Steam ovens have become increasingly popular in recent years for their ability to produce faster cooking results than a traditional oven. But what are the other perks of steam cooking? Can a steam oven’s speed compare to a Microwave? In this post, we’re going to cover the major differences between convection steam oven vs. microwave functionality so you can make an informed decision about which is a better fit for your kitchen.
How Steam Ovens Work
Steam ovens generally work by siphoning water from a reservoir into a boiler, where the water is heated. At sea level, this temperature is 212° F or 100° C. This creates a lot of steam, which is then forced into the steam oven's main cavity. This cooks or reheats food more quickly than a traditional oven does, but slower than a microwave. You'll often find steam ovens in restaurants and bakeries, where the high volume of cooking means that things need to be baked quickly.
How Microwaves Work
Microwaves work by exposing your food to a high-frequency electromagnetic field. This radiation is trapped inside the microwave's cavity, and it energizes the water molecules in the food you're heating up. This allows for fast cooking, but you may lose out on cooking precision and food quality. However, there are a select few high-end microwaves with steam cooking functionality, so you can get the best of both appliances if you have the budget for one. Microwaves are typically smaller and more versatile than steam ovens as well, making them easier to fit into cramped spaces.
Which is Healthier?
In general, food cooked in steam ovens tends to be healthier than food cooked in microwaves. This is because a steam oven preserves the nutrients in food, reducing the risk of overcooking. By locking moisture into your food, you are also reducing the need for extra fats and oils that may be necessary in microwaved food or food cooked in traditional ovens. Steam ovens also allow you to cook a wider variety of foods.
Which Foods Should Be Cooked in Each?
In general, any food that can be heated in a microwave can also be cooked in a steam oven. Steam ovens have a much wider range of foods they can cook than microwaves can: in particular, you don't need to worry about whether your cookware is microwave-safe before placing it in a steam oven. Many people reheat leftovers in steam ovens while they're still wrapped in aluminum foil, for instance, and steam ovens can be used to cook rice to perfection.
Microwaves, on the other hand, are better at cooking food that's designed specifically to be microwaved. This mostly means ready-made meals, but also includes dishes such as microwave popcorn. Microwaves are also faster at defrosting frozen food than steam ovens are, which is definitely something to consider if you freeze a lot of your food.
If speed is your primary concern, then a microwave will be your best option for reheating leftovers. This is especially true for frozen foods, as food can take a while to defrost in a steam oven. A steam oven, however, provides more even heating, and you have greater control over the cooking environment. This allows you to reheat food with less worry about burning it, and also improves the flavor of your food.
Ease of Use
There's a bit of a learning curve with steam ovens: microwaves tend to have a wider variety of features that speed your cooking, while steam ovens generally favor the quality of your food. With a microwave, you get near-instant gratification. With steam ovens, you'll need to block out more time in your day for meal preparation.
Cook your food to perfection with this 48-in. dual-fuel steam range from the Contemporary Series. You can enjoy healthy steam roasting and baking in the Real Steam™ oven, and take advantage of its Dual Four-Part Pure Convection technology for even heating with no flavor transfer.
This unit's cooktop, which comes with six powerful dual-stack sealed brass burners capable of producing up to 22,000 BTUs of heat, is designed with the chef in mind. Dacor's SimmerSear™ brass burners create enough heat to sear your meats and vegetables beautifully or can produce a low flame for simmering your delicate sauces without scorching them.
The setting options are seemingly endless on this 24-in. microwave drawer, which can be tucked below your counter or wall oven to save space above. The microwave offers 1.2 cu. ft. of capacity and boasts a slim-line design that helps you take full advantage of its interior.
This impressive unit offers many handy features designed to make your cooking process a breeze. For starters, you can choose from eight sensor options and five defrost settings. When needed, you can also add a minute to your cooking time with just one touch, thanks to the Add a Minute button. Lovers of coffee, tea, and cider can take advantage of the beverage-warming feature and the keep-warm feature to enjoy food and beverages at just the perfect temperature.
This 30-in. over-the-range convection microwave steamer from the Customizable Professional Collection Series comes with an impressive 1.7 cu. ft. of capacity and a steam function that makes it remarkably easy to prepare your favorite healthy dishes. It offers 950 Watts of power and 300 CFM of ventilating capacity to keep your cooking space fresh.
Convenience is the name of the game with this microwave oven. In addition to its steam cooking capabilities, it also offers an air fry option and convection cooking for even heating. When you're in a hurry, the Fast Cook setting is a great way to speed things along by combining the power of the microwave with convection cooking. And for those foods that you prepare often, you can take advantage of the one-touch My Cycle feature to automatically program the appropriate settings.
Save space without sacrificing on features and options with this ChefCubii™ countertop oven, which offers 1 cu. ft. of capacity and four different modes: steam, convection, air fryer, and dehydrator.
Whatever mode you choose, you'll have options for further honing your settings according to your needs. The steam function, for example, offers three different modes that allow you to create just the right amount of moisture in the oven for healthy cooking every time. This 10-in-1 multifunctional oven also allows you to choose from options such as grill, reheat, toaster, and rice cooker. It even comes with 40 pre-set menus for the ultimate in cooking convenience.
There's no need to buy a separate microwave and wall oven when you can combine them with this 30-in. double wall oven convection unit from the Contemporary Series, which offers an impressive 6.7 cu. ft. of space and steam cooking capabilities.
This unit features nothing but the latest in cooking technology and convenience. Its four-part Pure Convection™ system provides remarkably even heat distribution, and it also features a handy digital temperature probe that switches the oven into Automatic Hold mode when the food has reached its desired temperature. Speaking of which, Dacor's BrightVue™ oven light and RadiantVue™ microwave lighting make it easy to keep an eye on your food as it cooks.
Can you use a steam oven as a normal oven?
Yes, a steam oven can do all the things a normal oven can do. You can even turn off the steam supply in many steam ovens if you need dry heat.
Do professional chefs use steam ovens?
Steam ovens are becoming increasingly common in professional kitchens. Because they are faster than traditional ovens and often provide better bread crusts, they are especially popular among bakeries. Some high-end brands like Café even allow you to utilize steam in select microwaves from their line-up, so your gourmet leftovers can retain their rich flavors even when you need to quickly reheat them.
Can you cook pizza in a steam oven?
Yes, you can cook pizza in a steam oven. In fact, this creates pizza crusts that are crispy on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside.