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Are Toaster Ovens Real?

a
andabien Nov 18, 2012 04:11 PM

Tried broiling chicken thighs in my toaster oven, and it didn't work so well. Are toaster ovens good for 'real' cooking? Are there some types of cooking where they work well, or not? Are some toaster ovens really usable, while others are just for toast?

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  1. c
    Chi_Guy Nov 18, 2012 04:22 PM

    I use my toaster oven to broil and bake all the time. It works as long as you aren't putting anything too big in there. I wouldn't recommend chicken thighs for the toaster oven unless you are baking just one.

    1. z
      ziggylu Nov 18, 2012 05:30 PM

      With only a two person household I've used a toaster oven for a lot of our needs for years. I had a Cuisinart for about ten years and bought the Breville last year. I've made all kinds of chicken pieces in both (bone in) with no issues.

      What didn't work?

      1. gansu girl Nov 18, 2012 05:35 PM

        I'm curious about what happened and what kind of toaster oven you have.

        We have a Breville now, and I use it all the time for "real" cooking, not just toast. I've roasted veg in there, bake chicken & fish in there, chicken fingers, fish sticks, etc. Also toast bread & bagels and make open-faced grilled cheese sandwiches. I think it depends on the oven. I grew up with a Black & Decker Toast R Oven and that never seemed to do well with anything but toast and open faced cheese sammies.

        GG
        http://www.semisweetonline.com

        3 Replies
        1. re: gansu girl
          a
          andabien Nov 18, 2012 06:36 PM

          I have a Black & Decker oven, about 1-1/2 years old. I tried broiling two chicken thighs. They seemed to take too long, never really browning, and I thought they might catch on fire a few times. The broiling pan got totally twisted.

          1. re: andabien
            gansu girl Nov 19, 2012 09:39 AM

            Yeah, that's what I thought - like I said, the Black & Decker I grew up with, I'd never trust for "real" food . . . so if you'd like to upgrade (and the Brevilles, etc. are much more $), then you can have the ability to do real food . . . flaming chicken thighs is quite a visual!!

            GG
            http://www.semisweetonline.com

          2. re: gansu girl
            k
            Kontxesi Nov 19, 2012 09:36 AM

            I have a Black & Decker, unsure of age. We ran out of propane last night while I had dinner in the oven. I used the toaster oven to finish up the roasted potatoes, then sliced up the venison roast and threw it in for ten minutes to get it to medium rare.

            It did just fine with that, but I've never tried to use it to cook something from start to finish. I was going to try that out tonight in case we don't get more propane, but now you have me worried.

          3. TeRReT Nov 18, 2012 05:38 PM

            We use ours for pizza, fish, reheating things like chicken or breads, toast obviously, have done gratins in it as well. Made lasagna in my mother in laws but hers is better, and I would just use my microwave oven for lasagna now anyways. I use the toaster a lot, and it was just a cheap $20 toaster oven.

            1. l
              lagatta Nov 18, 2012 05:47 PM

              For me, convection is the key. I was never fully successful with plain toaster ovens, as there are "hot spots". Now I have a countertop convection oven, bought after my stove died. I haven't bought another full-sized stove - I am perfectly happy with this, though of course that would not work for a family. I've done four chicken legs at once, made lovely lasagna for four, pizza, roasted vegetables etc.

              1. r
                rasputina Nov 18, 2012 05:47 PM

                I've had the cheap ones that are basically good for toast and reheating pizza and now I have the Breville Smart Oven which is great for the cooking I do. I never broil though, that type of cooking goes on the grill outside instead. I've baked pies and cakes in it along with the other usual things you do in a toaster oven like toast. I actually use it much more often than my full sized oven because it preheats faster and doesn't heat up the kitchen as much. And my full sized oven also has convection. I still prefer to cook in the Breville as long as it will fit the food and pan.

                1. Veggo Nov 18, 2012 06:49 PM

                  Whatever you do with a toaster oven, watch it constantly with vigilance, as they are the cause of MANY home fires. Every kitchen should have a working fire extinguisher in it.

                  1. Sid Post Nov 18, 2012 07:58 PM

                    My Breville Smart Oven has broiled as many as 4 chicken leg quarters at one time with excellant results. There is a world of difference in "Toaster Ovens". Most are really only good for toast, then you have the convection models which do a better job on a lot of things. Then you have the really good ones that could replace a real oven. In fact, I lived in a farm house for 2 years and never used the oven even once. The Breville Smart Oven did everything very well and was a great size for one person (me) or a couple (me and a friend).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sid Post
                      paulj Nov 18, 2012 08:55 PM

                      I have similar Fridigare, big enough to take a 12" pizza. It works great for biscuits or a cake/quick bread in an 8" pan. A loaf pan puts the bread top too close to the upper element. I've also braised meat in a shallow 10" dutch oven.

                      It does have a broil function, but I haven't used it very much. Thin pieces should broil ok, but thicker pieces like chicken could be a problem. What's the ideal distance between chicken and broiler element? An oven baked chicken recipe might be a better choice. Or a braise in a foil packet.

                      My oven has a fan to circulate hot air, but heat comes from the top and bottom elements, so it isn't true convection. In baking mode, temperature can be set at 25deg intervals. Broil has fewer temperature settings. All temperature control is on/off thermostat.

                    2. w
                      wallal Nov 18, 2012 08:59 PM

                      Most of that I use my toaster oven for is cooking simple things. Small batches of frozen things work great!

                      1. chefathome Nov 19, 2012 09:45 AM

                        Mine is mainly used for heating things up, such as pizza, tuna melts, toasting nuts, roasting asparagus, etc. But I do use it for small batches of things such as twice-baked potatoes. I do not actually cook meat in it from start to finish. Oh, the odd time I've done sole (in parchment) in it as it is so thin. So mine is used regularly for small bits here and there.

                        1. a
                          andabien Nov 19, 2012 10:07 AM

                          Thanks, everyone, for your replies. Some good, useful information.

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