Admit it. You’ve probably never thought to use a microwave for much beyond reheating leftovers and popping popcorn. I’m guilty as charged.
We’ve lived with the amazing KitchenAid® Built-In Microwave Oven with Convection Cooking for well over a year without fully exploring (or even realizing) all of the features it has to offer. And that, my friends, is a travesty.
Microwave cooking isn’t just for leftovers anymore. The advanced technology that goes into designing and building these versatile appliances allows you to cook everything from popcorn to popovers, and everything in between. Chances are, if you can cook it on the stovetop or in a standard oven, you can cook it in the Microwave Oven.
In addition to standard microwave features such as soften/melt, reheat, defrost, and popcorn, this Microwave Oven has Sensor Cook technology that takes the guesswork out of cooking. You may soon find yourself cooking things in the Microwave Oven that you’d never thought to try before, freeing up your time and stovetop for other endeavors.
Steam sensor cooking technology senses when the food is done—searching the web for cooking times is a thing of the past. Use the provided steamer container, with or without the steamer insert, if the food needs to lifted above the water (such as for vegetables or shrimp).
Simply place your food in the steamer container, add about 1/2 cup of water to the bottom, and put it in the Microwave Oven. Choose your Steam Cooking option (1: Potatoes, 2: Fresh Vegetables, 3: Frozen Vegetables, 4: Fish, 5: Shrimp, or 6: Manual) and hit go.
Let the Microwave Oven do the rest (seriously, you don’t even have to enter a cook time, the Microwave Oven senses when the food is cooked to perfection).
The result is perfectly steamed food every time!
The Crisp feature of the Microwave Oven, paired with the specially designed crisper pan, utilizes both microwaves and the broiler element to mimic frying. It’s perfect for cooking bacon and eggs, french toast or a ribeye steak. You can also use it to toast nuts or even make an omelet!
One of our favorite uses for this feature is to cook perfectly crispy bacon for breakfast in mere minutes, much quicker than on the stovetop or in the oven.
Before starting, preheat the crisper pan for 3 minutes on full power. Lightly brush the preheated pan with oil, then arrange the bacon slices in a single layer (we fit about 5-6 slices in one batch).
Using the nifty crisper pan handle, place the bacon in the Microwave Oven and turn on the Crisp feature for 3 minutes, then flip the bacon and cook for 2-3 minutes more or until desired crispiness is achieved. Transfer to paper towel lined plates to drain off excess grease, and enjoy!
Convection cooking uses the convection element, the broiler element and the fan to circulate hot air evenly throughout the oven, cooking food quickly and consistently. The EasyConvect™ Conversion feature converts standard bake times and temperatures to the optimal settings for the convection oven, automatically reducing oven temperature and/or cook time where necessary.
For example, my favorite chocolate chip cookies (made with muscovado sugar) usually cook at 350° F for 10 minutes. The EasyConvect™ converts that to 325° for a similar length of time, with perfect results. Simply choose “Baked Goods” in the EasyConvect™ menu and then enter your recipe’s standard temperature and bake time and let the Microwave Oven do the rest.
The convection instructions call for you to preheat the baking tray in the oven, and for things like biscuits, this results in perfectly golden brown bottoms.
I skipped this step for my cookies since we all know that warm pan + cookie dough = flat cookies, so I scooped the dough onto cool cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking) and popped it in the preheated Microwave Oven.
For subsequent batches, let the pan cool slightly before scooping on more dough. The result will be perfectly golden brown cookies, tender on the inside and slightly crispy on the edges, just how I like them.
While the EasyConvect™ Conversion is surprisingly smart, sometimes you might need to intervene. These biscuits, for example, were done nearly 3 minutes before the timer sounded. If I hadn’t been paying attention I’d have ended up with buttermilk hockey pucks.
I always advise that for the first time you try baking a new recipe with convection, keep an eye on it as it cooks, adjusting the cook time as necessary.
Convection cooking is also perfect for baked potatoes (choose “Meats” in the convection menu), resulting in crisp skin and a soft and fluffy interior. To speed up the cooking process, we like to microwave the potatoes first for 5-10 minutes; this cuts the convection cooking time in half.
After microwaving (be sure to poke the potatoes all over with a fork first), place them on foil squares while the convection preheats. Brush potatoes with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Bring the edges of foil together, bunching around the top of the potato tightly, but still with a few visible openings to allow steam to escape.
Place the foil packets on the specially designed convection rack (which allows air to circulate around the entire food, cooking it evenly throughout.) and bake for 20-40 minutes (50-70 minutes if you didn’t microwave them first) until they’re fork tender.
Actual cooking time will vary greatly depending on the size of your potatoes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
What would you make first using one of the Microwave Oven features listed above?
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*