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Microwave vs Conventional Oven: Key Differences

Whether you’re a baker or a busy professional looking for meals on the go, the oven is undisputably an important part of the kitchen. You might get confused over the many different types of ovens out there in the market, but let’s take a look at the two main ones: the microwave and the conventional oven.



Microwave Oven

  • As per its name, this type of oven uses electromagnetic waves to heat up food only.
  • The molecules in the water, sugar, and fat of the food absorb the microwaves at a certain frequency and cooks from within.
  • Portable and easy to use
  • Since the waves don’t heat up the entire space inside the appliance, the microwave oven uses less electricity than the conventional one.
  • It cannot be used to bake pastries and cakes with an open grain structure (unlike brownies) or brown food as it doesn’t have radiant heat like the oven.

Conventional Oven

  • Typically used for baking, roasting and heating
  • It uses electric element or gas burner to generate radiant heat in order to heat up the air within the oven.
  • The heat is usually radiated from the bottom, unlike the convection oven where a fan will circulate the hot air around the chamber.
  • Food is cooked from the outside in, and this process will continue until the food reaches the desired temperature.


Do note that these ovens are not interchangeable so if you are more of a baker, then go for the conventional oven. Want the best of both worlds? Then you can consider getting a convection oven. The convection oven has fans that circulate air around the food, which help to distribute heat more evenly. But regardless of the type you choose in the end, don’t forget to use the following energy-efficient methods to keep your utility bills down.

  • Pre-boil potatoes before you roast them to cut down on the time you need to cook them in the oven.
  • Cook food faster by cutting them into smaller pieces to increase the surface area.
  • Defrost your food beforehand by keeping them in the fridge overnight as this helps to cut down on the cooking time.
  • Maintain your oven well such that the oven door is properly sealed to prevent the heat from escaping. It should also be properly cleaned so that you can check on your food by looking in instead of opening the door frequently.

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