Nothing beats a freshly toasted bagel in the morning, are we right? But we'll let you in on a little secret: If you crave that bakery-like aroma and taste, you might need something a *bit* more powerful than your standard two-slice toaster. Yes, friends, we're talking about the best toaster ovens. Not only will these little beauties brown between four to six slices of bread to absolute perfection (we can practically taste a Liberty Bagel now), you can use them for a whole lot more when you're through, since they can do nearly everything your oven can, but on a smaller scale. Many of these machines also allow you to bake, broil, roast and even air fry right on your countertop without making a mess of your kitchen.
8 of the Best Toaster Ovens for a Hassle-Free Meal
These little machines can do it all
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The Best Toaster Ovens at a Glance
What Can You Cook in a Toaster Oven?
If you can cook it in a standard oven, you can cook it in a toaster oven, so long as it fits—with a few exceptions (more on that below). That means in addition to your toast and bagels, you can whip up all your usual dinner suspects, like roasts, casseroles, loaded baked potatoes and roasted veggies dishes, as well quick eats, like pizza and other frozen meals. You can even pop leftovers in for a quick reheat to yield a delicious layer of golden-brown crust. (Please try a lightly toasted slice of lasagna. We beg of you.)
As for those aforementioned exceptions, Eating Well outlined four types of food that you should keep cooking the old fashioned way, including:
- Fatty or greasy foods: According to the publication, dripping fat can potentially cause a fire, since toaster ovens have exposed heating elements.
- Pastries: No one likes a dried-out pastry, and it's a risk you'll be taking when you make them in this appliance.
- Rice: As anyone with a good rice cooker knows, making good rice is practically an art form, and one that you'd do best to stay clear of the toaster oven for—lest you like your grains extra-crispy.
- Nuts: Nuts and seeds dry out and burn rather quickly—maybe too quickly for a toaster oven.
What Is the Best Toaster Oven?
The best toaster ovens have features that will make your toasting experience safer and more efficient, like auto shut-off, multiple cooking functions that range from broil to bake, included baking trays and racks to support foods of varying levels of porosity and a powerful wattage (most go up to 1,400 watts, according to Energy Star). Aesthetically, stainless steel is a great option, since it resists corrosion, heat and fire, is easy to clean, and weathers impact for a longer shelf-life. Not to mention, it looks sleek AF with most kitchen schemes.
The best model for your home will depend on the features that are most important to you. If it's versatility you're after, you can’t beat the Ninja Foodi ($180), which does it all (and then some) for less than $200. As an air fryer, it works to add a light crispiness to your food without the extra oil, and as an oven replacement, it broils, bakes, roasts and reheats. It even has a dehydrator mode that works to remove moisture from meats, fruit or potatoes. Those who value their counter space above all else, however, might want to look toward the Dash mini toaster oven ($20).
How We Choose the Best Toaster Ovens
When vetting the best toaster ovens, we included several appliances our editors have personally tested. For ones they hadn't, we looked for top-rated models that buyers seemed genuinely happy with in their reviews. We also considered a range of features, like the ones we listed above, from the amount of settings to the stylishness of the exterior.
Below, the best toaster ovens on the market that encompass all of the above.
Best Convection Toaster Oven
- Pros: highly efficient, powerful, even heating, included oven and broiling racks and pizza pan, one-year limited warranty
- Cons: pricey
- Cooking Settings: ten
- Watts: 1,800
- Dimensions: 18.5 inches wide by 11 inches high
- Capacity: 1 cubic foot
For a restaurant-worthy meal in minutes, opt for this Breville toaster oven that reportedly reduces your cooking time by up to 30 percent—this according to the brand—when using the convection oven setting. (And considering its super high wattage, we don't doubt it.) If you're not familiar, a convection oven is designed to evenly circulate hot air around your food, so each bite tastes as good as the last (i.e.: no weird cold spots). This machine comes with several accessories, including an oven rack, a broiling rack and a pizza pan, and Breville claims it can hold up to six slices of bread, a roast chicken, a 13-inch pizza or a 4.4-quart Dutch oven. That's good news, since along with the ability to bake, roast and reheat, it enables you to slow-cook your way to tender, fall-off-the-bone dishes—yum!
Best Steam Toaster Oven
- Pros: reheats beautifully, aesthetically pleasing, included toasting rack and baking pan
- Cons: will need to work in batches for more than two servings
- Cooking Settings: five
- Watts: 1,300
- Dimensions: 14.1 inches wide by 8.2 inches high
- Capacity: .34 cubic feet
When we tested this Balmuda toaster oven, we found that the pizza and pastry modes were especially great for reviving leftovers thanks to its unique steam technology, which cooks food faster while retaining moisture to make everything extra-fresh (again). Better yet, it did it without burning our food—something we can't say for all of the previous toaster ovens we've used. The Balmuda doesn't take up a ton of counter space and we loved the aesthetically pleasing design that we won't mind keeping out, even when we're not cooking.
Best Digital Toaster Oven
- Pros: easy to use, non-stick interior, powerful, accurate cooking, included baking pan with grill rack
- Cons: old-school technology
- Cooking Settings: ten
- Watts: 1,800
- Dimensions: 17 inches wide by 11.3 inches high
- Capacity: .74 cubic feet
If you're the type who gets fed up trying to figure out how to program the latest gadgets, this little toaster oven is for you. It's got old-school dials and an easy-to-ready digital display that takes all the guesswork out of things. The non-stick interior will make cleanup a breeze, and its nine cooking presets will take your items from frozen to roasted, toasted or just about any state your heart desires in a jiff. What's more, it comes with a baking dish and drip tray for all your cooking needs.
Best Large Toaster Oven
- Pros: quick preheating and cooking, included accessories, limited warranty
- Cons: pricey, nonstick interior isn't fully effective. large footprint
- Cooking Settings: seven
- Watts: 1,800
- Dimensions: 18.7 inches wide by 14.6 inches high
- Capacity: .95 cubic feet
When we tested an alternate model ($285) of this appliance, we fell in love with the way it not only made our tater tots extra crispy, but did it at record speed. This version can fit up to a 4-pound chicken, according to Cuisinart, and boasts an impressive range of functions, such as air-fry, convection bake, bake, broil, warm and toast. Our one complaint? The nonstick interior didn't quick live up to its name, making cleanup a little tougher than we would have liked.
Best Small Toaster Oven
- Pros: space-saving, convection cooking
- Cons: limited settings, low wattage, dial knobs
- Cooking Settings: four
- Watts: 1,150
- Dimensions: 16.9 inches wide by 9.07 inches high
- Capacity: .15 cubic feet
If space is a concern, you'll want to opt for a smaller model, like this beauty from Black+Decker with convection-cooking properties. It has a practical four-slice capacity that can still fit a 9-inch pizza. While we don't love the knob timer, which may not be the most accurate and only goes up to 30 minutes, it gets the job done. There is an included broil rack, baking pan and crumb tray to support a range of dense foods and lighter snacks, and nearly 20,000 5-star Amazon reviewers have vouched for it, saying that it's fast, functional and comes at a great value.
Best Retro Toaster Oven
- Pros: retro chic, parts are dishwasher-safe, modern presets, large capacity
- Cons: no preheat button
- Cooking Settings: seven
- Watts: 1,300
- Dimensions: 18.1 inches wide by 22.5 inches high
- Capacity: 3.43 cubic feet
While this Oster toaster oven features a more retro design, its functionalities are anything but. It has seven cooking presets, including convection baking. You can even choose how dark you want it to make your toast! Once you're through, the removable crumb tray and rack are dishwasher-safe, making the aftermath less messy. It also holds a good amount: The brand claims this baby can fit pans up to 2 inches tall, too, making it ideal for deep-dish pizza, casseroles, pies and so much more.
Best Air Fryer Toaster Oven
- Pros: strong convection, versatile, baking utensils included, extra-large capacity, 60-second preheat
- Cons: parts aren't dishwasher-safe
- Cooking Settings: ten
- Watts: 1,800
- Dimensions: 7.6 inches wide x 15 inches high
As a lighter, more cost-effective alternative to deep frying, opt for this powerhouse of a toaster oven with air-frying properties. The Ninja Foodi air fryer oven is said to offer ten times the convection power of a standard oven, has ten cooking functions that range from whole roasting and dehydrating to reheating and enough room to reportedly cook a 12-pound turkey or two 12-inch pizzas. When the door is open, the settings lock into place, too, so you can feel comfortable turning your back to it for a hot sec.
Best Mini Toaster Oven
- Pros: fits any counter space, giftable, auto shut-off, included accessories
- Cons: single servings only
- Watts: 550
- Dimensions: 6.3 inches wide x 7.2 inches high
- Capacity: .18 cubic feet
Whether you’re looking to furnish a small kitchen or treat a new homeowner to a housewarming gift, this Dash mini toaster oven will be a great bet. It has a one-slice capacity that's perfect for bread, pizza and other single-serve items, and an auto-shut off feature to prevent accidents. The included baking tray, oven rack and crumb tray are removable and dishwasher safe for easy cleanup, too.
How to Use a Toaster Oven
How you use a toaster oven will largely depend on the toaster oven you use. One thing you'll want to do regardless of which company makes your appliance is to ensure you’ve adhered to all of its safety precautions. Make sure there are no items directly on top of or touching the unit (especially combustible paper or plastic). Using high heat for an extended period of time on your toaster oven or allowing food particles to accumulate at its base could lead to a kitchen fire. To avoid this, keep your settings as low and slow as you can.
When putting your food in the machine, you'll want to position it at the center of your preferred rack, ensuring that you place a buffer, like aluminum foil, beneath it if it’s a porous dish that might leak (we’re looking at you, roasted veggies au gratin). Then, set the dial or buttons to your preferred cooking method and length of time. Preheating isn’t necessary, but like traditional ovens, it can help to start cooking your food at the ideal temperature right off the bat.
Upon removal, your dish will be hot, so use oven mitts or a pair of kitchen tongs to help you retrieve it. Clean up any crumbs once the toaster oven has cooled down, since they may be flammable. Serve, devour and repeat.
How to Clean a Toaster Oven
A mess in your toaster oven is inevitable, but it’ll be on a smaller, more manageable scale than your regular oven. When cleaning your toaster oven, first make sure to unplug your appliance. You can then begin manually removing any chunks of caked-on food from under the grills or racks. Let all racks and trays sit in soapy water while you continue the rest of your cleaning.
Next, mix baking soda and water until it forms a paste, or use an all-purpose cleaner you can apply to any greasy or grimy spots using a cloth or towel. Repeat this step until all the crud is gone.
To clean the outside of your toaster oven, you can simply use a sponge with a bit of soap and warm water to wipe it down—just be sure to avoid all cables and electrical ports.
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Marissa Miller is a freelancer with more than ten years of experience editing and reporting on all things health, beauty, fitness, style and home for publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Teen Vogue, GQ, CNN Style, Women's Health, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, USA TODAY and many more. Her first novel, PRETTY WEIRD: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome and Other Oddly Empowering Lessons, was published by Skyhorse Publishing and distributed by Simon & Schuster in May 2021. She's on Twitter at @Marissa__Miller and on Instagram at @marissamiller__ talking about journalism, Lululemon leggings and her two cats Freddie and Hendrix.
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