Infrared cooking has been gaining in popularity in recent years. This is likely because infrared cookers are becoming more affordable, and people realize the benefits of this cooking method.
On the other hand, microwave cooking has been around for much longer and is more widely used.
What is the difference between infrared cooking and microwave cooking? The primary distinction between these forms of cooking is that microwaves cook food inside out, whereas infrared radiation cooks outside. This difference will significantly impact the flavor and texture of the cooked meal.
This article will compare the heating mechanisms of infrared cooking and microwave cooking, the taste of infrared and microwave cooked meals, cooking time, advantages and disadvantages of these cooking styles.
It will also give some tips and health issues of infrared cooking and microwave cooking. Stay tuned!
Microwave Cooks From Inside Infrared From Outside
To cook food in infrared radiation, we toast or grill it by beaming infrared downwards onto the food! Infrared is highly absorbent, and it doesn’t go far beyond a millimeter into the food.
As a result, only the food surface is effectively heated – seared, toasted, or scorched!
Microwaves are more readily absorbed and penetrate much more profoundly than infrared radiation, so the food is “cooked from the inside out.”
Water molecules are accelerated into a vibratory motion by the electric field of microwaves acting on polarized molecules.
The frequency of the microwaves (about 2.4 GHz) is not a natural frequency for the molecule.
Thus, they have forced oscillations rather than resonant vibrations. If the frequency were genuine, the surface layer would absorb the microwaves, and we’d have another grill or toaster!
Infrared Cooking Keeps Food Juicy Microwave Cooking Dries Out
Infrared grilling means your food Will retain up to 35% more of its natural juices, maximizing flavor.
The intense heat caramelizes the sugars and proteins on the food surface, which gives infrared grilled foods a delicious flavor that is impossible to replicate with any other cooking method.
Infrared grilling sears the outside of the food while keeping its juicy interior intact. There is no need to worry about your food drying out or losing flavor when cooking with infrared.
On the other hand, food cooked in microwaves tends to have a more uniform taste and texture than food cooked with infrared radiation. This is because microwaves cook all of the food evenly, whereas infrared radiation only cooks the surface of the food.
Microwave cooking doesn’t caramelize food or create the same intense flavor as infrared grilling. Since microwaves cook from the inside out, they can leave them outside of your food rubbery or overcooked.
Microwave Cooks Faster Than Infrared
A microwave oven can cook a potato in two minutes, while an infrared grill may take up to fifteen minutes to achieve the same result.
It takes infrared radiation to heat food significantly longer than it takes microwaves. This is because microwaves can penetrate deeper into the food and cause more rapid heating. But, infrared cannot penetrate as deeply, so the food takes longer to heat through.
Slow infrared cooking is ideal for significant cuts of meat that need to be cooked slowly and evenly to retain their flavor and juices. On the other hand, microwave cooking is better for quick, individual meals like a grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of soup.
LEARN MORE: How Long To Microwave Hot Pocket
Health Issues of Infrared Cooking and Microwave Cooking
Infrared radiation has never been proved to damage the molecular structure of food cooked with it as a heat source, and its meals are safe for human consumption.
There have been no links between infrared grilling and cancer thus far; nevertheless, there have been connections found between high-temperature cooking and carcinogenic compounds in meat that aren’t limited to infrared
According to the National Cancer Institute, meats cooked at high temperatures above 300°F or those cooked for a long time (especially at high temperatures for an extended period) tend to generate more heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
According to research, both of these compounds have been found to cause cancer in lab animals at high dosages, and the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Prevention recommends limiting consumption of processed meats.
However, there aren’t any limits on how much HCA and PAH should be avoided.
Microwaving a small quantity of water on food steams it from the inside out. This retains more vitamins and minerals than almost any other cooking method.
The most nutrient-friendly cooking approach cooks quickly, heat food for the shortest period, and uses as little liquid as feasible. Microwave ovens fit this bill.
LEARN MORE: What Can You Cook In A Microwave?
Pros and Cons of Infrared Cooking
- Retains more nutrients than other cooking methods
- More intense flavor than any other cooking method
- No need to worry about food drying out or losing flavor
- Caramelizes sugars and proteins on the food surface, creating a delicious flavor
- Sears the outside of the food while keeping its juicy interior intact
- Ideal for significant cuts of meat
- Better for quick, individual meals
- It takes significantly longer to heat food than microwaves
- It cannot penetrate as deeply as microwaves, so the food takes longer to heat through
- Slower cooking is not ideal for every dish
- More expensive than microwave ovens
LEARN MORE: Can You Put Paper Plates In The Microwave?
Pros and Cons of Microwave Cooking
- Cooks food evenly
- More uniform taste and texture
- Quick and easy
- Ideal for quick, individual meals
- Food can become rubbery or overcooked if not watched carefully
- It does not caramelize food or create the same intense flavor as infrared grilling
- Microwaves can penetrate deeper into the food and cause more rapid heating, which can be detrimental to some foods.
LEARN MORE: Over The Range vs Countertop Microwave
Tips for Infrared Cooking and Infrared Cooking
Infrared Cooking Tips
- Use infrared cooking for significant cuts of meat that need to be cooked slowly and evenly to retain their flavor and juices.
- Try infrared grilling for a delicious, caramelized flavor that is impossible to replicate with any other cooking method.
- Keep food from drying out by searing the outside with infrared radiation while keeping the juicy interior intact.
- Slow infrared cooking is ideal for retaining nutrients in food.
Microwave Cooking Tips
- Avoid overcooking or burning your food by microwaving it for too long.
- Microwave cooking is ideal for quick, individual meals like a grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of soup.
- Use microwave cooking for evenly cooked food with a more uniform taste and texture.
LEARN MORE: Can You Put Tupperware in the Microwave?
Conclusion: Infrared Cooking Vs Microwave Cooking
Finally, we can say that infrared cooking is good for those who want to retain more nutrients and get a more intense flavor.
It is also ideal for significant cuts of meat that need to be cooked slowly and evenly to maintain their flavor and juices. However, microwave cooking is suitable for a quick evenly-cooked food with a more uniform taste and texture.