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I just moved to a small studio apartment, and it has a convection microwave/oven. The top half has a metal rack like you would find in an oven, while the bottom has a round glass rotating thing that you would find in a microwave. What kind of plates/pans are okay to use in something like this? Is microwave safe the same as oven safe in this scenario? If it's microwave mode does that mean microwave safe plates/bowls are allowed? Or should I only use what would be okay inside an oven?

I'm incredibly new(read:inept) to cooking and can barely handle frozen pizza in a normal oven, much less this cyborg hybrid monster. So ANY tips at how to use this at all would be greatly appreciated :D

It's GE if that helps. It has a rotating knob in the middle and some preset buttons as well.

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    Have you considered looking for the manual on line? Most manuals can be found for products on the web and it should tell you how to use the specific model you have... – Catija Jun 22 '16 at 21:22
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It depends what mode of cooking you're doing. There are a few possibilities:

  • convection: heating with a heating element (no microwave power), circulating with the fan
  • microwave: heating with microwaves, no fan
  • microwave+convection: heating with microwaves, also using the fan (and possibly a heating element, who knows)

If you're in convection mode, it's just a small oven, so everything needs to be oven-safe, but you don't have to worry about microwave safety. You likely need to use the rack, and it's possible you need to remove the turntable (check the manual).

If you're in microwave mode, it's just a microwave, so everything has to be microwave-safe, but you don't have to worry about oven safety. Note that this may mean you'll need to remove the rack (check the manual).

If your appliance has an actual combination microwave+convection mode, you'd need both oven safety and microwave safety.

In all cases, it'll be best to just check the manual to be sure - you need to know what the modes are (and what the buttons on your microwave do), and what the rack and turntable are okay with. In particular, you want to be very sure if you're expecting microwave-only or convection-only; if you accidentally end up with microwave+convection, it could be an unpleasant surprise.

  • This is the theory, but I have frequently seen people say that the convection mode does not work as supposed and leaves the microwave on. I can't say which brands and models are affected, but the user should always make sure there is no microwaving going on before using metal in the oven. – rumtscho Jun 23 '16 at 8:00
  • Right, I'm talking about what the thing actually does, which may or may not match the buttons on the thing very well. For what it's worth, I did look at a manual for a GE convection microwave, and it does say it has these three different modes, with the heat source(s) explicitly named, so the OP might be in luck. – Cascabel Jun 24 '16 at 7:29
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There is some variability in these so do try to track down a user manual for your model or a similar one from the same manufacturer. The manual is likely to have recipes that will adapt.

In ours, for any use with the heater element on (convection, grill or combination) there's a metal baking sheet that must be put on top on the turntable. It should be taken out on microwave-only mode. From experience it seems like it can't handle the microwave on full power (it's an inverter model).

If you've used convection, grill, or combination mode, you won't be able to put plastic microwave dishes in until it's cooled down, so pyrex or ceramic containers are good all round. A few ceramic dishes don't work well in microwaves so check before buying.

You can generally just set convection mode and dial in a temperature, if you want to use it like a "normal" oven. The heat from the top can be a bit fierce for some things especially if they're tall, so be prepared to turn it down a little or switch off for few minutes at the end.

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