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Kitchen Showdown: Microwaves vs. Toaster Ovens

Kitchen Showdown: Microwaves vs. Toaster Ovens


Everyone thinks they have what it takes to be a world class chef… until it's time to cook the actual meal. Well, having the right small kitchen appliances is always a start toward your culinary dreams. Whether you're preparing side dishes for a family dinner or heating up leftovers, microwaves and toaster ovens are must-have accessories. Both do a great job of cooking and heating food, but if you have to opt for one over the other, which is right for you? Here are the pros and cons you need to know when comparing microwaves and toaster ovens.


Toaster Ovens

Convection Cooking

NoSome available with convection cooking

Food Quantities

Any quantity of foodSmaller quantities of food

Reheating Time


Warming Capability

No settings to warm foodCan be set on low temperature


Easy to wipe downTakes longer to clean

Countertop Convenience

Usually larger and widerSmaller and more compact


Typically range from 700-1,300 wattsTypically range from 1,200-1,800 watts


Advantages of Microwaves

  • Short cooking duration - Since a microwave oven uses electromagnetic waves to heat up all water molecules in your food at once, this allows your food to cook and warm up quickly.
  • Large quantities - You can work with large quantities of food in a microwave which makes cooking for many people an easy task.
  • Easy to clean - The inside of a microwave is very easy to access and clean. Also, the glass tray is removable, so you can wash it in the sink or dishwasher.

Disadvantages of Microwaves

  • Uneven cooking - Microwave heating can cause hot spots as well as undercooked areas which in turn can lead to foodborne illnesses.
  • Dehydration - Due to the cooking process, drier foods like meat, eggs and cheese have a tendency to toughen when heated in microwave. 

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Kitchen microwave

Toaster Ovens

Kitchen toaster oven

Advantages of Toaster Ovens

  • Keeps food warm - Similar to warming drawers, toaster ovens have the ability to keep a ready dish warm for hours. You can do this by setting the device to a low temperature, so your food will be warm and ready to eat it.
  • Browning and toasting - Many models have a broiler function that allows for even browning, caramelizing of sugar, toasting of bread and crisping of chicken.

Disadvantages of Toaster Ovens

  • Cleanup is time consuming - Toaster ovens have many different parts, including racks, grills and glass doors. This means a thorough cleaning both inside and out can take a while.
  • Longer cooking duration - Due to the method of heating used by this kind of appliance, food takes a longer time to cook or heat than it would in a microwave.
  • Exudes heat on exterior - They can get very hot on the outside while in use. You should always make sure that nothing or no one comes into contact with it while it is working for a long period of time.

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