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Feb 3, 2013 03:27 PM

Workarounds for a small (?) oven

So, we are just about to buy a house. The kitchen has a lot of good points (lots of storage, good layout, natural light, room for a small table,etc). One thing I noticed during the inspection, though, is that the wall oven seems tiny - looks like it's a 24" oven. There's also a built in microwave.

The appliances are old and we might replace them as part of a kitchen facelift (no room in the budget for a full remodel, widening the cabinets at this point). What we're trying to decide is whether to switch to double ovens, and put the microwave on the counter, or stick with a single oven and microwave. I have only ever had a full size range oven before.

Questions - do you find a 24" oven to be too small on its own? Would a second oven be helpful? Would a 24" oven and a quality countertop toaster/convection oven (was looking at a Breville that can apparently fit a 13" pizza) be a solid combination?

I do a lot of baking, roasting, etc and I do sometimes get annoyed when I want to cook two things at different temperatures, which is why the double oven seems appealing - but if I could get that with a countertop oven, that would be great. Thoughts?

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  1. Get a countertop convection microwave. These allow you to use them as a regular oven, a regular microwave, or (on combo setting), cycling between microwave and convection baking/roasting. That's a handy thing for stuff like roasting a chicken in half the time and still getting the crispy skin of an oven-roasted bird.

    A 24":oven works fine for most cooking, unless you absolutely MUST roast a monster turkey.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      This is my advice as well, although countertop ovens are themselves pretty small. I use a countertop convection oven and a microwave, but I might be persuaded to buy a unit combining both features in the future.

      I would want a full size oven myself, but if I had to, I could manage with a small oven and a countertop.

      I wouldn't try to roast a large turkey or do mountains of cookies, but otherwise, it could be managed.

      Just have a firm agreement with the family accountant that this oven situation will not be permanent.

    2. I had a built in oven with a microwave-convection oven on the top level and a cooking top at my old house. I loved the double ovens especially when entertaining but hated the cooking top. I really miss my convection oven and was also considering the Breville, it seems to be popular at the cooking and appliance store I go to. Check out Rachel Khoo, in her Paris kitchen she works around a very small oven, I am astounded at what she makes.

      1. I had a 24" oven for a few years before we gutted and remodeled our kitchen. It handled a 20lb turkey just fine at thanksgiving and for the rest of the year it was better than the 30" wall oven I replaced it with, it would get to temperature incredibly quickly.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SeaKoz

          Oh, awesome - thanks!

          Though I realize now that built in microwaves are far more expensive than built-in ovens - so we may end up having two ovens regardless; I do like the idea of two small ovens with separate temperatures for cooking, rather than one big one where i am limited to one temperature at any given time.

        2. My last place, I was in the same boat. And due to the wall oven being built into a rock wall it was going to be a PITA to renovate. Since we needed to replace our ancient toaster oven anyway we got the full size Breville. It was a cheap and easy work around, but I have to say since we moved I'm so happy to have my full sized oven back.

          I love my Breville, but bottom line what it gave me was a second small oven, not the full sized oven I really need. Everything from baking cookies to roasting vegetables was a complete PITA and took twice as long due to being limited to 1/4 sheet pans.

          1. Sounds like double 24" ovens and a countertop microwave is going to be the way to go, unless a renovation (with increased oven space) is imminent. Thanks so much for your help!

            2 Replies
            1. re: pamelak52

              We lived with the same set up for a number of years, rarely was the 24" actually too small. The problem for the most part was you couldn't get two pans side by side when you wanted to. Finally remodeled and went with a 30 inch convection with a convection/microwave "speed" oven above. I thought for years we would have a double oven, but this has worked out well. Double 24s would work out very well in my opinion.

              1. re: pamelak52

                We have 2x ovens that are 24" wide. Plenty wide enough to roast even a 24 lb turkey, but I have a caveat for you when you are buying cookware for oven use -- make sure that there are not handles that stick out beyond the surface, if the surface is just wide enough. I've had this problem twice -- first with my large turkey roaster, which fits fine in the oven except that it had fixed handles protruding on each side. My DH fixed the problem by sawing off the handles. Also bought new cookie sheets that had an oval edge on each short side, rendering them more than 24" and would not fit flat in the oven.