ISSUE 16  |  Going Green

Beyond the Microwave: Speed Ovens

April 21, 2014 3:00 PM

BY Janet Hall

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Do you like the convenience of a microwave but feel frustrated by the results? Or, do you loathe microwaves, but wish conventional cooking could speed up? In both cases, a speed oven might be the answer.

Julie’s architect Jerome Buttrick (a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory) is the one who first put speed ovens on our radar. In our post 15 Essential Tips for Designing a Kitchen, he recommends considering a speed oven in lieu of a microwave. What exactly is a speed oven? Smaller in size and faster in cooking speed than a standard wall oven, a speed oven combines convection, microwave, and, in most cases, a grill element. Together these cooking technologies reduce cooking times significantly—and without the colorless, tasteless, and rubbery results of a microwave. Most of these ovens can be operated on a single mode (for instance, microwave only for defrosting) and come with pre-set roasting and baking programs (a baking cycle might be 90% convection and 10% microwave) that yield great results at reduced times.

Caveat: This cooking technology comes with a steep price tag, ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 (they’re similar in cost to medium- and high-end wall ovens). 

Have a speed oven? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Above: Most speed ovens are configured as built-in wall ovens. The Miele MasterChef 24-inch Speed Oven is at the top of the line in terms of features and technology—and price. Kitted out with 1,000 Watt microwave, a True European convection oven, and infrared broiling, it has 15 operating modes and over 100 automatic cooking programs; $2,999 at AJ Madison.

Above: The interior of the Miele MasterChef 24-inch Speed Oven features an infrared broiler and convection fan; it can also operate as a full-power microwave.

Above: The Miele MasterChef 24-inch Speed Oven in Brilliant White; $2,999 at AJ Madison.

Above: The Italian-designed Smeg 24-inch Built-In Speed Oven combines a 1,000-Watt microwave with a European convection and conventional broil oven. It has a fingerprint-proof stainless steel finish and 10 cooking modes; $1,699 at Compact Appliance. 

Above: The professional-style GE Monogram Built-In Oven with Advantium Speedcook Technology is 30 inches wide and offers four ovens in one: True European convection, a microwave, a warming oven, and the combination “Speedcook” oven; $2,799 at Elite Appliance.

Above: The Jenn-Air 30-Inch Built-In Microwave Oven with Speed-Cook System combines microwave cooking with convection cooking and broiling for results that are up to three times faster than conventional ovens. It has a clean front with a curved handle, and comes with several auto sensor cooking modes; $1,849 at Plessers.

Above: In addition to European convection, the Bertazzoni 24-Inch SO24PROX Speed Oven offers conventional electric-oven cooking modes and an electric grill. These can be combined with the microwave functions to cut cooking time by more than 50 percent; $1,699 at AJ Madison.

Want to stick with a microwave? Consider a Built-In Microwave to free-up counter space and get an integrated look. Not ready to commit to a built-in, but enticed by the notion of an out-of-sight microwave? See Julie’s 10 Strategies for Hiding the Microwave. Also have a look at more of our featured Ovens and Ranges. And over on Gardenista, you can learn about Oven Canning.