Microwave vs Steam Oven


You are probably wondering whether you should get a microwave oven or steam oven right now. For sure, each of them offers different features, advantages, and disadvantages. In this article, we will see the comparisons as well as some considerations to help you choose between a microwave vs steam oven.

Continue reading below to learn more about:
– How microwaves and steam ovens work
– The distinctive features of a microwave vs steam oven
– The advantages and disadvantages of microwaves and steam ovens
– Which cooking appliance that is generally more recommended

What is a Microwave Oven?

A microwave oven or simply microwave is a cooking appliance that works by using microwave electromagnetic radiation. When turned on, the device emits radiation, which is then absorbed by the food. As a result, the food’s molecules heat up. See also: Toaster Oven vs Microwave.

By using radiation, a microwave does not need to heat up the air inside in order to transfer the heat to the food. The food starts to heat up almost instantaneously right after the device is turned on. Also, unlike conventional cooking methods, a microwave cooks the food from the inside. As the effect, a microwave can cook very quickly.

What is a Steam Oven?

A steam oven works on the principle of convection. A steam oven is an oven that uses hot steam to heat up the food in the container. According to Digital Trends, a steam oven is usually equipped with a removable water reservoir, which needs to be refilled whenever you want to use the oven. Some high-end models can be connected to the water line.

When turned on, a steam oven takes some water from the reservoir and heats it into hot steam. The hot steam is then injected into the container to cook the food. A steam oven uses natural convection without needing butter or oil. As the effect, steam ovens are ideal for cooking delicate foods. Steam ovens are also used to restore moisture back into leftovers.

Cooking Time

If you are looking for a device that can cook very quickly, a microwave is the suitable solution. It is very difficult to beat a microwave’s cooking time. A microwave can cook various meals in mere minutes. A microwave can prepare your breakfast without making you late for work. On the other hand, a steam oven cooks more slowly. With a steam oven, you need to plan your timing and schedule more carefully.


A microwave can cook many kinds of foods, but it still has some limitations. A microwave requires special food vessels. You need to use microwave-safe plastics and food wraps. Don’t put metallic items in a microwave, as these items may create electric sparks and unhealthy substances.

A steam oven is more versatile that it is compatible with most cooking vessels. You can certainly use a metallic item to hold the food in the container, without unhealthy side effects. In addition, although the name may make you think that it is only for steaming, most steam ovens can also be used for cooking roasts, turkeys, meats, and even breads.

Cooking Results

One disadvantage of cooking with a microwave is that it tends to make the food soggy or rubbery. It cooks from the inside of the food; as the effect, the moisture inside the food gets boiled and evaporated. Microwaved foods usually look pale because the exterior surface didn’t get heated more.

Steam ovens are quite the contrary. With the hot steam, a steam oven can even restore moisture back to the food. A steam oven ensures that vegetables and meats won’t lose their juiciness. This is also why foods cooked in a steam oven generally have better flavors.

Microwave vs Steam Oven

MicrowaveSteam Oven
- Cooks by using microwave electromagnetic radiation- Cooks by using hot steam and convection
- Very fast- Slower
- Requires special cooking vessels- More versatile, compatible with most cooking vessels
- Tends to make the food dry, soggy, rubbery- Can keep foods moist and juicy


In general, steam ovens are more recommended. Steam ovens are more versatile, and they give better cooking results. Steam ovens generally give better flavor and texture. However, if you don’t care very much about cooking details and you simply prefer a fast, practical device, a microwave is hard to beat.

Add comment