Is that toaster oven that your mother-in-law gifted you last Christmas collecting dust on your kitchen counter? Or do you think that pricey toaster oven you now regret buying is only good for making. . . well, toast? If either of these two scenarios applies to you, you’re in for a huge revelation: Toaster ovens are one of the most useful and efficient cooking appliances! It’s essentially a miniature oven right in your kitchen. And, despite its name, it does much more than toast bread.
Without further ado, let’s explore the many uses of toaster ovens!
Okay, so reheating food may not be one of the grandest abilities of a toaster oven, but it’s still a useful function. Although they do not heat up as quickly as a microwave, toaster ovens tend to preheat quicker than the full-size oven in your kitchen, which does offer you some convenience. And let’s be honest: foods that are reheated in the microwave just don’t always maintain their desired texture. The absolute worst is French fries. How does something that was once so crisp and golden become mushy and yellow after a couple of spins in the microwave? However, a toaster oven can revive your leftovers and give them the crispy textures that you desire and crave.
Don’t you just love the pleasant and comfy aromas of gooey chocolate chip cookies, warm blueberry muffins, and cinnamon-glazed apples? If you do, you’re in luck because you can bake all of these things in your countertop toaster oven! Although toaster ovens are smaller than full-size ovens, they come equipped with special wattage configurations so that heat can evenly circulate and cook food all the way through until it’s done and safe to eat.
And not only can you bake sweets in your toaster oven, but you can also bake savory foods. Casseroles, cheese-topped pasta, and chicken (yes, chicken!) can be baked in these miniature ovens. You can even bake potatoes in toaster ovens, which saves you from having to fire up the full-size oven in order to bake them. See how convenient toaster ovens are?
You can also use your toaster oven for broiling. Although baking and broiling are similar cooking methods, the difference between these methods has to do with heat. When foods are being baked, they are being cooked by the surrounding air within an oven. This hot air surrounding allows these baked foods to cook slowly. However, broiled foods are exposed to direct heat. In a full-size or standard oven, you have to place food on the highest rack in order for it to be exposed to this direct heat.
This may be difficult because oven rack placement and positions vary across different oven brands and models. The highest rack may be too far away from the heat in some ovens, and it may be too close to the heat in other ovens. But because toaster ovens are smaller and more compact, food can get closer to the heat much easier, which will make the frustration and stress of cooking broiled foods perfectly in a full-size oven almost nonexistent.
Toaster ovens also give you more control over and visibility of your broiled foods. Full-size ovens can be hard to peer inside and discern how your food is cooking, but toaster ovens can be placed on your countertop, and they have see-through windows so you can more closely watch the progress of your food.
Knowing that you bake and broil foods in a toaster oven, it should come as no surprise that the toaster oven can also roast. Toaster ovens are great for roasting chicken and giving roasted chicken that crispy brown skin and tender cut. Not all toaster ovens may be equipped to handle big birds, but there are some toaster ovens that are big enough to cook nice-sized roaster chickens. Just make sure that you do your research and buy one of the best toaster ovens available to you that fits your needs and cooking desires.
Not only can you roast juicy chickens in your toaster oven, but you can also roast ribs, pork tenderloin, and nuts. Yes, you can even roast nuts in your toaster oven, which will make the perfect treats for the holiday season.
Some toaster ovens are equipped with the ability to defrost, or thaw, frozen foods like vegetables and various meats. If your toaster oven is capable of doing this, there should be a button or knob on the oven that specifically has a defrost function.
So multitasking isn’t necessarily a cooking method like those listed above, but toaster ovens do allow you to multitask in the kitchen, which contributes to efficiency and ultimately saves time. Think of this scenario: It’s Thanksgiving, and when it comes to food preparation and cooking, you have a lot on your plate (no pun intended). You may plan to let the main dishes cook in the full-size oven while the side dishes cook in the toaster oven. Everything is basically cooking at the same time, and everything should turn out delicious as long as you keep an eye on all of your dishes.
After exploring all the useful functions of a toaster oven, you now know what to use a toaster oven for. If you already have a toaster oven that you haven’t been using, try to use it when preparing your next meal. And if you don’t have a toaster oven yet, I suggest immediately purchasing one, as they are growing in popularity and selling like (upcoming food pun) hotcakes.
Written by Artesa Cox