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.

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  1. 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. :)


  2. 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.


  3. 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!


  4. 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.


  5. 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!


  6. 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.


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