From Fridges to Ovens, How to Choose the Right Appliances for You — Side By Side: A Guide to Appliance Shopping

Are you thinking about renovating your kitchen? Do you have a refrigerator that's way (way) past its expiration date? If you're just starting your search for a new appliance (or appliances!), you'll quickly find that there are a lot more factors to consider than you may have anticipated.

Is a top freezer or a bottom freezer better for the way you store your stuff? Is a counter-depth or a built-in fridge worth the extra expense? Should you get a convection oven, or maybe you should go for that vintage range you've been eyeing for years? And what about a microwave oven? Do you need one (we say yes!), and should you go for a countertop version or a microwave drawer?

Here are your top-asked questions answered.


Should You Get a Microwave Drawer? — Side by Side: A Guide to Appliance Shopping

At Kitchn, we have a love-love relationship with our microwaves. Of course we love it for all the obvious reasons — like warming our coffee in the morning and delivering near-instant popcorn gratification on movie night — but also for mug cakes, single-girl suppers of mac-and-cheese, and the quickest and easiest answer to breakfast (eggs in the microwave!). We even lean on it when migraines strike.

It's an important appliance, and buying the right one matters. There are quite a few factors to take into consideration (like size, wattage, and special features), but today we're looking at a very specific question: Is it worth it to get a drawer microwave? Or should you opt for the regular countertop variety? To help you on your microwave-buying quest, we've broken down the pros and cons of each kind.


Can the Infomercial Gadget My MIL Gave Me Actually Clean the Microwave? Let’s Find Out! — Smart Spring Cleaning

My mother-in-law, bless her soul, loves an infomercial product. If you've seen something on TV, she's probably purchased it. I've seen her unpack a hula hoop that comes apart (for storage?), specialty microwave cookware, and so much more.

Then, this Christmas, I unwrapped my very own as-seen-on-TV product: She bought me an Angry Mama.


Recipe: Single-Serve Microwave Shakshuka — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

If you love breakfast for dinner, particularly when it involves eggs, this miracle meal needs to be in your rotation. This riff on shakshuka, the dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce, adds tender chickpeas to the mix for extra heartiness and comes together beautifully in the microwave. Allow yourself just five minutes — yes, really just five minutes! — and it can be yours when you need dinner for one, fast.


How To Steam Asparagus in the Microwave — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

Despite all the ways we love to prepare fresh spring asparagus, microwave steaming might be the very best. You've got to trust me here, because microwave steaming eliminates the need to boil water, takes just a few minutes, and makes perfectly tender asparagus spears without turning on the oven.

Let me alleviate any further doubts on this method by noting that I learned this asparagus steaming trick from Alton Brown — so now you've got to try it, right?


7 Things to Know About Buying a New Microwave — The Smart Appliance Shopper

If your microwave is starting to go (or you never had one to begin with), you may find yourself unsure of where to start. Fun fact: Shopping for a microwave oven can be just as complicated as shopping for an actual oven. (At least microwaves are a lot cheaper!) Study up on these seven pointers and your head won't explode when you start your search.

Related: 5 Signs You Need to Replace Your Microwave


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