The Best Toaster Ovens, According to Home Chefs


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Toaster ovens fill a unique role in the kitchen. By no means are they a must-have cooking appliance, yet those who own one get frequent, sometimes daily, use out of it. That’s because they’re more versatile than traditional ovens — granted, for smaller dishes — and reheat food with tastier results than microwaves. With this single device, it’s possible to toast a bagel in the morning, prepare a roast for dinner, and bake cookies for dessert.

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The price for a countertop oven starts around $40 and usually goes up to $400. There are high-end options even more expensive than this, though — including ones featured on our list. Such a wide price range accommodates everyone from casual cooks to avid foodies, making it easy to find the perfect upgrade to your kitchen.


What the Experts Say

To compile the products below, SPY asked five home cooking experts — food writers, recipe creators, and cookbook authors — to name their favorite toaster ovens. We spoke to: Melissa Ben-Ishay, the founder, president, and CEO of the cooking brand Baked by Melissa and author of the cookbook Cakes by Melissa; Rebecca Eisenberg, a pastry chef and food blogger who runs The Practical Kitchen; Erika Kwee, a baking expert and food blogger behind The Pancake Princess; Rachel Gurk, the founder and owner of the blog Rachel Cooks; and Lauren McDuffie, a professional home cook, cookbook author, and recipe creator at the blog My Little Kitchen.

Along with giving specific product recommendations, these home chefs explained what to look for when buying a toaster oven.

“Personally, when I look for a toaster oven, I’m mainly considering its design, temperature controls, and how much space the interior allows,” Kwee says. “While I mostly use the toaster oven for toast, I always want the option to bake a cake, reheat a casserole, or do most of the things I’d do in a normal oven.”

Before purchasing a toaster oven, Eisenberg suggests “going in person to see it before buying [it], just so you can get a feel for the knobs and door — especially if you’re disabled or have any dexterity issues.” She also recommends measuring your counter to know what dimensions will or won’t fit. Take into account how far the toaster oven door opens, too: “Make sure the door isn’t going to hang off the front edge of your counter and pull the whole toaster forward,” she adds.

McDuffie echoed the importance of kitchen space: “I think toaster oven selection should really depend on what the person is looking for and what their kitchen space looks like and can accommodate,” she says. A couple other key details she’d look for are multiple cooking functions and reviews that indicate that the product will last. “A lifespan of 10 years is ideal,” she adds.

Breville Smart Oven Pro
Breville Smart Oven Pro

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Breville Smart Oven Pro

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Breville’s Smart Oven Pro has the power and versatility to rival high-end toaster ovens, but it comes at a far more reasonable price, making it our favorite all-around pick.

McDuffie has owned the same Smart Oven Pro for nearly 10 years — a testament not only to its durability but its usefulness. “I got mine when I cooked in a very small kitchen,” she says, “and it was so helpful to only need this one appliance for baking, toasting, broiling, and keeping things warm.”

The Smart Oven Pro has 10 cooking functions to simplify some of the most common tasks for which toaster ovens are used. There are settings specifically for bagels, pizza, and cookies, along with broiling and slow cooking.

While it’s not exactly a budget option, the Smart Oven Pro strikes a wonderful balance in that it’s so versatile: “It’s fantastic as a second oven for holidays or gatherings,” McDuffie adds.


The Best Toaster Ovens, According to Home Chefs
The Best Toaster Ovens, According to Home Chefs

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Black+Decker 4-Slice Toaster Oven

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Black+Decker’s 4-slice toaster oven, available from The Home Depot, is a simplified version of other, more expensive machines that’ll get the job done without requiring a hefty investment. It comes with four total functions — bake, toast, broil, and keep warm — and is very compact for a small countertop footprint. It has a built-in 30-minute timer for keeping tasks on track and is made with EvenToast Technology which toasts 30% more evenly than previous generations from this brand.


Wolf Gourmet Elite Countertop Oven
Wolf Gourmet Elite Countertop Oven

SERIOUS HOME CHEFS

Wolf Gourmet Elite Countertop Oven (with Convection)

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The Wolf Gourmet Elite Countertop Oven is one of the most expensive toaster ovens on the market, but it’s a worthy investment, especially for serious home cooks.

Its five heating elements ensure even and thorough cooking — on par with that of a wall oven. Also, aided by two racks, its interior is large enough to prepare an array of main dishes, from chicken breasts to pork chops and more.

Kwee, who owns and recommends the item, tells us, “I love that it’s super customizable with the different cooking modes and temperature controls. I also like the removable crumb tray, which makes it easier to clean.”

The Elite Countertop Oven is extremely durable, weighing a hefty 47 pounds, and the brand offers a limited five-year warranty with the purchase, both of which make the pricey item a safer investment.


Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro
Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro

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Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro

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Breville has a great line of toaster ovens that, according to McDuffie, “maximize what you can accomplish in a relatively small space.” The brand’s Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro is no exception. It has an impressive 13 cooking functions, including air frying.

Ben-Ishay, for one, says she’s “obsessed” with her Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro and lauds its versatility. “It’s amazing because it’s a toaster, air fryer, mini convection oven, and so much more. You really don’t need anything else.”

It costs more than the average toaster oven or air fryer, but considering it’s a multifaceted device from a trusted brand, the price is reasonable.


BLACK+DECKER 6-Slice Rotisserie Oven
BLACK+DECKER 6-Slice Rotisserie Oven

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Black+Decker 6-Slice Rotisserie Oven

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Some people turn to countertop ovens because they handle simple tasks like toasting an English muffin or reheating a slice of last night’s pizza easily and effectively. This toaster oven from Black+Decker gets the job done and, if needed, can take on more than other budget options.

“It’s a great compact size with a lot of unique features that I like and use frequently,” says Eisenberg, who recommends the toaster oven after owning it for around three years. “I’ve even used it to make my mini ciabatta and mini baguette recipes when I didn’t want to turn my big oven on.”

One of her only criticisms is “that the knobs can be a bit hard to turn if your hands are wet or oily.” With four identical dials, it’s not immediately intuitive and might require a brief learning curve.


Breville Mini Smart Oven
Breville Mini Smart Oven

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Breville Mini Smart Oven

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If counter space is tight, the Mini Smart Oven from Breville is worth considering. It’s small enough to nestle between cookbooks and canister sets, measuring 16 inches wide and 13.6 inches deep. Don’t let its diminutive stature fool you, though. The Mini Smart Oven has eight cooking settings, so it can be used for more than simply toasting bread.

Gurk owned the toaster oven for 10 years and liked it so much she purchased the same model when it was time for a replacement. “I love that it’s compact and reliable,” she says. “It’s also easy to clean, which is a huge perk.” (It has a removable crumb tray.)

A well-labeled dial and a digital temperature display help with ease of use, too. While the price for the Mini Smart Oven crosses triple digits, the cost is squarely average for a toaster oven, if not a tad cheaper.



Frequently Asked Questions About Toaster Ovens

How Do You Clean A Toaster Oven?

Grease builds up quickly in toaster ovens, which is why it’s recommended to clean them weekly. Here are the five basic steps for a thorough cleaning:
– Unplug the toaster oven.
– Remove all trays and racks and soak them in soapy water or a paste of baking soda and water.
– Clear out leftover crumbs inside the toaster oven with a paper towel or rag.
– Use a non-abrasive cloth and a multi-purpose or homemade cleaning product to clean inside the toaster oven.
– Wipe the toaster oven door with a glass-specific cleaning product

Do Toaster Ovens Heat Up Faster Than Standard Ovens?

Toaster ovens preheat faster than standard wall ovens. Once both are preheated, the cooking time is the same, though. For example, cooking something at 400 degrees in a toaster oven takes the same amount of time as cooking something at 400 degrees in a wall oven. Toaster ovens’ faster preheating is especially noticeable when cooking or reheating small dishes, though.

Do You Have To Preheat a Toaster Oven?

It depends on what you’re cooking. If you’re reheating leftovers or toasting a bagel, there’s no need to preheat. If you’re following a recipe that has specific temperature requirements, you usually want to put the food in after the oven reaches the proper temperature. Some of it is personal preference, though. For example, it’s not a big difference to throw cookies in a toaster oven before it’s preheated, but a stricter baker may feel otherwise.

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