Toaster Ovens

This page contains all resources I have on toaster ovens: tips, recipes, and guides on how to choose one.

Good to Know

Why toaster ovens?

THE TOASTER OVEN has come a long way from being a glorified toaster that simply toasts bagels and open-face cheese sandwiches to an appliance that cooks everything from a roast chicken to muffins and casseroles – dishes that have traditionally been prepared only in a standard-sized oven. Many toaster ovens now include features such as touch-pad controls, defrost and reheat options, convection option, timers, clocks, easy-clean interiors, cool touch exteriors, and more. There are even new microwave/toaster ovens and models that combine a toaster oven with a rotisserie and griddle.

Much smaller than a standard oven, this versatile appliance is convenient, space-saving, and energy-efficient, and it is becoming a permanent item in many kitchens. Always a popular appliance for students, toaster ovens are now used by single professionals, young couples, empty-nesters, occasional cooks, and retirees. They are a boon for large families, too – easily operated by kids, and a handy second oven when you are entertaining and need extra oven space.

When you buy, think beyond toasting and reheating. Consider your needs and how you would likely use your oven. Most ovens will toast, bake, and broil. Some have defrost, reheat, and convection options. Choose a well-known brand to ensure a good warranty and available servicing, if required.

Many consumers make the mistake of selecting an oven that is too small. Then when they discover how versatile this oven is, they wish they had purchased a larger unit. It will often become their main or permanent oven.

Check the capacity (some can roast a 4-lb/2 kg chicken and accommodate a 13- by 9-inch/3.5 L baking dish), the exterior (cool touch), surface (easy clean), accessories, and the external dimensions (for your available space). Some consumers install a special shelving unit (check the manufacturer’s manual to make sure there is adequate space between the oven and the back wall, and that the oven is not enclosed).

What are the advantages of toaster ovens?
  • A toaster oven is more energy-efficient than a full-sized oven (using about half as much energy as a standard oven). It is also a fraction of the price of a standard oven.
  • Toaster ovens preheat very quickly. When I first used the toaster oven, I would turn it on before I started to do anything else (as instructed in many cookbooks), but the oven would reach the cooking temperature before I had even assembled my ingredients! Preheat just before you are ready to use the oven (many will preheat to 350В°F/180В°C in just three minutes).
  • Since the toaster oven doesn’t heat the kitchen like a big stove or oven, it is especially good for use in the summer, at the cottage, or in your recreational vehicle.
  • The toaster oven is easy to clean. The slide-out trays and easy-clean interior walls make tidy-up simple, especially if you wipe up any spills as soon as they occur.
  • A toaster oven is light and portable, and it takes up minimal counter space, making it ideal for galley kitchens, student digs, cottages, or RVs (check your manufacturer’s manual for instructions on placement).
  • Many toaster ovens will defrost and reheat, but unlike a microwave, the toaster oven produces crisp and crusty results when desired.
What are the usual accessories that come with toaster ovens?

The toaster oven comes with an oven pan (also called oven tray), a broiler rack (drip tray), and the oven rack (toaster rack). In some models, the oven rack has two positions and can also be inverted so that the food is closer to or farther from the heat source. The oven pan can double as a baking sheet for cookies, biscuits, and free-form breads.

Most models have a removable crumb tray for easy cleaning.

What are the settings on the toaster oven?
Most toaster ovens have three main functions:

Toast

The Toast function is for toasting bread of varying thickness, bagels, and sandwiches. In most ovens, the lightness or darkness can be adjusted. Some ovens have a special setting for bagels and four slices of toast.

To toast, place the item directly on the oven rack, making sure that the crumb tray is in position. (Never wrap the oven rack or crumb tray with foil, as this can cause the oven to overheat.) Use this setting for toasting English muffins, crumpets, and bread. Pizzas and pastries can also be crisped using this setting.

Bake

The Bake function can be used to cook roasts, stews, casseroles, squares, cookies, pizzas, bread, cakes, and desserts. The baking temperature can be set as in a regular oven.

The Bake function can be used to cook roasts, stews, casseroles, squares, cookies, pizzas, bread, cakes, and desserts. The baking temperature can be set as in a regular oven.

Before you start to bake, make sure your baking dish will fit in the oven. Some baked dishes require covering, either with a lid or foil. If you use foil, make sure it fits tightly and is at least 2 inches (5 cm) away from the heat source.

Preheat the oven until the indicator light goes on or the signal sounds.

For the best results when baking items such as cakes, squares, and bread, turn the pan partway through baking. (This may not be required in all cases; you will soon find out whether this is necessary with your oven for even browning).

In some ovens, the rack for the bottom setting can be inverted so it is slightly farther from the bottom heat source. If this optional rack setting is available, use it for squares and cakes. Pies, muffins, and bread bake well on the lower rack.

As in any oven, the interior temperature fluctuates. This fluctuation may affect items that are baked for a short time (e.g., cookies). The interior temperature is also lowered every time you open the oven door. Some ovens are also better insulated than others, and the temperature may vary in different parts of the oven.

Check foods with short cooking times frequently. You will soon find out how your oven cooks and can adjust cooking times accordingly.

Broil

The Broil function is used for appetizers, grilled meat, fish, or poultry. You can also use the broil setting for melting cheese toppings, browning casseroles, or crisping items such as chicken wings.

Food should be placed at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the heat source. As the heat comes only from above, items may need to be turned to cook the second side.

The best results are achieved when food items are of uniform thickness.

Preheat the broiler according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most manufacturers recommend leaving the oven door ajar when broiling but check your manual. Do not wrap the broiler rack in foil as splattering can occur as well as overheating. Always place the broiler rack over the oven pan. Some manufacturers recommend adding about 1/4 cup (50 mL) water to the oven pan to reduce sizzling and splattering. Under high heat, some oven pans may also temporarily buckle during cooking.

Convection Bake

This is a fairly recent feature in toaster ovens. In convection cooking, hot air is circulated throughout the oven by a fan, creating moist and juicy interiors and browned surfaces especially suitable for roasts. Originally found only in large commercial ovens, the convection feature has been adapted to the standard home oven and is now available in some toaster ovens. However, unlike larger ovens, there is only one convection feature in the toaster oven – convection bake.

The convection function does not operate when you are broiling or toasting.

Most foods will convection bake up to 30 percent faster than in conventional cooking, provided that nothing blocks the circulating air, such as lids, foil, or high-sided dishes. The heat comes from both the bottom and top elements, and the fan circulates the air, encouraging all-over browning. With the convection bake feature, it may not be necessary to turn pans halfway through the cooking time but check occasionally to make sure the dish is browning evenly.

The general rule of convection cooking is to reduce the oven temperature by 25В°F (13В°C) or reduce the cooking time by 25 to 30 percent. More time is saved the longer an item cooks.

When using the convection setting, mark the temperature and timing on your recipe for future reference.

For more in-depth information, see my post about the different settings.

What other accessories do I need?

Your cupboards may already contain the cookware you need for your toaster oven. If you are shopping for new items, know the interior dimensions of your oven. Department stores, supermarkets, and kitchenware shops also stock a good selection of foil bakeware, which is convenient for baking, storing, freezing, and reheating dishes.

In addition to the broiler rack and oven pan that come with the oven, all the recipes in this book can be made using the following items:

  • A 6-cup muffin pan
  • A standard 8- by 4-inch (1.5 L) loaf pan
  • A 6-cup (1.5 L) baking dish or casserole with lid
  • An 8-cup (2 L) baking dish or casserole with lid
  • An 8-inch (2 L) square glass or metal baking dish
  • A 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate
  • Deep 8-inch (20 cm) and 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pans
  • Four 4-oz (125 mL) ramekins
  • Parchment paper and foil

For some specific recommendations, see my post about toaster oven accessories.

Some general toaster oven tips
  • Always read the manufacturer’s manual before using your oven.
  • Use dry potholders (wet pot holders or oven mitts conduct heat and can cause steam burns).
  • Keep the crumb tray clean. Do not operate the oven without the crumb tray in place.
  • Unplug the oven when it is not in use.
  • Select a space in your kitchen where the oven is easily accessible. Allow enough space to open the oven door and room to place items going in and out of the oven. Do not crowd items around the oven or store items on top of it.
  • Although the oven pan cleans well, some recipes contain ingredients that may stick, such as sugary marinades or sauces. For ease of clean-up, parchment paper can be cut to fit the bottom of the oven pan. Do not let the edges of the paper extend over the sides of the pan.
  • Toaster ovens are more efficient if the door is left closed. If possible, try to check food by viewing through the glass door.
  • Place foods at least 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) away from the elements (check your manufacturer’s manual).
  • The recipes on this site can also be prepared in a standard oven, but check doneness toward the end of the cooking time.
Making ahead
Certain recipes can be partially prepared ahead of time, covered, and refrigerated. For good finishing results, it is recommended that the dish stand for up to 30 minutes at room temperature (68В° to 70В°F/20В° to 21В°C) before final baking or reheating to take off some refrigerator chill. Also, many dishes can be completely cooked ahead, frozen or refrigerated, and then reheated. (Don’t forget that your toaster oven can also be used to heat foods.)
Food safety tips
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds before starting to cook and after coughing, sneezing, using the restroom, and touching pets.
  • Keep work surfaces, cutting boards, and counter surfaces clean. Sanitize them with a mild chlorine bleach solution (especially when working with meats, poultry, and seafood). Mix 1 tsp (5 mL) bleach with 3 cups (750 mL) water and store the bleach solution in a well-labeled spray bottle.
  • Use two cutting boards: one for raw meat, poultry, and fish; one for cooked foods, fresh vegetables, and fruits.
  • Keep cold foods cold, below 40В°F (4В°C).
  • Keep hot foods hot, above l40В°F (60В°C).
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from one another, other foods, and cooked foods. Use clean utensils and dishes when switching from raw to cooked foods.
  • Defrost meat, poultry, and fish completely under refrigeration and keep in the refrigerator until cooking.
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator. Boil any remaining marinade for 7 minutes or discard it. Do not reuse raw marinades.
  • Use a spoon to baste raw foods, as it is difficult to clean brushes thoroughly.
  • Use a food/meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of foods.
  • Refrigerate leftovers as quickly as possible. Cooling to room temperature on the counter invites bacteria growth. Use leftovers quickly.
Recommended safe temperatures for doneness
  • Beef and Lamb:
    • Rare to medium-rare 140В°F (60В°C)
    • Medium 160В°F (70В°C)
    • Well done 170В°F (75В°C)
  • Pork medium 160В°F (70В°C)
  • Ground Beef and Pork 170В°F (75В°C)
  • Ham (ready to eat and fully cooked) 140В°F (60В°C)
  • Whole Chicken and Turkey (unstuffed) 180В°F (82В°C)
  • Turkey Breast 170В°F (75В°C)
  • Ground Chicken and Turkey 175В°F (80В°C)

As an Amazon associate I may earn a commission from a purchase you make. This does not increase cost for you or influence my decision.

Which Toaster Oven Should I Buy?

If you’re wondering which toaster oven to buy, here are my top recommendations:

Best Toaster Oven: Breville BOV900BSS Smart Oven Air

I looked for a smart toaster oven that could feed my entire family, and I found that in Breville. It remains one of my favorite purchases to this day, so if you need an oven that’s large and capable, I recommend looking into it. Read my full review.

Best Alternative: Panasonic FlashXpress Compact Toaster Oven

The iconic infra-red Panasonic FlashXpress Compact Toaster Oven is still the crown jewel of toaster ovens under $100. Read my full review.

Reviews

Resources

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Recipes

Ranch Beef Burger from a Toaster Oven
Barbecue Meatballs from a Toaster Oven
Ham and Pineapple Baked in a Toaster Oven
Oktoberfest Sausages Roasted in a Toaster Oven
Spaghetti with Sausage and Feta from a Toaster Oven
Vegetable Bean Chili from a Toaster Oven
Fried Potatoes Baked in a Toaster Oven
Sweet Potatoes Baked in a Toaster Oven
Brunch Quiche Baked in a Toaster Oven
Cottage Ham and Eggs from a Toaster Oven