Beyond the Microwave: Speed Ovens by

Issue 16 · Going Green · April 21, 2014

Beyond the Microwave: Speed Ovens

Issue 16 · Going Green · April 21, 2014

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.

Miele Speed Oven In Situ, Remodelista

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.

Miele Speed Oven Interior, Remodelista

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.

Miele Brilliant White Speed Oven, Remodelista

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

Smeg Speed Oven, Remodelista

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. 

GE Monogram Speed Oven, Remodelista

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.

Jenn Air Speed Oven, Remodelista

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.

Bertazzoni Speed Oven, Remodelista

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.

Have an opinion? Care to comment? We'd love to hear what you have to say.