What Is a Convection Microwave Oven? (And When Do You Use It?)

updated Aug 13, 2020
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Credit: Liz Calka

This post is for all of you out there who’ve ever wondered what makes your convection microwave different from other microwaves. What makes it convection? Can it do things that other microwaves can’t do? Is it basically a convection oven? Let’s take a look.

The short and sweet answer is that convection microwaves offer the quick-cooking features of a microwave, with the browning, crisping, and full “cook-through” of a traditional oven. Instead of just heating the inside of the food (as regular microwaves do), a convection microwave also browns and cooks the outside of your food.

How Do Convection Microwaves Work?

Scientifically speaking, regular microwaves emit waves that bounce around until they come in contact with food, causing water molecules to excite and generate heat, which then cooks the food. In contrast, convection oven technology uses a fan to force air movement and heat up the full interior of the microwave to cook food from the inside out. That’s why you can use convection microwaves to bake and roast things that would otherwise be cooked too quickly (and not thoroughly) with just a regular microwave.

Related: What’s a Convection Oven, and When Should You Use It?

When Should You Use a Convection Microwave?

Because of this fan that circulates the air, convection microwaves cook more evenly than other microwaves. And, again, they’re better at browning. Which means convection microwaves are great for pies and cookies. (Yes, you can bake in these appliances!) And they’re also especially great for roasting or reheating foods that were roasted in the oven. Specifically, we’re talking about meats and veggies here, which will get crispy skin or caramelized exteriors. (Trust us, they won’t taste like they’ve been nuked.)

One tip: Because convection microwaves cook food faster than other microwaves, be sure to check on your food earlier than you usually would.

Do you have a convection microwave? What do you use it for?