5 Quick and Natural Microwave Alternatives

Discover quick and convenient microwave alternatives that employ natural ways for reheating leftover food or defrosting meat without losing out on the food nutrients.
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A woman places a bowl of leftover chili in the microwave for reheating.

It’s easy to typecast the microwave as one of the modern-day’s kitchen appliance must-haves. Popping leftover food or defrosting meat in the microwave makes prepping for mealtimes easier and faster. While it’s definitely convenient, other people also call it “nuking” food.

Heating food in a microwave demolishes the molecular structure of food, including the vitamins and minerals, leaving behind empty calories and a noticeably inferior taste.

Reheating food without a microwave may take a bit of learning curve for some, but once you try out these alternative ways to warm up your food, you’ll find it’ll seem like second nature to you as well.

1. Ovens

An electric oven in the kitchen.

Ovens can actually work very well as a microwave alternative. In all likelihood, you probably already have an oven in your home. You probably use it to cook many of your meals, but it can also be used to properly reheat food. Before the invention of the microwave, ovens were the primary way for people to heat their meals back up.

It will take a little bit of getting used to in order to use an oven properly in this fashion. You will need to be careful to use low enough temperatures to reheat your food without cooking it or burning it. It actually isn’t too tough to do this, but you might make some mistakes the first couple of times if you aren’t careful. This is going to be one of the best methods for reheating something like a casserole without using a microwave.

Of course, an oven is going to be more useful to own than a microwave in several ways. If you have to make a decision between owning a microwave and having a traditional oven, then the choice should be clear. You will be able to cook or bake healthy meals using your oven. Microwaves are really only good for reheating food and making frozen food, so an oven is always going to be preferable.

Pros:

Learning to use an oven as a microwave alternative shouldn’t take you too long. You will be able to reheat foods such as casseroles and other large dishes very easily inside the oven. The oven is big enough to reheat many leftovers at once. It should become second nature after you have been reheating food this way for a month or two.

Cons:

You need to make sure that you are using low enough temperatures when reheating food with an oven. It is possible to burn the food if you set things too high. This method is also not going to be as fast as reheating food in a microwave. Those who are used to reheating food in microwaves may find this to be a bit laborious.

2. Stovetops

A pot of boiling water on the stove.

Stovetops are great microwave alternatives that will be able to reheat things that an oven cannot. People use stovetops in order to boil water and to reheat liquid foods. Things such as soups will be much easier to reheat when you use the stovetop. There are a lot of other foods that will turn out well when you heat them up on the stove, as well.

You can also use your stovetop to make popcorn. Many people use their microwaves to make their popcorn, but it can actually turn out even better if you just buy popcorn kernels to make on the stove. Once you learn to use your stove to its full potential, it will be your preferred method for heating up many things. You can either use the stovetop on your oven, or you can buy a portable stovetop to use for these purposes.

Pros:

Owning a stovetop like this is going to make your life a lot easier. You probably already have one as part of your oven. If you don’t own an oven, then buying a portable stovetop is going to be a very affordable solution. You’ll be able to reheat many foods, and it can cook things as well.

Cons:

There will be certain foods that you simply won’t be able to heat up properly using the stove. Boiling water on the stovetop will generally take longer than it would in a microwave. There are both advantages and disadvantages to using a stovetop versus a microwave. You will want to know what you are getting into before you set out to live a microwave-free life.

3. Crockpots

Crockpot


There are actually some people who use crockpots as very effective microwave alternatives. A crockpot is a great tool to use when you need to cook something. It is capable of cooking things slowly, and you don’t even need to be present while the meal is being cooked. People who are short on time often use crockpots to make delicious meals.

You can also choose to place food inside of a crockpot in order to reheat it. This is actually a pretty easy way to reheat many types of meals. If you want to reheat a meat dish or even some vegetables, throwing them in the crockpot with a bit of moisture added in is a good idea. It won’t be as quick as heating something up in a microwave, but it is a solution that you can make use of.

Pros:

Crockpots are safe to use, and they don’t cost too much money. You’ll be able to buy a really nice crockpot at a reasonable price, and it will work great to reheat food. It is probably more useful as a cooking tool than a microwave alternative, but it works fine to heat your food back up. If you own a large enough crockpot, then reheating a meal for an entire family will be possible.

Cons:

This method may wind up being convenient for some people. For others, it will wind up taking too long to be really practical. You won’t be able to heat up your food very quickly inside of a crockpot, but it will heat up nicely. It just depends on how long you have and whether or not you are looking for a quick solution.

4. Toaster Ovens

Toaster Oven

Toaster ovens are another microwave alternative that you will want to consider. This is going to be an especially appealing option for people who do not own a normal oven or stove. If you have a toaster oven, then you will be able to cook meals without taking up a lot of counter space. Many of the items that you would have cooked inside of your microwave can be cooked just as effectively inside of a toaster oven.

Making frozen meals using your toaster oven should be very simple. You will also be able to reheat food if you use this toaster oven properly. This is probably the purest microwave alternative on this list. It isn’t necessarily as convenient as a microwave when it comes to speed, but it will work very effectively.

You will also have the added functionality of a toaster included with this unit. Being able to enjoy toasting your bread can make both breakfasts and making sandwiches more enjoyable. These ovens come in multiple sizes too, so you can try to buy a larger one if you want to be able to make a casserole that can feed a whole family.

Pros:

Making use of a toaster oven is going to feel very natural. You’re going to be giving yourself more options when it comes to cooking in comparison to a microwave. It works great for cooking frozen dinners, and you can reheat your food effectively. It is basically like owning a small oven, and it costs a lot less than a traditional oven does.

Cons:

If you want to be able to reheat food fast, then this method won’t really be any faster than using a traditional oven. The cost of a good toaster oven is going to be more than buying a microwave, too. People on a budget may be better off purchasing a microwave. The toaster oven will have a bit more flexibility, though.

5. Dutch Ovens

Dutch Oven

A Dutch oven is actually going to be a very effective way to reheat certain foods. If you want to reheat pasta dishes, soups, rice, or even stews, then you will be able to make use of your Dutch oven. It should be noted that this method is to be used in conjunction with your stovetop. Simply heat the Dutch oven up, and it will work to reheat your food in a timely fashion.

Many people prefer using the Dutch oven to simply reheating food on the stove. It can work faster to use the Dutch oven simply due to the way that it is designed. You can think of it as the perfect dish to place your leftovers in for reheating. This is an affordable microwave alternative that you’ll be happy to own.

Pros:

The Dutch oven can help you to reheat food very swiftly. You’ll also be able to enjoy food that tastes great if you use this properly. Things heat up very evenly inside of the Dutch oven, so you won’t have to deal with random cold spots. This is a safe and simple microwave alternative that you can easily purchase.

Cons:

This method is reliant on you already having something like a stovetop. When you factor in the cost of a stovetop, this isn’t going to be incredibly cost-effective. It does work nicely to help heat your food up, but it may not be worth the effort to some people. It wouldn’t be accurate to say that it is more convenient than a microwave, but it is easy to use.








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