Whether your goal is to make garlic bread slices or bake your pizza slices, the best toaster oven can help you create both of them in a timely manner. That said, this does not imply that your countertop toaster oven has to be limited to those two meals, particularly when it can do much more. And that is what inspired me to create this detailed guide on the list of meals you can prepare using a toaster oven.
With that in mind, before getting to the main section of the post and looking at the list of meals, I thought it would be a great idea if we started by looking at the basic settings included in most, if not all, countertop toaster ovens so you can clearly understand how each meal we’ll look at relates to the settings.
The 3 Basic Toaster Oven Settings
The good news is that there are only three main settings you ought to know about that deliver the tastiest meals to your family.
1. The bake setting
This is most likely the setting you will use the most in your life.
In fact, this is the setting that makes most people refer to the countertop toaster oven as a mini version of the conventional toaster oven. Just like the traditional oven, most of the toaster oven’s heat comes from the bottom element. The topside element is usually also on, but it delivers a way lower wattage compared to its bottom counterpart.
Depending on the type of toaster oven you are using, it may also pulse or cycle the bottom and top elements in order to vary their heating intensity in order to help ensure that the cooking space maintains an even temperature throughout.
In the list, we will take a look at a wide array of meals you can prepare using this setting.
2. The broil setting
In simpler terms, broiling is more like grilling, in that the heat that will be used to prepare your meals will only come from one direction. In regard to broiling use your countertop toaster oven, then your meal will only be cooked using direct radiant heat emitted by the heating elements from the topside. This implies that the bottom elements will be totally off.
Before looking at a list of instances the broil setting will come in handy, below are several broiling tips you ought to have in mind when availing this setting.
- When using the broil setting, you will only want to use the top rack placement so your meal can be close to the heating elements
- If you realize you are burning your meals while using this setting, then simply adjust the placement of the rack and place it on a lower position
- If your toaster allows you to adjust the broiler, then feel free to play around with the temperatures and heat intensity to find the best ones that will work for you
- When retrieving pans after broiling, be careful because they are usually extremely hot
- Since only the top heating element is activated when you’re on this setting, flip your meals if you want to brown both sides of your meals
- Always make sure you are using a broiler-safe pan. If you are not seasoned in this area and don’t know how to choose the right pans, simply use the one that came with your toaster
3. The toast setting
Its name refers to the toasting function, so it makes total sense that the appliance will toast slices as well. That said, if I am being totally honest with you, countertop toaster ovens do not make the greatest toasties like regular toasters.
Or at the very least, I am yet to come across a toaster oven that can deliver toasties that are as delicious as the ones I get from my four-slice toaster.
That said, do not let that fool you into thinking the appliance cannot deliver great slices. The ones my toaster oven delivers are good enough for me at instances when my four-slice toaster is out of reach. With that in mind, what sets this setting apart from the other two functions we just looked at?
Heating: With the toasting setting, both the lower and upper elements are delivering an equal amount of heat
Rack position: This is usually depending on the toaster oven you’re using. Some brands suggest that you use the middle rack whereas others suggest that you use the top one. To ensure the best results, refer to your product’s user manual.
Temperature: A toaster oven retails with dial controls and knobs that allow you to choose different temperature levels while toasting your slices.
Toaster Oven - Types of Meals
Now that you understand the basic toasting settings, let us look at the types of meals you can prepare using a toaster oven.
1. Quickly melting foods
This is where the broiling setting comes into play. Rather than acquiring a separate microwave to melt stuff, put your toaster oven to work by melting cheese on top of your quesadillas, burritos or roasting yams topped with marshmallows.
You can also use your countertop toaster oven to warm pans to reheat leftovers or prepare dinner.
2. Preparing large meals, such as chicken
If you ensure you acquire the best biggest toaster oven, then you can easily use it to prepare main dishes and casseroles as well, particularly if it is summer and you do not want to use your traditional oven (they are known to heat up the house too much during this season.)
Also try roasting vegetables and chicken breasts on your appliance’s baking pan with a little bit of lemon to prepare easy dinner. While at it, use your space-saving toaster oven to bake rolls that will act as side dishes.
If you are careful while picking your appliances, then you shouldn’t have problems cooking vegetables and pasta dishes as well.
3. Make delicious toasties
A countertop oven also allows you to make one of the most basic breakfast and snack options: toasted bread slices. And even though regular toasters will only brown your bread slices and force you to butter and season them afterward, a toaster oven allows you to add toppings and butter to your untoasted slices before placing them inside the appliance. Other toppings you can add include sugar and cinnamon.
To take your breakfast options a step further, try toasting open-faced cheese sandwiches in your electric toaster and also add a little bit of garlic powder or seasoned salt for a better taste.
4. Bake cookies
When you desire to bake several cookies as snacks, you do not have to heat up your regular, traditional oven to carry out the task. This is unless you are preparing cookies for a huge number of people. Using a toaster oven to bake such meals will not only save you lots of cash in the long run (in power bill), it will also save you time. Since the tool is smaller, then the heat inside won’t be wasted on empty spaces.
You can also bake cakes using your countertop toaster oven. Here are some of my best tips when it comes to preparing a cake using your toaster oven.
- Start by preheating the toaster oven to approximately 350 Fahrenheit degrees for around ten minutes
- Either line the pan with parchment or grease then fill it with two-thirds of batter
- Place the pan inside your toaster oven and close the door right away to ensure no heat is getting lost
As a bonus pro tip, get a single sheet of aluminum foil then fold it nicely such that it fits your oven’s length. Consequently, spray a non-stick cooking spray on one side of the foil, and once your cake is sufficiently toasted, open the toaster oven’s door and cover it using the foil. Also feel free to rotate the cake to prevent uneven baking.
5. Making pizzas
I think homemade pizzas are some of the most commonly cooked meals using countertop toaster ovens. You can either prepare, defrost, and bake a premade one or decide to start from scratch. Also, be adventurous and feel free to make your own fabulously features that look stunning and suit your taste.
6. Defrost, warm, and reheat your meals
If you tend to have leftover meals form the days before, then the best toaster oven has got you covered as well. In fact, meals that are reheated using a toaster oven are sweeter compared to those that are reheated using microwaves.
7. Bake tasty string fries and potatoes
One of my favorite meals to prepare using a toaster oven is potatoes. I love using the appliance because potatoes will not get burned, but they will get perfectly baked both on the inside and the outside in a timely manner.
8. Grill or roast fish and meat
Grilling and roasting your meat and fish using a countertop toaster oven follows the same process you would have followed if you were roasting and grilling vegetables and chickens as I pointed out earlier in this post.
If it is any motivation, the list we just looked above does not even begin to scratch the surface of the entire number of meals one can prepare using a toaster oven. So, if you’d like to invest your hard-earned cash in one of these masterpieces but do not know how to pick the best one, make sure you check out this post detailing the best toaster ovens.