Toaster ovens are typically smaller than convection ovens and more versatile than bread toasters. In 1910, William Hadaway built the first toaster oven and sixty years later, the traditional appliances were made with decorative front panels.
Chrome has remained as the most popular finish for toaster ovens through the years, and today these kitchen appliances are manufactured with better performance and more advanced features. Consumers focus on reputation, budget, quality and durability when they plan on purchasing the best toaster oven.
Most toaster ovens come loaded with extra functions these days. The basic functions include:
- Toast: Power is evenly distributed to both the lower and upper elements and is perfect for reheating food or toasting bread.
- Bake: The oven maintains an even temperature and works similar to a standard oven.
- Broil: This function is mainly used for grilling meat and vegetables, browning casseroles and melting cheese. The heat comes from only the top elements.
Extra functions usually vary from one brand to another and may include:
- Steam: This feature allows you to poach or steam food
- Air-fry: High heat with a fan is used to brown or crisp foods
- Dehydrate: A function perfect for drying fruits or herbs
- Dual or phase cooking: You can set two functions and temperatures in one session
- Roast: The roast program typically reaches and maintains the set temperature
- Slow cooking: The function allows cooking at a low temperature and you can set the timer for a longer period of time
- Reheat: Reheats food at an average temperature of 275F to 325F
- Proof: A low temperature setting for proofing dough or yeasted bread
- Warm: The oven maintains a temperature of around 160F to keep food warm
- Cookies: Select the temperature and cooking time for baking cookies
- Pizza: Allows you to melt the toppings of a pizza and crisp the crust
- Bagel: Warms the inside and crisps the top of the bagel
Most ovens have a non-stick interior. The coating inside makes cleaning extremely easy.
A removable crumb tray comes with almost all ovens. The tray catches spills and crumbs that may fall to the bottom of the oven, and it makes it easy for you to keep the appliance clean.
Most people prefer a toaster oven with a baking tray and a broiling rack. The latter can be used for cooking poultry or meat. The metal rack elevates the meat, and the baking tray can function as a drip pan. A pizza stone or pan is also a popular accessory that is available with many makes.
Some brands provide specially designed boards with silicone feet to fit on top of the toaster oven. The oven tends to get very warm on the top during use, and the board allows airflow. The board can also be used for cutting vegetables or other ingredients, or as a trivet mat on the table when serving food.
One of the favorite features for many is a rotisserie spit. Once the chicken or roast is skewered on the rod, it gets evenly cooked while rotating in the oven. Other great features include:
- Frozen button: The timer will automatically give additional time for the food to defrost before cooking it
- The Celsius/Fahrenheit button allows you to select one of the two degrees of your choice
- Auto-eject rack: The rack automatically moves forward when you open the door of the oven
- Interior light: You can monitor your food without opening the door
- Convection: A fan distributes warm air throughout the oven
- Timer: Timers announce the end of the cook time with a beep and some usually include an automatic shut-off feature for when a cooking cycle is complete
- LCD screen displays the temperature settings and function selections
Safety is a high priority to manufacturers. The power cords are usually short. It is important to ensure that the power plug is in the area you intend to use your oven. Toaster ovens have specific requirements for space for safety reasons.
Today’s best toaster ovens are great for making quick and easy meals
A toaster oven can crisp and brown foods in a way that many other kitchen appliances, such as a microwave, can’t. It is also much more energy-efficient than a regular oven. It remains a good idea to go through the safety warnings in the user manual before you cook in your new toaster oven. Safety should always be a high priority.
A breakfast filled with calcium, potassium and omega-3 is a wonderful way to start the day. Fresh figs are in season from mid-May to December. Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Kadota or Calimyrna figs taste great with maple glazed sausages. You can quickly prepare the sausages in the toaster oven and serve them with fresh figs.
Cinnamon-dusted apple chunks baked in the toaster oven and served with morning oats will help you stay healthy. For extra creaminess and protein, you can add Greek yogurt or peanut butter.
For a quick lunch, take a block of tofu, also known as bean curd, and press out some of the liquid. Cube the bean curd and baste it with your favorite marinade. Bake it in the toaster oven. This is a healthier choice than croutons. Serve it in a wrap with vegetables or in a salad. Tofu provides large amounts of protein, is high in calcium, and has a low-calorie count.
Moroccan pork kebab is quick and easy to make for dinner. Baste cubed pork with a mixture of crushed garlic, cinnamon, tomato paste, orange juice and cumin. Stick the cubes of meat, onion, and eggplant onto skewers and roast it in your toaster oven.
Stuffed portabella caps for dinner are light but filling. The mushroom is a good addition to any diet plan and provides B vitamins, potassium, fiber, and macro nutrients. Fill the portabella caps with a mixture of onions, spinach, basil, tomatoes, and ricotta. Sprinkle the top of the stuffing with parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs. Roast the stuffed caps in the toaster oven.
Best toaster ovens on the current market
Toaster ovens are growing in popularity and there are a host of brands to choose from. Some of the top rated brands include:
Black & Decker
The company’s four-slice toaster is a great kitchen counter model with its cooking timer, removable crumb tray, and large window. The oven is designed to cook almost 20% faster than its previous models. A broil rack and bake pan is included. This model offers sufficient space to bake a nine-inch pizza.
Panasonic Flash Xpress
This Panasonic flashxpress oven provides an excellent toaster function, two oven racks, a crumb tray, and a heavyweight baking pan.
Cuisinart Chef’s Convection
This oven offers a pizza stone, two oven racks and a heavyweight pan. Cuisinart Chef’s convection toaster offers features such as dual cook, toast, waffle, bagel, broil, bake, pizza, roast, leftover, keep warm, speed convection, volume control, and pizza stone.
Hamilton Beach Easy Reach with Convection
The oven with its unique appearance and three cooking modes is large enough to fit six slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza. The convection fan reduces cooking time. A large window allows you to monitor the food.
Top picks based on price and features:
Breville Smart Oven Pro Models
The Breville BOV845BSS and the Breville BOV800xl Smart Oven Pro models feature convenient preset options and slow cook setting. The company refers to the five heating elements as Element IQ. The temperature and timer adjust the five heating elements automatically according to the setting. The Breville uses convection for baking, the top heating element for broiling, and bottom and top elements for toasting. Both are convection powered that include built-in fans that circulate the hot air inside. Convection actually speeds up the cooking time by moving the air around the food and taking away the cold air.
Breville BOV845BSS Oven with Element IQ features:
- Interior light to keep an eye on whats cooking
- 10 pre-set cooking functions – toast 6 slices, bagel, bake, roast, broil, pizza, cookies, reheat, warm and yes, slow cook
- Non-stick inside cavity coating stops food from sticking to the walls which makes cleaning this oven a breeze.
- Magnetic Auto-eject rack for easy removal of hot items
- Capacity: 6-slice toaster and up to a 13″ pizza
- 1,800 watt power with 5 quartz heating elements
- Temperature range of 120 to 450 degrees
- Overall size – 15.75 x 18.5 x 11 inches
- Enamel pans included: Baking pan, broil rack & non-stick pizza pan
- 4.6 out of 5 stars in reviews
Breville bov800xl Element IQ features:
- 9 pre-set cooking functions – Toast, bagel, bake, roast, broil, frozen pizza, cookies, reheat and warm
- Backlit, easy to read digital LCD changes from blue to orange when cooking
- Capacity: 6-slices of bread and up to a 13″ pizza
- 1,800 watt power with 5 quartz heating elements
- Temperature range of 120 to 450 degrees
- Overall size – 18.5 x 16.2 x 11.2 inches
- Pans included: Baking pan, broil rack and pizza pan
- 4.5 out of 5 stars in reviews
Both of these models offer a limited 1 year product warranty from the date of purchase. Visit now for discounts on these super convenient small kitchen appliances.
The best toaster ovens have grown in popularity and there are many brands to choose from. Consumers usually focus on a company’s reputation, quality, and durability of the product, and a budget when they plan on purchasing the best toaster oven. Most offer a large capacity, provide digital convection cooking and come loaded with extra functions and can do a whole lot more than toasting bread. The Breville Smart Oven Pro (pricier) and the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach are considered to be the best. The Breville Smart Oven Pro is a beautiful design, and offers all the features one would expect from a high-end oven.