Author Topic: Toaster Ovens  (Read 6088 times)

SimpleCycle

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Toaster Ovens
« on: May 04, 2017, 09:11:26 PM »
What do you cook in the toaster oven vs. regular oven?  Does anyone know anything about the relative efficiency of an electric toaster oven vs. a full size gas oven?

GoingToMaine

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2017, 09:27:26 PM »
I used to have one.  I really liked it for reheating things (particularly pizza) and making toasted sandwiches. 

This site can show you calculations for the cost of various cooking methods.  I haven't dug into it much, but it looks like toaster oven cooking is comparable to microwave cooking, which is on the lower end of the cost scale.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2017, 09:49:25 PM »
I used to have one.  I really liked it for reheating things (particularly pizza) and making toasted sandwiches. 

This site can show you calculations for the cost of various cooking methods.  I haven't dug into it much, but it looks like toaster oven cooking is comparable to microwave cooking, which is on the lower end of the cost scale.

Thanks!  That site is really helpful.

Rural

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2017, 04:01:35 AM »
Power usage aside, it's also faster (countertop convection oven) and doesn't heat the house up like the big oven, so there's that, especially if you live in a warm climate.

catan

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Toaster Ovens
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2017, 05:25:04 AM »
I bake potatoes, mini pizzas, and toast bread in mine. It heats up faster than a regular oven.

When I had a countertop convection oven, I baked cookies and banana bread in it. The bake time for cookies is shorter. I didn't miss not having a regular oven at all.


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« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 04:28:24 AM by catan »

chemistk

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2017, 05:42:17 AM »
I've made almost everything in a toaster oven. Cookies, bread, pie, fries, potato chips, chicken nuggets (frozen and from scratch), cake, roasted Veggies, cassaroles (small ones of course), etc.

if you can find a good model that has a range of features and decent capacity, you're only limited by the size of the dish you're trying to make.

Best thing about it, like catan said, is that it heats up much faster than a regular oven, making temp. control very nice. It's also great to use if you're making a meal with components that require baking but at different temperatures - or to make dessert at the same time as dinner.

MandalayVA

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2017, 05:48:00 AM »
I absolutely love my Breville Smart Oven.  It's somewhat pricy up front, but I use it for everything that needs baking or roasting unless it's a turkey or something.  Bonus--it makes REALLY good toast.

Noodle

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2017, 09:17:49 AM »
I use my toaster oven all the time. It's great for warming up a single serving of frozen food or anything bread-based or crispy that would be gross in the microwave. Or toast, or open-face sandwiches, etc. Helps ease the strain on the air-conditioning by not heating up the whole kitchen...

Spork

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2017, 09:33:39 AM »
For a while we lived in a tiny 600 sqft building (now my shop building).  The AC barely could keep up with Texas summers.  When we used the oven, the entire place became unbearable. 

So.. for pretty much 4 months out of the year, we would use a toaster oven instead of a conventional oven.  It was a little problematic because, due to the tiny space, there just was NOT counter space for it, but I built a shelf, added an electrical circuit and ... presto.

I might add: Wifey also did quite a bit of solar oven baking back then, too... for the same reasons.

tarheeldan

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2017, 09:36:25 AM »
Toaster oven FTW! Anything you'd put in the oven that fits. Great for re-heating things that would come out soggy in the microwave e.g. pizza, french fries, and much better than microwave for heating those kinds of frozen foods.

dcozad999

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2017, 01:06:00 PM »
I bake potatoes, mini pizzas, and toast bread in mine. It heats up faster than a regular oven.

When I had a countertop convection oven, I baked cookies and banana bread in it. The bake time for cookies is less. I didn't miss not having a regular oven at all.


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How long did it take to bake a potato? We probably underutilize ours, though we use it several times a week.

ketchup

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2017, 01:12:18 PM »
We have one in the break room at work and it's fantastic.  Most people just do basic stuff like toast a bagel or reheat pizza in there, but it's fully capable of cooking up some potatoes or chicken thighs or whatever you've got.  I'll often just buy a case of raw chicken thighs on Monday, keep it in the fridge at work, roast a few up each day, pair it with some lazy microwave vegetables, and call it lunch.

catan

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2017, 04:28:08 AM »
I bake potatoes, mini pizzas, and toast bread in mine. It heats up faster than a regular oven.

When I had a countertop convection oven, I baked cookies and banana bread in it. The bake time for cookies is less. I didn't miss not having a regular oven at all.


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How long did it take to bake a potato? We probably underutilize ours, though we use it several times a week.

I do 50-60 minutes at 350F for medium sized potatoes. It's possible they bake faster but I always forget to check.

dcozad999

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2017, 08:07:45 AM »
Thanks, I will give the baked potato a try. We rarely eat them because I don't feel like firing up the oven for an hour just for a couple potatoes.

GoingToMaine

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2017, 09:05:02 AM »
Thanks, I will give the baked potato a try. We rarely eat them because I don't feel like firing up the oven for an hour just for a couple potatoes.
I'm not sure about regular potatoes, but sweet potatoes "bake" well in the microwave.  So that might be another option.

marielle

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2017, 09:17:30 AM »
A toaster oven is more essential to me than a microwave I think. I've cooked pretty much anything that I have in a full size oven, but my favorite is being able to toast bread with the butter already on it. They're so cheap even brand new that it doesn't make sense not to get one, especially if you live in a hot climate. The best part is no pre-heating required!

Plus you can plug it in outside for even more efficiency if you're running air conditioning.

mtn

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2017, 09:21:27 AM »
I love toaster ovens. Make a lot more sense to me. I just wish I could mount it under my cabinets for more counterspace, but heat rises.

slugline

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2017, 09:21:54 AM »
I consider my toaster oven as one of my mainline cooking appliances. Inside I cook/bake anything that I might in a regular oven as long as it fits and does not block the convection vents. Because of the convection that actively circulates hot air and the smaller interior volume, it pre-heats faster than my regular oven, so I have to believe it's more energy efficient too. My home is all-electric -- no gas -- so I can't comment on whether a gas stove would be a better investment.

WSUCoug1994

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2017, 01:20:44 PM »
I am not sure that we have used our actual oven since we bought this house.  The only wedding gift my wife wanted was a Breville Toaster Oven and she got one.  This oven is awesome - I can't imagine living without it.  Fast, efficient and makes great toast - which I was surprised by.  My only complaint is that it is a little small (pizza's etc.) but if it is bigger than our oven we likely shouldn't be cooking it.

HipGnosis

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2017, 02:02:12 PM »
I live alone and do almost all my cooking in my toaster oven. 
The big oven (gas) is used for pizzas (I have a pizza stone) and roasts.  And I'm thinking of cutting roasts into small enough pieces to do in the toaster oven as it would allow me to use different seasonings for more variety.
I use to bake a few times a year (mostly in winter as my house doesn't have central air), but now I'm doing low carb so doing baking in small batches in the toaster oven to try and refine recipes.
I bought a silicone muffin 'pan' and easily cut it in half (which fits in the toaster oven).
I once bought a toaster oven that would do (small) pizzas, but to fit pizza, it stuck out in back an extra 6", so it didn't fit on my counter!
I look for bakeware that will fit in the toaster oven every time I go to thrift stores. I have the dimensions in my phone.  I use to buy aluminum 'pans' that were drip trays for a BBQ, but I can't find them anymore.
I recommend that you check the temp of your toaster oven with an oven (or IR) thermometer if you do any baking.   And I do preheat it for baking.

aetheldrea

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2017, 11:00:10 PM »
Obviously it will take much more energy to heat a large oven than it will a small toaster oven. Which one costs more will depend on the relative prices of gas and electricity in your area.
There is a lot more waste heat given off with a gas oven, since airflow is required to support combustion. Our gas oven heats up our whole house, which is okay in winter but not so nice the other 11 months of the year (SoCal). We use our toaster oven several times a day.

HipGnosis

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2017, 08:09:58 AM »
But a standard / large oven has a lot more insulation than a toaster oven (usually none).

Spork

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2017, 10:38:56 AM »
Modern day large ovens have surprisingly bad insulation.  It IS better than a toaster oven, but ... there is a lot more heat to leak out.  It looks like the insulation is mostly for "don't start a fire" rather than "please hold in the heat."  Also, modern ovens actually have a vent that PUSHES heat out into the room. They are bigger/more noticeable in gas ovens (for combustion reasons) but they're also there in every electric I've seen. (I haven't seen them all, obviously).

Squirrel away

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2017, 02:33:57 AM »
I keep thinking about getting a toaster oven to replace our crappy electric oven.

chasesfish

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2017, 05:41:35 AM »
We love our Breville, bought it with points earned via travel hacking.

HipGnosis

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2017, 10:23:13 AM »
I am not sure that we have used our actual oven since we bought this house.  The only wedding gift my wife wanted was a Breville Toaster Oven and she got one.  This oven is awesome - I can't imagine living without it.  Fast, efficient and makes great toast - which I was surprised by.  My only complaint is that it is a little small (pizza's etc.) but if it is bigger than our oven we likely shouldn't be cooking it.
FYI; I'm gonna hate you now a little bit.   Pardon me while I go find the 'what are you lusting after' thread...

aetheldrea

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2017, 07:27:13 PM »
Modern day large ovens have surprisingly bad insulation.  It IS better than a toaster oven, but ... there is a lot more heat to leak out.  It looks like the insulation is mostly for "don't start a fire" rather than "please hold in the heat."  Also, modern ovens actually have a vent that PUSHES heat out into the room. They are bigger/more noticeable in gas ovens (for combustion reasons) but they're also there in every electric I've seen. (I haven't seen them all, obviously).
Hmmm... My limited experience with modern electric ovens is the opposite of yours. Insulation has become so good that you can't even tell the oven is on when baking. Also, no vent because not needed. So now I really want an electric oven with a gas range, best of both worlds.

Spork

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2017, 07:28:42 AM »
Modern day large ovens have surprisingly bad insulation.  It IS better than a toaster oven, but ... there is a lot more heat to leak out.  It looks like the insulation is mostly for "don't start a fire" rather than "please hold in the heat."  Also, modern ovens actually have a vent that PUSHES heat out into the room. They are bigger/more noticeable in gas ovens (for combustion reasons) but they're also there in every electric I've seen. (I haven't seen them all, obviously).
Hmmm... My limited experience with modern electric ovens is the opposite of yours. Insulation has become so good that you can't even tell the oven is on when baking. Also, no vent because not needed. So now I really want an electric oven with a gas range, best of both worlds.

Your experience is how I would describe my 65 year old gas oven.   It is wildly insulated, has large heat absorbing cast iron baffles and has mechanisms to clamp down the vents when not in use.  Recipes are written to "cook with the gas off" -- essentially heating the oven for 30 minutes or so and coasting for hours afterwards.   (And it comes with a gas cooktop to boot.)

freeat57

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2017, 01:21:36 PM »
As a couple of others have said, one of the huge advantages of a toaster oven is that you can use it outside in the summer to avoid heating up the house.  This was especially useful when I lived in western Texas.  I just kept the oven on the covered back patio all summer and used it for almost all my baking.  I did chicken (get yourself a meat thermometer), cakes, biscuits, casseroles.  I just could not stand to use the kitchen oven when it was 105 degrees outside!.  There are some counter ovens now that are large enough to fit a 9"x13" cake pan, which could be useful.  I was very lucky and found my practically new one at a thrift store for $15.  It had an unsightly, but harmless dent in the top.

Baking tips: 1) If something is high and close to the top heating elements, keep an eye on it and tent with foil if it looks like it will get too brown before being done.  2) If something is close to the lower elements and in danger of burning on the bottom, set the pan on a cookie sheet for double protection.  3) Things will generally benefit from being turned 180 degrees half way through the cooking time.

Happy baking!

Another Reader

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2017, 03:08:31 PM »
I just bought an inexpensive Black and Decker on sale at Target.  It has the convection feature.  After the various discounts, it was around $35.  I am not impressed with the broiler function, but it bakes decently, especially with the convection.  It fits a 9 x 13 pan for the larger cakes, although I have not tried that yet.  It even cooks bacon without making a mess.  I can see microwaving potatoes and then finishing them in the toaster oven for a crispier skin.  I plan to use it in the garage in the summer and inside when it is colder.  You do not want small children or pets near it, as the surface becomes very hot.

Haven't figured out how to make evenly browned toast with it, however.  I think the 25 year old $8.00 toaster will continue to do that job better and more efficiently.

It got good reviews, but we will see how long it lasts....

Blackeagle

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2017, 03:49:17 PM »
For a while we lived in a tiny 600 sqft building (now my shop building).  The AC barely could keep up with Texas summers.  When we used the oven, the entire place became unbearable. 

So.. for pretty much 4 months out of the year, we would use a toaster oven instead of a conventional oven.

I'm in a similar situation: the AC in my current rental will not keep up with the summer days here (and I'm not one of those who keep the temperature super low).  I never use the oven from May-September (and rely a lot more on my slow cooker and sous vide).  A toaster oven that doesn't put out as much heat, and could be moved outside entirely is an interesting possibility.

ubermom4

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Re: Toaster Ovens
« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2017, 01:32:40 AM »
OP -- I love toaster ovens for all of the excellent reasons described. Used them for decades.

FWIW -- I have a bunch of kids in my house (with visiting friends, etc.). Not once but twice I have been called to the kitchen because the toaster oven was on fire -- yup. Flames inside the oven part (I think a kid had tall bread touching the heating element). I quickly unplugged the thing put on oven mitts and carried out to driveway. After watching me calmly dealing with flaming object, my kids did not really explain what happened. I love parenting. For me this was really scary. We had another toaster oven fire a few weeks later with the replacement and I carried it out, we have never had another one. That was 10 years ago. I don't think my experience is 'normal'. Please be cautious if you have kids using these things. If this had not happened to me, I would not have believed it.