Infrared and microwave ovens are used to reheat leftovers or cook small portions of food. The major difference between the two ovens is the method by which they cook food.

Cooking Method

Both infrared and microwave oven shoot energy waves into the food being cooked. Infrared ovens cook the food from the outside in, whereas microwaves cook from the inside out.


Although infrared ovens vary in size and shape, most contain basic settings such as a timer and heat setting; new high-end models contain convection fans, which circulate air. Microwaves typically feature buttons for time and specialized settings for common food such as popcorn or pizza.


In microwaves you can cook using paper products and microwave-safe plastic, which contain spills well. Infrared ovens require cleaning after each use, unless you use special pans or thick foil as a barriers.

Cooking Times

A test conducted by Popular Mechanics noted that the infrared oven heated a pizza slice in 5 minutes, whereas the microwave cooked the same sized slice in approximately 90 seconds.

Taste Test

Taste-testers preferred the pizza slice cooked in the infrared oven because the crust was brown, and the cheese was gooey. Pizza reheated in the microwave had a rubbery crust.