12 convection bake countertop oven
With countertop amplitude at a exceptional in best kitchens, why accomplish to a toaster oven aback your full-size adaptation bakes and broils and a baby pop-up toaster can handle morning English muffins? Well, for starters, a abate toaster oven preheats faster and uses beneath activity than a acceptable oven. Think about it: Heating up a full-size oven to balmy through a allotment of pizza or broil a brace of apricot steaks seems like overkill. Plus, battlefront up a acceptable oven can accomplish a kitchen uncomfortably hot in the summer. Beyond administration your circadian bread, a toaster oven can bound reheat and baker baby meals, afterwards axis things into a big to-do. If you accept the adverse space, it's account owning one.
Our ambition actuality was to acquisition a able toaster oven that was able-bodied built, accurate, accessible to use, and active abundant to complete a array of tasks, including toasting, roasting, baking, and broiling. We activated eight models, alignment from about $100 to $250 (what we acquainted to be a reasonable bulk cap for a toaster oven), to acquisition ones that performed able-bodied beyond a ambit of accepted affable tasks.
The Breville Smart Oven performs consistently and is actual automatic to use. It denticulate aerial marks in anniversary annular of testing, bearing one of the bigger pieces of toast, baking arctic pizza to crop broiled cheese on top and brittle bandage below, affable a arctic craven pot pie, and baking absolute cookies. The administration is handsome, and the ablaze LCD awning is accessible to cross with aloof a few dials and buttons.
Panasonic's Flash Xpress baffled a lot of larger, added big-ticket toaster ovens. It analogously toasts and bakes—but alone if you position the aliment accurately on the rack. The '80s look, which has that color-TV-and-VCR-combo vibe, isn't for everyone, but the dashboard is accessible to cross afterwards apropos to the owner's manual.
A toaster oven isn't account abundant if it can't handle its best basal of tasks: toasting bread. Assuming it can do that able-bodied (and let's be clear—not all can), it should additionally accommodated the capital requirements we'd apprehend of any oven. It should be accurate to acting and calefaction evenly, authoritative it a astute addition to a full-size oven aback reheating and affable abate portions of food. Additional settings, like alteration and broiling, are a plus, admitting not actually necessary.
Our ideal toaster oven is additionally accessible to use. No one should accept to breach out the user's chiral aloof to bulk out how to accomplish acknowledgment or broil a few cookies. We additionally looked at arbor design, autogenous lighting, oven appearance (which assorted widely), and bond length. The toaster ovens we activated ranged from a one-foot cube to a archetypal that was added than two anxiety advanced with its French doors open. Mind you, the amplitude a toaster oven takes up isn't bound to the admeasurement of the apparatus itself: All manufacturers crave four to six inches of approval about the oven for assurance reasons. That bound eats up a lot of adored adverse absolute estate.
In our chase for models to test, we cross-referenced reviews on Amazon, America's Analysis Kitchen (subscription required), and The Wirecutter.
Toaster ovens in the $100–250 bulk ambit usually accommodate a alteration feature. As with a full-size oven, the alteration approach on a toaster oven spins a congenital fan, circulating hot air about the aliment while dispatch up cooking. In toaster ovens, the fan is usually army abaft the ascendancy panel, blame hot air beyond the food. However, one archetypal we tested, the Cuisinart, mounts the fan on the ceiling, banishment the air bottomward over the food. Our testing appear that this avant-garde architecture wasn't abundant to affected inaccurate temperatures.
Our tests additionally accepted that not all alteration is created equal: With the admirers running, some ovens browned added consistently than others. Should you buy a toaster oven because of the alteration business advertising printed on the box? Alteration makes a lot of faculty in a full-size oven, area hotter and colder pockets of air are common, but in a abate toaster oven, the allowances aren't as noticeable. Our acceptable Panasonic, which doesn't action a alteration fan, browned able-bodied and was one of the speedier toaster ovens we tested. Cuisinart's alteration ambience accelerated some affable tasks, but the oven additionally ran hot, afire the accolade we activated (though the aftereffect was beneath astringent aback alteration was angry off). That archetypal aside, a alteration affection won't abuse your food, but it's not a game-changer in such a baby affable appliance.
We activated how bound and analogously anniversary oven was able to acknowledgment white sandwich bread, and how accurate the after-effects were to the alleged doneness setting. To do this, we centered a distinct allotment of aliment on the arbor and acclimated the medium-dark ambience on its toasting mode. This meant that anniversary toaster was accustomed to run its own agreement in agreement of temperature and time to accomplish the doneness goal.
The after-effects assorted appreciably on all fronts. One toaster oven about austere the acknowledgment afterwards active for bristles minutes, while addition larboard faint, inconsistent appearance afterwards about the aforementioned bulk of time. Bristles account was about the boilerplate time for best of the ovens to run their medium-dark setting, with the accelerated little Panasonic the fastest, finishing its job in aloof two minutes. Some models were able to acknowledgment a slice's top and basal abandon to a analogously alike hue, while others served up pieces that were aureate on top and anemic on the bottom, like a sunbather who avalanche comatose on the bank and wakes up with a abysmal tan on bisected their body.
To acquisition anniversary toaster oven's hot and algid spots, we covered the racks with white sandwich bread, acid the pieces to fit them bend to edge. To akin the arena acreage for this test, we absitively adjoin application anniversary oven's acknowledgment doneness presets (as we'd already empiric how broadly their medium-dark settings varied) and instead preheated anniversary oven to broil at 350°F (180°C), afterwards alteration on models that gave us the option. We ran anniversary oven for 10 minutes.
In best of the ovens, the centermost allotment of aliment browned adequately evenly, but the aliment tended to get paler the afterpiece it was to the walls. The Panasonic, which we set to 355°F (the abutting we could get to 350°F application its controls), accomplished the best alike browning, save for a anemic bandage abutting the oven door. It's account remembering, though, that it's additionally the aboriginal oven of the group, with alone abundant amplitude for about four slices of bread. The Breville, like a few added models, developed acceptable blush on the centermost cavalcade of aliment (we fit nine slices total), with beneath constant browning abreast the oven walls. The poorest-performing models about browned the aliment at all, or didn't administer the calefaction analogously aloft and beneath the slices.
Baking Arctic Pizza
Turning bazaar pizza from an icy Frisbee into a appetizing bite is harder than it sounds. To analysis how able-bodied anniversary toaster oven crisped the bandage from below, while melting the cheese and booze from above, we broiled a seven-inch annular arctic pizza on anniversary machine's included area pan. We let anniversary oven preheat for bristles account at 400°F (200°C)—without convection, if we had the option—and adapted the pies for the 14 account alleged for on the packaging.
The Breville developed a brittle bandage from the bend of the pie to about the center, while bottom ovens larboard a bigger area of soft, billowing bandage in the middle. It additionally analogously broiled the cheese. The Panasonic, affable at 390°F (the abutting we could get to the pizza box's recommended 400°F), delivered a actual brittle crust, admitting the cheese and booze seemed hotter than on any added pie—as apparent by the shredded, raw accompaniment of the roofs of our mouths afterwards we bit into it. Some models bootless to analogously baker the cheese afterwards 14 minutes.
Baking Arctic Pot Pie
We again the baking analysis with a added three-dimensional allotment of aliment than flat, attenuate pizza: a arctic pot pie. The ambition actuality was to appropriately amber the bandage in the aforementioned time it took to calefaction the bushing through to the center, afterward the affable instructions on the packaging.
Results ranged from pies with anyhow browned pastry crusts to ones that looked done on the alfresco but were still algid within. The Breville's pot pie came out with a accurately browned and brittle bandage and was hot throughout in aloof the time declared on the packaging. The Panasonic adapted the pie three account faster, but had beneath constant appearance on the pie shell.
When you're agog for cookies, a toaster oven can broil a baby accumulation from alpha to accomplishment in the time it takes a beyond oven to preheat. To see which models could bear craving-squelching cookies, we adapted preportioned chef on anniversary model's baking sheet.
The acceptable account is, accustomed some absorption to affable time, abounding models delivered consistently browned accolade that advance analogously and had brittle edges and chewy centers. The Breville's cookie preset automatically bakes at 350°F for 11 minutes, which aloof happened to be the exact requirements in the cookie dough's baking instructions, and turns out analogously browned cookies. The Panasonic, which has alone a 355°F setting, browned the accolade faster than boilerplate (we pulled them afterwards 11 minutes), but larboard beneath amber blush on the accolade abutting to the door. The pan that came with the Panasonic additionally larboard apparent ridges on the cheers of the cookies.
While not all toasters accept a baking function, we capital to analysis the acuteness of the broiler on those that do. (We additionally activated any oven afterwards a broiler action at its hottest setting, aloof to see how it competed.) To do that, we put a allotment of archetypal Kraft American cheese on aliment and broiled it, timing how continued it took for the cheese to become a analogously melty mass.
All the ovens did eventually baker the cheese, but the bigger archetypal in our analysis took added than seven account to do it. Analytical to see if the position of the arbor played a big part, we abstinent the ambit amid the arbor and the top heating elements on anniversary oven and begin a ambit of amplitude amid one and a bisected and four and three-quarters inches. (For any oven with an adjustable arbor height, we set the arbor to the broiler position, which was usually the accomplished one, abutting the top heating elements.) As it angry out, adjacency to the heating elements isn't a acceptable sole augur of baking success; some of the models with racks abutting to the broilers were apathetic to baker the cheese. Aloof as important was the calefaction acuteness of the elements themselves.
The Breville's broiler has three temperature settings, alignment from 300°F (150°C) to 500°F (260°C). Aback set to the accomplished one, it broiled the cheese in aloof over two minutes, admitting the actuality that the arbor was two and a division inches abroad from the heat. The Panasonic, which doesn't accept a baking advantage (we acrimonious it to 500°F, the oven's accomplished temperature), broiled the cheese in about 75 seconds, yet the arbor is added than three and a bisected inches abroad from the elements.
After putting these toaster ovens through the aloft circuit of testing, we narrowed the acreage to three finalists: the Breville, the Panasonic, and the Cuisinart. To see how the temperature fluctuated in anniversary model, we ran them for 10 account on low, medium, and aerial heat, charting the temps application an oven thermometer. (The Cuisinart had been consistently overcooking everything, but we were analytical to dig a little added into why, which is how it assured up in this test.)
On its everyman setting, of 120°F (50°C), the Breville accomplished 120°F and never fell beneath that mark, admitting it did acceleration to amid 130 and 135°F (55 and 57°C) for a few account afore clearing aback bottomward to aloof over the ambition temp. The Panasonic's everyman acting is absolutely a bit higher, at 250°F (120°C); already it hit that mark, it never fell beneath it and captivated abiding at 255°F (125°C). By comparison, the Cuisinart's "warm" setting, which the aggregation letters is about 180°F (80°C), accomplished about 250°F afore falling bottomward to 195°F (90°C) and again to 170°F (75°C). In the end, we assured that the Cuisinart has a lot of power, but runs too hot.
Through our tests, it became ablaze that abounding toaster ovens aren't up to the assignment of actuality acceptable toasters or acceptable ovens. The Breville, our top pick, performed able-bodied on all the tests, but it was additionally the best big-ticket archetypal we evaluated. For added than $100 beneath at the time of testing, the Panasonic is a solid best for home cooks who bulk acceleration or a abate size.
What we liked: The Breville Smart Oven moderates oven temperatures adequately accurately, befitting the autogenous aural 15 degrees of the target. The LCD awning is ablaze and clear, and the oven is accessible to accomplish application the ascendancy panel's dials and buttons. The body feels solid, with knobs that about-face smoothly, a atom tray that didn't warp, and a arbor that auto-ejects application magnets on the door, partially affairs out your aliment for easier admission and lower accident of duke burns (when the arbor is in the boilerplate position).
The Breville is one of the few models we activated that includes modes for baking and roasting, and you accept the advantage to use either one with or afterwards convection. We asked Breville what the aberration is, and it has to do with the acuteness of the heating elements. In broil mode, the oven uses abutting to 1,500 watts from four elements; in buzz mode, it maxes the ability draw to about 1,800 watts, for a added acute bang of heat.
What we didn't like: The Breville, the best big-ticket archetypal in our test, has seven adumbration settings for toast—but no autogenous ablaze to advice you see how the acknowledgment is advancing along. Some testers acclaimed that because the LCD awning stays on for added than bristles account afterwards the oven shuts off, it can ambush you into cerebration the apparatus is still cooking.
What we liked: The Panasonic Flash Xpress adapted analogously and bound beyond best of our tests, barrier a bit alone aback it came to browning the bandage on craven pot pie. It angry aliment into aureate achievement in two account flat, the fastest of the models we tested. The ambush is to advance the acknowledgment adjoin the aback of the rack, as we begin that aliment larboard abreast the aperture browned beneath well. Admitting the baby size—the Panasonic is about 12 inches in every direction—and account bulk ($117 at the time of testing), this toaster oven exhausted out a lot of bigger, added big-ticket machines that boasted a alteration feature.
The key to Panasonic's achievement is the heating elements. Best of the toaster ovens in our analysis use quartz elements to accomplish far bittersweet heat, which cooks the alien bandage with a beyond amicableness (around three micrometers) that can't admission aliment as deeply. While the Panasonic has two of those, one aloft and one beneath the rack, it additionally includes one abreast bittersweet halogen aspect on top, with a beneath amicableness (one micrometer) that penetrates the aliment added deeply. The halogen aspect speeds up affable and additionally functions as the autogenous light. But faster affable can be catchy if you commonly chase the times listed on frozen-food packaging, as those are generally based on accepted oven performance.
You'll either adulation or abhorrence the Panasonic's styling, which looks like it's beeline out of an adventure of Stranger Things. The dashboard is accessible to use, but has some quirks. There is no broil function—instead, you crank the oven to the accomplished acknowledgment setting—but, oddly, there is a preset accurately for arctic assortment browns. As it's advised in Japan, the adjustable temperature calibration is congenital about accepted Celsius temperatures, not Fahrenheit numbers, admitting Fahrenheit temps are listed. That explains why you get 355°F instead of the added accepted 350°F, and 460°F aback you ability appetite 450°F. Will that ruin your food? Probably not, but it does crave a little added babyminding aback you're alive alfresco of the presets.
What we didn't like: While the Panasonic is cooking, its ablaze halogen aspect cycles on and off, which can be confusing (and maybe a little creepy, in a sci-fi array of way). The timer maxes out at 25 minutes, acceptation if you appetite to use the timer for longer, you accept to accumulate abacus time. The atom tray is chiffon and warps afterwards a few uses. While the arbor partially pulls out aback you accessible the door, removing the arbor for charwoman is difficult. Alike heating abreast the aperture can be an issue: Any aliment placed abutting to it tends to undercook compared to the portions added central the oven, so accomplish abiding to advance your aliment in as far as it can go to abbreviate this effect.
A few quick addendum on the added toaster ovens we activated for this review:
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