How we live without a microwave

September 21, 2012 by Lauren


When we moved into our current home about a year ago, we realized (about an hour into unpacking boxes) that there was no microwave. Soon after, Josiah’s parents offered us an extra microwave that they had. We decided “eh. let’s see how long we can live without one…” (it also didn’t have a washer or dryer but we didn’t last long without those!)

So we just took it one day at a time. Living life microwave-free. I don’t even really have anything against microwaves, but we really enjoy not having one. It’s less clutter of a huge bulky item that we just don’t need!

But Lauren, what about ___________…. yes, I’ve got answers.


But Lauren, what about tea?

It’s called a kettle and I love it. We have a lovely blue Le Creuset one. You can have water ready for tea in 4 minutes.

But Lauren, what about popcorn? You gotta have microwave popcorn!

Nope, I’ve got a Whirley-Popand it’s incredible! The Whirley Pop cooks popcorn on the stove and it tastes SO much better than microwave popcorn. Also, it’s fresh. Also, it’s CHEAPER… popcorn kernels are soooo cheap! Also, you get to decide what you want on top (not NEARLY as much butter as that microwave stuff comes with!) Also, it’s done in about 3 minutes. Also, your house will smell so good, like the fair! Also, go get one. You won’t regret it.

 But Lauren, what about leftovers? Aren’t they so easy to re-heat in the microwave?

Yes, and they never taste that good from the microwave! Get out a skillet. Grease it and turn it on medium high heat. Then reheat some chicken and rice or pasta. IT WILL TASTE SO MUCH BETTER THAN IN THE MICROWAVE! Microwaves boil out all the water, hence your dry chicken and rice. We actually enjoy eating leftovers now… they taste the same as the first day we cooked them! (sometimes even better! the flavors get to mingle overnight) Besides, how do you think they heated up “leftovers” before they had microwaves? (way to sound like an 80 year old Lauren, and not the 23 year old you are...)


When it’s a bummer about no microwave:

Cans of soup.
Needing to melt butter for a recipe.
No “defrost” button on my oven.
If you have children who need their food instantly. (I don’t know this one from personal experience. But I can imagine with kids it’s trickier.)

How to fix those bummers: Cans of soup – cook in a pot on the stove. Melted butter – use a little skillet or pot.  Defrost – plan ahead? :)


Not having a microwave does take a little extra time… But we’ve just learned to get over it. And we love it!

Well, there ya have it. We love not having a microwave. I know, we’re weird. But maybe just try this week to not use yours as much… and see if you could live without one too!


  1. Monika says:

    I concur! I haven’t had a microwave for the last year and a half. I am known for my “famous” popcorn–and I cook it the old-fashioned way, in a pot with a lid. The device you have does look really great!

    Tea from a kettle just feels so much more lovely. Plus, I can use my fake British accent and say, “Let me put the kettle on!”

  2. Geweleigh says:

    I lived for a few years without a microwave, and I finally bought another one. I’m terribly glad I did. While I concede all your points about the kettle (we never used the microwave for this purpose anyway) and the stove-top popcorn, and the leftovers *do* taste better not reheated in a microwave. But I must say that it was the reheating the leftovers that I missed terribly. I would reheat things on the stove, in a toaster oven, or in the regular oven, and it was a monumental pain in the kiester. Reheating leftovers without a microwave means more dishes to clean: a container for the leftover storage in the refrigerator, a container for reheating, a plate/bowl out of which one could eat the leftovers. And this is just for one dish–heaven forfend you’re reheating multiple things for one meal. Putting leftovers in serving-sized microwavable containers is heavenly. And sometimes, depending on the leftover, it could take 30-45 to get lasagna thoroughly reheated, which means more lead time required before you can eat.

    I won’t go back to life without a microwave.

  3. Margaret Flynn says:

    Brilliant as always. Think I’ll ditch mine just because. You are an old soul and I love that.

  4. Lauren says:

    Monika – “let me put the kettle on!” HA! thanks for the laugh.

    Geweleigh – I totally understand about leftovers. They do take forever to reheat without a microwave, especially if you’ve got multiple dishes to reheat. We don’t eat too many leftovers so I don’t mind too much. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Margaret – :) YES! You can do it! :)

  5. Bex says:

    We actually do not use our MW that much any more. It’s kind of built-in to the cabinets so taking it out would be a pain. I have to say that I’ve read that we should not eating foods that have been microwaved – not good for us but I can’t remember details. Something about changing the atomic structure of the food completely.

    When I cook something like meat that comes out of the oven not quite done, the microwave will be a godsend for that last little bit of cooking time very quickly as the rest of dinner is being served.

    And after a Thanksgiving day meal, putting all the leftovers on our individual dinner places and just MW’ing the whole dish is so much easier than reheating every single thing individually. But other than those, I don’t really use mine. Oh, yes, I do make popcorn but from my own gourmet kernels with nothing but my own toppings – it was just in the news that some man won $7 million from a popcorn company because he developed microwave popcorn lung from breathing in the fumes of the butter from the M-wave.

  6. Susan says:

    I’ll add one tip that we loooove as far as reheating leftovers (and often, for the initially baking as well) — we adore our toaster oven. It doesn’t take as much time or energy as heating up the whole oven (and therefore house!), and it beautifully restores the texture of crispy edges, etc. for those things that don’t work as well in a skillet. Great post! :-)

  7. Cat says:

    Just this last Saturday I went to Sur La Table (my favorite store, any excuse to go there is great) and bought a 1 cup saucepan with lips for pouring. It is beautiful! Already used it twice to heat up milk for lattes, and once for a poached egg. Its official name is actually “butter warmer”, so I think it will fill all the needs of our old microwave. Good riddance!

  8. Kerri Clark says:

    My husband and I haven’t had a microwave for almost a year. There so many ways to heat up anything. My great grandmother definitely did not have a microwave! It’s actually not safe, nutrition-wise, anyway!

  9. Ming says:

    Tried this when we moved a few months ago. It went pretty well, but reheating leftovers was kinda a pain and once we had kidlet #2 we couldn’t spare the time anymore. Yay for convenience! We were pretty full of ourselves at first, but it wore off. More dishes to do without one, too.

  10. Erin Inala says:

    Love this and I totally agree with you! I have a microwave, but rarely use it. This might sound dumb, but it never even occurred to me to make tea in the microwave. My mom always used a kettle and teapot, so that’s what I do. There’s something so wonderful about pouring tea out of a pretty teapot into dainty teacups. Haha, I might have to do what Monika does and start using a British accent!

  11. Juniper Jupiter says:

    Just a year? A year and a half? PFFFTTBAHahahahahaha!!!

    I’ve been nukebox-free for SIX years! HA!

    I haven’t looked back!

    I’m sure there are quite a few others who’ve done it longer, say…the Amish!

    It’s easier as time goes on…trust me! ;)

  12. Clarissa says:

    Defrosting can be done microwave free too…even without preplanning. Put your frozen whatever in a plastic airtight bag/container and put it in a bowl under a small stream of running water (cool, not hot). Works great, no randomly cooked spots. Doesn’t seem to take much longer than the microwave, but that may just be customer I don’t have to constantly check on it.

  13. Rachel says:

    We have a microwave, because dh is scared of the stove, so I take advantage of the convenience too. However, I do not soften or melt butter in the micro–it always boils over on me.

    If I need softened butter, I sit it (IN THE WRAPPER!) on the electric stove top next to my tea kettle (not on the burner), and get a kettle of water going. The heat that seeps onto the stove top from the burner is enough to soften the butter. If I already have something going in the oven, I just put the butter on the stove top next to the burner that serves as the oven vent.

  14. Alyse W says:

    We’ve lived without a microwave for about 4 years now…At first it was because our old house with weird wiring kept shorting the microwave…so we gave up and went without. Now I actually like not having one on my counters and yes leftovers are better NOT microwaved. I actually find we now eat less of that quick “convenient” junk food you have to cook in the microwave. As for with kids…my son is 18 months and so far it has been fine. I have a bottle warmer that uses steam to heat the bottles. it also works for baby food in jars and I will use old baby food jars to re-heat mini portions of leftovers for him…all in 90 seconds :)

  15. Kristine says:

    I haven’t used a micro in over 3 years and i dont miss it! A mini toaster oven and a pie plate works great for heating up food & stays hotter longer then a microwave.

  16. Francesca says:

    We have lived without one for 2 years now. I do not miss it at all. We are vegetarians so we never have any meats to defrost. I also have a 2 year old and I made all her baby food using the Beaba Babycook. It has a defrost feature on it. It uses steam to defrost the frozen baby food. She no longer eats baby food and I’ve never had any issues with her having to wait for her meals.

  17. Jocelyn says:

    I can go without usin the microwave at home. My only issue is warming up my lunch while at work. It seems like I would have to start eating salads for lunch everyday to be around this curve. Bough I did say I want to have a salad everyday. Guess it would just have to be for lunch. Think I answered my own question. What do the rest of you do for lunch at work?

  18. trish says:

    I haven’t had a microwave for over 3 years. I do not miss it at all. To melt butter or coconut oil for recipes, I use a small metal bowl over my open teapot. Added bonus…I get to enjoy a cup of hot tea while the muffins bake.

  19. Kaelen says:

    I moved into a tiny bachelor pad for school this year, which means I have no space for a microwave. Honestly it was not a hard transition for me, personally. Making popcorn on the stove is so much more fun anyway! Especially since I have a pot with a clear lid so I get to watch it pop – so cool :) As for heating leftovers making more dishes – I’m a super lazy bachelorette so I usually just eat right out of the pot I reheated it in, ha ha.
    I also don’t have a TV since I don’t really watch & due to space restrictions – people think I’m a bit of a weirdo when they come to visit.

  20. kat says:

    I recently started not using our microwave after I learned about a patient death after receiving microwaved blood. Further research did not quiesce my concern. Actually, I’ve had concerns about MWs since childhood. I’m a vegan and eat a lot of raw anyway, including juicing. Also have an air popper if there is no time for cook-top in coconut oil. My hubby is not totally on board and plugged the MW back in. Today at school someone was MWing in the canteen and it surprised me how I wanted to run away from it. Guess I view it much differently now. A friend who works in RF technology did not exactly ease my fears, either. I’m still searching for answers — hence, my visit to this forum. I have an open mind, but would prefer to err on the side of caution.

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