If you are like me, you prefer a toaster oven to a pop-up toaster in your kitchen. A toaster oven is more versatile. To begin with, the oven can warm pastries and muffins and toast thick sliced bread that a pop-up toaster can’t handle. A larger toaster oven can hold a small casserole or cake, can roast a small chicken or even broil a steak. They can heat up frozen meals- french fries or a serving of pizza. They add less heat to a kitchen than a full size oven, which is nice in the summer. Although you might do some of these tasks in the microwave, the toaster oven browns foods, crisping them, which the microwave can’t do.
Now that you’re convinced of the necessity of owning a toaster oven, you need to choose one. Here are some things to look for when you’re shopping:
Smaller ovens (12″wide x 10″tall x 12″ deep)hold four slices of bread; larger ones (20″ x 10″ x 15″) can handle six.
The most basic models have a “toast” setting, but most have more, including light, medium and dark settings. For other settings, most have the capacity to bake and broil and some can heat up to 450 degrees.
Also look for features such as preset functions for pizza or bagels which are kid friendly, electric touch pads for setting the temperature or timer, digital displays for setting precise heating and non-stick or porcelain interiors which are easier to clean.
Be sure to measure your counter space, some of the premium toaster ovens can be large and all require an extra four inches behind them (They can’t be flush against the wall) to allow for heat dissipation.
Another feature appearing on taoster ovens is convection cooking. Convection cooking uses air to circulate the heat, cooking food faster and more evenly. It is used for roasting and baking.
The really is a toaster oven for every budget. Some samples (We have not reviewed these particular models.) are:
Black & Decker Model TRO962 Toast-R-Oven with Convection Cooking, about $30
Tefal OT806000 Avante Elite 1600 Watts Toaster Oven with Convection Cooking , about $80
Oster Model 6292 , about $100
Krups Model FBC5 Toaster Oven with Convection Cooking about $200