What is the Best Microwave Alternative
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What is the Best Microwave Alternative?

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?

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.

1. Conventional Oven

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • Temperature control is tough.
  • Preheating is such a hassle to wait for.
  • You could burn your food into charcoal with the oven.

2. Toaster Oven or OTG

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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).
Microwave Alternative
Microwave Alternative

3. Stovetop

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

4. Crockpot

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

5. Dutch Oven

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

Ninja DT251 Foodi 10-in-1 Smart
Ninja DT251 Foodi 10-in-1 Smart

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.

Features:

Wattage1.8 kilowatts
Capacity10 x 13 x 14 inches or roughly 1.0 cubic foot
Size17.09 x 20.22 x 13.34 inches
Weight33.75 Pounds
MaterialStainless steel (Stainless steel finish)
Special Features10-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.

Toshiba AC25CEW-SS Digital Toaster Oven
Toshiba AC25CEW-SS Digital Toaster Oven

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.

Features:

Wattage1.5 kilowatts
Capacity25 liters or 6 slices or 0.88 cubic feet
Size18.98 x 15.6 x 10.79 inches
Weight22.7 pounds
MaterialStainless steel (Stainless steel finish)
Special FeaturesConvection 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.

BLACK+DECKER TO3240XSBD 8-Slice Extra Wide Convection Countertop Toaster Oven
BLACK+DECKER TO3240XSBD 8-Slice Extra Wide Convection Countertop Toaster Oven

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.

Features:

Wattage1.5 kilowatts
Capacity16.5 X 12.5 X 9.5 inches or 8 slices or 1.1 cubic feet
Size15.75 x 24.45 x 13.7 inches
Weight16.3 Pounds
MaterialStainless steel (Black finish)
Special FeaturesIts 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.

NuWave Bravo XL Smart Convection
NuWave Bravo XL Smart Convection

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.

Features:

Wattage1.8 kilowatts
Capacity30 quarts or 28 liters or 0.98 cubic feet
Size20 x 11 x 13.5 inches
Weight9.9 pounds
MaterialEnamel and metal
Special FeaturesConvection 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.

 CUSIMAX 1800W Ceramic Electric Hot Plate for Cooking
CUSIMAX 1800W Ceramic Electric Hot Plate for Cooking

It’s microwave-like because of its auto safety shutoff feature and thermostat temperature regulator.

Features:

Wattage1.8 kilowatts
CapacityUp to 7.1-inch pans and pans x 2 (Double Burners)
Size21.5 x 4.7 x 15 inches
Weight7.75 pounds
MaterialStainless steel (with Infrared Tech Heater and Ceramic Heating Element)
Special FeaturesA 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.

 Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker
Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker

You should treat it more like a 7-quart programmable slow-cooker cookware or a microwave container than a standalone oven.

Features:

Wattage1.5 kilowatts
Capacity7 quarts or 6.6 liters or 0.2 cubic feet
Size9.5 x 14.4 x 14.4 inches
Weight11.82 pounds
MaterialStoneware (Stainless steel finish)
Special FeaturesIt’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.

 4.5 Qt Dutch Oven
4.5 Qt Dutch Oven

Features:

Wattagen/a (Cookware)
Capacity4.5 quart or 4.2 liters or 0.14 cubic feet
Size12.65 x 11.1 x 5.65 inches
Weight12.38 pounds
MaterialCast iron (Dark cornflower or blue)
Special FeaturesDutch oven that heats up food from all directions a la convection oven while merely using a stovetop.

Final Words

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.

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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