Cooking meals can be such a chore when you have a busy life, or maybe it’s simply not your cup of tea. Whatever the reason, a time saving appliance that adds a large degree of ease is a blessing! Having a busy life being self employed with children means time is often a precious commodity. Being able to make an all in one meal is so good. The benefits of an infrared countertop oven can be summed up :
- Speed of cooking
- No cooking oil used
- Cook food up to 50% faster
- Up to 75% more energy efficient!
- Cook an all in one meal- meat and veggies are moist, cakes, bread etc
- The kitchen remains cool
Phew, these are little powerhouses!
Whether you are cooking a steak, pasta, vegetable or rice, the basic principle of cooking remains the same. Sure, the recipes vary and so do the methods of cooking. What remains constant is the source and use of heat.
These are my choices of the 7 best infrared countertop ovens
Now, you and I know the heat needed for cooking can come from many different sources such as gas, charcoal, and electricity. Although all these energy sources are quite popular, they are not very efficient and can be expensive. Often only a fraction of the total energy is utilized in the cooking process. A lot of it goes to waste. Which is why I get excited when I discover a more efficient energy source to cook food. One of the more efficient, fast and cost effective energy sources used for cooking is infrared heat.
You can read about the 7 most popular infrared countertop ovens here
There are a whole range of cooking appliances such as ovens, toasters, BBQ grills and portable ceramic infrared cookers using infrared heat available now. Manufacturers say infrared heat is the technology of the future for making cooking faster, easier and more efficient. Personally, I love the sound of that, as I am sure you have better things to do than spending hours preparing and cooking meals… But what is this technology and what are infrared cookers? Well, let’s find out, shall we?
What is Infrared Light/ Heat?
Well, contrary to what many articles on the Internet say, infrared light is an age-old concept.
We have known all about infrared light since it was first discovered in the year 1800 by Sir Frederick William Herschel.
Infrared light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that is part of light waves. Although our eyes can’t see this band of the spectrum of light, infrared is an integral part of light radiation. It has a longer wavelength than red light waves, and hence it is called Infrared.
The infrared waves carry a lot of heat. When infrared waves hit any surface, they cause the molecules of the surface to vibrate at a great frequency. It causes them to generate heat, and the surface becomes hot. Of course, infrared waves can’t penetrate most surfaces, and hence only the surface is heated up.
The significant portion of the sun’s heat consists of infrared waves. So, when you get sunburn, it’s the waves 0f infrared light from the sun rays heating up your skin causing it to burn literally!
What Is An Infrared Cooker?
The potential benefits of an infrared countertop oven lies in their efficiency. As I said earlier, infrared heat causes the surface molecules to vibrate rapidly and generate a lot of heat. This phenomenon can be used to cook food as well. But, the question is, how is infrared heat generated?
Thanks to technological advances in electronics and science, it was discovered that if electricity is applied to quartz crystal, it can generate infrared waves. Only a small amount of power is enough to produce infrared waves of heat, making the process is very efficient. Clever manufacturers of electrical kitchen goods realized this, and a whole new range of cooking appliances was born…. Cookers, grills, ceramic cooktops and toaster ovens…
Infrared Heat Uses A Lot Less Power
So, an infrared cooker is an appliance using infrared heat to generate heat and cook food. As the process is extremely efficient, a lot less electricity is wasted in generating cooking heat, making the process more economical.
The top rated infrared benchtop cookers come in all shapes and sizes. All of them have one thing in common; they use infrared heat to cook the food.
How does Infrared Heat Cook Food?
As I said, infrared radiation carries a lot of energy. When these waves hit the surface of anything in their path, the molecules on the surface vibrate and heat up. This heat passes through to the inside of the food by a process called conduction, which cooks the food all the way through.
A broiler in your traditional oven cooks the food in a similar way. The coil or the ceramic grate in the broiler is heated by electricity until it starts emitting heat, which cooks the food.
Fat Free Cooking
The benefits of an infrared countertop oven is the speed of cooking, plus, you don’t need to use cooking oils at all. Food is much healthier and fat free. You can also enjoy a seared or roasted texture on the surface of your favorite foods such as meat or potatoes. String fries are delicious as they have a yummy delicious crispy finish with a soft floury center.
Cooked Food Remains Moist Inside
Creating meals with an infrared cooker has another advantage. While the outside of the food becomes crispy and brown, the inside stays nicely moist and juicy. This feature is a huge advantage over traditional methods of cooking. As you have probably experienced, cooking over a flame can generate a crisp and brown surface, and the inside of the food is tough and dry! Microwave cooking can keep the inside moist, but you won’t get that nice seared, brown and crispy exterior. An infrared cooker combines the best of both the worlds!
What Are The Benefits of Infrared Cookers?
The typical benefits of an infrared countertop oven offer many advantages over traditional cooking appliances. These are some of the benefits I think you’ll enjoy…
1) Fast To Cook And A Whole Lot Cheaper
The radiant energy used in top rated infrared benchtop cookers cook food at a higher temperature compared to traditional methods like gas grills or convection ovens. While the traditional grills and ovens operate on the principle of convection alone, infrared cookers use both infrared technology and convection to cook food. They use up to 40% less energy and cut down enormously on preparation. Another benefit I love is the lack of washing up multiple dishes! After cooking, hand wash or put the bowl in the dishwasher, easy peasy.
2) Infrared Cookers Can Cook Frozen Food Without Needing To Thaw
How many times have you thrown your hands in the air and stomped around the kitchen crossly just because the food was frozen? And it would take hours to defrost….Well, when you choose the best infrared countertop oven for your needs, you can bid defrosting frozen foods adieu! Just stick the frozen food right in directly from your freezer. Love the ease here moms.
3) Cooks Foods More Evenly
As these ovens use radiation technology, they cook food more evenly compared to the traditional methods. No more charred pieces of meat that are still not done from the inside.
4) Energy Efficiency
The best infrared countertop ovens are significantly more energy efficient compared to the traditional ovens and grills. On an average, as much as 40% more energy efficient in comparison. Plus they do not heat up the kitchen.
5) Cook Without Using Oils and Fats
One of the best features is fat-free cooking. There is no need to add extra fats. You can make perfectly crisp crunchy delicious French fries straight from your freezer without having to add any oil at all. Less oil translates to fewer calories and a healthier meal for the family.
Is My Food Safe Using One Of These Ovens?
It’s a great question. I must say I was a bit nervous, because whenever the words ‘radiation’ or ‘waves’ are uttered, I get nervous. I do my best to keep my family safe and healthy as possible. However, the radiation that we are talking here is not to be confused with ‘radioactive’ radiation. Cooking with infrared technology is not different from cooking with traditional methods at all.
Food cooked using infrared radiation technology is perfectly safe, well as safe as it can be when cooked by any traditional means. Extensive research in the field shows there is no link between infrared cooking and cancer or any other such diseases. So, yes, it is safe to cook food in an infrared cooker.
Where Can They Be Used?
Anywhere! These nifty appliances are perfect for
- Houses, apartments, small units
- RV’s and caravans
- Dorm rooms
- Camping and the outdoors
They are small, portable and light. They make great companions for your road trips in an RV or a camper. You can cook a whole chicken and vegetables in one of these in no time. All you need is a power outlet, and you are ready to go! You can have a perfectly crisp and brown chicken right in the comfort of your camper with one of these.
What Are The Different Types of Infrared Countertop Ovens?
There are several different methods to create infrared heat. Some are more efficient than the others. These are the different types of infrared ovens that use various methods to generate infrared heat.
1) Halogen Ovens
Infrared halogen ovens use a halogen bulb to produce infrared waves. As electricity is passed through the filaments of a halogen bulb, it emits electromagnetic waves. A significant portion of these waves consists of the Infrared radiation while the rest of light waves.
These cookers are limited in the fact the halogen bulbs can’t operate above a certain temperature. In general, halogen powered cookers produces less heat compared to the other infrared cookers. Another shortcoming of these cookers is the fact that a lot of electricity is wasted as some of it produces light, which is useless to cook food.
2) Sheath Heater Based Infrared Cookers
As these cookers, don’t use any form of a lamp to generate infrared heat, they don’t waste energy. There are several types of cookers on the market that use this technology such as the NuWave series of Infrared cookers. The benefits of an infrared countertop oven with this technology is they are faster and more efficient compared to halogen cookers.
3) Convection Infrared Cookers
Convection is the process of circulating heated air within an oven. Infrared Convection cookers are often called air fryers. You may have heard about them… These cookers use both halogen bulbs and sheath heating technology to generate infrared heat.
These ovens such as the Oyama use a fan to circulate heated air like your fan forced oven. It ensures food cooks more evenly on all sides and quickly. The moisture levels in food is retained. A disadvantage of these cookers is that they can make a small amount of fan noise.
Final thoughts On The Benefits Of An Infrared Countertop Oven
Infrared countertop ovens are efficient, portable and healthy alternatives to traditional ovens and grills. The food cooked is healthier as there is no need to add additional fat. Plus they cook up to 50% faster and use 75% less power which leaves you with more money to spare for something useful….Get one yourself, today!