August 27

Convection Oven vs Microwave | A Thorough Guide to Both Appliances


Author: Colin Ma and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Convection ovens and microwaves are both popular methods of cooking. Both have their own pros and cons. While microwave oven uses electromagnetic waves to cook food, convection oven heats food with the help of circulating hot air.

A microwave oven costs less than a convection oven - for hot microwave deals click here and on this post - but it takes more time to cook a meal than a convection oven does. Let us see which one is better in this convection oven vs microwave article.

The Heating Process

Firstly, convection oven and microwave oven are for heating food, and it makes hot food more delicious and tasty. They have the outstanding advantages of convenience in cooking, economic effectiveness, and time-saving so that families can spend more time enjoying family gatherings rather than being busy preparing food.

 Their differences are distinct and noticeable as well in how they heat food or cook. The microwave oven heats the food directly from a distance via microwave radiation. The convection oven uses hot air and fans to cook the food efficiently at a faster rate.

The Convection Microwave Oven Heating Process

A convection oven heats food in two ways: it cooks and bakes food like a conventional oven, and it circulates the hot air around the food to ensure even cooking.

Convection cooking is the combination of conventional and microwave methods. Convection ovens use a forced-air fan system to circulate hot air around the meal, providing faster, more even cooking than a traditional oven. This creates a higher temperature inside the oven compartment for faster roasting while retaining moisture within the food.

oven and food

A Microwave Heating Process

A microwave oven heats or cooks food with microwave energy. Microwave energy is absorbed by the water, fat, and sugar molecules in the food. As this happens, the molecules move rapidly, causing friction and producing heat hence reheating or cooking your food.

Even Heating up or Cooking

Convection Oven Even Heating Up / Cooking

A convection oven, which circulates air from the bottom, top, and left to right, cooks more evenly. That translates into more consistent flavors and textures from knife to fork.

It stands to reason then that a convection oven would be better at cooking and baking food than a microwave oven. A microwave does not evenly distribute heat. It heats from the outside in, so it works well with foods that don't need a lot of movement, like dry beans, baked potatoes, bread.

Microwave Oven Uneven Heating Up / Cooking

Microwaves - look out for cool retro models here - use waves of energy to excite the molecules in food, causing them to heat up. This process is called fast cooking because it does not apply heat evenly to the food, heating it from the outside in.

This technique tends to leave your food cooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside. Convection ovens use hot air to cook your food more evenly by circulating hot air around the food, cooking it from all sides.


Cooking Time

Convection Microwave Oven Cooking Time

Convection ovens cook more efficiently and quicker with multiple heating elements in one oven. They cook pizza and calzones in minutes instead of hours and Thanksgiving turkey to perfection.

In a convection microwave oven, the fan alternately blows hot air over and around food, helping speed preheating, cooking, and baking.

Microwave Cooking Time

Microwaves use radiation which is heat that moves in a line. Convection ovens use hot air that's moving all around to make things hot.

The microwave will heat slower. Also, when you put a bunch of food into the microwave at once, the temperature can drop faster than the rest, so it can take longer to heat with more food.


Cooking Uses

Cooking Uses of a Microwave Oven

For anybody who likes to cook, a microwave can be a great addition to any home. You can use it to reheat meals, cook or defrost frozen foods, and prepare your own healthy snacks.

Reheat Meals

The reheating function of a microwave oven means you can take your leftovers or half-eaten food and warm them up when you get home.

Reheating is suitable for soups and stews, pizza, loaves of bread – soft or crusty, whole fish meat roasts, chicken and duck breasts.

Defrosting Frozen Foods

The defrosting function is a quick and easy way to thaw meat, vegetables, or fish before cooking.

Simply place food in a microwave-safe container, and select defrost time on your microwave display. Your microwave then uses a combination of power and time to defrost the food without over-cooking it.


Cooking Uses of a Convection Oven

Bake Food

A convection oven is a type of oven that is common in most homes today. The main use of a convection oven is baking which requires even heat or cooking. It bakes cookies, pastries, and other baked goodies.

 It uses a fan to circulate the heat inside the appliance, providing even heat distribution with crisping and browning results.

There are many other uses for convection microwave ovens.  It can roast, broil, cook with air currents, and brown with the use of a convection oven.

Roasting Function

Nothing beats the flavor of food roasted in a convection microwave oven. Not only does the super-hot air circulate rapidly under and around meat, but it also cooks faster than in a conventional oven.

Microwave ovens are designed to roast meat, poultry, and other foods to perfection. They use a heating element that roasts or cooks food, a front-mounted fan that circulates hot air around food to cook evenly, and a temperature probe for optimum results.

Many microwave ovens have a removable nonstick pan for roasting.

healthy meat

Machine Set-Up

A Microwave

The microwave or microwave oven consists of the following major parts: a cooking chamber, an electrically powered magnetron that emits microwave energy, a waveguide that directs the microwaves, a rotating turntable platform for holding either a food container or a food grilling tray filler, a door and a control panel.

A turntable is a rotating platform, mostly made of glass in a microwave oven that rotates food. This keeps the food in the center of the light path so it will heat evenly all over. A microwave oven may come with one turntable or may have two or more turntables for different-sized dishes.

A Convection Oven

There are three main components to a convection oven: the heating element, fan, and cooking chamber. The first of which, the heating element is used to achieve the desired temperature and range, while the fan circulates hot air around the food, increasing both heat transfer and uniformity.

Convection ovens are like regular ovens, except that they feature a fan that circulates hot air evenly through the heating elements, reducing cooking times by up to 25 per cent while improving browning and reducing overcooking.

white microwave

Which is Better, Convection Oven or Microwave?

Convection ovens and microwaves are two of the most often used kitchen gadgets. Both are easy to use but can be very different in terms of functions and operation.  A convection oven uses heated air, which circulates within the oven to cook food evenly, as opposed to a microwave that uses microwave energy to heat dishes from the outside.

The convection microwave provides a traditional oven cooking experience. Although it is a bit pricier than a microwave, it cooks food in less time, and in many cases, browns and crisps food better than a microwave.

Is Convection Oven Healthier Than Microwave?

Yes, a convection oven is healthier than a microwave. It cooks more evenly than a microwave, eliminating hot spots that can burn foods or leave them raw in the middle.

Air is circulated around the entire oven during convection cooking, baking dishes and food to speed cooking and reduce moisture loss. The result is healthier, low-fat cooking that tastes great.

three bowls

Convections Ovens Reduce Cooking Times

Microwave ovens are a convenient way to cook, but they also use more energy and can leave some nutrient value in your foods diminished.

Convection ovens use about the same amount of energy but reduce cooking times by baking faster with hotter air than microwaves. Think of convection as similar to traditional ovens but more efficient.

Is A Convection Microwave the Same As A Convection Oven?

A convection microwave is not exactly the same as a convection oven, but they both utilize the circulation of heated air for cooking food.

A convection microwave is used for cooking food using both microwaves and hot air, whilst a convection oven uses a fan inside that circulates the heated air throughout the interior, causing the entire cooking chamber to heat up quickly. With this kitchen appliance, you can expect food to be cooked thoroughly and done evenly throughout.

microwave on top of the oven

Can You Reheat Food in A Convection Oven?

Yes, you can reheat food in a convection oven. When you set the control dial to the "Bake" position, it will circulate hot air around the inside of the oven cavity, heating the food immediately and slightly browning it on all sides at the same time.

About the author

Colin Ma

An avid home chef, Colin is equally passionate about delicious meals as well as the latest cooking appliances. He's also a keen writer about cooking-related topics.


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