Energy-conserving toaster ovens are one of the most popular cooking appliances sold today. With more than 40 million made and sold, more home cooks are enjoying its benefits and features for saving time and have discovered how wonderful it bakes, roasts, broils and top-browns food.
No longer limited to tasting bagels and breads or heating frozen dinners and leftovers, this formerly underutilized kitchen appliance is very efficient. It bakes like an oven and broils like a broiler with exceptional results that often surpass a standard-size oven without heating up the entire kitchen—a nice benefit on a hot summer day. It’s perfect for grab-and-go breakfast dishes as well as small-batch easy bakes, like bruschetta or stuffed mushrooms.
With a generous capacity of 1/4 to 1/2 cubic feet, most toaster ovens are large enough to bake four servings of fish, roast a small chicken, broil a steak and prepare a 12-inch pizza. A good quality toaster oven preheats quickly, uses less electricity than a large oven, is easy to operate and distributes heat evenly. A toaster oven takes up very little counter space and is portable. Here are some features to look for in a good-quality toaster oven:
- Cool touch handle
- Clear window to allow you to watch the food being cooked
- Nonstick interior and front pull-out crumb tray for easy cleaning
- Removable rack
- Timer with automatic shut off.
By David DiResta, a food writer in North Andover, Mass