What can you use toaster ovens for? This has got to be one of the most renowned questions when it comes to toaster ovens among beginners! And I understand why.
The only thing most people know about toaster ovens is the fact they’re amazing when it comes to tackling breakfast meals. But they can do way more than that. In fact, these kitchen appliances are essentially a smaller version of the regular ovens we were all raised with.
That implies that a toaster oven can execute most, if not all functions that a regular oven can do.
With that in mind, with an effort to provide you a detailed answer to your question, I decided to craft this comprehensive content that will touch the basic functions you can find on any toaster ovens then go ahead and list several meals you can also prepare using the appliance.
Without further delay, let me skip to the main section of the post and take a look at what toaster ovens are used for essentially.
The three basic settings on toaster ovens
There are usually three settings that all the toaster ovens should retail with, and these include Toast, Broil, and Bake. I’ll explain them in detail.
The Bake Setting
This is probably the setting that you will use the most from the three main settings. A toaster oven also executes this function just like a regular oven, with the appliance emitting most of the heat from the bottom heating element.
The heating element on the top side is also on at this time but it is operating at a lower wattage compared to its bottom counterparts.
With that in mind, let us look at several differences of baking using a toaster oven vs a regular oven.
- Due to its smaller size, the toaster oven will take less time to preheat, which not only saves you lots of time in the long run, but also lots of cash in terms of the energy bill.
- When you need to change your baking venue, this will be easier with a toaster oven because it is highly portable compared to a regular oven
- Some toaster ovens retail with a convection feature. For those who are not accustomed to this feature, it implies that the toaster oven’s heating elements will heat the air inside the appliance, but an inbuilt fan will blow the air around so it can evenly reach all sides of your meals. This further ensures all your meals will come out evenly baked.
The Broil Setting
The main difference between the bake and broil setting is the fact that the heat in a broiling setting will only come from one side of the appliance. In a toaster oven, for instance, heat will only come from the top side heating element. The bottom side element will be completely off.
This setting will also come in handy when you want to melt cheese on different meals such as nachos, indoor smores, roasting red pepper, or when you want to quickly prepare thin vegetable slices such as zucchini or eggplants.
The setting is also popular when it comes to preparing seafood and steak as well.
Below are several tips you ought to keep in mind while using the broil setting.
- If the toaster oven you’re using boasts a broil function with adjustable temperatures, then ensure you adjust the intensity of the heat from low to high and back.
- As a general rule of thumb, you always have to be sure you’re using the top rack placement.
- If you notice that you are burning your meals while using the setting, then feel free to change the height of the rack to a lower position.
- When using a toaster oven while it is on the broil setting, you won’t need to wait for it to be preheated.
- Be careful while retrieving the pan from the toaster oven after broiling your meal. They are usually excessively hot.
- Ensure the pan you use to broil is broiler safe. If you are not sure, then simply use the one that came with the toaster oven. It is usually safe.
- As noted in the preceding section of the post, a toaster on this setting will only emit heat from one direction. This implies that if you desire to brown or cook both sides of your meal, then you will have to flip it.
The Toast Setting
I won’t lie when it comes to this setting. If the primary function you want to avail on your new toaster oven is the Toast setting, then I think you will be better off with one of the best 2-slice toasters or 4-slice toasters.
A toaster oven does not deliver the best toasties.
That said, toasting requirement of my Hamilton Beach toaster oven is still quite impressive, and I do enjoy its toasties. So, what is the difference between this setting and the first two?
First, when you are using the toast setting, both heating elements (top and bottom) are emitting equal amount of heat.
Second, you will need to ensure that the rack is at the middle. If you don’t know how to confirm this, ensure you refer to the manual that comes with the package.
There you have it, a detailed explanation of the 3 basic toaster oven functions, every masterpiece retails with. Now let us take a look at several delicacies you can prepare using the appliance.
You can bake about everything that can fit into the toaster oven. Some of the most prepared treats and meals include:
- English muffins
Every time I put potatoes in my toaster oven, they come out perfectly toasted. And my favorite type of potatoes to prepare using this stroke of genius is sweet potato. It always comes out to be sweet, soft, and delicious.
That said, you are not limited to just baked potatoes. Feel free to make potato wedges, twice baked potatoes, and even homemade French fries.
I just recently realized the benefits of reheating my leftover meals using my toaster oven. I honestly do not know why I hadn’t availed this option earlier. For some reason, the meals I reheat using this appliance even come out sweeter.
But ensure you do not leave them in there for too long.
Do you want to prepare a hot pocket? Don’t do it using a microwave. Use a toaster oven instead and see how perfectly crispy and flaky it will come out. The same also applies to other famous meal snacks such as nachos, onion rings, fish sticks, and even French fries.
As I mentioned while describing the broil setting, always put your toaster oven to work when you want to melt cheese on top of quesadillas or burritos or even onto marshmallows. I can assure you that the resulting meal will be more delicious compared to if you had used a microwave.
If you own some of the largest toaster ovens out there, then you can also use them to cook main dishes like casseroles, especially when you do not want to use a method that will heat up your house during the summer.
For instance, try roasting vegetables or chicken breasts on your toaster oven’s baking pan with a little hint of lemon and pepper and let me know if you enjoyed the meal. In smaller toaster ovens, you can prepare quick side dishes such as rolls.