The NuWave Oven is a countertop oven that uses a combination of infrared, conduction, and convection heat to cook food. There has been some debate over whether it should be classified as a true convection oven or not. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how the NuWave Oven works and compare it to standard convection ovens to help clear up the confusion.
What is a convection oven?
A convection oven circulates hot air around the food using a fan, allowing the heat to fully surround the food. This circulating hot air cooks foods faster and more evenly than a standard oven. Convection ovens have a heating element, usually at the back, as well as a fan that distributes the hot air throughout the oven cavity.
There are a few key characteristics that define a true convection oven:
- Heating element such as electric coil or gas burner
- Internal fan to circulate air
- Vents for air circulation
- Thermostat to control temperature
The combination of the heating element, fan, and vents allows convection ovens to cook food up to 25% faster than conventional ovens. The circulating hot air surrounds the food evenly, eliminating cold spots and producing crispy exteriors while keeping interiors moist.
How does the NuWave Oven work?
The NuWave Oven uses a triple cooking power system that combines infrared heat, conduction heat, and convection heat.
The NuWave Oven has an infrared heating element at the top of the unit. Infrared heat works by emitting electromagnetic waves that penetrate food up to 1.5 inches deep. This allows food to be heated quickly from the inside out.
The NuWave Oven also uses conduction heat from the metal interior walls and shelves. When food is in direct contact with these surfaces, heat is conducted directly into the food, searing and browning exterior surfaces.
Finally, the NuWave has a built-in fan that circulates air around the food to provide convection heating. This fan-forced air helps cook food evenly throughout.
In addition, the NuWave Oven has digital temperature controls ranging from 100°F to 350°F that allows you to adjust the intensity of the heat based on what you are cooking.
Comparison to convection ovens
While the NuWave Oven relies partially on convection heating, there are some key differences from full convection ovens:
|NuWave Oven||Convection Oven|
|– Main cooking method is infrared heat from above||– Main cooking method is circulated hot air|
|– Small countertop size and capacity||– Oven-size cavity and capacity|
|– Temperature range up to 350°F||– Temperature range often up to 500°F+|
|– Can only fit small items or single servings||– Can fit large baking sheets, casseroles, etc.|
The NuWave relies more heavily on infrared heat from above rather than convection heating like a full oven. And its small size and lower maximum temperature makes it unsuitable for larger dishes or true baking.
Is the NuWave a convection oven?
While the NuWave Oven uses a fan to circulate some hot air, it does not meet all the criteria of a true convection oven due to its small size and primary cooking method of infrared heat from above.
However, it does provide some convection heating effects that can speed cooking by eliminating cold spots. So while not 100% convection, it certainly borrows some beneficial convection concepts in its cooking process.
Benefits of the NuWave’s triple cooking method
Here are some of the biggest benefits and advantages of the NuWave Oven’s combination infrared, conduction, and convection heating approach:
- Food cooks rapidly, up to 50% faster than a conventional oven
- No preheating required, saving time and energy
- Infrared heat penetrates food quickly for fast, even heating
- Sears meats nicely to seal in juices
- Browns and crisps the exterior of foods
- Conduction heat from metal walls cooks from all sides
- Convection fan eliminates cold spots for consistent heating
- Retains moisture better than full convection for juicy interiors
- Digital temperature controls allow precise adjustment
What kinds of cooking is the NuWave best suited for?
The NuWave Oven’s triple heating system makes it ideal for certain types of cooking tasks where you want food to cook fast with crispy brown exteriors and moist interiors. It performs excellently for tasks like:
- Cooking small roasts, chicken pieces, chops, steaks, burgers, hot dogs
- Broiling fish fillets or steaks
- Toasting breads and sandwiches
- Reheating leftovers
- Cooking thin frozen foods like nuggets, fries, etc.
- Dehydrating fruits, veggies, and meats
- Roasting nuts and seeds
The NuWave is less suited for larger batch baking where you need a full size oven and higher temperatures. But for quick cooking jobs, especially proteins and frozen convenience foods, it can cook items very rapidly with excellent results.
Tips for getting the best results
To take advantage of the NuWave’s unique cooking method, here are some tips for achieving optimal results:
Avoid packing food in too tightly, as air circulation is important for even cooking. Keep some space around items.
Flip larger cuts of meat
Large roasts and chops should be flipped halfway during cooking to expose all sides to infrared heat.
Stir fried foods
Stirring helps fried foods like french fries or tempura come out crispy all over.
Use a meat thermometer
Check final internal temperatures of roasts and poultry with a meat thermometer for food safety.
Adjust cooking times
You may need to reduce cooking times from traditional recipes since the NuWave typically cooks foods faster.
Let food rest before serving
As with all cooking methods, allowing roasted meats, poultry, or fish to rest 5-10 minutes before cutting helps retain juices.
While not a true convection oven, the NuWave Oven uses a mixture of infrared, conduction, and convection heating to deliver fast, moist, and crispy cooking results. Its triple cooking method allows you to quickly cook foods, especially proteins and frozen foods, that would take far longer in a standard oven. Just keep in mind the size and temperature limitations compared to built-in ovens when selecting recipes.