Having carried out an extensive and time-consuming search for the right infrared oven for my kitchen, I was naturally a bit skeptical when I read the features list of the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-Controlled Infrared Tabletop oven. I was especially confused by the complex technological terms that vendor sites used. I’m not sure what finally persuaded me, but I decided to take a leap of faith with this infrared oven. Three months down the line though, I’m glad that I made this choice, for the Nuwave 20322 has aided my cooking needs quite well.
To be honest, the Nuwave 20322 oven is not meant for large families or commercial use. However, if you wish to own an oven that cooks fast and produces a delicious taste every time without surrendering a large chunk of your precious kitchen space to a bulky oven (not to mention the need to bend down everytime, and the electricity bills!), this Nuwave oven is a great option.
Put simply, the oven is a tabletop model that consists of the base, the cooking rack and the dome with the power head above it. It can be used like any other oven but without any need for defrosting/thawing. What’s more, it cooks food twice as fast (in most cases) using a combination of various heating technologies (explained below). Net result is a delicious dish cooked as if it had been made in a commercial full-size oven!
Features of the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven
- No need for defrosting, pre-heating or ventilation
- Uses three methods for cooking food – convection, conduction and infrared rays, results in cooking time reduced by half.
- Digital controls, including digital time and temperature controls.
- Great locking mechanism to ensure that heat does not escape, prevents burns.
- Dome made of high-quality plastic that ensures that it is relatively light but very sturdy.
- All parts are dishwasher safe
- Includes extender ring, cooking rack, baking pan and instructional DVD.
- Extender ring allows cooking of up to 16lb turkey or 141b ham
- No fats or oils needed unlike conventional ovens, special drainage mechanism ensures removal of 2-3 times the fat drippings removed by a conventional oven.
How to use the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven
As I mentioned above, using the Nuwave 20322 is quite the same as using any other standard tabletop oven. Still, for those who do not have experience with such appliances, below is a simple guide on using this oven.
- Firstly, you have to get the oven ready for action. The oven comes with the base, the cooking rack, dome and power head separate. Place the base in a convenient location and place the liner pan inside it carefully. Next, take the cooking rack and place it carefully inside the liner pan. Make sure that the cooking rack’s handles are in retracted position, since otherwise the rack won’t fit into the pan.
- Once this is done, take the dome and place it carefully onto the base, ensuring a snug but not too tight fit, since this part will have to be removed every time you wish to place/remove food.
- Take the power head and place it on the dome. Rotate the power head till the lugs are locked and no further movement of the power head is possible.
- Since this model comes with an extender kit, you get a extender ring (made of the same material as the dome) and a 2” rack. To use the extender ring, you must carefully place the ring directly onto the base, similar to how you placed the dome in step 2, but without the dome attached.
- Now take the dome (with or without power head attached) and ensure perfect alignment with the ring.
- Place the dome onto the ring. Ideally there should be snug fit.
- If using the 2” rack, place it over or under the 4” rack (default rack dealt with in step 1). Two such racks can be used (in any order as long as the assembly is stable) with the default rack when using the extension ring.
Do note though that the liner pan and other parts used in the oven are not recommended for use separately, or in other ovens.
Now that the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven is ready, you can begin the actual cooking.
- Since we have already assembled the Nuwave 20322, we can remove the dome-power head assembly together using the handles on the power head.
- Once this is done, place the foods that can be easily cooked or for which you can spare more cooking time, on the lower level. This done, place one or more racks and place foods that need faster cooking or take longer to cook, on top. Alternatively, you can reverse the order, and allow the lower end to keep cooking while you remove the foods cooked on the upper levels of the Nuwave 20322 Oven periodically.
- Do note however that for bread, warming needs to be done using the lower level, whereas grilling (or any special dishes) need to use the upper levels such that they are as close to the source of heat as possible. Also, note that oil is not necessary for cooking in the Nuwave oven.
- Also note that the infrared rays from the infrared tabletop oven can be prevented from reaching a certain dish using tin foil, but the overall heat generated circulates freely since tin is a good conductor.
- The manufacturer suggests use of aluminum utensils for the Nuwave 20322, and in my personal experience, they have proved to be the best. However, any materail which is oven safe can be used freely. However, it is generally advisable to use shallow dishes to reduce cooking time.
- Once the food is placed, close the dome and power head assembly. Use the digital controls on the power dome to select the right power level and begin the cooking (more on this below).
- From my personal experience, frozen steak took about 8 min a side for medium cooking, while salmon took about 6 minutes. Larger dishes can take longer but the generally, the time taken is less than that in ordinary ovens. (Click here to check out easy yet delicious Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven recipes).
- Remove the dome and power head assembly carefully, using mitts if possible. Take hold of the handles of the rack and raise the rack carefully out of the oven. Empty it and the liner pan before replacing them in the oven (if further cooking is needed) or in the dishwasher (see Maintenance section).
Power Head Settings
The Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven uses a digital control panel, composed of an LCD display on the left, ten digit-buttons in the middle and four settings buttons on the right.
- As soon as you plug in the power cord, the display will show ‘0’. Click “Cook Time” (the first button on the right of the digit-buttons). You will be prompted to enter the cooking time in HH:MM format. Use the digit-buttons to enter the time. On the default “Hi” setting (level 10), the time allowed at one go is 2 hours.
- Once the time is entered, simply press Start to begin cooking. The colon between HH and MM will start blinking.
- To pause, press the pause button and the colon between HH and MM will stop blinking. To resume, simply press Start again.
- To permanently stop end the cooking cycle, press Pause twice quickly. The display will return to 0.
- To change the cooking level, press the Power Level button and you will be prompted to enter a setting between 1 and 9. On these lower settings one can cook for up to 9 hours and 59 minutes. To check the power level while cooking is in progress, simply press the Power Level button once.
- Reheat button can be used to warm cooked foods. For this, ensure the LCD panel is showing 0 and press Reheat followed by Start.
We all have our share of kitchen tragedies involving long cleaning hours. Thankfully, the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven has little scope for such accidents, since the food is kept perfectly stable on the rack and there are few possibilities of stains developing on the parts. However, moisture may build up if cooked food is left inside for long, so it is highly advisable to either keep the food warm on a low setting or remove it immediately.
All parts except the power head are dishwasher friendly. The dishwasher as such cannot be cleaned but I’ve found that a damp cloth or sponge can do an excellent job of cleaning the outer surface of the power head under normal conditions.
Sometimes retailers and online vendors can provide wrong dimensions. The actual dimensions, according to the user manual, are:
Product Dimensions – 14 x 16 x 14 inches
Product Weight (exclusive of extension kit) – 10 pounds
Hearthware, the manufacturer of the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven, provides the appliance with 1 year on-site warranty for all electrical and non-electrical parts. This includes the cost of labor and parts. However, any repairs or use contrary to written instructions voids the warranty, so you would be advised not to call in the local electrician to fix the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven.
- No defrosting needed
- Oil not necessary
- Cooking times reduced by half or more in most cases.
- Uniform heating at all points.
- Can be used with all types of dishes, and extender kit allows cooking of large dishes like turkey, etc.
- All parts are dishwasher safe.
- All oven utensils can be used safely.
- Extremely easy to use, with simple digital controls.
- Cooking time limited to two hours at a stretch.
- Few users complained that the “Peel Off” sticker was hard to remove, but I personally did not have this issue.
As I mentioned in the beginning, I had carried out an extensive survey of customer opinions before buying this appliance. I found that an overwhelming majority of users argued that the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven was very easy to use and also not very difficult to move. The sticker issue was mentioned by a small number of users, and some suggested cleaning after each use. While I did not face the sticker issue, I would definitely concur with the latter opinion. Finally, many customers argued that oil was not necessary for cooking.
As you have seen above, the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven is a great companion for a number of reasons. Though it is not perfect, I have personally found it sufficient for my everyday needs, as well as for small parties involving a couple of families or so. What’s more, it is easy to use and there is little chance of spills or other hazards that one might encounter in a normal oven. All things considered, I would definitely recommend the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven as the best infrared oven for an average family of 3-4 people.