HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Can I really bake dinner in a toaster oven?

  • 49
  • Share

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.

www.saffron215.blogspot.com

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  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.

                  2. Thanks everyone. I'll give it a try. I don't have a lot of extra space on my counter top, but thought my electric bill might "catch a break". Like I said, I cook a lot and use my oven conservatively, but I'm still on a budget and thought it would save money using the toaster oven.

                    www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: mcel215

                      Since you already have that one, by all means keep it and cook whatever you can in it. If you were in the market for a new one I'd recommend a Breville - their Smart Oven is like a toaster oven on steroids, it even has convection. We use ours for roasting, broiling, and baking anything that will fit in it - and that's a lot! Not to mention it makes great toast. Way nicer than my old Black & Decker. Not cheap though.

                      http://www.brevilleusa.com/cooking/ov...

                      1. re: BobB

                        Agreed Bob. It's expensive, but it's money well spent. I love the pull out crumb tray and for some reason it stays remarkably clean. Way cleaner than any toaster oven I've owned previously, and I use it more than the others. (see my post above)

                        1. re: BobB

                          Add me to the list of Smart Oven fans. That thing is flipping AMAZING.

                          1. re: BobB

                            Oh man Bob, I checked out the link and that thing looks AMAZING!!!! I have a Black and Decker toaster/convection oven right now and love it. The only bad thing about it, is that it is pretty loud. Is the Breville quiet? I know I already have a toaster oven, but man, that one looks so much cooler! I have a wedding coming up, maybe it would be good to add to the registry...

                            1. re: Liz1982

                              It's very quiet, I barely notice when the convection is on.

                              1. re: Liz1982

                                last year (I think anyway) for Christmas my husband got me a convection toaster oven. my Farberware toaster convection oven had died. although I love the new oven it is loud and I always unplug it because the blue light is very bright.

                                ok that said, I do a lot of dinners in there.

                                1. deep fried chicken in skillet but finishes its' final crisp in there.
                                2. Mac and cheese gets assembled then handle-less le creuset pie baker is used as the
                                baking vessel and in convection toaster oven to bake.
                                3. zucchini tomato cheese bake
                                4. chicken pot pie
                                5. beef and cheese tortilla casserole

                          2. Absolutely -- works great for a small steak, chicken thighs or drumsticks (breasts, too but we're dark meat people), spuds, burgers, roasted veggies.

                            1. B&D ovens work reasonably well, and they're inexpensive, but I've never had one last over two or three years. The last one we had was a deLonghi; had to replace the switch while it was in warranty, but it lasted about six years before something broke inside. Got a new, much bigger deLonghi on sale for about $80 - it has a convection mode, with which it roasts lamb chops and browns gratins just fine. I have regularly used all of mine for small baking/broiling chores, but this is the first one that will accommodate a real baking dish. I will probably do tonight's mac'n'cheese in it.

                              1. I always thought the photos of a chicken roasting in a toaster oven were crazy: why would I want to have chicken-flavored toast forever after? But now that I have a Breville toaster oven (the smaller, non-convection version) I find I am using it for cooking more and more, so who knows? We bought the Breville because we were tired of buying cheap, dangerous toaster ovens that only lasted 2 years or so. Aside from bagels and pizza, it is great for roasting veggies and warming up leftovers, baking an apple crisp or a pan of enchiladas.

                                1. If you can use it on the back porch in the summertime the energy saved is in air conditioning, The toaster oven is stored in the basement through the winter. When the AC gets uncovered, the regular oven is turned off until fall.
                                  Furthermore, I suspect the toaster oven uses much less energy than the outdoor grill for cooking that requires more time, such as a whole chicken. And for a summertime home cooked small pizza, it can't be beat.

                                  1. In the summer I do everything in my little Cuisinart "Exact Heat" toaster/broiler/convection oven--and I mean EVERYTHING: roasting/baking/broiling. The "Retained Heat" oven in my '50s Chambers range makes the kitchen too warm and I only use it summers if something is too big for the Cuisinart. I'd never be without one. Mine is now (8? 9?) years old and I've never had the slightest problem with it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: SallyMcP

                                      Yes! This is the one my mom has too and it's great. It beats the 'pants' off of my older sister's Waring toaster oven.

                                    2. When we remodeled our kitchen we lived for a year with a toaster oven and were duly amazed at its versatility. Now I've graduated to a Breville and that machine, though pricey, is a marvel. I'd suggest checking out the recipes from 4 star chef Eric Ripert on Youtube - they work and most are only 10 minutes start to finish. Just look for Eric Ripert: Getting Toasted. Better still go to Eric's blog at:
                                      http://blog.aveceric.com/2008/06/29/h...

                                      1. We've had a toaster oven for years, it's great for reheating things that get soggy in the microwave. But I just got a George Forman oven, and it is awesome. It has a rotissarie, and I made a delicious chicken in it. Only problem was they say you can put up to 5 pounds on it, but the chicken was a little plump for the space, so in the future will use a smaller chicken, and tie it better. We baked a fresh pizza in it last week, came out perfect. And I don't find that it takes more time then a standard oven....but this toaster oven has radiant heat, so it seems to cook a little more efficiently. I made chicken and biscuits in it, and bread pudding.And just for fun we bought a package of precut cookie dough, and baked just 4 cookies as a treat. So good, minimal energy use, and no temptation to eat all the cookies (giggle).

                                        1. I bake chicken and fish regularly.

                                          I've also used toaster ovens to make individual pizzas and baked dishes.

                                          1. Not only have I baked dinner, but I've baked cookies! (My university days, when I'd buy a roll of dough and just make a couple for dessert each night).

                                            At the cottage we have a German neighbour who always bakes the most delicious butter cakes and fruit tarts. I was really surprised when I walked into their tiny cottage and couldn't find an oven - she smiled and pointed to her toaster oven. Hers is a bit deeper than standard (big enough to fit an 8 or 9 in round pan) but she accomplishes everything in it!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: emeats

                                              That's one of the nice things about the full-sized Breville - it's large enough to accommodate a 12" square or 13" round pan, and in fact it comes with a 13" pizza pan and 12" broiler pan that is as solidly built as those that come with standard ovens, not the tinny crap that comes with most toaster ovens.

                                            2. I bought my mom one a few years ago and she loves it. Granted it was a pretty nice one (convection, and pretty big). This past Thanksgiving she baked her apple pie in it. She does A LOT of things with it....it's pretty much a second oven when you need it!

                                              1. Like others, I use my toaster oven all the time. At my wife's request, I just retired the one that I bought in 1995 - but only because it was hopelessly dirty. I have an originally Montgomery Ward double oven in my kitchen, which undoubtedly isn't very energy efficient. However, since it is electric I figure that I match the meal with the oven size. If the meal fits in the toaster oven, I use that. If it fits in the side oven, I use that. If it's big enough to require the main oven then I'll use that.

                                                Also, I find that the toaster oven does a much better job of reheating meals as it doesn't dry out meals (especially meats) like a microwave does, even if you use the glass-of-water trick in the micro.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: GutGrease

                                                  We also use our full-size Breville convection toaster oven all the time. Didn't take long to convince us the extra cost was well worth the price. Aside from toasting breads and pastries perfectly, I have also baked fruit breads, cakes, pies, casseroles, meat loaf and other entrees and desserts. The other nice thing is you have another oven to use while your conventional one is at a different temperature baking another dish (like having a double oven!) It heats up to temp quicker and doesn't heat our whole Florida kitchen in the process. The only, and I mean ONLY thing I would improve would be to add a helpful interior light, but otherwise, it's perfection!

                                                  1. re: triff

                                                    meatloaf, thanks for mentioning meatloaf triff.

                                                    1. re: laliz

                                                      LOL - in a serious way or sarcastic one?

                                                      1. re: triff

                                                        serious. I didn't think of using countertop oven for meatloaf.

                                                        1. re: laliz

                                                          Meatloaf was cooked brilliantly, as was a pork sirloin roast (on Roast setting) in the Breville last night. My regular oven was roasting fresh veggies, so I put the almost 5 lb. loin roast in with a remote thermometer (sensor wire worked well with the Breville door closed on it), and that too turned out juicy and worked well.

                                                2. No one has mentioned Krups - absolutely love mine! It's large enough to do most things and convection! We just finished 're-habbing' our house and for 7 months camped out in our dining room. Moved DR table and rug out, moved old kitchen table in, put in refrigerator, couple of card tables, and my Krups toaster oven, plus a 22 y.o. microwave (approx. 2 watts?). Did just fine! Large enough to roast a large half-chicken - highly recommend, and it is quite a bit cheaper than the Breville. Now on sale at Overstock.com for $146! http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/...

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: crabwoman

                                                    I also have a Krups convection oven. I've had it for several years and love it. I cook meatloaf, chicken, fish, potatoes, winter squash and anything with dough,almost everything except toast...I have a toaster for that as it comes out evenly. and yes, the meatloaf comes out great!

                                                  2. I use mine for everything BUT toast. It's the best for cocktail parties, running little batches of hors d'ouevres.

                                                    1. My husband and I cook from scratch nearly every night - and I swear by our Krups oven. I find that food cooks just as well in the Krups as it does in our new GE Profile oven. Consider the environmental aspects on using a small countertop oven over heating-up a standard sized oven. That aspect alone makes it a win-win for everybody!

                                                      1. i have had great results with anything with a digital interface. the cheap ones tend to break (especially if your toasting si done earlier and you want to turn it off early).

                                                        they are usually big enough and have things like convection settings to mimic a real oven. it works great for freezer cookies,biscuits, and entrees.

                                                        1. A couple of years ago I wrote a post on Chowhound asking about toaster ovens--did people really use them, and how did they use them. I got my Cuisinart convection/toaster oven soon after, and I use it often. I do make toast in it, and I like that toast better than that made in my last 2 toasters. I do bake in it, although not an entire dinner--yet! It bakes very well. It is perfect for the two of us. If you can spare the space, I'd keep the B & D. If it goes south, then replace it with a better oven. But the price is right for the one in hand, so I'd use it.

                                                          1. Try it for "top browning"==I make a great French Onion Soup from scratch . I set the toaster oven on "broil" & it's just perfect for browning & melting the cheese topping. Make sure you use fire proof soup bowls. It only takes a few minutes, so wait nearby then ENJOY! My toaster oven is 24 years old & it still works fine without going digital. Maybe it's time to scope out a new one. LOL

                                                            1. Thanks everyone!

                                                              www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                              1. I use it for pretty much everything except large full roasted birds and full-size casseroles. I'm not even sure I know how to cook fish in a regular oven. =) Speaking of - a nice piece of fish on 400 in a toaster oven cooks perfectly and allows you to watch it very easily so it doesn't get overdone.

                                                                1. I use mine all the time for things since I live alone. Today was the first time I tried shirred eggs for breakfast in the toaster oven and it worked great! Didn't want to heat up the whole oven and my little ramekin fit in the toaster oven perfectly. Heats up way faster and uses less energy. I love it!

                                                                  1. I would give up my microwave but never the toaster oven. I use it almost everyday -- great for cooking for one or two people and saving energy. . I have a new Breville now and love it. - think this is my 3rd oven in 30 years. I use the top for warming dishes, meltting butter, etc,. while cooking.

                                                                    1. I have a Cuisinart convection toaster oven and use it all the time. I roast potatoes, grill lamb chops, bake whole fish big enough for two, roast vegetables. I really am limited only by size, and for the two of us, it's usually big enough. I now have a brand-new super space-age regular oven, so may be using the Cuisinart less, but I love it, and during our recent total kitchen remodel, it was a lifesaver parked on the sideboard.

                                                                      1. I actually have a convection toaster oven, and this is one of the most used appliances I own. What you can do in a any toaster oven will depend on a number of factors, including its size.

                                                                        Why don't you try it out for toast, small baking chores, roasting veggies, etc. for a couple of weeks. Try to use it every day and see what you come up with. You can still donate it if you decide it is not for you.