How to Warm Up Food Without a Microwave

Our family stopped using a microwave about six years ago when we began our healthy eating journey. We still have a microwave, because it is a permanent fixture above my stove and would be a pain to take down. Guests do use it occasionally, which means that I should probably actually clean it every once in a while. But in general, I’ve pretty much forgotten that it exists.

Why do we not use a microwave?

I’d like to write an entire post about why you may want to consider avoiding the use of a microwave oven. But I’m not a girl who uses big words or who can write informative sentences about the dangers of microwaves, imparting knowledge like, “The apparent additional energy exhibited by the luminescent bacteria was merely an extra confirmation.”  Shoot, not only can I not write a sentence like that, I can’t even read one and come away feeling like I have an actual working brain in my head. Therefore, if you’d like to read all the big words and reasons for avoiding a microwave, I encourage you to check out all of the helpful information in this article.

Otherwise, in Laura’s simple and non-big-word language:  We don’t use a microwave because we think that it makes our food yucky.

The question I receive often then is:  How do you warm up leftovers if you don’t have a microwave?

Easy. I warm up our food on either the stove-top, in our oven, or in our toaster oven.

Pardon the fairly ugly picture, but really, how cute can leftovers in a saucepan actually be?! ;)

I usually add just a shot of water to the saucepan with our leftovers to keep the food from sticking. I have also found that it is a good idea to keep the heat at a medium setting and to stir often. If I’m rewarming Creamy Mac and Cheese or something else milk based, instead of adding a shot of water, I will add a shot of milk, which keeps the food creamy!

To warm up Pizza, Taco Corn Fritters, Popcorn Chicken, or Burritos and such, I’ll use our oven or toaster oven. We LOVE our toaster oven! We pop the food in, put it on “toast” or “bake” depending on what we want, walk away and do something else for a few minutes, then our food is perfect.

toaster oven

While a microwave might take one minute to warm up your food, I’d say the stovetop takes about two minutes. A toaster oven might take five. Those few extra minutes really don’t hurt my feelings very much. It’s not so hard to wait. My food tastes better rewarmed this way, plus I don’t have to worry about it losing it’s nutritional quality. Those are a few extra minutes well spent.

What are your thoughts about using a microwave? How do you warm up leftovers?

This post was originally published February 28, 2012.

Comments

  1. Crafty Mama says

    I’ve been trying to use the microwave less as well. I’m so silly-proud of myself for making oatmeal on the stovetop today instead of in the microwave. :) A smell step, but important nevertheless!

    [Reply]

    Crafty Mama Reply:

    Whoops, that was supposed to be a “small” step, not a “smell” one!! X-D

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  2. says

    We got rid of our microwave right before Christmas! My hubby joked that he was going to get one and hide it under his side of the bed. It really hasn’t been that bad once you get use to it! :)

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  3. says

    When we moved in 2010, we had a super tiny kitchen. We were splitting households and ended up with no microwave or toaster. But the kitchen was so small, there wasn’t enough room for all of it. Since I didn’t really want a microwave anyways, it was a good reason not to have one! So far we haven’t really missed it! Our food tastes better warmed up just as you described.

    My biggest issue is that we seem to be using a lot more dishes (transferring from fridge container to pot on the stove to bowl). I solved the problem by transferring the food back into the fridge container to eat out of (if it’s convenient) and/or eating right out of the pot! LOL

    [Reply]

    Naomi Reply:

    Me too! Shucks, I’m not too proud to eat out of the pot. But it was fun to hear that someone else does it, too! :))

    [Reply]

    Bethanie Reply:

    We don’t have a microwave either and there are a few more dishes,
    but for the most part we use the glass pyrex dishes so that we can store,
    bake, reheat and eat out of them. They are FANTASTIC and helps cut down
    on the dishes.

    [Reply]

  4. Sunny F. says

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been using the microwave less and less, but warming leftovers is still a challenge. :) Your posts are always timely, interesting, and practical!! Thanks much!

    [Reply]

  5. Lora says

    We quit using our microwave about 8 years ago because of the reasons you mention. Most people think we are nuts. That’s O.K. I can deal with it :-) Of course I didn’t remove it either, so ours is used for storage :-) We LOVE our toaster oven and use it most every night whether to heat leftovers, warm bread, melt cheese etc.. The food tastes so much better. I don’t miss the microwave at all!

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  6. Karrie says

    I am actually right in the middle of our transition. We just moved into a new apartment about two weeks ago and it didn’t include a microwave. I had actually been interested to quit using one anyways and I decided now is as good a time as any to make it work. One I don’t want to spend the money and two i like my counter space. It helps I already owned a toaster oven. Another plus is I’m not tempted to by those microwave meals any more.

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  7. Melissa says

    It’s funny how many people are surprised I don’t have one and someone even offered to buy me one. Haha it’s been about 5 years for us and my hubby has adjusted well and my frequent guests do very well even reheating a cooled down cup of coffee in a small saucepan ;) it’s really easy after awhile. Now even when I have access I rarely use it.

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  8. Katjo Daniels says

    It may sound funny but I got rid of the microwave to teach my son patience! He’s almost ten but like goes from 0 to STARVING in about 25 seconds. When he kept raging at me to feed him even faster than a microwave works, I put my foot down and tossed it!! I realized that he felt entitled to instant gratification and that I had babied that in him :( I already felt the urge to go back to basics so it was just the push I needed. He’s getting used to slower food and I feel better about what I can produce without the old drama.

    [Reply]

    Kristina Reply:

    I’m certainly not trying to undermind your parenting–it’s great you’re teaching him patience!–but what you said about him made me think of myself when I was younger and I wonder if your son might have hypoglycemia? I was terrible about food and would throw tantrums if I couldn’t eat right now. My mom probably thought I was a brat when I got older I realized it was low blood sugar. Just a thought.

    [Reply]

    Katjo Daniels Reply:

    I think that could be part of it and I will look into those symptoms.
    Switching to real food has also taught me to plan ahead as I try to have a little sliced cheese or cut up fruit ready for them while we wait on something that may take awhile and that’s helped a lot!!:)

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  9. Caren says

    We’ve been doing this for the past few months & overall are really happy with the alternatives. I would get rid of the microwave completely but still use it as The World’s Biggest Kitchen Timer. The one thing I haven’t figured out how to reheat, though, is rice. Short of turning it into fried rice (I’m on an ultra-low-fat diet for health reasons), which I can’t do. Anyone have a good method?

    [Reply]

    Rebecca Reply:

    I have done it both on the stove top and in the oven. Take the rice out of the fridge and break up the clumps with fingers, and let it come to room temp. For 2 cups of rice I would add about 5 tablespoons of water, it depends on your rice. stir the water into the rice and heat either in the oven on high heat or the stove on med. Don’t lift that lid, you want the steam to do the warming. You can also use a steamer basket, that works well too.

    [Reply]

    Deb T Reply:

    Thanks, I was wondering about rice as well.

    [Reply]

    Couper Reply:

    To heat up rice without a microwave, just add water to the rice in a saucepan and heat it on medium-low on the the stove top. Make sure you monitor it and stir frequently. I had tried to heat it up in the oven, but found it got too dry too fast even with the water and being covered.

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  10. Erika says

    I agree with Karrie that if you don’t have a microwave oven, there is not a real easy way to make a lot of the frozen, pre-packaged meals from the grocery store. Six years ago, we moved into a tiny apt. and with no counter space, we left our microwave in storage. I completely stopped buying pre-made meals, and it really accelerated our transition into a whole-foods way of eating. Now that we live in a house, it’s out of storage, but I don’t use it very often, and I think I could use the counter space for something that I actually use! And yes, I have timed re-heating times, and for a cup of hot chocolate on the stove, it is about the same as in a microwave. If you are re-heating stuff for 3 or more people, it is also FASTER on the stove or oven, because you don’t have to do it one plate at a time!

    [Reply]

  11. Theresa says

    I’m TRYING to quit the microwave, but can’t stand to have another pan to wash!!!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    I got rid of my microwave. As soon as I’m done warming something in a pan, I immediately put a few drops of dishwashing liquid in, and wash it. Did I say immediately? It takes less than a minute, and doesn’t even feel like an extra pan that way.

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  12. says

    We stopped using a microwave about four years ago when the one we had started throwing sparks out the bottom. We disposed of it and debated on buying a new one. I really didn’t like the idea of “nuking” our food and the only reason we used it was for rewarming beverages. And people do think we are nuts…” What, are you going Amish?” I wish! I like not having the microwave because it keeps me from being tempted to buy the pre-made meals, because sometimes this mama would like nothing more than to “pop” something into a microwave…

    [Reply]

  13. joanie e says

    we don’t use one either, tho the 18 yr old son will from time to time ! Tastes yucky and, I will admit, I ahve never trusted them, health-wise:)

    [Reply]

  14. Katelyn says

    We don’t have a microwave. When I was still living at my parent’s house I never used it, and now that I am married and we have our own space we decided not to have one. We rarely have leftovers, and if we make tea we boil water on the cook top!

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  15. says

    Agreed!! I haven’t had a microwave for 6 or 7 years now too. At first it was hard getting use to, especially heating up leftovers, but now I don’t even miss it. When people hear that I don’t have a microwave they think I’m crazy. The one bad thing about no microwave, more dishes. But I don’t mind, it’s better for my family’s health.

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  16. says

    Our microwave died about a year and a half ago. I had already been questioning how good it was for us, and we just decided to give it a month without it…just to see if we could do it. We never looked back!

    One of the funniest situations was when my college-aged brother came to visit and wanted to heat up leftovers. I thought he was going to have a heart attack when he couldn’t find the microwave!

    I’ve also had people offer to buy me one, but I just politely refuse. We now have a toaster oven, and I use that or the stovetop for most leftovers. I love it!

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  17. Mary says

    When our family moved into a solar home 4 1/2 years ago, we gave up the microwave for the simple reason that our house just couldn’t run it. When we moved this last summer everyone kept asking me if we would buy a new microwave, and of course the answer was “no”. Food really does taste better heated on the stove or in the oven. I like to add broth when I reheat on the oven, it adds a nice flavor to leftovers. Great post!

    [Reply]

  18. says

    Seriously, I cannot live without my toaster oven. I use it daily. It’s my best friend…and so frugal – it costs less to use than the big oven!
    If mine died today, I’d immediately go out and buy another one. :-)

    [Reply]

    Janette Reply:

    I second what Stacy said. I use my toaster oven every day and like it so much better than a microwave. I would replace a microwave with a toaster oven in a heartbeat. You won’t miss the microwave, we don’t.

    [Reply]

  19. says

    When we moved early this month the new place did not have a microwave. Though I had rarely used the one we had at the old house, I found it was useful for heating up the buckwheat filled neck thingy. You know….for sore, stiff muscles. Anyone have any suggestions on how to heat it up?

    [Reply]

    Laurie Reply:

    Maybe on high heat in the clothes dryer?

    [Reply]

    Bethanie Reply:

    I hear you on that on! We don’t have a microwave and I miss it for that
    reason alone! I have found, though, that boiling water and putting it
    in a Nalgene bottle works really well. The Nalgene brand is ok with
    boiling water and won’t melt the plastic. We don’t use them for drinking
    anymore, so it’s nice to have another use for them! If you wrap it in a
    kitchen towel or light blanket it works GREAT. Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  20. Allison says

    I bought a microwave years ago (sometime between 1988 – 1991) and used it occassionally – when we moved houses (twice) it came with us (other people used it). At that point i never used it. When all the knobs broke off and we couldnt jam them back on to use – out it went never to be replaced. I never liked the thing – always felt that it made the food hot (too hot) but that was it. i don’t miss it.

    Love the toaster oven tho.

    [Reply]

  21. says

    LOL!!! Mine has been used as a “cupboard” for years! My 5 yr old didn’t even know you could warm up food in it until her grandmother babysat one day and used it! She was so excited to tell me about it when I came home later.

    [Reply]

  22. says

    Our microwave died 10/7/08 (I know this because my sister was in labor with my niece lol) and we haven’t looked back. Most people are surprised that we do not have a microwave. I have found that there isn’t anything that I can’t make or reheat using my stove top or oven.

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  23. says

    While I will confess to having a microwave, I LOVE my toaster oven. :) I would have a much harder time surviving without it than without the microwave.

    [Reply]

  24. Ro says

    I always have tallow on hand (we ask for the fat/suet when we buy half a pasturerd cow and render it myself); melt it in the saucepan and add the leftovers – everything comes out wonderful. I would think coconut oil, butter or other good fat would work well also. If I have to use water, I sometimes use chicken broth instead – both work great.

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  25. Susan says

    Hi Laura,
    I’ve been thinking about getting rid of our microwave for years now! Don’t know why I haven’t before now! We are wanting to replace it with a good toaster oven. We’ve actually never had a toaster oven and I don’t know what features are important. Can you recommend one?
    Thanks,
    Susan

    [Reply]

    Marsha_M Reply:

    I like that mine has a warming setting…which takes about 10 minutes for most of my leftovers to warm up so if I am in a hurry I use the bake setting which takes less time but sometimes burns. If you use it instead of your oven (we have a small family so I can get away with just heating us the toaster oven instead of my stove) look for a bigger model. When ours wears out I’m going to look for one that holds two plates instead of just one.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s the toaster oven we have and love: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VI13P2?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwheavenlyho-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B000VI13P2.

    [Reply]

  26. Mary says

    This had made me think, thank you! I think I will chalenge myself to not use the microwave for a week and see how it goes!

    [Reply]

    Coby Reply:

    Ditto – this has really made me think about it. I just may give it a
    try!

    [Reply]

  27. Sheri says

    Well, using the toaster oven right now because of this post! I will be reading the article you linked today. Had quit using our microwave, but have slipped back into ‘nuking’ leftovers and re-warming tea again….Thank you for posting!

    [Reply]

  28. Leanne Black says

    We got rid of our microwave about 7 years ago, for a few reasons. #1, it was an over the stove unit, and we couldn’t use our bit pots for canning with it there, #2 the energy usage was horrific (my husband is quite the miser), and #3 the health risks involved in using one. We try to put leftovers away in glass dishes, so we can just pull them out of the fridge and plunk them in the oven. Haven’t missed it at all, and I enjoy the space over my stove! We have also had many people offer us one. They think we’re nuts when we say, “no thanks”

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  29. Nicole says

    So glad you posted this. I’ve been recently researching alternatives to the microwave. This post was just another confirmation to moving forward with that. We will be moving soon and I would love the new place to not have a microwave. And with soon to be 6 kids, who has leftovers anyways???

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  30. says

    We quit using our microwave about 4 years ago. Honestly, we don’t miss it and reheating things up is just as easy on the stove and in a toaster oven. We are thankful to not be so dependent on it anymore – next we will be learning how to cook over an open fire outside – ha ha – just kidding – but that is what others have thought of us . . . thanks for this post, Laura.
    xoxox

    [Reply]

  31. Stacy says

    You said this so well and so simply! I shared this post with all of my Facebook friends who just can not seem to understand how and why I would live without a microwave! LOL! The ONLY thing that I miss it for is to heat up our rice packs with. I have yet to look into if those can be heated in the oven (haha… at least 3 years procrastinating on that one!) Thanks for this post. I just love your site!

    [Reply]

    FarmgirlCyn (Cindy) Reply:

    I am dealing with the same thing. I wonder if one could just heat raw dry rice in a cast iron skillet, then quickly pour into a flannel bag of some sort. it would be a lot more work than the microwave, but perhaps do-able?

    [Reply]

    Lana Reply:

    The rice bags are the reason we keep ours. I am very cold natured and in the winter a warm rice bag on me in the evenings is way cheaper than turning up the heat! I occasionally reheat a half cup of coffe too but rarely use it for anything else except in an emergency.

    [Reply]

    Marsha_M Reply:

    I’ve read on the Frugal Granola blog that you can…just set the temperature low.

    [Reply]

    Linnea Reply:

    I have a friend who heats her rice sock by putting it inside two
    freezer bags and dropping it into a pot of hot water on the stove. I
    haven’t tried it, but it seems like it would work… =)

    [Reply]

    Bethanie Reply:

    I hear you on that on! We don’t have a microwave and I miss it for that
    reason alone! I have found, though, that boiling water and putting it
    in a Nalgene bottle works really well. The Nalgene brand is ok with
    boiling water and won’t melt the plastic. We don’t use them for drinking
    anymore, so it’s nice to have another use for them! If you wrap it in a
    kitchen towel or light blanket it works GREAT. Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  32. says

    We still use a microwave. We did a trial run without it, using a second-hand toaster oven and I just couldn’t (wouldn’t)do it. It took away more of my kids’ independence and I just wasn’t willing to add more work to my plate. But a question for you: one of the reasons I most appreciate the ease of the microwave is that it allows us to use up all the little bits of leftovers. Say we are all eating something different so as to not let anything go to waste, that would take multiple pots on the stove top. Or do you have another way of dealing with this?

    [Reply]

    Marsha_M Reply:

    My dishes are oven safe so I use a big dish in my toaster oven and put all the different leftovers on it to heat up…then transfer the food onto another plate to eat since the plate will get very hot.

    [Reply]

    Laurie Reply:

    Turn your oven to 200 (maybe less) and add all these little leftovers to a muffin pan. Some food may require 2-3 muffin cups but I’m guessing you’d rarely use all 12 wells. If something needs to stay crisp (fries?) then put it on one end of the pan and leave uncovered in the oven. Foods that need to stay moist (like steamed veggies, pasta, or mashed potatoes), put it all in the other end of the muffin pan and cover that end with foil. Hope this helps! :)

    [Reply]

    Amber S. Reply:

    The muffin pan is a great idea! I haven’t used a microwave for about a year now, but never thought to use a muffin pan. Thanks! :)

    [Reply]

  33. Meghan V. says

    Well…do you all have brand recommendations for a toaster oven?

    [Reply]

    FarmgirlCyn (Cindy) Reply:

    I got an Oster from Costco 2 years ago and I love it. It is a bit largerthan some i have seen, so it is able to fit an 8×8 in it. I have also used it to bake bread.

    [Reply]

    Amber S. Reply:

    I also have an Oster. Mine is large enough to fit a 9″ x 13″ pan or a large pizza. I bought the large size because I use it so much, for baking, reheating, toasting, etc. I’ve been very happy with it.

    [Reply]

    Linda Reply:

    Ours is a Cuisinart. We’ve had it for several years and really like
    it. Ours will fit a small pizza, casserole dish, or it has a baking/
    broiler pan that came with it. The shelf can be moved up or down,
    plus the shelf will flip over so you have several choices. You can
    toast, bake, and broil.

    [Reply]

    KT Reply:

    I have an Emerson countertop convection oven. I got rid of both my microwave and toaster. This Emerson oven is larger than a conventional toaster oven. It can fit a full size dinner plate or small glass baking dish. I still prefer my regular oven for family size baking, but this oven can broil, toast, and bake. Leftovers work great for reheating. Toast is fabulous. I make garlic bread in it. My oven came with a rotisserie rod for food like chicken, but I noticed the metal changing colors over time and I wasn’t happy with the idea of whatever was changing in the metal leaching into my food, so I no longer use the rotisserie component. I love my countertop convection oven and would never go back to a microwave. The health risks from microwaves are too great. I’ll gladly do an extra dish or wait longer for food that is safe to eat.

    [Reply]

    Leah Reply:

    Any other recommendations? I’m trying to gather a list to research features and prices. Our toaster oven died yesterday and this discussion comes at the perfect time!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    This is what I have and I love it! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VI13P2?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwheavenlyho-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B000VI13P2

    [Reply]

    Leah Reply:

    Thanks, everyone!

    [Reply]

  34. Alice says

    I have had to replace 2 microwaves in less than 5 years because they are so cheaply made. This one is ready to give out because the door opener isn’t working properly. When that happens, I’m not going to replace it either. I might just go with a toast oven but my husband works outside most of the day and comes home so cold that he likes a beanbag warmed up in the microwave to wrap around his cold hands and toes. How could I heat one of these up without a microwave? I’m open to any ideas. Please email me at amdamsteegt at gmail dot com.

    [Reply]

  35. Lynn says

    I’m considering giving up using my microwave. How would you heat up things like a chicken breast? In a toaster oven? Thanks for this post!

    [Reply]

    Marsha_M Reply:

    I’d probably use a pan on the stove-top to keep it from drying out but if it is cut up or has lots of liquid with it the toaster oven would work fine.

    [Reply]

  36. Rebekah says

    We got rid of ours about 2 years ago. It has been much easier than I thought except for when I forget to defrost freezer food. I just leave our food in the pots after supper and but them into the fridge and that way we can just take them out and heat the food up, that saves some extra dishes and encourages us to use up the leftovers.

    [Reply]

  37. Susan says

    Our microwave died about a week ago. My husband was more concerned than I was as that is the only way he knows how to reheat. Although it is a handy item (I haven’t read about the drawbacks of using one) I like my food reheated on the stove or in the toaster oven. I mainly use the toaster over and have a Pampered Chef pan that fits right in it so when I want to warm something up I put it directly on that pan. If I just need to warm up a meal for myself I will put the whole meal in there – meat and veggies. It does beautifully and is so much better than the microwave.

    [Reply]

  38. Marsha_M says

    I am in love with my toaster oven and even use it to cook some things since it is just my husband and I (and an 15 month old). People sometimes don’t believe me when they ask to use my microwave and I say I don’t have one! We received one for our wedding 4 years ago and used it for a little while but eventually I just put it away and we never needed it badly enough to get it out…so we sold it and haven’t looked back.

    Rice is certainly my hardest item to reheat but adding some water and using the stovetop helps. Also I have a gas stove so reheating is very fast and boiling water barely takes any time at all in the kettle we keep on the stove.

    [Reply]

  39. Ro says

    My Breville toaster oven is fantastic; more expensive than most of the others but well worth it. Defrosts, reheats and numerous other settings; easy to clean – I wouldn’t give it up.

    [Reply]

  40. Angela says

    I always tell my kids that the microwave is an oversized timer. Since that is all we use it for.

    We use the oven and stove top for reheating things. I would like to get a toaster oven at some point but it is far down on my list of items after flour mill and dehydrator:)

    [Reply]

  41. crystal says

    We rarly use one at home. My problem is at work. I do not want to eat sandwiches everyday and I can not bring electrical appliances into my office. No happy about it but, I do use it at work.

    [Reply]

    Marsha_M Reply:

    My husband works out of town most days so he doesn’t even have a microwave
    so we use a stainless steel thermos to pack hot lunches for him. In the
    morning I heat up leftovers or whatever and while they heat up I fill the
    thermos with hot water, then empty the water, add the hot food and pack it
    up. He even complains that soup stays too hot and burns his mouth! Saves
    us so much money!

    [Reply]

  42. Laurie says

    If I got rid of my microwave then where would I put this stack of paper plates, cold meds, nail polish, SplinterOut, and and other “important” stuff? Haha!

    About the rice (buckwheat) bags…don’t have one, but is that something you could toss in the dryer on high heat for a few minutes? Might help “air” in out, too.

    [Reply]

    FarmgirlCyn (Cindy) Reply:

    I tried the dryer last night…barely got my rice bag warm. I think I am going to look at the thrift stores for a small microwave…just to use for heating my rice bag and melting my coconut oil for soap making.

    [Reply]

  43. Sandy says

    I stopped using the microwave after a month stay in Portugal with my kids who were on the mission field. My kitchen is small and I needed the counter space, but mainly my reason was that I was trying to eat foods in their real state as much as possible and just could not imagine that a microwave altered the nutritional value in some way. don’t miss it at all and there is nothing I can’t warm up the old fashioned way. After all, didn’t our moms and grandma’s make due without one !!

    [Reply]

  44. Marianne says

    We stopped using a microwave a few years ago. I dont miss it in the least. Yes I get comments from visitors like we are crazy! I reheat on the stove top or oven. We dont have a toaster ove, but it’s next on my list for small appliance purchase.

    I do the same as you Laura, add a tiny bit of liquid to most things and they are fine for reheating on stove top. And Oven re-heats are just as simple. May take a bit longer, but once I was used to it, not a problem.

    No more chewy pizza, hot spots, and whatever unseen danger that may or may not be happening with microwave use.

    [Reply]

  45. says

    We got rid of our microwave a few years ago. At first we just put it out in the garage but my Beloved got sick of seeing it there and threw it out. We reheat food either on the stove-top or in the oven. Lunch today was even pizza re-heated in the oven!
    You can even warm those rice type warmers up in the oven on your lowest setting like 200. Just don’t forget that it is there!

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  46. Katie says

    We have a tiny kitchen and I decided to conserve space that I would get rid of the toaster and the microwave, and get a nice toaster oven. Ours can make 6 pieces of toast at a time, so plenty for our whole family (right now at least) and it does the work of both appliances. The one thing that I miss it for is microwave popcorn, but I got an air popper, so that is healthier anyway. It has been over a year now, and I have no plans of going back!

    [Reply]

  47. says

    First, I love your blog! I recently found it via Keeper of the Home and just love it(and KOTH). I am by no means a health foodie (yet) but I love the inspiration/motivation I get from reading blogs such as yours that make the transition seem like an attainable goal.

    My husband and I have been together for 12 yrs (married for 5) and we’ve never had a microwave. I much prefer the toaster oven for all the reasons you’ve mentioned and we also utilize our stove top and oven for reheating purposes too. Now that we have a toddler, the question of whether to get a micro has come up here and there but we’re still holding out and staying loyal to our toaster oven. If nothing else that the nutritional benefit that is kept in reheating via stove top, etc. versus micro.

    Glad to know we’re not the only couple who actually CHOSE not to have a microwave :)

    [Reply]

  48. Priscilla says

    This may have been touched on, but my question is: HOW DO YOU HEAT UP TINY AMOUNTS OF FOOD FOR MY 6 MONTH OLD BABY? I guess I like the idea of using the toaster oven, but any other suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Holly in Virginia Reply:

    Easy! put some water in a small saucepan. Put the dab of baby food in a
    small jar, put the jar in the water, and voila! warm baby food.

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    Hi Holly,

    What was suggested to you about the baby food in the pan of water. That’s exactly what I did when mine were babies. Try as hard as you can not to give in to a microwave. I’m having a hard time weaning my husband off of ours!

    Donna

    [Reply]

    Steph Reply:

    I used my bottle warmer

    [Reply]

  49. Jamie Baker says

    Well, it seems many of us have already gotten rid of the microwave and learned to get by without it. One thing I liked in our instant, fast food world, is that it taught our children (and us, and visitors) a bit of patience. Not a bad side benefit.

    [Reply]

  50. Amber S. says

    We stopped using our microwave about a year ago when it started making scary noises while in use. At the same time, our old, small toaster oven was on it’s last leg, so we decided to replace both of them with a new, larger toaster oven. We haven’t missed the microwave at all. I had been using it several times a day, especially for heating the baby’s milk, but now it just takes a few extra seconds on the stove top. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much better our leftovers taste. Leftover pizza is SO much better in the toaster oven! Some find it hard to believe that we got rid of our microwave (“but how are you gonna make popcorn??”), but we’re happy we did. :)

    [Reply]

  51. says

    When our microwave died several years ago, we never replaced it. We also use the stove top, oven and our convection toaster oven to warm things up. The only thing I even remotely miss our microwave for, is warming moistened towels for heat wraps!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

    [Reply]

  52. Carolyn says

    Thanks for the good reminder Laura. Lately has bothered me more and more about using microwave, and avoid when can.

    Use occasionally for baked potatoes, or warming something. And the rice bags – thanks to those who gave suggestion to try clothes dryer on high. I am going to try that.

    Toaster oven – using it more and more. Mine is large EuroPro “Digital Convection Oven” from Lowes about 4 yrs ago $99. Fits 12″ pizza pan. Has a timer, inside light, pizza function, even a “defrost” function.

    Just unplugged the microwave – maybe the inconvenience will make me stop and think of an alternative method.

    I really do appreciate you, Laura, and all you ladies and your help, encouragement, and inspiration!

    [Reply]

  53. Donna E says

    I recommend you read this site also to have another viewpoint on microwave ovens.
    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4080
    We still use our microwave.

    [Reply]

    Kristin Reply:

    Thanks for the great article debunking popular theories why microwaves are bad. My husband found it amusing. He has a PHD in electrical engineering with an extensive background in microwave radiation. Awhile back, he explained to me exactly how microwaves heat food and why they ARE safe. So I still use mine and am even putting a built in microwave in our new kitchen remodel.

    That being said, I mostly use my microwave for boiling water, melting butter, warming frozen veggies, reheating small quantities of leftovers or warming frozen bread, because it saves time and dishes. Something like leftover pizza, just tastes better reheated in the oven on a baking stone. Popcorn is better popped in my stove-top crank-style popper with coconut oil. Though I do melt the butter in the microwave. I also avoid microwaving in plastic or with plastic wrap on top of a bowl.

    [Reply]

  54. Aimee says

    The microwave does make my life easier at times, so I’m not ready to just get rid of it. However, “everything in moderation” seems to be a good path to follow. A combination of the stove top, oven, toaster oven and microwave seem to fit our family of 5 just perfectly.

    [Reply]

  55. Christi says

    I don’t microwave a lot, mainly for leftovers, but there is enough of a question mark there for me to give giving it up a try! I will point out that even God’s way of heating food (open fire) allegedly causes cancer. There is also research that shows that any kind of cooking destroys a lot of nutrients so a raw diet is actually the most healthful. Just more for everyone to consider.:)

    [Reply]

  56. Rejoicedover says

    Years ago, I lived in Eastern Europe and there were no microwaves (or toaster ovens available)! It took me a bit to adjust my reheating skills, but eventually I was able to rewarm meals without scorching them or turning it to mush. Thanks for the reminder of how easy it can be to rewarm/cook without a microwave.

    [Reply]

  57. Sjondi says

    We used to have a permanent above-stove microwave…it was our bread box. Great place to store our homemade bread. Yes, we would have the occasional guest who would like to use it which would require me to get out some bread crumbs :) Way back when, I always thought microwaved water was gross…just something not right about it.

    [Reply]

  58. says

    We’re looking at a house rental that has a built-in microwave. I’m thinking I will use it like another cabinet. I’ve heard it can be a good place to let your bread rise.

    [Reply]

  59. says

    Do to limited space I chose a toaster oven over the microwave – don’t miss the microwave at all. A toaster oven reheats things so nicely and we never have to worry about some foods getting soggy.

    [Reply]

  60. Carson says

    We’ve been off the microwave for about 3 years, and it’s been great. Toaster oven – best appliance to own. We only microwave food that had no nutritional value to begin with.

    [Reply]

  61. Barbra says

    Thank you Laura! We haven’t used a micro since shortly after getting married, about 4 years ago. Don’t miss it at all. We believe our food is healthier.
    I found out the best way to reheat rice, veggies and chicken is in our steamer. Just that little metal one that fits into a pot. The rice texture and taste is just as if it was freshly made, works great for rice that has been frozen. Have tried lasagna and pizza in the steamer, too. I met a fellow at Woodman’s store one time and he bought one that restaurants use, he told me about reheating pizza that way…but the cheese dripped through and made quite a mess and the pizza was kind of mushy, so I prefer the fry pan for pizza, my husband prefers the toaster oven.
    From reading the comments, I’m challenged to use the toaster oven more, but due to a small amount of counter space, it is in a cupboard and well, I just get plain lazy. For me, the stove top is more convenient.
    Thanks for your great site, Laura.

    [Reply]

  62. Melinda Johnson says

    My in laws introduced me to a toaster oven and we use it a ton! One question I warm up my coffee in the microwave usually, would you just do that on the stovetop in a pan? Awesome idea to replace above the stove micro with toaster oven! Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Beth Reply:

    Yes, I just toss it in a pan, heat it, and pour it right back in my cup :). It stays warm longer from the stove than the microwave so it’s a double plus. When transitioning (that was the last thing I used the m/w for also) I found that it took the same amount of time to heat up anyway.

    [Reply]

  63. says

    So, on the subject of toaster ovens, what brands/models of toaster ovens do you all have and recommend? We would like to purchase one since we’ve stopped using our microwave a few months ago, but I don’t want to waste money on one that won’t be worth its cost.

    [Reply]

  64. Dione says

    We haven’t had a microwave in 10 years. I have had many of the same questions asked over the years. Funny, Grandma never had a microwave and no one ever questioned her, lol.

    [Reply]

  65. Laura says

    prefer the no micro route here, too. Mostly use toaster oven for leftovers and sometimes stovetop. It’s really just a few more minutes so if I plan ahead, it’s no trouble – esp. knowing our food is less yucky!

    [Reply]

  66. Christa says

    Does anyone find it funny that we need lessons on re-heating food WITHOUT a microwave? Can you imagine actually living without one?

    [Reply]

  67. Chris says

    We don’t have a microwave either. What I miss the most, I think, is making quick baked potatoes :(

    [Reply]

    Barbra Reply:

    Ahh, but think of how much healthier your food is…

    [Reply]

    Erika Reply:

    Oh, my mom always makes baked potatoes in her microwave, and they are never as good as baked in the oven. Big difference! You know, to save energy costs, you could make your baked potatoes in the crock pot. Only $.02 per hour compared to over $1.00 per hour in the oven. Blessings!

    [Reply]

  68. Marjorie says

    Thank You! Been thinking about this for some time now. Will NOT be using ours anymore. Just about to build a new house, and will not be adding a microwave to the floorplan for the kitchen! Appreciate your website!

    [Reply]

  69. Laura says

    You inspired me to heat up our homemade left overs of Mac-n-cheese today with the stove. You’re right, doesn’t take much longer. I grew up with a toaster oven so that is a lifesaver in our house, especially for smaller meals and summer months – no hot oven! Love your blog!! Your bagels ROCK!!

    [Reply]

  70. says

    We have been a “no Micro” home for a little over a year. I love it. Like you, we use the stove top for many of our leftovers, and we just purchased a toaster oven in January. The toaster oven is great for the foods we want to be crispy.

    [Reply]

  71. says

    I am proud to say: I do NOT own a microwave oven.

    My boyfriend keeps telling me that he is going to buy one because he hates heating things up in the oven, but somehow I have managed to distract him with shiny objects when we go shopping.

    [Reply]

  72. abbie fultz says

    to heat up baby food and the bottle just keep a small crockpot with water in it and put it on warm. just put your jar in it with the lid on and same for your bottle. ive also put hot water in sink and thawed out breastmilk to warm up. u dont want to kill and the good nutrients by nuking. as for popcorn we use the stove top we have a popcorn popper that you spin the handle and the wire turns on the inside, i havent noticed that it takes any longer than the microwave. plus there isnt any of that greasy salty stuff that your not sure what is and shouldnt naturally be that orange color. lol

    [Reply]

  73. Erika says

    I read your article on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday morning, a friend told me that her friend did a science experiment with her kids with their microwave for the science fair. They got two identical plants and set them on their kitchen counter. They boiled water each day, cooled it, then fed it to their plants. The only difference between the two plants is that for one, they fed it boiled water from the microwave, and the other, they fed it water boiled on the stove. IN FIVE DAYS THE PLANT FED THE WATER BOILED IN THE MICROWAVE DIED! They studied about how the microwave does change the molecular makeup of our food. So even though it looks the same, it truly changes it into something unusable to plants, our bodies, etc.

    I also did a Wikipedia search on microwave technology, and found out that it was developed by the Russian government to quickly cook meals for their soldiers while in combat. And now it’s in America used by just about everyone.

    After hearing my friend’s story, I came home and took the microwave to the trash. :)

    [Reply]

    Stacy Reply:

    Urban legend

    http://www.snopes.com/science/microwave/plants.asp

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    http://www.snopes.com/science/microwave/plants.asp

    [Reply]

  74. Michelle says

    I don’t use the microwave a whole lot either. We also have a toaster/convection oven that I prefer to use for things that need to be crispy (leftover pizza, etc). But another thing I do is I put leftovers in food saver bags and freeze them. (I try to do individual serving sizes.) Then just take the bag out of the freezer and put in boiling water for about 15-20 minutes. My parents smoke a lot of meat (brisket, pulled pork, etc.) and give us some occasionally in food saver bags. When I boil them in the bags, it smells like it just came out of the smoker!

    [Reply]

  75. Sarah says

    We always heated our foods in the microwave, except for soup on the stove-top and pizza in the toaster oven. Just started reading about the dangers of microwave cooking again, so we’ve been trying different methods of heating foods up. Rice reheats really well in a steamer basket; except it sometimes seems to steam some of the seasonings off. We also have an Aroma Convection oven that works great for reheating leftovers. So far we’ve not found one thing that we’ve been unable to reheat microwave-less. Thanks for the link to that article; it was very informative!

    [Reply]

  76. Emily Brouse says

    Microwave ovens are certainly useful when you desire to cook some foodstuff as quickly as possible. It save myself a lot of time whenever it comes to cooking.

    [Reply]

  77. Jenni says

    Wow! Looked at this blog trying to find ideas for my husband to reheat his lunch at work because they don’t have a microwave. That Dr. Hertzel guy is a freak! The “evidences” given in the article make absolutely no sense even if u do understand the big medical terms they use. I love my microwave other than the fact its old and will probably die soon. Once it does I definitly plan on replacing it with a new shiny one to heat WATER for my family to enjoy! :) I understand wanting to make things fresh but the only reason microwaved food can hurt ut is that it was already that way before it was microwaved! Thanks to the person who posted an alternate view on the safty of microwaves. Common sense, please!

    [Reply]

  78. carolee1945 says

    I just got rid of my microwave, and I feel like I have a new kitchen without it. I do not have a toaster oven, no room, but I do have a toaster that fits in a small space. Maybe I could replace the toaster with a toaster oven. Does anyone here recommend a small toaster oven? It seems like everything I buy these days breaks right away. I guess I could check Amazon for toaster oven reviews.

    [Reply]

  79. carolee1945 says

    By the way, I have been reheating food using a double boiler and/or steam basket. Tricky, though. Reheating without a microwave does take some practice.

    [Reply]

  80. Rachel says

    hi there just want to say that anyone ever dougbting the use of the microwave is bad tell them to do this experiment , take water from a tap and feed a plant , then take water that has been heated from a microwave and cooled and you will see the plant will not sprout , it takes all life force out of food, it’s a cool experiment , i recently took out my microwave stainless steel brand new over the stove real nice, eh (not) anyway replaced it with a fan, and use our toaster oven , and another thing the germans invented the microwave and guess what is banned in germany a microwave that should tell us all something eh. or simply read kevin trudeau’s book that will wake you up like it did with my family big time , best thing i ever did was read his book good luck to a better health to all of us not using a microwave anymore,

    [Reply]

    Rebekah Williams Reply:

    “life force”?

    [Reply]

  81. Serenity says

    Wow! I must been out of it… I had not really ever heard that the microwave was bad for you! I am going to show this to my husband. Thanks for the helpful info…

    I love the idea of using the empty microwave to store homemade bread! I don’t care for clutter on my counters so this would be perfect :)

    [Reply]

  82. syd says

    I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to point out that popcorn can easily be made on the stove with just a pot and a lid. Put in a little oil or butter, throw in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of popcorn, and a few minutes later and some salt you’ve got a bowl of great tasting popcorn.

    Everytime I have guests over and do this they seem amazed, like they have never seen this before. Seems like this has been forgotten.

    [Reply]

  83. Alyssa says

    i too haven’t used a microwave in years. However, if you do still have one, there are still two uses that a microwave is truly exceptional for:
    1. put your sponge in there once a day or couple times a week. Kills awful bacteria.
    2. put your toothbrush in there once a week (about 20-30secs; obviously only non-electric, non-metal ones)
    you’re welcome! ;-)

    [Reply]

  84. Jennifer M. says

    We bought a toaster oven about half a year go…. and love it. My husband even feels better in his health since we quit using a microwave. Those things are awful. The food looks and even tastes better in the toaster. Sometimes we use the stove top. I make toast in the toaster and cook a lot more than our small two toast toaster. Love…love….love it!

    [Reply]

  85. Janette says

    We have a toaster/convection bake oven and don’t miss the microwave one bit. I use my toaster oven every day and my regular oven hardly gets any use now. My regular oven doesn’t have a glass window like the toaster oven so I really like the toaster oven for seeing the food bake etc. We also gave away our toaster as the toaster oven does a great job of making toast. If you don’t have a toaster oven you don’t know what you are missing. They are so handy and if mine broke I wouldn’t think twice about buying another one.

    [Reply]

    Karen Dee Reply:

    What brand do you have??

    [Reply]

    Janette Reply:

    We have an Oster.

    [Reply]

    Karen Dee Reply:

    Thanks Janette! Will write that down and when I can, I am going to buy one. Has to be better than the one I have! :)

  86. Carol Cody says

    AMEN!! Chunck the mircowave!! Also teflon pots/pans. They also are deadly! Had a bird die, vet ask if I used teflon. When I answered yes, he said that was what killed my bird. And advenually would kill us too……….there is reasons the older people did not have or use things like this. Am so happy to hear a young person that acknoliges this!!!!!!!!! YEAH for you Laura!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Donna Reply:

    Laura, I use teflon pans!! I thought they were good to use until I read your comment. What would you recommend that I replace them with? I have been using them for years! Now I’m worried. I am sorry to hear that your bird died. That was sad that the teflon killed him.

    Donna

    [Reply]

    Lee Ann Reply:

    I recommend stainless steel and cast iron. They both take a little getting used to, but I think they’re so much healthier.

    [Reply]

    Couper Reply:

    I use cast iron frying pans and I found that the key to not having food stick is to make sure that they are hot (heated up) BEFORE you put the food in. Of course, you have to season them before first use and always add a little oil (I use olive oil) before putting the food in. The company LODGE makes a great set of cast iron cookware and I also like the fact that they are made in the USA!

  87. says

    We don’t use ours either and in fact, we are building a new house right now and are not even putting one in! I have a rice cooker with a steamer setting and I very, very often use that to reheat things. I also do the same thing on the stove top with a steamer basket. For bread type thing and things that would be yucky steamed, we use our oven on a very low setting (like 250). LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog! Thank you for all your great posts!

    [Reply]

  88. TINA szymoniak says

    We stopped using microwaves about 17 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. I was reading a book about pregnancy and it mentioned that it was dangerous for a developing fetus to be exposed to a microwave oven while in use. We immediately stopped using it and have not missed it at all. We also use the stovetop and toaster oven for reheats. I know there are differences of opinions on this matter, but I feel why take the chance to expose our precious families to more harm. We do our best in this journey of health so no condemnation. One step at a time and trust fully in God’s grace!

    [Reply]

  89. Karen S. says

    I gave up my microwave years ago too. We use the toaster oven or stove top as well. If the food is thick enough not to leak through the holes, a steamer pan works really well.

    [Reply]

  90. says

    The microwave controversy continues… ;) We got rid of our microwave for 2 reasons, several years ago. It really does change food and makes many things rubbery so that was reason two, but the #1 reason for pitching it was because my husband was standing about 10 feet away from it while it was running when his tooth caps heated up! No joke! Needless to say he didn’t enjoy that, so we got rid of it and adjusted and haven’t missed it. :)

    [Reply]

  91. Karen Dee says

    I got rid of my microwave when I read the statement that it changes the molecular structure of your food. What?? I said. SO my food really isn’t food after microwaving?? I love my potatoes, sweet or white, so much better in the oven. The sugar in them developes and makes them so much more tasty. Never have a problem heating anything up. Even oatmeal. I love my oven and stovetop! I do have a toaster oven that a friend gave me, but, it cooks some things and some things it takes forever to cook. The first one given to me was worthless except for toast. So, I really don’t know if I like them or not.

    [Reply]

  92. TJ says

    We got rid of our microwave 8 years ago and have used stovetop, oven, and toaster oven for cooking ever since. I recently got a hot water kettle (heats 7 c water in 5 minutes or less). I mainly got rid of the microwave because of hearing the dangers of radiation, but also, I generally don’t care for how microwaves cook food sometimes, or how it can taste sometimes. In regards to popcorn, whether or not the radiation thing is true, there are a lot of bad chemicals that go into the microwave popcorn bags and that are used for flavoring…we use an air popper these days. The only times I wish I had a microwave are the occasional time I need to soften some butter or defrost something quickly. But, even then, I can use my stovetop (for butter) or run the frozen item under warm water if needed. :)

    [Reply]

  93. says

    I haven’t had a microwave for years either. Mine was built in, as well, but my husband removed it for me and sold it. Now I use that big, open space as a pantry to store more food. I haven’t regretted it a bit. I find that reheating food on the stove may take a little longer, but it tastes much better.

    [Reply]

  94. Amy says

    We also ditched the microwave about six years ago. I sometimes forget they exist, until I see one somewhere! :) we also love our toaster oven and use the stove pop. I did all the research in the beginning, all I remember is its bad, don’t do it, food loses nutritional value! :) guess that’s all I need to know!

    [Reply]

  95. Erika says

    Even for those who don’t think microwaves might be inherently dangerous/ nutrient depletive (is that a word? Ha!), ditching the microwave was our number one cause of improved health for a secondary reason: No microwave meant no frozen, pre-packaged, processed junky convenient foods. If you own a microwave, it is much harder to pass all of those frozen “dinners” (if you can even call them food), microwavable burritos, microwave popcorn, etc., etc. Once we ditched the microwave, I never went down those isles, and never picked out pre-made food in plastic little dishes again.

    [Reply]

  96. Naomi says

    We also ditched our microwave a while back. After purchasing several glass food-storage containers, we started heating up our leftovers mainly in the oven. You just preheat the oven to 325, take the lid off the container, add a little water, and bake it! This reduces clean up and the amount of time I have to pay attention to the food – which is great when we clean out the fridge for lunch on a school day (I homeschool our kids). Thanks for all of the helpful ideas Laura!

    [Reply]

  97. Wendy Hoff says

    I also much prefer the taste of food warmed on stovetop or in the oven. We bought a toaster oven that holds a 9×13 casserole dish (without handles) and I use it so much more than my full oven. I am starting to realize, though, after about 3 years of no microwave, how much more dishes I use this way, all the pots and such.

    [Reply]

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