3 Ways to Heat Food Without a Microwave


A few years ago, I got this crazy idea to do away with our microwave. We rarely used it and I was in the midst of my first big decluttering session – if we didn’t need it, I didn’t want it! I also didn’t like the taste of the food we heated with our microwave and I had a bad habit of partially cooking food that I meant to defrost.

Unfortunately, Ian vetoed that idea. (He usually does … at first). However, the last time we moved, I was pleased to see that the new house didn’t come with a microwave. And so, being as frugal as I am, Ian agreed that it was the time to try living without a microwave.

Since we’d spent the previous couple of years rarely using our microwave, it was pretty easy. But there were times when we needed to re-heat food that we normally would have used a microwave for. Necessity being the mother of all things awesome, we improvised.

Here’s how we (re)heat food now without a microwave:

Stove Top

We use this most often for melting coconut oil and butter and for re-heating things like soup and stir fries. Popcorn also gets cooked on the stove now.

For melting, we now use our heavy duty metal measuring cups. We used our sauce pans for a little while, but then I got lazy and decided it would be faster to clean the measuring cups, especially since we were just heating a small amount of butter or coconut oil at a time. This works best on your smallest burner, with the heat turned on medium.


We use our oven a lot for heating things that were previously baked that are too big for our toaster oven. This method takes the longest, so we’re sure to get started well before we intend to eat. At least, we try.

One way Ian has recently found to speed things up, is to use our cast iron pan. He puts the food in that needs to be heated, along with a tiny bit of water and covers it with the cast iron lid from our Dutch Oven (the fantabulous birthday gift he scored for me at a yard sale for $10 a couple years ago).

This little trick takes about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven and our food doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Toaster Oven

This is one of the simplest ways to heat up your food sans microwave. The controls are easy to use and it does a pretty good job of quickly and evenly heating your food. I love my toaster oven because it’s a multi-purpose appliance.

It does away with the need for a toaster and a microwave and will even bake a sweet potato when you don’t want to use your oven. It works best when actually plugged in …

My favorite part? I got it for free. Back in the day, our local bank gave points for using your debit card. So we used those points to get some goodies. Like a toaster oven. And an immersion blender. And that $50 gift certificate for a massage that I still haven’t used. (Why?!)

Now we use a different checking account that gives us cash for debit card purchases, but that’s another post.

Do you heat food without a microwave? What’s your favorite method?


  1. says

    THANK YOU for posting this. I use the microwave WAY too much but I just can’t figure out the fastest way to get things done. So thanks for the tips!

  2. Marta Goertzen says

    Most of the time mine is a big kitchen timer :) but it does still get used but the appliance that gets used the most is my old reliable Betty Crocker Toaster Oven. I don’t know what I would do without that thing. I could probably adjust to no microwave… I think, but please don’t take away my toaster oven!!

    What I do like the microwave for however is my rice pack. When I need that I am grateful for the microwave.

  3. says

    This is interesting. We use ours for bacon and to reheat food that we’ve prepped over the weekend during our busy weekdays.

    But I have noticed that I use it far less than I used to, mainly because we never (rarely?) eat processed foods.

  4. says

    That is a great tip about heating in measuring cups. I don’t think any of my measuring cups would work for it, but I might have to find some that would now. I hate dirtying a sauce pan just to melt some butter or coconut oil.

    I’ll share on Facebook and Pinterest.

  5. says

    I haven’t used or had a microwave for years. I use the stove top, oven and toaster oven.

    Many things are easier to warm up in a steam pan, for instance, brown rice, even if it is frozen. Put a lump of it in the steamer and steam it until it falls apart. That way it is heated without drying out or getting mushy.

    I love my life without a microwave. The food tastes better and is healthier, too.

  6. Tanya Wood says

    I have not had one for more that 4 years now and for the first year I missed it! After I wrapped my head around how to do things without it I am happier and we are healthier too! It stops that I just want a snack now I am sleepy when you are not really all that hungry… It makes me stop and think is that snack I have to make that takes me more time to make worth it! A greater deal the answer is no for me.

    I over heard my husband telling someone that no we did have a microwave at all! Then the guy asked “How to you do ______ something??” (can’t remember what asked how we make) and he said this.. “We make it the right way before people got lazy and in a rush and the food tastes better and he said the quality is better and that we eat healthier food now!” And I walked up at that point and added I gained 30 pounds right after we got the last one we had and left at the rental home because it did not go with the things in the house we just bout and that we where going to buy a new one but after I put everything in the new kitchen I could not find anywhere to put one any way and it stopped the boredom eating and we did not eat as much “cheap crap” that I found to mostly be microwave only.

  7. kelly moreno says

    i reheat food in a bowl/plate placed in a steamer.
    with just a little bit of water in a pot, put the steamer in place and set a bowl or plate with the food you want heated…put on the lid and steam until food is desired temp. this method is great for not drying out your left over food!

  8. Mary Korte says

    We got rid of our microwave 18 years ago and I have never looked back. I have small pans for reheating just about anything on the stovetop but I occasionally use the oven as well. I am a master at reheating 3 items in one large pan without mixing them :) Sometimes new friends visit (who don’t know me well enough to know better) and see my excalibur dehydrator and think it is some kind of microwave – yeah, a super slow one lol. I never use it to reheat by the way :)

  9. says

    I could do without our microwave without an issue. I can NOT live without a toaster over! I use the toaster oven to cook more than every other cooking appliance combined (ok, maybe not quite, but close) – definitely more than any other single appliance. The only appliance I use more is my juicer.

  10. Jo-Anne says

    I’m curious, I have a DeLonghi toaster oven that is horrible – doesn’t toast well and bakes too hot. What brands (other than that old Betty Crocker one) do people use that they love so much?

  11. says

    Toaster oven? That seems like something very american – I’ve never seen one over here except for if the kitchen is too small to have a normal oven. I use my microwave very much daily, mostly to defrost berries, melt butter and heat up left overs. Ok – I can see that I could heat up left overs easily in a pan, and melt butter that way too, but how about defrosting berries? Any ideas anyone? How do you do that – and don’t tell me to take them out an hour before I actually want to bake with them because I ALWAYS forget to do that… :-) Maybe in the normal oven? Ill have to try that… Could sure use the extra counter space I’d get if I threw out the micro…

  12. Shan says

    I refuse to use the microwave but I spend most of my day away from my home. Any suggestions on reheating foods when there’s no stove or toaster oven? I’ve mastered reheating at home without a microwave. I’m not sure eating things directly out of the fridge is the way to go, but I have resorted to that at times. Thanks for the post.

  13. Jane says

    Another good way to melt coconut oil would be to put some water in a saucepan and then just sit the jar inside. That way the pan doesn’t get dirtied and you can melt it right in the jar.

  14. Alii says

    I occasionally use my vintage warming tray, it’s not real fast but does a good job and without burning anything!


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