Toaster ovens have come a long way from the old hunk of metal your grandma used for tuna melts. Today’s models are extremely versatile and can do so much more. Here’s why you should consider adding one to your kitchen (and which ones we recommend).
The Benefits of Toaster Ovens
The name “toaster oven” is a little misleading because these devices can perform a wide range of cooking methods and aren’t just some odd variation of a bread toaster. You can cook a casserole, make pizza, broil fish, and a whole lot more. Most toaster ovens are capable of performing the same functions as a conventional oven and then some. And that’s not where the benefits end. You might be surprised at what this small appliance is capable of.
Toaster ovens come in a range of sizes, but all should be able to fit on your kitchen counter. Whether you have a tiny apartment or just want to save space, there are few downsides to a compact appliance. Toaster ovens can also take the place of both your toaster and microwave, so they can ultimately help you save space.
They’re Quick to Preheat
Because toaster ovens are smaller than conventional ovens, they preheat much faster. You can have an entire meal reheated with your toaster oven in the time it would have taken your regular oven to preheat. This is perfect if you’re short on time or patience.
We mentioned above that toaster ovens do much more than just toast bread. The variety of functions you get will depend on the model you buy, but most models can toast, broil, bake, and keep food warm. Fancier models can proof bread, air fry, slow cook, and even dehydrate. Smaller models can only fit a few slices of bread, but larger options can fit cookie sheets, pizza pans, and casserole dishes.
They’re Safer for Kids
Conventional ovens pose a significant risk to young children. Parents have to constantly pay attention and make sure no hands accidentally get burned while the door is open. Toaster ovens are much safer to operate around kids. Because they sit on the countertop, they’re out of reach of small hands. The appliances themselves are also smaller and make it less likely for young ones to touch something dangerous.
They’re Energy Efficient
Conventional ovens are huge. This can be useful if you’re cooking multiple items at once or large quantities of food, but not so much when you’re baking half a dozen cookies or roasting a few carrots. No matter how small your baking dish, you still need to use enough energy to heat up the entire oven every time you use it. Because toaster ovens are smaller in size, it takes less energy to heat them up and keep them warm. You’ll be helping out the environment and reducing your energy bills over time. And, on top of all that, if it’s hot out you’re pumping less heat into your kitchen—perfect for those times do you do need to bake or roast something in the middle of summer but you don’t want a scorching kitchen.
The Best Toaster Ovens for Every Budget
Sold on the idea of incorporating a toaster oven into your kitchen workflow? Below we’ve rounded up the best toaster ovens for every
The Budget Pick: Mueller Austria 4-Slice Toaster Oven
This little oven fits four slices of bread and is the best budget pick on the market. It features “even toast technology,” which means all sides of your bread will cook at the same temperature. Thanks to the curved interior, you can also fit a medium-sized pizza inside to cook or reheat. It has a temperature range of 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, so it can do everything from warm to broil. This toaster oven is on the small side and works best for singles, couples, and small families.
The Upgrade Pick: Oster Digital 6-Slice Capacity Convection Oven
Oster’s flagship toaster oven offers all the basics a family would need in an appliance. It can fit six slices of bread or the equivalent of a 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan. It features two oven racks and seven cooking presets, including bake, toast, defrost, and warm.
The digital display makes it more user-friendly and the interior light is a helpful addition. This is the best option for families and people who enjoy cooking frequently.
The Premium Pick: Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven
This toaster oven comes with another size increase and more features than the moderate option. It can fit a large pizza, casserole dish, or cookie sheet, depending on what you’re making. It will take up more room on the counter but is still compact enough for most kitchen sizes.
It also features a smart cooking system that automatically adjusts heat to avoid cooking disasters. You’ll also get 10 different cooking settings including toast, bagel, bake, roast, grill, pizza, cookies, reheat, warm, and slow cook.
The Luxury Pick: Breville Smart Oven Air with Super Convection
We’re going to be honest: If you’re looking for a basic toaster oven that gets the job done, you don’t need to splurge this high. The moderate- and high-budget models will do the job. However, if you have a higher budget and you’re interested in the best of the best toaster over out there, this one should be your pick.
It’s 30% larger than the previous option with two racks to twice the cooking capabilities. You’ll also get three more preset functions: proof, air-fry, and dehydrate. This luxury item can take the place of your oven, toaster, slower cooker, air-fryer, and dehydrator. It’s the perfect all-in-one oven if you have the budget for it.