Advantages and Disadvantages of Microwaves

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Microwave radiation has one great advantage over infrared: the fact that it cooks food much faster. Microwaves can penetrate food to a depth of about an inch/2.5 cm, while infrared energy is almost entirely absorbed at the surface. Because heat radiation can travel to the center of foods only by the slow process of conduction, it’s easily beaten by microwaves, with their substantially deeper reach. This reach, along with the microwaves’ concentration on heating the food and not its surroundings, results in a very efficient use of energy.