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Poll: How often do you use your microwave?

10 years ago

I'm thinking about where I'll put my countertop microwave once my reno is done. Tempted to stick it deep into a corner. But I use it daily. Sadly, sometimes it's because my husband gets home later than expected and his dinner is already getting cool and I've turned the oven off. I have a (bachelor) friend who doesn't even own a microwave and says he doesn't miss having one and yes he does cook at home. So I was wondering about GWers.

Comments (63)

  • 10 years ago

    I cook daily but I use my microwave about once a week to steam small potatoes or cook those pop corn bags. It is a small countertop model (Sharp, stainless steel, but basic) that I put in a cabinet behind a door.

    I reheat everything on the cooktop or in the oven and I use an electric kettle for boiling water (in my opinion it goes faster than in the mw).

    For my current remodel I would have loved a combination convection/microwave to save on space but I have not found one with looks I like, so I'll do the same setup I currently have.

  • 10 years ago

    Only a few times per week*. We lived without one for 3 months during our reno, and missed it only when the tea went cold. Almost all our leftovers go to work with DH, and get heated up in the microwave there.

    *This is a Very Good Thing, because I put the microwave in a TERRIBLE place in our new kitchen - way too high in the wall oven stack. It probably qualifies as a safety hazard. Dummy me!

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  • 10 years ago

    daily - for things like reheating (coffee, tea), softening/melting butter, chocolate, steaming veggies, defrosting meat (I never seem to take it out to thaw in time).

    I would sorely miss not having one and not having it handy.

  • 10 years ago

    Surprised at all the tea-heaters. I'm a tea drinker too but I always use a tea kettle. Also softening butter? For baking? I've heard you can't/are not supposed to soften butter this way but must leave it out at room temp? Is this a big falsehood I've believed all these years? :-)

    I didn't want mine in the uppers because then my children won't be able to reach it, and if it was in the lowers then I'd have to bend and stoop all the time, so I'm left with countertop. But that doesn't seem... thoughtful? Considering we're redoing the entire room you'd figure we could have come up with something that looks a little nicer, or more intentional, than sitting it back on the counter. But that's the best height for everyone and the built-in pantry is too far away for it to be stowed there.

  • 10 years ago

    I'm in the few times a week group - softening butter, or if my coffee sits in the mug too long, and warming certain leftovers, although for most re-heats I prefer saucepan, oven, or griddle)
    We don't have a micro at our vacation place, and get along just fine without...

  • 10 years ago

    I have the Sharp microwave drawer. I'm barely 5' tall, so it works perfect for me. Love it, and use it often. Since it's just the two of us, there are always lots of leftover to heat up. Also use it for defrosting, steaming, melting, warming bread, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary.

    For anything made with hot water, we use the hot water dispenser at the bar sink. ie: tea, hot chocolate.

  • 10 years ago

    IMO if the kids are too short to reach the microwave at the bottom of an upper cabinet then they're too young to use the microwave.

    My apologies to the short folks out there. ;)

    Softening butter in the microwave works just fine. The only problem is it's easy to overdo it.

    For my microwave a stick of butter from the fridge only takes 10s.

  • 10 years ago

    I never had a MW until I was in my 40s. A few years later ours broke and I was bereft. I had no idea how much I used it without thinking until I didn't have it. I would not be without a MW.

    Bacon! Hello, it revolutionizes cooking bacon without constant surveillance and spitting grease all over the place. Softening/melting butter, reheating leftovers, preheating dishes. The list is endless. I've never cooked things from start to finish in the MW. I have perfected defrosting a frozen burger patty.

    Mine sits proudly on my counter. It's actually obscured by my non-counter-depth fridge :( until you're standing right in front of it. But it doesn't matter, since it looks like it's a deserving member of my kitchen. The short run of counter it sits on wouldn't be used for anything else. It's right next to the fridge and has adequate landing space.

    cevamal, I can't imagine anyone would try to MW anything in a 9x13 pan. Not only is it too much food, but it wouldn't be able to rotate.

    LongTime Lurker, I think purists would say don't soften butter that way. But who hasn't wanted to make a batch of cookies NOW and needs soft butter? I've been able to soften mine perfectly. Occasionally it will get away from me and melt in places. Stirring it well can bring it right back. That being said, I've discovered with my new stand mixer that, because I can beat butter that isn't super soft, my cookies are the better for it.

  • 10 years ago

    Linelle: I totally forgot about bacon. Yes, the mw makes the best bacon. And cooking bacon in the microwave has fewer carcinogens.

  • 10 years ago

    I have 2. One is built in under the oven and it's most used. Second is in the pantry -- leftover from the other house but very handy to have.

    Both have rotation. I would not buy a micro without turntable.

    We use them constantly because I often cook ahead and reheat plus all the small tasks from heating a tortilla, defrosting a bagel, steaming vegetables.

    Love having the built in -- wouldn't want to give up counter space and I don't like it at eye level on a shelf where hot liquids need to be lifted up or taken down. The secondary is out of the way but just a few steps when I need it.

    Use it for most everything except heating water for beverages as my kettle does that faster.

  • 10 years ago

    When my DD was small, I got and used a MW almost daily for cooking vegetables and making tea.

    After she grew and was out of the house, when it broke I didn't replace it and didn't miss it. I found that I liked the taste of boiled in a kettle water for tea better, and took to roasting veggies in the toaster oven more.

    But, since I acquired the MW from my mother's condo 2 years ago, I have been using it again to pre-cook or hasten cooking for some things, to make oatmeal, melt butter, and snacky foods. I still boil my water though.

  • 10 years ago

    This thread makes me miss my grandmother. :)
    My grandparents lived next door to me while I was growing up. I remember my grandmother bringing home a microwave when they first became available. She was SO excited! It was huge. It took all of her rainy day savings to make the purchase, so I know it must have been a really big deal to her as she was the kind to use coffee grounds three times and rinse/dry plastic bags for re-use. The neighborhood ladies all came over to watch the new microwave work! We melted all kinds of stuff that first day! I can still remember the group's excitement. The ladies were trying to figure out how it did its thing! I think they landed on "magic". Sorry, OT I know, but I figure some of you probably share the same memory!
    The Christmas music must be making me nostalgic...

  • 10 years ago

    Growing up we never had one in the house. I had never used one until I moved out to a dorm room and my roommate had one. Now I use one almost daily for a few simple things like cooking oatmeal for breakfast and reheating leftovers. (Due to our household schedules - there are just two of us - I often cook and eat alone and have leftovers for dinner.) My microwave is OTR right now (not remodeled) and I have also been debating where to relocate the microwave. Personally I think a corner is just fine as long as there is a nearby countertop landing space for stirring between heating or simply a place to plop a hot dish. I am also highly intrigued by these convection oven / microwave combinations. I do not have a very big kitchen and I love the idea of a multi-purpose appliance.

  • 10 years ago

    I use mine for most of the reasons others have posted, but it sits on my one counter top and is a honkin' big thing. I bought it when my old one gave out, a couple years before I knew I was going to remodel, on sale for a great price. And it has a black finish. At present there is no other place to sit it and it's too new to get rid of and replace with a smaller one.

    I guess I'm saying I use a microwave but would prefer it out of sight, but handy too. ?

  • 10 years ago

    I like mine at eye level because things can reheat so quickly that I like to watch them.

    I agree it takes longer to heat beverages in them, and, as for tea, I don't like the tiny bubbles you get on the perimeter. What is that, anyway, soap residue? I always rinse cups before I use them.

    As to the story about the grandmother and the big excitement over the m/w, my in laws have one their children gave them. They use is every day. As a bread box.

  • 10 years ago

    Bacon less carcinogenic?!!! Best news ever!!!

    My MW is a Sharp $99 special from Costco. I had looked everywhere for one that looked decent and wasn't enormous, and this one fit the bill at the right price.

    We originally got our first MW when our daughter was old enough to spend a few hours alone at home and wanted to cook. I wasn't ready to let her cook with gas.

    I even sometimes use the timer on my MW when the one on my stove is in use.

  • 10 years ago

    My family uses the mw several times a day. I don't use it for tea reheats as I just add more water from our instant hot water dispenser. The coffee drinkers in the house use it for reheats. I use it to defrost things, make oatmeal, bacon, reheat dinners, soften butter. My 20 and 17yr olds come and go at different times so meals are not at set times. I also use the timer function when the stove timer is in use.

    In my teens my mom got a mw as my dad was disabled and she needed to heat meals quickly. Before the mw I hated leftovers as they took to long and didn't taste very good heated on the stove or oven (dried out).

    Ours sits on a shelf at cabinet height.

  • 10 years ago

    We use ours just to warm food up a couple times a day. However, I didn't want it sitting on a counter or taking up space in our cabinets. We put it in our family room on a bureau which acts like a sideboard (right through the door from the kitchen), out of the way but not too far away from where we eat.

  • 10 years ago

    Maybe a couple times per week. I put it in the butler's pantry/prep kitchen - which is a good 10 feet from the main kitchen.

  • 10 years ago

    Cevamal- That is going to be a great place for the microwave! I want to do something similar, but between the fridge and range.

    We don't use it for much, but between melting margarine, chocolate and cheese over corn chips...we probably do use it at least once a day.

    I don't heat up water, though...much better in the tea kettle, IMHO :)

  • 10 years ago

    I wonder how many people would be surprised to know how much they really use their MW. The change in keypad between my old one and my new one is what made me realize how much I use it because with the switch I had to THINK about what I was doing every time I threw something in there. Before that it was almost like involuntary activity!

  • 10 years ago

    I have my microwave on the counter right now but this has been a concern of mine as it is so big. I need a big microwave for the power as I like to reheat food a lot when I am busy and it gets cold and I drink a lot of hot beverages in the winter time. I am too short ta 4'10" tall with short arms to feel comfortable with it above the stove. I am still not sure what I am to do. I wish my kitchen was bigger to have a microwave drawer but I need my cabinet space.

  • 10 years ago

    I use mine daily to reheat my coffee and about every other day to heat up a miscellaneous food item. My wife uses it several times per week to heat water for tea.

  • 10 years ago

    Me, maybe, MAYBE once a week to reheat leftover takeout or make a quickie 'baked' potato.

    DH, constantly on Saturdays and Sundays to reheat his never-ending cups of coffee and tea; never touches the MW during the week.

    [So why are we getting a pricey MW drawer in our new kitchen, you ask? That's DH's one indulgence. He wants the counters clear and fell in love with the drawer at the KD's showroom. Hey, better a small appliance than a sportscar, hah.]

  • 10 years ago

    Daily. Because there are just two of us, leftovers are a regular component of meals. I also use it a lot for prep while cooking (heating up broth or milk, melting butter, cooking bacon, steam-roasting beets [15 min vs. an hour-plus in oven], and quick heat-ups to ease shucking corn or peeling quantities of garlic).

    Some of those are things I *could* do on the stove, and I might if I had a bigger cooktop with landing space on each side. But what's here is a crowded four-burner cooktop jammed into a corner right next to the 24" wall oven, so there's not as much room to maneuver as there is in front of the microwave, which is available to me simply by turning around.. The microwave sits at the wall end of a peninsula-like worktable and opens toward the active cooking area, with lots of safe space to set things coming out or waiting to go in. I don't have to bend way down or reach up to use it.

    The machine was my parents' from the 1980s, lower-powered (700W) and smaller than many new ones, but with a nice glass carousel and still going strong. There are only a few electric machines in this kitchen, and the microwave is among the most-used. [It's just ahead of the little two-slice toaster, and a close second to the portable induction unit that lives on a cookie sheet at the rear of the gas cooktop, replacing the near-useless "simmer" burner beneath it.]

    The top of the microwave is also storage space -- for the breadbox, an acrylic cutting board, and nesting Depression glass mixing bowls, which are right to hand when needed for use and decorative when not.

    So for my kitchen, and style of cooking, that's a hard-working and verstatile space. For households where microwaving is a much more occasional need, or where its main use is for snacks etc. by members other than the cook, my arrangement would be a waste of counter space or [worse] a frequent, irritating, and hazardous invasion of the busy and built-for-one working area.

    The niches many GWers have built into islands and cabinetry appeal to me as a way to keep the microwave accessible without taking up precious counter space or too much visual space. But let me urge those considering that kind of thing to plan for landing area in the *immediate* vicinity, if necessary installing a pull-out shelf below the microwave. A lot of microwave use involves testing the contents for sufficient heating, and that's often easier to do if you can pull the container out right onto a surface. Also, the container is often quite hot to the touch, so make sure hotpads or a towel are right to hand if it's located at any distance from the main stove-oven area, or used primarily by household members other than the main cook.

  • 10 years ago

    Lynn2006 - Do you need a big a big microwave because you need to fit a lot or because bigger ones tend to have more power? If the latter, I think you might be way overthinking it. I'm looking at a 20 oz frozen Stouffers Mac and Cheese - 11 minutes for a 1100 watt MW or 12 minutes for an 800. Big deal.

  • 10 years ago

    I remember seeing a MW at the NY World's fair.
    My mom had a full size oven MW for years.
    I alway had a MW and used it to reheat leftovers.
    Now, I grew up and put a speed oven at eye level.
    I use it several times a week for MW, speed cooking, and occasionally for a convection oven.
    It was great for Thanksgiving. I roasted the brussel sprouts in it.

  • 10 years ago

    The MW function of our Advantium gets daily use doing things like re-heating leftovers and cold cups of tea, heating soup and making popcorn for the little ones. The speedoven function gets used regularly too.

  • 10 years ago

    My MIL had an Amana Radar Range. She called all MWs radar ranges.

  • 10 years ago

    I very rarely use my microwave. It sits in the island base cabinet.

  • 10 years ago

    Ours gets used a lot, warming up dh's coffee, softening butter, heating leftovers, or just using the timer. If I could've dissed it as Greendesigns describes ("shoved to the side like something you're ashamed of using"), I would have done so. Call me an ingrate, or a hater: I can't really explain why that one appliance gets my contempt. I'm a very pro-appliance person! But the feeling is mutual, my first one was defective on arrival and was always "on", the second captures condensation inside the door and Kitchenaid says that is "normal". If I ever plan another kitchen, the pantry gets a little $99 special, or we go all steam oven and no micro at all.

  • 10 years ago

    When I have a microwave, I use it once,twice a day mostly for heating leftovers that go in lunchboxes. I have, in my life, had stretches of years in which we have not had one. They tend to break and I don't replace them and then someone buys a new one and I get one as a hand-me-down.
    Life without a microwave is not a burden. It's just a little slower. Leftovers for lunch get set in a glass bowl in a steamer insert for 7 minutes instead on nuked for 2. Honestly, they are moister and more evenly warmed in steamer so I would be happier but with the micro in the house I get lazy and its only a quick lunch during the work day.
    I never use it for dinner. I never use it for melting butter-I always screw that up and wind up with a mess.
    So I put my microwave in the pantry. It's been there a year and we are all fine with it.
    You can take my microwave. But, you cannot take my electric kettle- they rock!

  • 10 years ago

    We use ours rarely. In the renovation we decide to go for the advanrium mw/oven combo. Mtn- i have the same issue with tea water! ibthought i was the only one who had tiny bubbles! i now use my tea kettle exclusively for tea. I have yet to use the MW function. We tend to thaw overnight in fridge and reheat on the stove or in the oven. I find steaming vegetables is easiest with most consistent results in the rice cooker. Perhaps I'll use the MW function for the first time today to soften some earth balance for cookies?

  • 10 years ago

    Wow, bacon in the microwave! GardenWeb, this is one more reason I love you--I would've thought bacon would come out rubbery and gross in the microwave. But, if so many GWers do it, it must be fine. I'll try this. I like bacon but hate the mess and splatters and grease disposal.

    Still suspicious of the melting butter. I'm afraid I'd over-melt it or end up with runny spots and cold spots.

  • 10 years ago

    We use the MW function daily....the convection oven sometimes instead of the big oven because it's just the two of us. I have an OTR micro....we have a small galley and a counter top model would take up too much real estate. I don't mind the OTR---we don't cook that much anymore---but it is a little high for me....I'm 5'2"....and I usually have DH pull out heavier casseroles, etc.,,

  • 10 years ago

    Like someone mentioned earlier in the thread, I changed my mind a few times about placement of the MW. We only use it for reheating cups of coffee and leftovers, but we decided it's a necessity so had to work it in somehow.

    After going back and forth (and up and down) we decided to give it a space on the counter in our built-in pantry. It works well for us in our little 'coffee station'. Not super convenient when reheating foods but the trade-off was more counter and cabinet space in the kitchen area.

  • 10 years ago

    LongTimeLurker, it's shocking how well bacon turns out in the MW, all brown and crispy (which is how I like it). I do mine in a glass loaf pan with a paper towel over the top and tucked under the bottom. Of course it depends on the thickness of the bacon, but I've found #slices = minutes+1 (on high).

  • 10 years ago

    I haven't had one in a decade. I would never use it for tea. love the sound of my simplex teakettle whistling...reminds me of making tea for my mom when I was young.

    If I ever changed my mind I'd put it in my walk in pantry.

    My mother has a tall cabinet she keeps hers in.

    If countertop was at a premium,I wouldn't keep it there.

  • 10 years ago

    I haven't had one in a decade. I would never use it for tea. love the sound of my simplex teakettle whistling...reminds me of making tea for my mom when I was young.

    If I ever changed my mind I'd put it in my walk in pantry.

    My mother has a tall cabinet she keeps hers in.

    If countertop was at a premium,I wouldn't keep it there.

  • 10 years ago

    LongtimeLurker,

    The best bacon IMHO is on a broiler pan in the oven. But what a PITA.

    The easiest bacon is on a paper plate with paper towels under it and over it; you can throw it all out when you are done! Oh except the bacon.

    The only thing is that it tends to come out stiff like surfboard, or underdone. It is hard to get that nice undulating bacon that you do in a frying pan or oven, which, if you look closely, usually has varying degrees of doneness in any one strip.

  • 10 years ago

    Daily. If you don't have the luxury of time or the patience for waiting, it is incredibly useful.

    I had an OTR micro in a previous house which broke. The couple weeks until we had it replaced were, surprisingly, tough for our routine. DH may only have 10 minutes to stop by home and make a quick meal or heat leftovers for lunch break, and it wasn't easy without the micro. That, and the endless other reasons it might be used in a day were missed.

    In the current home, I have a cheap, small micro in the walk-in pantry, which is located next to the fridge. It's perfectly located, big enough and would be easily replaced, if necessary.

  • 10 years ago

    I used to MW bacon but then learned about baking bacon. It is the best and least messy! I learned about this technique from GW!

  • 10 years ago

    At my old house, the MW was located at about eye level for me. It was crazy--I had to use a stepstool to see if things were turning or overcooking. I am 5'2". At my next house I purchased the undercounter Sharp drawer MW which I loved and all the tall people in my family thought was crazy too low. See picture.

    Our current rental has the MW about neck level and I admit it works great. I use it every day to re-heat my tea/coffee. I actually use it to heat the water too since I can't find my kettle. I used to have a instant hot and got spoiled by that. Here in the rental we use a tempered glass measuring cup and heat 2c of water then use that as a "pot". It kind of takes away from the whole "ceremony" of making tea and enjoying it but we now have simple uses created from necessity.

    And of course....the old makin' bacon that everyone has mentioned. My son is always making bacon in the MW. I also am a good leftover eater. I love to reheat a serving of spaghetti squash or something from last night's dinner. I don't like cold food, so almost all of my food is heated. I considered putting the MW in the walk-in pantry at the house we are building, but ended up finding a place for it in the island (drawer MW again).

  • 10 years ago

    Ours is on the countertop in the pantry,


    Since our kitchen is small the MW is only a few steps away.
    We use it primarily to reheat leftovers and melt butter, which for us is just a few times a week.

  • 10 years ago

    In our new build it will go on a shelf in the pantry, with the toaster and some other small appliances We've had the OTR microwave which was nice, and then a built-in Miele Microwave in our last home. All were great but this time did not want to pay to have a overpriced shelf or cabinet built in the kitchen for how often we use it.

  • 10 years ago

    Daily... to warm coffee, heat water or prepare a burrito!
    I will begin a kitchen remodel soon and will keep my microwave mounted over my gas jennair. Works great.

  • 10 years ago

    We put ours in an open fronted base cab in what some are calling my butler's pantry which is really just my tricked out mudroom. It is not super convenient to the kitchen sink but I essentially use it to heat milk for coffee or warm up a leftover. It is a GE space saver model. As for over melting butter, I rely heavily on the add 30 seconds feature. I refused to give it a prominent spot in the kitchen proper or pay the 300.00 for the kit to make it appear enclosed. They break often and I did not want to be wedded to one form factor.

  • 10 years ago

    We use it so much that we have two. One is on a shelf in my lowers between the refrigerator and stove and the second one is on the counter. When the kids leave home we will go down to one.

  • 10 years ago

    I haven't had one in a decade. I would never use it for tea. love the sound of my simplex teakettle whistling...reminds me of making tea for my mom when I was young.

    If I ever changed my mind I'd put it in my walk in pantry.

    My mother has a tall cabinet she keeps hers in.

    If countertop was at a premium,I wouldn't keep it there.

  • 10 years ago

    I seem to use mine frequently each day. Premium counter space so it's OTR and has convection bake/roast features so no countertop bake oven is needed either. Love it!

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