Life Without a Microwave: When the Unthinkable Becomes Possible

Could you give up your microwave?  For most people the idea is incomprehensible.  Originally invented in 1946, the microwave became affordable in 1967, and by 1975, they were seen as a necessity in the American home.  Its popularity is such that it’s estimated that 90% of American households have a microwave oven.

But for Katie Marsh and her husband, Charles, they kicked their microwave to the curb almost four years ago.  “We were in the middle of moving,” Katie said.  “We hardly used our microwave for anything other than warming up coffee. It was kind of old anyway, and I didn’t feel like packing it, so I told my husband, ‘If we miss it in six months, we’ll get a new one.’”

They haven’t missed it.

“Our friends and house guests are always shocked when they come to our kitchen and realize we don’t have a microwave,” Katie continued.  “But we have a toaster oven, a tea kettle to quickly heat water, and plenty of pots and pans.  We really don’t need it.  Besides, I think food tastes better when it’s cooked more traditional ways.”

Living without a microwave may seem impossible, but studies have shown that people are using them less and less.  Sales have been on the decline in the last several years.  With the sale of toaster ovens on the rise (sales are up 80% since 2000) and the increased popularity of slow cookers and pressure cookers – people are turning to other appliances to make healthy meals at home.

There are several benefits to living without a microwave including:

  1. More counter space. What seems like a kitchen essential is taking up a considerable portion of counter space!  While many have the over-the-stove kind of microwave, many countertops never see the light of day due to the large appliance that takes up more than its fair share of space.
  2. Leftovers taste better. Heat them up in a skillet or in a toaster oven.  You will have fresher tasting leftovers that don’t get rubbery or dried out, as often happens in a microwave.
  3. Popcorn popped on the stove is much better.Save yourself money with a large bag of kernels and learn how to stove-pop your popcorn, or invest in an air popper.  Stove-popped popcorn is free of so many of the chemicals and additives found in packaged microwave popcorn.
  4. Healthier meals. With the gaining popularity of Dream Dinners, HelloFresh, and Blue Apron, the idea of cooking a meal from scratch feels less daunting at the end of a long day.  Fresh ingredients are better for you than frozen, pre-packaged meals.
  5. More environmentally friendly. Living without a microwave will lend itself to fewer plastic containers since reheating leftovers will need to be reheated in glass or metal pans.

Life without a microwave may seem impossible, but the Marshes are proof that it’s possible.  They are also avid coffee drinkers who survive without a Keurig, but that’s another article.


“The Slow Death of the Microwave,” by Roberto O. Ferdman (

“The History of a Microwave Oven” (


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