Toaster Oven VS Countertop Oven
Hubby and I don't like wasting energy firing up the oven during the week. It's just dinner for two really. We're in search of a high quality, mini oven. As the toast function isn't critical, we'd gladly sacrifice it for quality . However if one of the best was a toaster oven we certainly wouldn't let that get in our way. Can anyone recommend a brand and model? To take one name off of the list...
We can't take another minute of our horrible Black & Decker Toaster Oven. It's poor at both being an oven and a toaster. The only delight is that it's convection so I can at least truly say it blows.
I have an Oster 6248 convection countertop oven that I got from Costco. It's indispensable -- I use it instead of the real oven for all kinds of tasks -- baking, broiling, and reheating pizza. The only real problem is that it's lousy for toast.
We have a Cuisinart that is satisfactory as a toaster (slow, though) and good as an oven (also convection). You might want to check out this link:
Eric Ripert, chef at Le Bernardin, has some recipes on this blog under the heading Getting Toasted. (There are videos also for them.) He uses a fancy Cuisinart (more upscale than ours) for which he is surely paid handsomely. I've tried several of these recipes in our toaster oven and LOVE LOVE LOVE a few of them. They will make you look very kindly at mighty mini toaster ovens. Take a look --
Absolute favorite are the chicken tenders (there are just two of us for dinner most of the time, like you guys.)
I use a Waring Pro .9 cubic foot oven for daily use. I chose it because there is a rotisserie, and the controls are manual and easy to use. The avatar turkey was cooked perfectly on convection, although it was a tight fit. I like this unit and try to use it whenever possible. It heats up to 500 F in minutes, and is great for a simple round loaf of bread.
Your needs and wants drive the recommendation. How are you going to use the oven? How many people do you generally cook for?
Some people have auxillary ovens for use at holidays for extra oven space (cooking pies and caseroles while the Turkey bakes or the Beef roasts. In that case, maybe a 2 shelf 1 cu. ft model is your best bet. Like the Cuisinart Brick which has convection or Hamilton Beach 1.1 cu ft Convection Bake Broil Rotisserire.
If however you wish to use this as a cooking for 2 save energy oven then a 6 slice toaster oven/ 0.5 cu. ft toaster convection oven is the way to go. The 4 slicers are just 2 small to be very useful as an full size oven substitute....limiting you to one slice of pizza or the 9" Tostinos if you are lucky....though they are better bread toasters generally.
Of the .5 cu. ft Toaster ovens that can take a 12" pizza, these are highly rated.
Krups FBC2 (some other and older Krups too)
Cuisinart 195 and 175
Black & Decker 6301
The Oster mentioned above and its available at Walmart.
Of those mentioned I like the Cuisinarts and the B&D. The B&D is a little wider interior oven space that can accomodate 13" wide broiler and jelly roll pans. However the Cuisinart has more interior space because of the rounded front of the B&D(which also has a slot in the back to accomodate a 12" Digornio....however the B&D has better viewing of the interior because of same and may get up to temp a bit quicker because of the reduced interior space.
The Krups feels abit cheap, but it has ceramic elements and 3 of them top and bottom which allows for quick heat times and even toasting.
The Oster feels abit cheap as well, but its controls are nice, especially the LCD and it is spacious. Does everything but toast well (like most of these units).
The Cuisinart has very loud timer beeps, and doesnt shut off at the end of the timer countdown. The B&D does shut off after the timer countdown ends. The Cuisinart has a rear removal crumb tray, the B&D and all others front removal which is much preferred...however the Cuisinart is not as wide on the exterior dimension as teh B&D and others because its controls are located in that crumb tray position on the bottom....which may be advantageous for placment on the counter.
Im looking for a toaster oven too. I cant decide between the Cuisinart 175 and 195 or the B&D 6301.
When I was looking I narowed my decision to the Oster and the Cuisinart. I've always had very good luck with Cuisinart appliances, so I was leaning that way, but some feature (I can't remember what) tipped me over to the Oster. That said I've been very happy with it. It was quite a bit cheaper as well.
I have never had good luck with B&D appliances of any kind. They work fine, but they tend to fail fairly quickly.