It used to be the world had two kinds of people: those who Really Cooked, and those who Microwaved. The people who Really Cooked were perceived as organized, domestic, and family-oriented, making healthy meals for their families with smug, Donna Reed-like industriousness.
The people who Only Microwaved, by contrast, were said to be unhealthy, lazy, and obsessed with instant gratification: if it couldn't be made in three minutes or less, they couldn't be bothered.
For many years, I belonged to the latter group. In fact, when my first microwave died the year after I graduated college, I sat at the kitchen table and cried. What would I do, I wondered. How would I eat?
Although my cooking skills have improved a bit since those days, as someone who frequently gets home from work at 9 p.m., I understand the lure of the three-minute meal. But that doesn't mean I want to eat salt-laded, preservative-laden frozen dinners that could easily be mistaken for the cardboard containers they come in.
Even when I do take time to cook something elaborate, I value my microwave for its ability to heat things up fast, keep things warm or soften butter.
Fortunately, the latest, greatest microwaves have come a long way from the 1970s models that made everything taste oddly gummy-flavored. In fact, not only have microwaves improved in terms of taste, but many also offer the ability to steam vegetables, make crisp bacon, bake cookies, broil a roast and more, along with the standard heat, reheat, and defrost modes.
Enhanced styling, decreased noise, and greater design flexibility also help define the newest crop of microwaves. Here's a look at some of the most exciting and innovative microwaves on the market today.
The best microwaves are durable and fit your kitchen decor. Our experts find the best microwave ovens, from built-in microwaves to countertop microwaves that offer high performance.