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Can I really bake dinner in a toaster oven?

Hi,

I cook mostly for myself and do a lot of cooking. I bake in a standard oven. I cook all the time. I use a regular toaster for my "toast". But, thought it would be great not to use all the energy it takes to heat up my oven all the time. So what do any of you really use a toaster oven for a dinner meal? I just inherited a brand new Black and Decker toaster oven and before I donate it to charity, what do people really do with a toasted oven?

Thanks.

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  1. I had one in my old apartment when I lived with roommates (it belonged to my roommate). I tried making cookies and biscuits, with decent results. I've tried toasted sandwiches; they don't get that lovely maillard reaction, but they're not too bad. Leftovers are really great, and I've also had good luck with nachos. But the toaster oven went with my old roommate, and I don't miss it at all.

    Even on the hottest days (and this Chicagoan far prefers winter to the hottest days), I don't mind using the broiler or cooking on the stovetop. I don't know the energy difference, but I don't think it's that significant. However, I find the food just tastes better when I have more control over the temperature, and that's worth it to me. Plus, I don't have the counter space.

    1. when I was single, I baked dinner in a toaster oven all the time -- salmon, chicken quarters, pizza bread, etc., etc., etc. I *think* it was a Black and Decker, but that's been a lot of years and a lot of moves, so I don't remember for sure.

      I still did a lot of things when there were two of us -- now that we're a family, the current model gets used for baking, just not as often, as the capacity isn't usually enough for a family. Always for toast, though.

      I had no problem at all with it browning anything.

      Toasted sandwiches go on a grill, in a skillet, or in a press...a toaster oven will heat them, but won't brown them properly.

      1. I've used my toaster oven for baked chicken, baked fish and veggies in foil, baked potatoes, and roast veggies of every sort. It would probably make a decent gratin as well. Obviously, servings have to fit in the oven, and it will take a little longer than a conventional oven, but I've never had trouble baking or roasting in a toaster oven.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gilintx

          I still roast veggies often if I have a small amount.

        2. Keep that Black and Decker! You can absolutely cook dinner in it and it preheats much faster and more efficiently than the big oven. I have a cheap no-name Chinese toaster oven and I've used it to roast chickens, bake bread and pastries. You just gotta figure out the heat pattern inside; fill the pan with flour and roast it until it starts to burn. That will show you where the hot spots are and how best to place food inside it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: RealMenJulienne

            heh...you know, that's so simple it's absolutely brilliant -- what a great idea!

          2. We have a Breville convection toaster oven. Have rarely used it for toast, as we also have a toaster (funny... I don't eat much bread, but Someone does).
            I have cooked: small pies, pizza, casseroles of all sorts, small cakes, cookies, quick breads, roast chicken, turkey legs, small round roast, vegetables, various gratins, and baked potatoes. Also used for drying fruit (it's convection, and has a "keep warm" feature...
            If you have the counter space, I'd suggesting keeping!
            Remember to preheat, and check for hotspots.

            4 Replies
            1. re: KarenDW

              I would marry my Breville... if it was allowed and I wasn't already married. I have the smaller Breville. They are awesome, aren't they?

              I roast chicken thighs with root veggies (yukon golds, sweet potatoes, squash, onions) and I've baked small loaves of bread in it and made personal size pizzas in it also. I roast asparagus, green beans, brussel sprouts in it too. I love, love, love it.

              1. re: KarenDW

                I have that one too. Love the keep warm setting for when I'm making pancakes for the family. We had a cuisinart before and my husband never lets me live down that I gave him the "I married a crazy person" look when he brought it home. I seriously use it every day.

                1. re: KarenDW

                  I ADORE my Breville. Unless I'm cooking a whole chicken or a really big chunk of meat it serves all my roasting purposes. Per my husband it makes pretty good toast too.

                  1. re: KarenDW

                    I second (or third) the recommendation to preheat until the coils turn black. Especially when you're cooking so close to the coils, it makes a big difference in being able to cook your food through before it gets burned.