While microwaves are in an estimated 90% of US homes, there is still a lot of uncertainty around them. When I discussed starting this blog about microwaves, many expressed a number of disadvantages of using them. I decided to create a blog post addressing these disadvantages (and many) more.
Many of the perceived disadvantages are due to misinformation or old information that no longer applies. In this post, I list 22 disadvantages and possible fixes for each.
The biggest issue with this disadvantages is not using the right tool for the job. Just as it is an art to cook with a stove or oven there is also an art to cooking in a microwave.
1. You Cannot Fry Foods
One of the biggest problems with microwave ovens is that you are unable to fry foods. In fact, the opposite usually happens, food either becomes hard and dried out or soggy.
There are a few possible solutions to simulate fried foods. While these solutions are not the same as using a frier, they come very close.
Solution one: Use a different type of microwaves. Most people are only familiar with solo microwaves. However, there are three types of microwave ovens: solo, grill, and convection.
In short, a grill microwave simulates cooking food on a grill, and a convection microwave simulates cooking in an oven. Click here to learn more about the different types of microwaves. You may be able to achieve the fried taste by using one of these types of microwaves.
Solution two: Another possible solution is to use microwave accessories to achieve a fried-like taste. There are a number of different accessories, including microwave crispers, that can help you achieve the fried taste. Chick here to the 23 best microwave accessories.
2. The Food Texture is Poor
As I mentioned in problem 1, some foods cooked in a microwave have poor texture after they’ve been cooked. This is because of the way food is cooked. Microwaves use friction to cook foods and as a result the food may shrink or take on a different form.
There are a few possible solutions you can try to prevent this from happening. These solutions may not work for every type of food, but these solutions should help.
Solution one: Don’t overcook your food. Check your food frequently to ensure that it is cooked the perfect length of time. The longer you cook the food, the higher the chance for the food to lose its texture.
Solution two: Another possible solution is to cook food in water. This solution will not work with every food, but cooking your food in water steams the food.
Solution three: Cook your food with a grill or convection microwave. Using a convection microwave will cook the food by heating up the microwave interior. The convection oven will keep the texture and cook your food in a shorter time than using a stanrard oven.
3. The Food Color is Different
One of the biggest problems with cooking in a microwave is foods lose their color. Some foods look grey, while others just look dried out. We enjoy the way food looks just as much as it tastes, and food that has changed color is unappealing and leaves us wanting more.
Here are some ways to keep the color in our food. There are at least 3 possible solutions to bring the color back.
Solution one: Steam the food. Try to cook the food with additional water to create a steam effect. This works very well for vegetables.
To steam food, place the food in a microwave safe container, add water, then cover. Cook for 3 minutes, checking for doneness. If the food is not done stir and cook longer.
Solution two: Use a different type of microwave. As I’ve mentioned there are three microwave types, try using a different type of microwave to keep the color.
4. The Taste is gone
Along with texture and color issues, many microwave uses complain that food loses the original taste. The food either tastes bland or like food that you’ve cooked in your microwave.
Try the below solutions to correct the lack of taste.
Solution one: Try reducing the power level. One way to keep the taste of your food is to reduce the power level of your microwave. You can reduce your microwaves power level by pressing the “Power level” and entering a number (usually 1 -10).
The power level controls that amount of energy that is pushed into the microwave. For example, if you have a 1000-watt microwave, 50% (or power level “5”) will send 500 watts into the microwave.
Solution two: Try cleaning the microwave. If you food tastes like meals past, try cleaning out the microwave. The microwave may have food stuck to the interior of the microwaves. Click here to see the different ways you can clean your microwave.
Solution three: use microwave accessories. Another way to add flavor back into your leftovers is to use microwave accessories. Try using accessories like ceramic stoneware and microwave crispers to bring food back.
Solution four: use different microwave types. I know this has been mentioned a few different times, but an easy solution is to use a grilling or convection microwave. You will be surprised at what your microwave can do with these features.
5. The Food is Dehydrated
Another possible disadvantage of microwave cooking is experiencing dehydrated food. Due to the cooking process, microwaved food tends to become a little dry or dehydrated.
There are a few possible solutions to resolve food dehydration.
Solution one: Watch your food closely. The longer your food is in the microwave, the higher the chances that the food can become dried out. When cooking with a microwave, it is better to cook for shorter periods of time, then overcooking by a few seconds.
Solution two: steam your food. Steaming your food simply means adding a little water to the bowl that your food is in. The water will evaporate causing steam. The steam will cook your food and help to prevent dehydration.
Solution three: Use microwave accessories. There are a number of microwave accessories that can assist with microwave dehydration.
6. The Food Cooked Unevenly
If you’ve ever cooked with a microwave, you’ve experienced one part of the meal being completely cooked, while the other side is as cold as when you put the plate in.
Solution one: cook like foods together. Cooking like foods together may take a little longer for your meal to come together, but it will save you the frustration of reheating or throwing away your food altogether. Attempt to cook meats together and not with vegetables. In addition, cook similar meats together.
Solution two: add space between foods. Adding additional space will allow the microwave the room needed to cook food from multiple sides and alleviate the frustration of cold greens.
Solution three: reduce power level reducing the power level will help to ensure that all the foods are cooking at the same time. While it may take longer for the meal to cook, everything should be cooked evenly.
Solution four: make sure the turntable is working. The purpose of the turntable is to ensure that food is cooked evenly. If you notice that your food is not being cooked evenly, make sure the turntable is rotating while the microwave is on.
7. Microwaves Aren’t Standard
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, microwaves have a wide range of wattages and oven capacity. The wattage is what cooks the food and the higher the wattage, the faster your food will cook. In addition, your directions may use a microwave wattage that is different than what you are using. This presents a problem when attempting to follow a recipe. Another issue is that foods cook differently based on elevation.
Solution one: There are websites like this one that will calculate cooking time for different wattages. Simply enter the watt and cook time on the first line, then add your microwave wattage on the second line.
Solution two: guess and check. Like the unevenly cooked solution, you might have to watch your food cook, check, and stir often. While this isn’t the most scientific approach, it is one way to ensure that your food is cooked perfectly.
8. Food Cannot Be “Browned” or “Crisp”
This problem is similar to food losing its color, except microwave users are concerned that the food isn’t browned or have the crisp texture. The biggest problem is that the food doesn’t look cooked.
Solution one: use microwave accessories there are a number of products available that will simulate the crisp or browning that makes food appealing. Simply place your food on the accessory, cook for half the time, turn the food over, and continue cooking.
Solution two: use a grilling microwave. Microwaves with this feature provide the browning and crispness you’re looking for. Like the accessory, cook on one side, flip over, then continue cooking.
9. You Cannot Use Metal
While it is possible to used metals in a microwave, it may cause arcing. Arcing is when sparks occur in the microwave while the food is cooking. These sparks can lead to smoke, fire, and a terrible smell in your kitchen.
Solution one: While you should not use metals, you can use (some) plastics, glass, and ceramic. Using these alternatives will not create the arcs that may occur when you use metals. Be careful as these bowls and plates will be hot. Also, make sure that these plates and bowls are rated as “microwave-safe.”
10. Cannot Use (Some) Plastics
Another problem is that not all plastics can be used in a microwave. Using the wrong plastic can create a number of issues including emitting harmful smells, emitting harmful toxins in your food, burned/ melted plates and bowls.
Solution one: Check if your container is microwave safe. Before throwing the packaging away, check to see if the packaging mentions the phrase “microwave-safe.” If nothing is listed, assume that it is NOT microwave safe.
Solution two: use another material. If you are unsure of the plastic, use glass or ceramic containers. Not all of these containers are microwave safe. To check if these microwaves are safe, cook in a microwave for one minute. If the container is warm, it is not considered microwave safe.
11. Relatively Short Life Span
On average, microwaves last about 9.5 years. It feels like microwaves should last longer. Most microwaves don’t just stop working one day, over time you’ll notice it takes longer to cook food, or buttons stop working. Finally, it will quit altogether.
Solution one: Clean your microwave regularly. Cleaning the microwave at least once a week can help extend the life of your microwave. Clean all of the evens, places where the door meets the keypad, and the filters.
Solution two: always use the microwave with something in it. One of the worst things you can do to a microwave is to use it with nothing in it.
Solution three: reduce/ combine usage. Another possible way to extend the life of your microwave is to reduce the amount of time you use the appliance. Instead of using the appliance 5 times per week, consider using it 3 times per week.
Another option is to combine usage. Instead of cooking one meal at a time, consider putting two meals in the microwave at the same time. Also, there are microwave accessories that allow you to stack food on top of another plate.
12. Microwaves Kill Nutrients
There are a lot of blog posts that discuss how microwaves kill nutrients in food and that microwaves should never be used. While this is technically true, it is a bit of an exaggeration.
Studies show that microwaves CAN kill nutrients in food IF food is left in for an extended period of time. In fact, this article written by Webmd states that using a microwave may be better than other forms of food.
Solution one: Cook food for a short period of time The best way to ensure that nutrients are killed by your microwave is to cook foods for a short period of time.
Also, consider cooking foods in shorter bursts, stir, then continue cooking. This will both reduce the amount of time your food is cooked and ensure that everything is cooked evenly.
13. Limited Cooking Capacity
Most microwaves have an oven capacity range of .5 – 2.2 cubic feet. This present a challenge when cooking complete meals. In addition, it can be difficult to utilize the space at the top of the microwave.
Solution one: use a metal rack. Many microwaves come with a removable metal rack that can be used to cook additional food. This will help you take advantage of the unused space. Make sure that you remove this rack when it is not in use as it can experience arcs. Another downside is food cooked on this rack does not make use of the turntable and may experience uneven cooking
Solution two: Use a microwave accessory. Another option is to find a microwave accessory that allows you to stack foods on top of one another. Also, make sure this accessory fits on your turntable. Because you will be cooking more food, it may take a little longer to cook food.
14. Cannot Make Bread
Another problem people mentioned is being unable to make bread with a microwave. In addition, if you cook break in a microwave, usually the bread is soggy and falling apart.
Solution one: use a grill microwave. Grill (or grilling) microwaves were created to address the issue of soggy bread. Grill microwaves cook bread (and other foods) like toaster ovens. Using a grilling microwave will allow you to have the crispy, crunchy bite that makes a sandwich perfect.
Solution two: use a convection microwave. The benefit of convection microwaves is that you can cook food like ovens cook foods. This means you can bake cakes, cookies, and bread.
15. Expensive to Repair
As I mentioned in this blog post, it can cost between $50 and $350 per hour to repair a microwave. This cost doesn’t include parts, and time missed from work.
Solution one: purchase an extended warranty. If you purchase a microwave from stores like Amazon or Best Buy, they offer extended warranties. Depending on the cost and length of time, the warranty may be a good investment.
Solution two: attempt to repair the microwave yourself. If you are handy, and comfortable with working with wires, consider repairing the microwave yourself. You can purchase parts from places like junkyards, eBay, and Craigslist. While I do not endorse you working on appliances on your own, it is worth looking into.
16. Dangerous for Humans
Another exaggeration that microwaves encounter is the impact microwaves have on human health. According to make studies microwaves send cancer-causing particles into your food. Also, other studies show that men should not stand infront of microwaves for a long period of time because of the effect it may have on the reproductive system.
Solution one: Don’t stand in front of the microwave. The studies that highlight the negative impact microwaves have on men stand that negative effects occur after extended periods of time in front of a microwave.
In addition, the Food and Drug Administration has been regulating microwaves since 1971. Each microwave has to pass safety standards before it can be released to the public. The greatest danger to humans is handling hot food when getting it out of the microwave.
17. Food/ Plates are Too Hot To Handle
If you’ve every pulled a container of a microwave and burned your fingers, than you have lived this problem. Often, microwave containers get way too hot to handle. In addition, I’ve run into the problem where food is still cooking even after I remove it from the microwave. This resulted in splattering and a slight burn on my hand.
Solution one: Use pot holders. There are many different types of pot holders that you can use to help prevent this problem. My personal favorite is the bowl and plate caddy. This caddy includes cool to the touch handles that are far enough away from the container.
Solution two: use plate covers. Plate covers will help prevent the delayed splatter I mentioned above.
Solution three: make sure the container is microwave safe. To help ensure that these containers are microwave-safe, label them.
18. Power Consumption
Another concern of microwave users is the amount of energy that microwaves use. Microwaves consume a lot of energy even if it’s not in use. Your microwave is responsible for a minimum of $5 worth of energy per month.
Solution one: unplug your microwave. This is the least practical solution on this list. While unplugging your microwave can save you money, you will lose time if you need to reprogram the microwave everything you plug it in. You will lose more time if you have to use a step ladder to plug and unplug your microwave each time.
Solution two: get a microwave with eco mode, There are a few microwaves that include an eco mode feature. These microwaves use the least amount of power at all times. In addition, these microwaves power way down when not in use.
Solution three: Buy a microwave with an on/ off button. Like microwaves with eco mode, there are a few that have an on/ off button. If you are concerned with energy consumption, buy a microwave that includes this feature.
19. Hard to Clean
Microwaves are hard to clean for two reasons first, the microwave may be hard to get two. If you have an over-the-range microwave, you may need a step ladder to completely clean out a microwave. The second reason microwaves are hard to clean is because the food is being baked right into the surface/ walls. ceiling.
Solution one: Clean more frequently. You should clean your microwave at least once per week. If you are still having difficulty cleaning the microwave, increase it to 2 or 3 times per week.
Solution two: buy a microwave with east to clean walls. Microwave manufacturers realize that is can be difficult to clean microwaves so they have included ceramic finishes as a premium interior finish. The ceramic finish makes it much easier to clean when compared to standard microwaves.
20. Smell after Usage
There isn’t much worse than an entire office smelling like Mike’s grilled Salmon. What’s worse is when the smell lasts for the rest of the week.
Solution one: while these will not complexly resolve the issue, ask your coworkers to cover their food when using the microwave. You suggest plate covers, but napkins, paper towels, and paper plates work as well.
Solution two: Clean regularly. The more people that use the microwave, the frequent the microwave should be cleaned. The lasting smells can be a result of food being spilled or cooked into the microwave and not cleaned properly.
21. Get Dirty Easily
The grossest part of the microwave is that liquids tend to explode all over the microwave, leading to a mess that needs to be cleaned up. It’s easy to forget about the mess if you are heating up something quickly for dinner, or kids.
Solution one: The easiest way to prevent your microwave from getting dirty is to use a plate cover. Plate covers cover your plate and prevent food splatter. In addition to keeping your microwave clean, food covers may assist with cooking your food evenly.
I recommend buying multiple dishwasher safe plate covers. With multiple plate covers, you always have one ready. If you don;t want to buy plate covers, just use a paper towel, or anything that is rated as “microwave safe.”
Solution two: Clean your microwave multiple times per week. There are a few benefits to cleaning your microwave multiple times per week. First, your microwave is easier to clean. Second, your current meal will not taste like previous meals. Third, you don’t have to worry about old food falling into your new meal.
22. Hard to Dispose
The final problem is what to do with an old microwave. This microwave may or may not work, or it may be in multiple pieces.
Solution one: Try and sell it online. There are tons of places you can sell used microwaves online including Craigslist and eBay. Make sure you state in the listing description if the microwave does not work, and any possible defects. Getting some money back will make help offset the cost of buying a new microwave.
Solution two: Take it to a recycling center or junkyard. While the microwave may no longer be useful to you, a recycling center may be able to use some of the parts. This is especially true if your microwave has copper or a working magnetron.
You might be able to sell your microwave to a junkyard for a few dollars. The junkyard will remove the working parts and resell them, and recycle the rest. This is much better than a microwave ending up in a landfill.
Solution three: call your local garbage collector. If you are unable to sell it online or to a junkyard, call your garbage collector and let them know you have a microwave that needs to be picked up. Either they will collect it, or recommend a place that will. Don’t be surprised if you put a microwave out for pickup and it’s gone before your garbageman collects it!
To conclude, a lot of the disadvantages of microwaves can be eliminated if you choose the right tool for the job. For example, using microwave accessories can help to provide the cooking texture you’re looking for.
Another option is to upgrade your microwave oven. If you’re in the market for a new microwave, consider buying a grill or convection microwave. These microwaves offer additional features and increase the usefulness of your microwave.