/ Food & Drink, Home & Energy

Could you live without your microwave?

For years microwaves have been seen as the essential kitchen short-cut appliance that will make your life easier. Now as they become even more advanced cooking machines, I want to ask whether we actually need one?

My microwave was affectionately dubbed ‘the nuclear reactor’ by my housemate. It was old, loud, big and ugly, but like all hand-me-down appliances it did the job until it reached its natural expiration date two months ago. It is yet to be replaced and I am growing more confident that it doesn’t even need to be.

Reheating is being done on the stove and in the oven. Cold pizza is warmed under the grill. Veggies are steamed over boiling water. Defrosting is my main problem as I can never think ahead, but wrapping the meat in plastic and putting it in water is definitely getting the job done.

So here I am living happily ever after without a microwave, and I can’t help but think that I actually don’t need one!

Splashing out on a microwave

Our recent microwave survey discovered that 69% of people would be willing to spend between £50 and £199 on a new microwave, with the average being £143. And having just had a quick look through the microwaves we’ve reviewed at Which?, it seems that the top end of this scale will get you a microwave with grill and oven features.

After chatting about this at work, people can’t believe that I’m living life in sin without a microwave. Since this revelation broke, my cohorts are coming to me at regular intervals and telling me of their wonderful world of full microwave use:

  • Jonathan Richardson does an amazing croque-monsieur in there.
  • Patrick Steen microwaves his prawn crackers.
  • Florence Buswell uses it for a full scrambled eggs breakfast
  • And Tom Roberts does a complete tuna pasta bake. That’s impressive!

So, now I wish to put the question out there to the greater masses: do I need to invest in a microwave once more and how are you using your microwave in ways I don’t know about? If I can be convinced I will surely purchase a brand new one.

Do we really need a microwave?

Yes - I use my microwave all the time (65%, 643 Votes)

I'm not sure - I own a microwave but hardly use it (24%, 240 Votes)

No - I don't own or want a microwave (10%, 103 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,008

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Argus says:
25 July 2012

We don’t have a microwave in our house at all and don’t need one either.

Ian Greet says:
25 July 2012

Baked potatoes do really well and crispy too in a microwave.
The clincher is the time – so much quicker than in the oven.


Ah yes, baked potatoes. How could you do them without a microwave?


Could I do without my microwave? – yes – I taught food technology so I can cook on all systems – from open camp fires onwards. But Would I do without my microwave? No – It is faster, cleaner, far more convenient and very very effective. The only food which is not easily cooked is bread – So I use my bread machine (though I could bake it in the oven).


The convenience is a massive factor Richard, it’s true. The constant washing up of pots and pans is also a consideration I’m looking at with this….!

Susan says:
26 July 2012

What about porridge? Its the best way of making it and I wouldn’t go back to making it on the cooker again. Its also the best way to heat up cold takeaways. We’re putting in a new kitchen at the moment and we’re definitely having a microwave.


Porridge is a great shout. Haven’t felt the affects of this yet as I only really eat it in winter. Susan I’m starting to get tipped back into the microwave corner………

Joel says:
26 July 2012

It is far more energy efficient to cook using a microwave. Porridge done in 3 minutes in a microwave vs 10-15 on a hob, and using far less energy in the microwave. I’m less convinced about the utility of the grill/convection oven, but it does give you the option of having a smaller oven if you only need to heat up a small item (eg a meal for one), so likely to be more energy efficient than using your full sized oven. It does give you a backup oven in case of failure of your main oven, or as an extra at Christmas when you need too many things doing at once.


Actually I have two microwaves – My main one that is multi purpose – grills bakes roasts etc and my old Sharpe simple turntable microwave as a stand-by. The main one will cook quite a large Turkey.