What is Better than a Microwave?

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Updated January 6, 2023

Even if you have a premier microwave oven, you may wonder if other kitchen appliances offer a better cooking performance. This can also include some of the best microwaves for popcorn. While there isn’t a clear-cut answer for every device, some dishes and frozen food require a specialized feature set that isn’t available with the microwave heating process.

In addition, cheap microwaves (unlike lightwave ovens) might leave cold spots in large quantities of food that a traditional oven or other heating devices wouldn’t. So, if you want delicious meals every time you sit down to eat, read on to see what is better than a microwave oven.


  • Microwaves use electromagnetic waves to heat your food or liquids for drinks quickly.
  • Ovens, toaster ovens, and convection models offer a baked exterior to your food, but they take longer to prepare your meal.
  • Dutch ovens, Instant Pots, and electric crockpots are excellent for large servings of soups and stews, but microwaves are still ideal for drinks and single-serve soups.

Microwave Ovens Vs Other Cooking Methods

It’s okay to wonder about microwave alternatives, especially if you’re okay waiting a few extra minutes for a complete meal. But, as you probably know, the most significant difference between microwaves and other cooking methods is the heating speed of a meal or leftover foods. So, if you’re curious about what you’re missing out on by using a decent microwave, read on for all the excellent alternatives.

For more helpful tips on microwaves, you’ll want to read about convertible vents vs recirculating microwaves, and microwave handle vs push button models.

Insider Tip

Consider thawing your frozen meals in the microwave and finishing the dish in an oven for a pleasing, baked texture.

That said, you should decide between an OTR microwave and a countertop model. Your choice might save some counter space for additional food prep.

Conventional Oven

Compared to a microwave, a larger oven takes much longer to heat your food. That said, the radiant heat from the heating element produces a crisp food exterior that isn’t possible in a regular microwave.

That said, depending on what you’re making, you should know the difference between microwave and regular oven cooking times.

Convection Oven

Much like a kitchen air fryer, a convection oven uses built-in fans to surround your food with hot air. The speed of heating is much faster than a typical oven but still slower than a microwave. That said, convection allows heating evenness and baked textures for your meals.

Toaster Oven

While large toaster ovens are on the market, the typical choice is a countertop model that’s about the same size as a countertop microwave. They are in the same category as an air fryer because they cook faster than an oven but not as fast as a microwave. Still, they produce baked foods, and some models have a convection feature. You can also get a combination, like the ones in our microwave and toaster oven combos guide.

Dutch Oven

Dutch ovens are large ceramic or stainless steel pots that are fantastic for browning meats, vegetables, and even soups. If you don’t want a stovetop tool, you can also go for an Instant Pot or electric crockpot. While microwaves are better for heating liquids for individual servings, the Dutch oven is an ideal tool for family-size stews or pasta.


The heating elements in your full-size oven get extremely hot. Always wear an oven mitt to avoid burns while removing your fresh food from the cavity.


Are microwaves safe for cooking your food?

Your countertop microwave is entirely safe for most cooking jobs. In addition, even cheap microwaves will leave more nutrients intact than most microwave alternatives.

Are convection microwaves worth it?

A microwave convection oven combines airflow circulation and electromagnetic radiation to cook your food. The microwave energy prepares recipes in the same way a traditional model does. Still, you can switch to convection baking to crisp the surface of food. Lastly, some convection microwave ovens allow for a combination of convection and conventional cooking.

Can you put a microwave above a gas range?

Installing a range microwave over your gas stove is great for maximizing your countertop space and keeping an efficient kitchen. In addition, consider choosing a compact microwave that can store away in a cabinet, drawer, or on a microwave cart.

STAT: For the safest possible microwave meal, ensure that your food has a consistent temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. (source)

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