Find out a convenient and quick microwave alternative that uses effective ways for reheating leftover food, defrosting meat, or cooking meals. Some of them even do better than microwaves when it comes to baking, roasting, grilling, or crisping altogether.
A microwave does many things that other kitchen appliances couldn’t. It’s the fastest reheating tool around. However, in the same vein, microwave alternatives can do certain things better than microwaves could, particularly non-convection microwaves.
So what’s the best microwave alternative out there? What other device in the kitchen could you use for the sake of reheating leftovers, baking cakes, or defrosting frozen meats in a quick fashion?
- 1 Buying Guide for Microwave Alternatives
- 2 7 Best Microwave Alternatives
- 2.1 1. A 10-in-1 Combo Appliance That’s a Convection Oven and Various Other Stuff
- 2.2 2. The Heavyweight Champion of Affordable Convection Ovens from Toshiba
- 2.3 3. An 8-Slice Convection Countertop Oven with Extra Wide Capacity
- 2.4 4. The Lightweight Enamel Convection Oven with Integrated Temperature Control and Programmed Presets
- 2.5 5. An Electric Stove for All Your Pot and Pan Heating Needs
- 2.6 6. A Cheap Crockpot That’s All It’s Cracked Up to Be with Slow-Cooking Prowess
- 2.7 7. Can Cookware Replicate Microwave Reheating? This One Can!
- 3 Final Words
Buying Guide for Microwave Alternatives
It’s a bit of a learning curve to learn how to reheat food without a microwave, but after you try out the alternative ways to warm up food and so forth, you’ll find them as intuitive to use as the microwave as well.
The microwave oven or the “Radarange” as originally conceptualized by its inventor Percy Spencer based its boxy design with a drawbridge or swing-out door from your standard gas range or electric oven. Although they differ fundamentally on the inside, they roughly fulfill the same purpose.
The electric oven specifically can substitute for your missing microwave. You probably know how to use it already, even. Just preheat for 5 minutes then use the hot oven to cook anything you want at a given time limit. Before microwaves came to be, ovens primarily heated up leftover meals.
- There’s a learning curve.
- You can reheat multiple dishes at once.
- Large dishes such as casseroles should fit inside the oven.
- The oven uses conduction to make drying out food less likely.
- You can bake, toast, grill, and crisp food, unlike the microwave.
- It’s almost second nature for people to reheat food via oven versus microwave.
- Temperature control is tough.
- Preheating is such a hassle to wait for.
- You could burn your food into charcoal with the oven.
Toaster ovens ostensibly refer to toasters in oven format, with trays that house the bread and heating elements above and below the food, sandwiching it with heat. Sometimes, the toaster oven only has a heating element above or below, thus necessitating you flipping the bread.
Can you reheat food with a toaster oven? Sure. However, you’ll tend to reheat it grill-style or toaster-still. Speaking of which, you can also avail of a toaster oven variant known as an OTG (Oven, Toaster, and Grill) combo appliance with a grill option included.
- It’s like a microwave but slower.
- It’s like an oven or grill but with more limited space.
- It’s an oven that doubles as a toaster (some can even act as grills).
- With the right container, you can even cook stews and sauces with it.
- If you don’t own either an oven or microwave, you can go for this combo appliance.
- You’re limited to grilling or toasting for reheating.
- Not exactly an ideal method for thawing out frozen food.
- Uneven heating with its use of conduction heating (unless it’s a convection toaster oven).
At its most basic, a kitchen will likely have a stovetop or electric stove available for cooking various meals and dishes using pots and pans as well as water or oil as the heating medium. You can boil a pot of water on a stove. Most teenagers can at least fry an egg or hotdogs on a frying pan.
Loads of foods turn out well when you heat them up with the gas, LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), propane, or electric stove. They’re able to reheat things the oven couldn’t, like huge vertical pressure cookers full of corn or pots filled with stew.
- It’s more affordable and can make popcorn like microwaves too.
- It can cook anything with a pan full of cooking oil or a pot full of water/sauces.
- More effective than a microwave at reheating foods without drying the dish out.
- You can use a grill attachment to do limited fish or vegetable grilling on open-flame stoves.
- Certain foods you can’t cook properly wit a stove.
- Isn’t as good at baking, toasting, crisping, or grilling.
- Microwaves boil water or heat up food faster than the stove.
The crockpot or crockpot is a cooking tool or appliance that slowly cooks food. It resembles an ordinary pot or cooking container but it has electronic parts and dials added to it. You’re supposed to plug it into a power outlet like a rice cooker, only this time it’s a slow cooker instead.
You can use the crockpot as a slow cooker or as a container that keeps your food warm like in the case of a thermos or when you’re doing catering for a wedding or funeral. As the meal gets cooked, you don’t need to be present to keep it from getting overcooked.
- It’s safe to use and doesn’t cost much money.
- It reheats your food without overcooking or drying it out.
- If you’re short on time, use the crockpot to cook your food for the day.
- It’s capable of reheating various meal types, not only toast or potted meals.
- You don’t need to monitor the crockpot as much as other pots and pans on your stove.
- It cooks slowly so you have to plan out meals in advance.
- A microwave or even an oven is much faster at immediately heating food.
Instead of a heating appliance let’s now talk about heating containers or cookware. Yes, the Dutch oven is a pot you heat up with a stove. This effective means of reheating food works well in heating up stews, rice, soups, or pasta dishes on short notice.
It’s another specialized pot that turns your otherwise limited stovetop or gas range into an oven itself. Dutch ovens conduct heat faster on all sides or in all directions like a convection microwave, allowing for even cooking and heating but also a higher risk of drying out your food.
- It can turn your stove into an oven and double as an oven for baking.
- It’s better than pot reheating because of its multidirectional conduction.
- It only requires you to heat it up in order for it to heat up or recook your food in kind.
- It doesn’t use much power except whatever heat transferred to it by gas or electric stove.
- You can’t use this cookware without a stovetop.
- Not exactly cost-effective versus the stovetop alone.
- You can’t use this cookware with an oven or toaster oven.
7 Best Microwave Alternatives
Here are the best microwave alternatives. We’ve found 7 of them.
1. A 10-in-1 Combo Appliance That’s a Convection Oven and Various Other Stuff
Let’s start strong with about $270 Ninja DT251 (about $330 variant comes with a thermometer). This microwave alternative does more than just heat, reheat, and defrost. It even gives convection microwaves a run for their money with its ability to air fry and air roast.
You can have all this on top of OTG (Oven, Toaster, and Grill) features included in a jam-packed package. It’s also Amazon’s Choice in Convection Ovens by Ninja, which means this is Ninja’s best-selling convection combo oven.
|Capacity||10 x 13 x 14 inches or roughly 1.0 cubic foot|
|Size||17.09 x 20.22 x 13.34 inches|
|Material||Stainless steel (Stainless steel finish)|
|Special Features||10-in-1 combo appliance with air fryer, oven, toaster, grill, roaster, and convection oven features.|
2. The Heavyweight Champion of Affordable Convection Ovens from Toshiba
As for the Toshiba AC25CEW-SS, the much humbler yet also much more cost-effective microwave alternative offers convection oven goodness in an affordable about $76 package. Rather than buy a convection microwave, you can instead go for the OTG option.
This digital toaster oven with a convection mode allows you to bake, roast, grill, and so forth with ease. Yes, you still have to deal with preheating and it doesn’t have air frying capabilities, but it also doesn’t have a $200 to $300 price tag.
|Capacity||25 liters or 6 slices or 0.88 cubic feet|
|Size||18.98 x 15.6 x 10.79 inches|
|Material||Stainless steel (Stainless steel finish)|
|Special Features||Convection digital toaster oven with a temperature setting range of 150°F to 450°F.|
3. An 8-Slice Convection Countertop Oven with Extra Wide Capacity
About $70 BLACK+DECKER TO3240XSBD serves as a viable microwave alternative because of its spaciousness and serviceable convection performance. It’s wide enough to fit 9 x 13 pans, eight bread slices, or a 12-inch pizza for cooking or baking.
It also comes with a baking pan, a broil rack, or a toasting rack depending on which cooking mode you wish to use for your given dish.
|Capacity||16.5 X 12.5 X 9.5 inches or 8 slices or 1.1 cubic feet|
|Size||15.75 x 24.45 x 13.7 inches|
|Material||Stainless steel (Black finish)|
|Special Features||Its convection heating comes with cooking functions such as keeping food warm, toasting, broiling, and baking.|
4. The Lightweight Enamel Convection Oven with Integrated Temperature Control and Programmed Presets
Among all the convection and/or toaster ovens on this list, the one that’s most microwave-like is probably about $170 NUWAVE BRAVO XL.
Why? It comes with 12 preprogrammed presets like your typical microwave, allowing you to set the time and temperature on one button push or save a setting at will.
|Capacity||30 quarts or 28 liters or 0.98 cubic feet|
|Size||20 x 11 x 13.5 inches|
|Material||Enamel and metal|
|Special Features||Convection oven with crisping and flavor infusion technology as well as a temperature setting range of 50°F to 500°F.|
5. An Electric Stove for All Your Pot and Pan Heating Needs
The best electric stovetop we could find on Amazon that most resembles a microwave alternative would have to be about $90 CUSIMAX 1800W Ceramic Electric Hot Plate for Cooking. This double burner uses infrared tech to heat up its glass plate heating element instead of blue flame.
It’s microwave-like because of its auto safety shutoff feature and thermostat temperature regulator.
|Capacity||Up to 7.1-inch pans and pans x 2 (Double Burners)|
|Size||21.5 x 4.7 x 15 inches|
|Material||Stainless steel (with Infrared Tech Heater and Ceramic Heating Element)|
|Special Features||A countertop burner that uses infrared technology to heat up and cook food.|
6. A Cheap Crockpot That’s All It’s Cracked Up to Be with Slow-Cooking Prowess
Yes, about $40 Crock-Pot SCV700-S-BR is not as spacious as even a 700-watt microwave but it can do reheating and even slow cooking much better than your typical microwave. It’s most microwave-like when it comes to its leave-it-alone type of cooking.
You should treat it more like a 7-quart programmable slow-cooker cookware or a microwave container than a standalone oven.
|Capacity||7 quarts or 6.6 liters or 0.2 cubic feet|
|Size||9.5 x 14.4 x 14.4 inches|
|Material||Stoneware (Stainless steel finish)|
|Special Features||It’s a crockpot manual slow cooker with digital display and high/low cooking control.|
7. Can Cookware Replicate Microwave Reheating? This One Can!
As mentioned above, Dutch ovens like about $60 Lodge Dark Cornflower Dutch Oven (Gradated)—the Amazon best-seller for the Dutch oven category—can replicate the ability of an oven or microwave to heat up food but this time with the assistance of a stovetop like the CUSIMAX Hot Plate.
|Capacity||4.5 quart or 4.2 liters or 0.14 cubic feet|
|Size||12.65 x 11.1 x 5.65 inches|
|Material||Cast iron (Dark cornflower or blue)|
|Special Features||Dutch oven that heats up food from all directions a la convection oven while merely using a stovetop.|
The best microwave alternative on this list according to Amazon user ratings is Lodge Dark Cornflower Dutch Oven. This is followed by Ninja DT251 and Crock-Pot SCV700-S-BR. The performance and lack of detriments of these products make them the top 3 microwave alternatives around.
The best microwave alternative category, we believe, is the oven. This is followed by the toaster oven and the stovetop. Why? It is because ovens and toaster ovens resemble the microwave the most. This also goes for the OTG (Oven, Toaster, and Grill) combo appliances as well.