Since their induction into the kitchen appliance “must-have” hall of fame, the microwave has stood as a pillar of modern culinary convenience. Whether you’re softening butter, reheating day-old noodles or keeping prepared dinner warm the microwave can just about do it all.
It was invented shortly after WWII but didn’t establish itself as a must-have tool until the 2000s when it was named the #1 piece of technology that made American lives easier. Some people are turned off by the zapping kitchen appliance, believing that “nuking” food destroys its molecular structure of key vitamins and minerals and leaves behind nutritionally inferior sustenance. There’s no evidence that this is the case, and in fact some experts agree that cooking in a microwave destroys less nutrients than other forms of cooking because of the shorter cooking time.
However, there are microwave alternatives that are just as useful that we should all know about. Whether your kitchen didn’t come with one or you want to explore all of your options, just know it’s quite possible to survive without one. There are plenty of other options that will heat everything up but avoid the potentially explosive effects that microwaves often have.
If you’re looking for the best microwave alternatives, take a look at our list below!
Toaster ovens are an excellent alternative to microwave ovens. They use similar heating techniques to conventional convection ovens but work quicker with less space. This makes them perfect for reheating leftovers gradually or roasting veggies a little more to make them extra crispy. Here are our favorite toaster ovens available to order online for delivery.
1. Cuisinart TOA-60 AirFryer Convection Toaster Oven
If you’re looking for a microwave alternative that won’t just replace but enhance your kitchen’s arsenal of tools, this one’s a great option. It’s got 1800 watts of power and seven different functions for heating up and cooking food including air fry, convection bake, convention broil, regular boil, regular bake, warm and classic toast. Impressive, huh? The whole interior is non-stick so messes are easy to clean and it’s got an oven light for checking on your meal. It has the capacity for up to six slices of bread, three pounds of chicken wings, a 12-inch pizza or a four pound chicken. This thing means business.
It comes with an oven rack, air fryer basket and baking pan so you can get started right away.
Buy: Cuisinart TOA-60 AirFryer Convection Toaster Oven $159.99
2. Black+Decker 4-Slice Toaster Oven
If you don’t have a ton of counter space and want something a little more low-key, this toaster oven is a solid option that’ll get the job done without going overboard. It’s got EvenToast technology so all slices of breakfast toast will cook evenly every time.
The oven doesn’t take up a ton of space in your kitchen but the curved interior has enough room for 9-inch pizzas and four slices of conventional bread. It’s got four different functions packed into a small package including baking, broiling, toasting or just keeping food warm for the time being. Heat up food like you would in a microwave a little slower and more thoroughly with this small but mighty appliance. It’s got a 30-minute timer, a stay-on function in case you’re busy with other tasks and a removable crumb tray for easy cleaning.
3. Tovala Gen 2 Smart Steam Oven
If you want to add a smart kitchen appliance to your home and don’t mind spending a little extra cash, this machine is getting rave reviews online for its power and features. Tovala has created a smart oven for the new-age kitchen, equipped with the ability to do everything your microwave can do faster, more efficiently and without drying out food. It’s got five different cooking modes — bake, broil, reheat, steam and toast, and is designed to cook your meals to perfection every time.
Along with the smart appliance comes an app from which you can set the cooking time and mode of your device, access a library of recipes and even scan the barcode of your favorite frozen meals that Tovala already knows the instructions for. Simply put the food in, find the barcode from Trader Joe’s, Amy’s, etc and your meal will be cooked to perfection.
The whole package comes with nine different cooking accessories and the company also offers oven-ready meal subscriptions you can follow with natural ingredients to avoid prep and cleanup.
Buy: Tovala Gen 2 Smart Steam Oven $299.00
Dutch ovens are a beloved kitchen tool and a stellar microwave alternative. Known for cooking soups and stews on the stove and bread in the oven, they’re also very effective at reheating food. Heating up your dutch oven on the stove and then putting in rice, pasta, soup or sauce will reheat your food quickly without zapping it and the food will cook evenly rather than the inside out like with your classic microwave.
4. Cuisinart Cast Iron 7-Quart Casserole
This dutch oven means business. It’s made of cast iron which has serious heat retention and evenly distributes heat across the pot. It’s got a porcelain enamel interior that’s ideal for cooking as it won’t leech flavors or absorb odors, leaving your food fresh and fragrant for you to enjoy. It’s safe for use in your induction oven as well as on a gas or electric stove-top. It’s also dishwasher safe so cleaning it is easy. This dutch oven is quite large at 7-quarts, which is good for families or apartments with a few roommates.
Buy: Cuisinart Cast Iron 7-Quart Dutch Oven $89.99
5. Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
This cast iron dutch oven is a little smaller than our other option but is still just as hearty and effective. Just like the other one, this cast iron vessel is made with porcelain enamel that’s a particulate of glass baked onto the cast iron. During this process, the two materials fuse to form a powerful bond that’s very heat tolerant and impassable by water and other fluids. We love Lodge products for a reason, they’re high-quality, super durable and come in a variety of color choices. Plus, at $70 this is an affordable alternative to microwave usage.
Buy: Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven $69.99
If the majority of your microwaving comes in the form of heating up veggies or popping popcorn, why not outsource these duties to task-specific appliances? That’s right, we mean things like veggie steamers or popcorn makers. Sure, the convenience of having a single item handle both tasks is nice, but if that’s all you do in your micro, chuck the thing and get these options instead.
6. Cuisinart STM-1000 Digital Glass Steamer
If you’re a health nut and steaming veggies is most of what you use your microwave for, this glass steamer will do the trick instead. It uses water, steam and glass to create a cooking environment that won’t dry out your food and cooks it quickly using 1875 watts of power. It’s got six different modes for cooking everything from meats to grains and also has a reheat function that will bring your food back up to an optimal serving temperature quickly. Use the LCD screen to quickly navigate and program your device and quickly wash everything in the dishwasher after the fact. It’s made with stainless steel and quality materials that should last a long time.
Buy: Cuisinart Stainless Steel Steamer Tray $149.99
7. West Bend Electric Popcorn Machine
Anything better than microwave popcorn? Yes! Popcorn made in this West Bend popcorn machine that requires no microwave power whatsoever. Fill this contraption with oil and kernels and pretty soon you’ll have your favorite airy snack ready to enjoy. It has a 6-quart capacity popcorn bowl attached and is nonstick so your cleanup will be easy. It has a stir rod that automatically improves the popping of each batch. It stores small with a cord wrapped neatly underneath and a protective cover over it, and boasts 120 volts of power. Treat yourself to a salty snack without a microwave with this popcorn maker.
Buy: West Bend Popcorn Maker $24.99