Convection Steam Oven vs Microwave

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Updated August 19, 2022

Steam convection ovens are becoming more popularized in the culinary world. As a result, many are replacing even the best microwaves with this alternative cooking technology. If you’ve been wondering about this modern kitchen rivalry, we’re comparing steam convection vs microwave ovens below. So keep reading if you want to make an informed decision on what might be best to warm up your leftovers. And while you’re at it, we also have a great resource covering halogen ovens vs microwaves.


  • Steam ovens cook a wide variety of food by boiling water and distributing steam throughout a heating chamber.
  • Microwaves have a speedier cooking time, but steam ovens remain a cooking process that’s quicker than traditional ovens.
  • Steam cooking retains the nutrients in food by using low temperatures to ensure food isn’t overcooked.

Differences Between a Steam Convection Oven vs a Microwave

Preparing food with steam is an ancient cooking technique. But steam convection ovens have modernized this method and made it more convenient than ever before.

Steam convection ovens boil water to produce hot steam and circulate it with a fan to cook or reheat food. On the other hand, microwaves use electromagnetic waves to agitate water particles and, ultimately, cook and reheat food. If you want to know more about various microwave models, you can check out our piece on convection microwaves vs standard microwaves.

Insider Tip

When filling your steamer with water, use water that contains minerals.

Cooking Speed

Although steam cookers produce low temperatures (around 200 degrees Fahrenheit) while operating, it’s still a very efficient way to get things done in the kitchen compared to a conventional oven. However, microwaves still wear the crown as the absolute quickest method of making your food piping hot. Cook times for a steam convection oven are like that of a standard oven, while a microwave often takes minutes.

Health Benefits

Steam ovens are one of the healthiest options for cooking because it makes it hard to overcook your food. With regular ovens and microwaves, there is a far greater chance of overcooking your food, destroying nutrients, and draining any beneficial elements of your dish. Although, you might want to check into grill microwave ovens and convection ovens first, before settling on a steam oven.

Food Taste

Steam ovens are great for preserving the texture and flavor. Especially with delicate foods, the steam cooking method helps enhance and bring out the flavor of many of your favorite foods, while microwaves can often overcook and dry out food.

Upkeep and Cleaning

Maintaining a microwave is easy, as it only needs to be wiped down when messy and nothing more. Conversely, steam cookers are more intricate and require to be cleaned after every use. However, high-end steam ovens often come with a self-cleaning mode.


One of the major downsides to steam ovens is their awkwardly high price. On average, convection steam ovens will cost you close to $1,200. Microwaves, on the other hand, can be very affordable, running anywhere from $50 to $500. That said, many commercial microwaves over regular microwaves can cost a small fortune.


New users often need a period of adjustment when first using a steam oven. It can be difficult figuring out how to set dishes for the right time in the beginning.


Can steam ovens act as a replacement for microwaves?

Microwaves are much quicker with reheating food, but steam ovens are just as all-purpose as any typical microwave.

Can a microwave oven be used for steaming?

You can use your microwave to steam by putting a little water at the bottom of the dish you wish to steam. However, this won’t be as even a cook as a steam oven.

What does a high-end steam oven cost?

High-end steam ovens can cost up to $8,000.

STAT: Microwave sales have been steadily declining since the early 2000s. (source)

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