Microwaves are hailed for their convenience across domestic and commercial kitchens. Looking at their prevalence, it’s safe to infer that people recognize this magnificent gizmo for what it is. Some would even go as far as to call a modern kitchen ‘incomplete’ without a microwave.
However, as with all things to ever exist, there are certain disadvantages of microwaves too. Some mere myths, some worth arguing over, some plain undeniable! This article aims to fairly weigh the advantages of microwaves against some known disadvantages of microwave ovens.
If you’ve heard people gossiping that microwaved food could cause cancer or that it reduces the nutrition of your beloved veggies, you need to go through this post. You seriously do! But before going over the drawbacks, here’s a roundup of some evident benefits of microwave ovens.
Advantages Of Microwave Oven
The ease of use and convenience of microwaves is their primary selling points. While there are numerous other benefits to using a microwave oven, including its small footprint and precise settings, the cooking convenience takes the cake. Below are some others that you may have realized if you’ve owned a microwave yourself.
1. Quick heating/Reheating
The most significant advantage of utilizing a microwave oven is that it is very quick and easy to heat packaged food or reheat leftovers. When a microwave heats food, a magnetron creates radio waves, which then deliver heat energy straight into the molecules of whatever it is heating.
The radio waves flow through the food equally as the utensil in the microwave oven spins around on the turntable. The molecules within the food or liquid vibrate exceedingly swiftly, allowing it to heat up quickly.
Microwave ovens are also more environmentally friendly than conventional ovens because they do not emit harmful emissions into the air. Due to the rapid heating of convectional ovens, you can make dishes such as Haldiram Style Moong Dal, Kale Chips, Paradise Style Biryani, Khichdi etc.
2. Precise Cooking Programs
The cooking programs in most microwaves are preloaded, allowing you to choose what you wish to cook. These days, new microwaves come with a plethora of preloaded recipes for setting timers.
With a microwave oven, all you have to do is set the timer, walk away, and wait for the soup to finish cooking. You can go back and get your soup once the microwave dings. You’ve also saved yourself some extra washing by cooking it in the bowl, from where you’ll be eating the soup. Unlike a regular stove, you won’t have to stand there and watch the soup cook, stirring to keep it from sticking to the bottom and burning.
3. Easy To Clean
One of the most prominent advantages of a microwave oven is that cleaning the utensils and the cooking cavity is relatively simple.
In a microwave, food or liquid heats up quickly and cooks quickly. When preparing meals like soups, there might be a lot of splatters. Cleaning after each use is the most practical alternative. Since you don’t want a buildup of food or liquid on the inside of your microwave that reheats every time you use it.
Since the material inside the oven is glass-made and smooth, cleaning the cooking cavity is extremely simple. If you find any spills, all you need is a damp towel to clean them up.
4. It Can Be Used To Defrost Food
Another notable advantage of using a microwave over an OTG oven is that a microwave can be used to defrost frozen. It melts and cooks frozen food in a short amount of time while preserving the flavor.
You may just put the food in the microwave to defrost while doing your regular tasks using the defrost option. And once you’ve finished your chores, you can quickly prepare the defrosted item without having to wait for it to defrost on the counter for hours.
Newer microwaves come with dual defrost functions where you may either defrost the food corresponding to a weight input or a timer setting. If you are confused about how to use the defrost feature, you can see our microwave guide to learn how to defrost food.
5. Safe For Children
Using a microwave oven is a far safer option for children of sufficient age than utilizing a cooktop or a cooker. Unlike conventional ovens or gas stoves, which emit more smoke and heat in the kitchen, the microwave oven produces the least amount of smoke and heat.
Microwave cooking is child-safe since it does not produce high temperatures that could cause burns or scalding. Some microwave oven models have touch control panels, which are perfect for small children.
6. Variable Heat Settings
These days, microwaves come with a plethora of capabilities for setting timers. Microwave ovens offer various heat settings, so you can choose the cooking time for your food and how high you want the power to be.
With such a microwave oven, all you have to do is set the timer, walk away, and your food will cook precisely on its own. You simply have to wait for the microwave to beep to enjoy a perfectly cooked meal.
7. Low Energy Consumption
Another benefit of microwave cooking is that it saves you money on your power bill. When compared to conventional ovens, microwave ovens use less energy. The microwave oven’s wattage ranges from 600 to 1200 watts. You can adjust the microwave oven to turn on and off automatically. The oven turns off when the cooking time and temperature reach the target.
8. No Change In Taste And Nutrition
Food cooked in a microwave oven is more nutritious than food cooked on a regular stove. Because of the quick-cooking procedure, the food does not burn and preserves all of its flavors and nutrients. After cooking in the microwave oven, we can acquire food with the same tastes and nutrition.
Disadvantages Of Microwave Oven
With all of the benefits and convenience, each appliance has its own set of drawbacks. The microwave oven is no exception. Let’s have a look at the disadvantages.
1. Dry Food
Cooking food in a microwave might result in overcooking and drying out certain meals due to the high heat intensity. Microwaves heat food by reducing the water content of the food, resulting in dry food. It is where using logical cooking times and heat settings come in handy.
Ensure that your food has a sufficient amount of water. Begin cooking for shorter periods and testing the food after each one to learn each dish’s ideal cooking times and temperatures.
2. Soggy Food
While a microwave might help dry up our food, cooking in one for an extended time can cause food to get soggy. Microwaves essentially work on an entirely different principle altogether, so they can’t give you those crispy results. Unlike air fryers or OTG ovens for that matter, microwaves use highly energetic EM waves to heat up food.
Water molecules in the food move as a result of the electromagnetic radiation used to heat it. The heat generated by that movement is used to warm the food or drink in the microwave. And hence, the moisture from the microwave cannot escape; it condenses in the food, making it soggy.
The best approach to learn the ideal cooking time and heat setting is to cook for brief bursts and check on the food as it cooks.
3. Not Versatile
One of the major drawbacks of the microwave oven is that you can’t see how versatile it is when it comes to cooking. You can swiftly and healthily prepare a range of dishes and liquids. It does, however, have some restrictions.
One of the most significant disadvantages of microwave ovens is the inability to bake, roast or fry foods. Chapattis and rotis are also impossible to make. When baking, for example, you won’t be able to get the browning or crisping results that an oven designed for baking gives, whether for savory or sweet treats.
However, convection microwaves, unlike solo models can do a lot more in terms of cooking possibilities. And even though you can make dishes pizza and grilled sandwich, they don’t taste the same as they would if they were made in an OTG microwave instead of a convection microwave.
It is the primary disadvantage when it comes to consumers looking for a frying alternative.
4. Needs Special Containers
When using a microwave for cooking, you must be very careful about the cookware or containers you use. It is safe to use microwave bowls explicitly developed for this purpose. Using faulty materials in a microwave can be pretty dangerous. Microwave-safe cookware is typically composed of glass, ceramic, or specific types of plastic. Otherwise, there’s a risk of unwanted, toxic compounds from the plastic cookware contaminating the food.
Tupperware makes excellent microwave-safe containers. Most firm polymers, usually consisting of hardened polythene, can be used instead. Check the cookware’s manufacturer’s directions for more information.
5. Chances Of Food Poisoning
Microwave ovens can cause severe food poisoning sometimes. The presence of hot spots and cold spots in food occurs due to the standing waves pattern in the microwave oven since the microwave oven can only penetrate 1.5 inches into food. To avoid uneven cooking, it’s also crucial to keep the shape and size of the meal consistent.
Microwave ovens are found in over 75% of homes, and most commercial kitchens utilize them for speedier heating and cooking. However, if used frequently without apt maintenance, the microwave may pose health risks.
Above are some of the potential downsides of using a microwave that you must be aware of if you’re adding this compact appliance to your kitchen arsenal. Despite multiple advantages, there are, indeed, some disadvantages to microwaves as well.
However, weighing them against each other, I am fairly confident that you’d want to add a sleek microwave to your kitchen. You may use my guide and view my top selections for 2023 in these budgeted segments.