February 28

What to Use Instead of a Microwave? | Most Convenient Alternatives


Author: Elena Apostolides
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The microwave oven is one of the most revolutionary kitchen appliances created. It's fast, easy to use, and gets the job done right.

But what if your microwave breaks down or you don't have one? Some may be disappointed. Others would not let this fact hamper their lives and would look for alternatives.

Are you interested in knowing what to use instead of a microwave? Find out now in this alternative microwave guide; I will be discussing them in great detail.

Is There an Alternative to Microwaves That Would Be Safer for My Food?

Yes, there are many great microwave alternatives that would be safer for your food.

There are a number of reasons why you might want to avoid using a microwave for your everyday meals.

You may have heard that microwaves destroy the nutrient density of your food or that they're unsafe because of all the radiation they emit. You may even be wary of their convenience, worried that it would make you too reliant on processed food and take-out.

a woman cooking on the stove

These are all valid concerns and reasons to limit your use of the microwave. However, they aren't necessarily reasons to completely eliminate it from your kitchen. Microwaves can be efficient and convenient without compromising nutrition or safety in any way.

If you do decide to ditch your microwave, here are some alternatives:

Stovetop Cooking

Cooking on the traditional stove is another alternative to using a microwave. There are many foods that can be prepared on the stovetop, including oatmeal and grits for breakfast, soups, etc.

There's an art to cooking on the stovetop, but it isn't hard to master. The main thing you'll want to learn is how to control the heat. You can do this by adjusting the controls in small increments and by using the right cookware for the job. If a recipe calls for preheating your pan, make sure to do it before adding oil or food.

pots on the stove

Many Stovetops come with Multiple Burners

Remember that some stovetops have more than one burner. You can use multiple burners at once to speed up your cooking time. For example, if you're boiling water for pasta and steaming vegetables at the same time, you can start heating the water while preparing the veggies, then add them when they're ready.


  • It offers a good alternative for heating soaps and other liquids though it takes longer than a microwave
  • You can cook an entire meal with a stovetop. A microwave is great for reheating leftovers and warming up food quickly, but it can’t cook an entire meal like a stovetop.


  • It takes longer to reheat food when compared to a microwave

A Traditional Oven

Traditional ovens can be used to reheat food. Though it takes a longer time than a microwave, it doesn't require as much attention. Just set it at about 250 degrees Fahrenheit and cover the dish with foil. Check on it every 10 minutes or so if it’s done, and give it a good stir if needed.

It is one of the best microwave alternatives because it cooks a large amount of food. Its hot air will cook meals, reheat foods, and even thaw frozen foods.

food in the traditional oven

Traditional ovens are also versatile since they do much more than reheating food; you can bake with them. It is also easier to use since you don't really need specific instructions like in microwaves, where you have to press different buttons for different kinds of food. Convection ovens tend to warm the kitchen hence are added advantage when used during winter.


  • This works well for heating up casseroles or large dishes.
  • It is multipurpose; can bake with it plus cook and reheat food


  • One of the drawbacks of a conventional oven is that it can consume more energy than microwaves, hence leading to higher bills.

Toaster oven

If you've got smaller portions to heat up, a toaster oven can be faster than an oven and less hands-on than cooking on top of the stove. People who live in small apartments may find them more useful than a full-size oven since they take up less counter-space and are easier to clean.

food in the toaster oven

It's also a good option if you don't want to constantly monitor your food since many toaster ovens have automatic shutoff timers.


  • A microwave will cook or warm foods faster than a toaster oven. But if you're looking to grill sandwiches or toast bread, a toaster oven is the better choice.
  • A toaster oven is more energy-efficient than a full-sized oven for small jobs.


  • A toaster oven cook or reheats food more slowly than a microwave

Air Fryer

The air fryer is a countertop convection oven that uses hot, circulating air to rapidly cook your food. It can do many of the same things as your oven, but in a fraction of the time and with less mess.

food prepared in the air fryer

Use an Air fryer to reheat Food

Like many modern kitchen appliances, air fryers can be used for more than just frying frozen snacks. With a little creativity, you can also bake cakes, reheat food, roast vegetables, and more.


  • It cooks everything in a healthier way because it just uses air to cook the food. The food tastes just like it was fried or grilled but without all the fat from frying and grilling.


  • The downside of air fryers is that they usually don't have a lot of space, so you won't be able to fit in casserole dishes or huge pots of chili. Instead, think about foods that are best cooked in small batches, like cookies, French fries, pizza slices, and leftovers.

A Food Steamer

One of the biggest problems with a microwave is that it can destroy the nutrients in your food. It also reduces the flavor and texture, which is why most people don’t like to eat foods heated in a microwave.

a person preparing food

This microwave alternative will steam your food without boiling it away or destroying its nutrients. You can use a food steamer to prepare vegetables, fish, chicken, eggs, grains, beans, and much more.

Steam cooking is much faster than stovetop cooking, and it doesn’t heat up the kitchen on hot summer days.


  • The main benefit of using steam ovens is that they use less energy than using microwave ovens and keep more nutrients in the food.
  • Steaming is a healthier way to cook. It literally just uses water and steam to cook your food. It doesn't use oil, so it doesn't add fat, and it doesn't take away nutrients from the food as boiling does.


  • It requires constant attention

Electric Kettle

An electric kettle is another great microwave alternative that will boil water or heat up a cup of coffee or tea quickly.

heating water in a kettle

Kettles take less time to heat water than stovetops because water is in direct contact with heating elements. Additionally, electric kettles don’t heat up your kitchen like ovens do when they’re in use, making them especially great during the summer months.


  • The kettle turns off automatically when the water boils, so there's no danger of anything overheating or burning out. This also extends the life of the appliance because you don't have to switch it on again and again throughout the day as you get more hot water (or tea) from it.
  • This microwave alternative is safer than boiling water on the stove because it has an automatic shutoff feature that prevents the kettle from boiling dry.


  • It takes longer to boil water than a microwave

A popcorn maker

This is one of the best microwave alternatives when you want to make your own popcorn. Popcorn is a favorite snack. It is tasty, easy to eat, and it is light on the stomach.

Making popcorn with butter, salt, and sugar can be done in a few minutes; all you need is a tool for the job. However, there are some downsides to using a microwave for making popcorn.

a popcorn maker

First of all, unless you take extra precautions, you risk burning your popcorn or your hand while taking the bowl out of the machine. Secondly, not everyone has access to a microwave oven at home or work.

Use a popcorn maker. It is used easily and quickly at any time of the day or night, whether for children's meals or to watch a film with friends.


  • It makes it possible to make popcorn without burning them and without additives if you don’t want any.
  • The machines are affordable


  • Can only make popcorn but not reheat food

What Are the Benefits of Not Using a Microwave?

Many of us find ourselves searching for a microwave alternative to get the most out of our food. Some people want to avoid the microwave altogether because of concerns about radiation, while others simply want to reduce their dependency on this handy but often overused kitchen appliance. Here are the benefits of not using this kitchen tool.

Save Time

The microwave ovens don’t save time when cooking food because you still need to check on it regularly and stir any foods that could burn if not stirred. A microwave saves time only when heating up leftovers or melting butter for baked food.

Healthier Cooking Methods

 Conventional cooking methods such as grilling and broiling can provide more flavor to foods than microwaving can. This is because the drippings from these foods are usually captured by a pan and help add flavor to vegetables or meat while they cook. Many people also enjoy the smoky taste that grilled foods provide, which cannot be obtained with a microwave.

two people in the kitchen cooking together

Destroys Nutrients

Microwave radiation destroys many of the nutrients in food, according to the New York Times. Even if you're only heating up your food for a short time, you'll still lose some of the nutritional value. Heating foods over a direct heat source like a stove or oven is a much better way to retain the nutrients.

Nonetheless, if you are still looking for a new oven, you can find out more about different types of modern microwaves to suit all your needs. Check out the extracts from those reviews we shared here:

Microwave Types

Best Convection Microwave

Convection ovens have great cooking power, a child safety lock to prevent accidental usage of the microwave, and different cooking levels. Like we mentioned before, choosing a convection microwave for your needs will be influenced by these 3 main factors - capacity, features for your budget, and your counter space.

Best Microwaves For Home Use

The more features you choose to have, the more expensive the microwave oven for home use would be. The good news is that you can choose to keep things very economical by simply going for a microwave oven with minimal features that meets the size and power requirements as stated earlier.

Best Simple And Basic Microwave Ovens

To reiterate this, a basic microwave oven, in our opinion is a small to midsize, non-inverter solo countertop microwave oven. Why? because a microwave such as this is easy to operate, is affordable, does not occupy much counterspace and is easy to install.

Best 1200 Watt Microwave Ovens

Most of the ovens in this category are quite expensive. This is generally due to two reasons: high powered microwave ovens are heavy duty and thus feature expensive components, secondly, they are very large. Some of the premium ovens in this power category though offer cutting edge technology, albeit at a higher cost.

Best Midsize Countertop Microwave

A midsize model is excellent for a regular family. The smaller models are generally reserved for offices, dorm rooms or garage like spaces. Larger microwave ovens are reserved for commercial spaces, so if you are have regular sized family or 4-5 members, then a midsize microwave oven would work perfectly for you.

About the author

Elena Apostolides

A professional chef and a passionate writer on all topics related to cooking, baking, appliances and kitchenware. Her posts resonate with foodies, home chefs and professionals.


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