The Joy of Cooking…with a Toaster Oven

I know what you’re thinking. Toaster ovens don’t do anything more than toast bread or bagels. Well, if you’ve read any of the other posts on this site, you’ll realize this is simply not true. These appliances can handle a wide array of wonderful dishes for every meal of the day. Perhaps you’re put off by the smaller size of the unit and feeling just a little intimidated by the lack of space within. You might even be thinking that it’s way too easy to use a toaster oven, or more to the point, too easy to screw up your food because who puts fish in a toaster, am I right? Well fear not friend, the toaster oven is a trusted culinary tool that can produce delicious results, and the best part is that most of these dishes are extremely simple to pull off. I’ve long sworn by my toaster oven and I’ve yet to make a lousy meal. Don’t get me wrong, there is some modicum of trial and error here and some toaster ovens are a little more forgiving than others, but don’t worry you can and will get the hang of it.

So when we talk about a toaster oven, what exactly is it? It’s much like a toaster in that it’s a small counter-top appliance which uses electricity and convection in some cases to heat and toast food. Heating elements provide radiant heat within the oven and the bread or other ingredients that you place on the cooking rack are turned into scrumptious delights. Sure, every toaster oven can toast bread, first and foremost. They take slightly longer than a typical toaster, ranging in time between 4-6 minutes versus the standard 2-3 minutes it takes for a toaster to produce toasted bread. But when you consider placing other items inside, the cooking times will obviously vary dependent upon what it is you’ve decided to cook or bake. Most toaster ovens come with a variable timer setting and range in wattage power. If you need to pick out the right one for you, don’t go it alone. Just check out and have a look at all of the comprehensive reviews of the best and most affordable models you can buy at the moment.

Let’s get to the cooking part! There are so many great ideas out there, you could easily enjoy a toaster oven made meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week! Even better, due to the size and capability of most toaster ovens, the majority of the recipes that exist don’t take more than 10-15 minutes. You also have a limited amount of cooking utensils to use in a toaster oven because…you know, the size of the thing. So you won’t even need to buy much else other than the oven itself, most of them come with some of the stuff you’ll need. You often get a small tray or cookie sheet that comes with the oven already. In addition to that you can use foil as a cooking surface or for wrapping your ingredients. Think about picking up some ramekins as well and maybe a very small muffin tin. You can find the latter in a variety of cup sizes and lengths, just remember the smaller, the better. There are also miniature cake pans and other toaster oven sized versions of standard cooking utensils available, you might need to do a little digging to track them down but there are some items available.

When it comes to recipes they are mostly basic when it comes to preparation and cook time. Frozen foods are a cinch in a toaster oven, but if you’re interested in making your own creations then you have a wide variety of things to choose from. Place sauce, cheese, and other toppings on a tortilla for a quick and tasty pizza. Toasted, open face sandwiches with cheese and meats are also super easy. You can even roast a small piece of fish in about 8-10 minutes depending upon the thickness and the type of fish. Salmon works particularly well. Breakfast is a time for eggs and the toaster oven can handle them just fine. In fact, just stick an entire egg with the shell in the toaster oven and it will come out much like you would expect a hard-boiled egg to look and taste. Crack a few open, add some other favorite ingredients and you have a baked egg meal that is out of this world. There are so many more ideas that haven’t even been thought up yet. So try cooking with a toaster oven and find out how much fun they can be! I think you will be surprised at how good your food tastes. Good luck!