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I am thinking of getting my first convection microwave oven but the specs indicate it's only capable of a maximum of 200C in convection mode. Is this good enough for roasting chicken and baking pizza, breads and cakes?

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I have two, of which I use one regularly. They're fine for pizza, pasta bakes, pies and casseroles. I haven't tested them for cake but the top of a tall cake would be likely to brown a little fast. That's easily fixed with foil. This is because there's more direct top heat than in most ovens, which won't hurt when you're cooking pizza.

Be sure to get one that has a proper convection mode. Check the manual in advance for instructions relating to metal cookware - if they don't say you can use it in convection mode, don't buy. When you buy it, put it on to convection with some crushed up foil in there. If it sparks, take it back as missold.

Combination modes are useful for some things but not anything you'd call baking.

  • Mine are both made by Panasonic – Chris H Dec 12 '16 at 17:39
  • Conincidentally, I am thinking of getting a Panasonic one too. Thanks for the tip about the cake. I guess the heating element is right at the top and the fan circulates the heat around. Makes sense. – Spinor8 Dec 13 '16 at 2:16
  • That's right. The same element is used for grilling but without the fan. – Chris H Dec 13 '16 at 6:50
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Convection microwaves are a bad solution for baking. In the worst case, you get one which cannot turn off the microwave part, which means you can forget baking at all. In the best case, you get a compromise solution which is not as good quality as a dedicated tool. This is quite independent of the temperature setting.

If you want to bake, buy an oven. Toaster ovens of the appropriate size and strength (1500 to 1800 watt) do quite well, and are easy to get on a budget. If the dial only goes to 200, that's OK. You won't get optimal results with some breads and pizzas, but for those you need a bigger investment than most home cooks have anyway.

A microwave is a luxury item with limited usefulness (it doesn't do anything that can't be done with a stove, adds a bit of convenience), but if you want one and have the resources (money and counter space), buy it separately from the oven.

  • Just don't buy one that doesn't allow you to turn off the microwaves and it's really useful. – Chris H Dec 12 '16 at 17:31
  • First, it is difficult to know which one does not allow you to turn the mw off, since we have had several questions from people whose combo does not turn mw off even though the user guide says it does. Second, even if you think that a microwave is really useful, you can still use a separate one. – rumtscho Dec 12 '16 at 17:36
  • See my answer for a way to test. You can also use a mains power meter and watch the element if it's visible. If there's a single dial to control both microwave power and mode I'd be suspicious. If you have plenty of space (and money) you can buy whatever you like. If you're limited you may well want a multi-purpose tool. You're effectively saying that you shouldn't buy a car because someone on the Internet told you they had one where the lights didn't turn off. – Chris H Dec 12 '16 at 17:47
  • I agree that people with plenty of money and space can buy whatever they like. As for those who are limited, I think they are better off not having a microwave at all, than having to put up with a combo, and the risk of bad control capabilities is only one of the reasons. – rumtscho Dec 12 '16 at 18:28
  • One difference may be that toaster ovens aren't really a thing here; those that do exist tend to be basic, expensive, or both and they're more of a substitute for a grill than an oven – Chris H Dec 12 '16 at 18:43

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