hand opens microwave oven door

Although keeping metal out of the microwave is a key part of cooking safety, some models now sport a gleaming center metal rack. These are actually safe because the metal used is tuned to the metal in the cavity of the oven. The racks attach to plastic or rubber clips on the sides of the oven, and as long as the rack does not touch the walls or floor of the microwave, no arcing or warping will occur.

When used properly, this rack is a helpful tool with three valuable uses.

Two-Level Cooking

The rack opens up more space inside the microwave to be able to heat two dishes at once.

Microwave Defrosting

Use the rack for more even energy wave circulation around the food. The additional wave flow traveling over, under, and around each side of the food enables you to defrost and cook foods more evenly.

Convection-Oven Cooking

Once only found in professional bakeries and restaurants, convection ovens have become a feature of some microwaves. Convection ovens combine the heating ability of a conventional oven with the speed of microwave cooking, resulting in evenly cooked foods, heated quickly. Fans to circulate hot air through the cavity, distributing heat evenly, without cold spots or hot spots.

Here are some of the benefits of convection cooking:

  • Baking: Due to the instant and even heat, butter releases its steam quickly, resulting in flakier and lighter baked goods. 
  • Toasting: You can achieve a full pan of golden-brown toasted almonds, pecans, or walnuts without needing to shift or move the tray halfway through cooking. 
  • Roasting and grilling: The speed at which heat surrounds the meat causes fats to render quickly and skin to crisp.

Convection oven times and temperatures do differ from those of a conventional oven and can vary from model to model, so be sure to keep an eye on your foods until you're familiar with the times and temperatures needed for each dish.


If your convection oven has two rack attachment locations, the lower rack is best for baking and roasting, while the upper rack is best for browning and grilling.