it, making the water content vibrate and heat itself to boiling with friction in 1-2 minutes.

The secret to microwave’s quick-cooking success lies in its tiny, high-powered radiowaves or radio waves that cook high-water-content food. With drier food, you best to bake or heat them up with an oven if not add a bit of water to cook them with.

See more: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Microwave Oven that Best Fits Your Needs

Tiny, High-Powered Radiowaves

The radiation emitted by the microwave isn’t exactly nuclear radiation. Radiation merely means the emission or transmission of energy through space. Regardless, the oven contains these microwaves in its metal encasement.

You can choose a variety of microwaves out there, such as the countertop microwave, microwave drawer, over-the-range (OTR) microwave, and over-the-counter (OTC) microwave. All these models perform the same basic function but differ in terms of size, placement, and power.

How Do Steam Ovens Work?

While the tiny radiowaves from the microwave oven cause the water molecules to move and create thermal energy, a steam oven ostensibly works using the power of steam. For instance, the Sharp Superheated Steam Oven uses conventional radiant heat and superheated steam together.

This happens regardless of the cooking mode you’ve chosen. This also makes cleanup a breeze since you only need to wipe down the already damp and steamy oven afterwards. Use a damp cloth or paper towel to clean the oven inside out and you’re good to go.

The steam oven, like the microwave oven, reduces cooking time in half or more while also eliminating the need for defrosting or preheating.

What Can You Cook in a Steam Oven?

You can cook anything inside a steam oven. You can steam cook them like Chinese meat buns and dumplings or roast them like a nice whole chicken or turkey to be served in Thanksgiving. Just choose the right cooking mode and you can cook anything under the sun.

The Sharp Steam Oven, in particular, can reheat, bake, broil, grill, toast, and reheat microwave-style various items like a standard oven or microwave would. The entrees you can prepare are endless! You can cook pasta, fish, meat, vegetables, desserts, or pieces of bread.

Which is Better? The Microwave Oven or Steam Oven?

Both have their benefits and drawbacks. A microwave still works faster while a steam oven, like a convection oven, offers more cooking versatility and bigger portions. For example, the Sharp Superheated Steam Oven can cook a 12-inch pizza or 9 pieces of toast.

In contrast, the only type of cake you could cook inside a microwave despite its bigness would be a mugcake brownie or mug quiche due to the nature of microwave cooking.

Steam Is Simply the Healthier Alternative

Compared to frying food in oil or fat or baking in a toaster oven or convection oven, steaming food in a steam oven is the healthier, faster, and better alternative. However, if you wish to roast a nice, fat duck or meatloaf instead, the steam oven also has your back.

What’s the catch? For something so versatile, naturally, the steam oven has a higher price tag as expected. It’s worth it though, because steam makes food taste better because it prevents the dish from drying out from the heat while also crisping the exterior regardless.

Crispy on the Outside and Juicy on the Inside

Steam ovens can make food juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, leading to delectable dishes every time. Can it necessarily replace the utility of the microwave? In some ways, yes. It reheats things without drying them out for sure.

You can depend on the microwave to heat up your leftovers faster regardless. However, if you have time to heat the dish, you should get a satisfactory result every time with the steam oven.

When All Is Said and Done

For decades, the microwave has served as the staple of the American kitchen. It works excellently in reheating, cooking, and defrosting various foods and dishes straight from the freezer or fridge. Your leftovers will taste almost as good as when you first cooked them.

A steam oven, on the other hand, can also reheat and cook your food within minutes too, but instead of just hot air you’re using hot water vapor. If you’re familiar with steamed vegetables, steamed chicken, and steamed meats you should be aware of the results of this type of oven.

References:

  1. Gina Greco, “Steam Cooking vs. Microwave Cooking“, SimplyBetterLiving.com, February 10, 2021

Through the years, the microwave oven has become a standard appliance for all homes. It is safe to say that there is no home without a microwave oven. If you are looking for a microwave oven that best fits your needs, You find the right website.

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