This Microwave Can Bake A Cake and Save Your Marriage

The Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven truly does it all

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Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven with Air Fryer

The Spruce Eats / Renu Dhar

This post is part of our 'This Is Fire' series, where our editors and writers tell you about the products they can't live without in the kitchen.

They say when you really want to test a marriage, go for a kitchen remodel. And I did. No, I didn’t want to test my marriage, I just really needed my tiny home kitchen to work as efficiently as the professional kitchens I am used to as a chef. A kitchen that would allow for economy of motion, have a good venting system, and clutter-free countertops. A simple and practical project.

Or so I thought. Before starting the project, I was certain that my partner and I would always communicate and negotiate, and then communicate some more! Afterall, we were two conscientious adults who loved and respected each other. How hard could it be! 

Panasonic CD87KS HomeChef 4-in-1 Multi-Oven Inverter Microwave

Panasonic NN-CD87KS HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven


What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Very easy to clean

  • Combination cooking

  • Can be mounted in cabinet with optional trim kit

What We Don't Like
  • Noisy fan

  • Sensor can be accidentally triggered

  • No temperature selection for air fryer

Very. A domestic war was brewing, even after careful planning and communicating. There were fireworks (not the good kind), and intense discussions, all because of one tiny appliance: the microwave. Truth be told, I might have displayed a little over eagerness to remove the microwave from the plans. My argument was that I don’t really use or need a microwave. I wanted a smart-looking air fryer to occupy the one countertop spot we had for an appliance. But my partner was having none of that. While he loves using an air fryer, he loves using a microwave a tad bit more and can’t really imagine life without one.

We were at an impasse. A strong one. What we needed was a balancing act—and fast. We concluded that a possible solution would be to look for an appliance that was versatile and had attributes that we both wanted, a microwave and an air fryer. It was going to be the device that would erase all memories of heated discussions and create peace once again. To say that I was skeptical would be an understatement. Would a microwave really work as an air fryer and produce satisfying results? More importantly, would it really bring peace? For this thing to work, it had to wow the both of us.

Taking a tray of air fried French fries out of the Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1

The Spruce Eats / Renu Dhar

Ask and you shall receive. Enter The Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1 Microwave Oven with Air Fryer. It checked all the boxes and then some more. It works as a microwave, an air fryer, a convection oven, and has a broil function. Additionally, it has two extra combo functions: Broil + Microwave and Convection + Microwave. It promised a lot more than we asked for and we tested it for many weeks before we called truce.

I diligently prepped chicken wings and French fries in the air fryer mode, while my husband was cooking whole cauliflowers in the combo mode in addition to reheating his chai for the 10th time. I have a feeling his love for the microwave stems from his love of reheated chai. But I digress.

Taking a saucy cooked dish out of the Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1

The Spruce Eats / Renu Dhar

Although it is slightly larger than a standalone air fryer or microwave, it is not bulky. It looks smart on the countertop with its clean lines and minimalist design. The microwave mode works just as expected and the dial helps you control the wattage. You can go as high as 1000 watts and as low as 100. I especially like being able to make ghee and browned butter in the microwave now. At the beginning, when there is too much moisture in the butter, the lower wattage keeps splatter down to a minimum. For reheating leftover food, just placing the food in and hitting start activates the built-in sensor that measures the humidity of the food and calculates the cooking time.

The air fryer function is a little slower than other air fryers on the market and does not have a temperature control. It also takes longer to cook a batch of food. In the beginning, I thought this would be a drawback, but as I kept air-frying, I realized that I could cook larger quantities than standard air fryers and the food never dried out. Crisp and juicy chicken nuggets and chicken wings, reheated pizza slices, cauliflower wings, blistered peppers, and reheated pot pies, the air fryer just kept on delivering perfectly cooked meals.

Crisp and juicy chicken nuggets and chicken wings, reheated pizza slices, cauliflower wings, blistered peppers, and reheated pot pies, the air fryer just kept on delivering perfectly cooked meals.

The broil function is handy and works for toasting bread and muffins. While it’s not for searing or grilling, it does work well during a combo setting while baking a casserole or roasting a whole cauliflower to a crisp exterior without drying it out.  

The dark horse in this appliance though is the convection bake function. It adds another oven to the kitchen arsenal with temperatures ranging from 100 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Making small batches of cookies, mac and cheese, and even baking pies is easier. I wasn’t even looking for it and now I can’t do without it.

Taking air fried chicken wings out of the Panasonic HomeChef 4-in-1

The Spruce Eats/ Renu Dhar

Some other practical and well thought-out features in the Panasonic Homechef are the settings for melting chocolate, softening butter, keeping food warm, and delayed start function. Don’t tell anyone, but I may just have been proven wrong. I do like to use a microwave after all. 

P.S.: In case it was not evident, the Panasonic Homechef did bring about peace and lots of good food. The quality of the reheated chai is still questionable. But that’s on the human, not the appliance.

Dimensions: 22 x 17 x 13.4 inches | Weight: 39.1 pounds | Capacity: 1.2 cubic feet | Power: 1000 watts

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Renu Dhar is a chef instructor and personal chef who thinks counterpace is sacred and the appliances that go on it should really be worth it. She also likes products that are versatile and provide value.