How to Cook & Make Food With a Toaster Oven
Seems like quite a simple task right? If you thought so then I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be reading this right now...
Yes, cooking in a toaster oven may be as simple as throwing in your favorite food, then setting the machine and waiting until it’s finished. But hold up there a second, how do you know when it’s properly cooked?
If you’re unsure of which setting to use on your toaster oven or when the food is done, then we’re here to help. Today, we'll provide tips and tricks for cooking a variety of foods in your toaster oven ensuring they're fully cooked.
We'll start with the basic principles to selecting the right machines, and finally, the correct way to cook in a toaster oven. Stay tuned for full steps on how to cook a variety of foods to perfection, including eggs, steak and a good ol' grilled cheese sandwich!
Basic Principles to Cooking in a Toaster Oven
Selecting The Right Machine - Main Design Features That Will Affect The Cooking Process
The first step to cooking your favorite foods to perfection is selecting the right machine. For a list of the most important considerations to make when buying a toaster oven, take a look below.
Are you planning to cook bread, sponge cakes, or other items that require room to rise? Then make sure there's enough space to accommodate that. It’s important to keep in mind the foods you plan to cook on a regular basis; this will help you determine which size of toaster oven will suit your needs best. Also, you should factor in the number of people you typically cook for. Finally, the last and most important factor in size is the counter space available to you.
Automatic Cooking Settings
If you plan to cook specific items in your oven like baked potatoes or pizza, you may want to look for a toaster oven with pre-cook settings for these particular foods. This makes the cooking process as simple as a click of a button.
Having a wide temperature range will allow you to do anything from simply toasting breads to roasting nuts, broiling fish and cooking meats. The greater the temperature range, the more options to cook a variety of items.
Advanced Heating Elements
Advanced heating elements in toaster ovens offer energy efficiency that traditional ovens just can't duplicate.
Standard toaster overs, typically have one or two heating elements. In contrast, higher-end models have more elements and are highly adjustable, designed to accommodate a variety of cooking methods. These include broiling, convection heating, and baking.
Some models are even built with a setting that heats the unit (almost instantaneously), to a particular temperature without needing to wait for it to pre-heat. This is a great time-saving option!
Timers & Alerts
If you’re forgetful, then you’ll want to make sure your machine has a way to let you know when you’re food is ready.
Note: If your primary function will be to make toast in your toaster oven, then it’s not necessary to spend a lot on the model. The added functions or special features to an expensive model won’t affect its ability to toast your bread so keep this in mind.
How to Cook in a Toaster Oven
Referring back to our article on "How to Cook/Reheat Pizza in a Toaster Oven" we reviewed some things to keep in mind when cooking and reheating pizza. However, the points we mentioned, can also be applied to any other food you cook in a toaster oven.
Two of the most important things to remember, when cooking in a toaster oven, are:
How To Cook ‘X’ In A Toaster Oven
Ever wanted to cook the perfect grilled cheese, eggs, salmon or anything else in your toaster oven, but didn't know the proper procedure? Take a look below for an easy to follow how to, on the proper way to cook your favorite foods in your toaster oven.
Making the perfect grilled cheese can be achieved by following this simple procedure. As a note, it isn’t necessary to pre-heat your toaster oven; we actually advise against it. For one grilled cheese sandwich, the best results will be achieved by:
Your toaster will typically come with a setting for light, medium or dark toast. Each setting will require a different amount of time to toast, dark requiring the most amount of time.
You’ll need to experiment with your settings because in some cases, the toaster oven may work off of the intensity of the heating elements rather than the time.
This means that regardless of the setting (light, medium, or dark), the time required to toast your bread, will be the same, Instead, what changes is the strength of the heating element.
If you want to make the best slice of toast, here’s how:
If you’d like to cook your hotdogs in a toaster oven rather than boiling or heating them in the microwave, you’ll be happy to hear, the process is simple.
Toasting Tip: A minute or two before you remove your hot dog, place the bun in the toaster oven to toast. When the hot dog is finished, the bun will be lightly toasted.
For a little extra flavor, pop the hot dog in the lightly toasted bun, place 1 cheese slice (cut in half) lengthwise on the hot dog, and return it to the toaster oven for 30 seconds to melt the cheese.
For many, baked potatoes are one of the tastiest accompaniments to a meal, and cooking them in a toaster oven is easy and hassle-free. There are 2 main ways you can accomplish potato perfection; the first is by way of the standard cooking method and the second will be the quick cook method.
Standard Cooking Method
Quick Cook Method
Flavor Tip: Remove your potato from the tinfoil, and make a deep slit lengthwise down the center. Then, place a tsp of butter inside, sliced chives, bacon bits or any other toppings you’d like.
Need to speed up the cooking process even more?... Insert a metal skewer through the center of the potato while it is cooking in the toaster oven. The skewer conducts heat allowing the potato to cook from the inside while it’s being cooked from the outside.
Cooking eggs in a toaster oven is a great alternative to frying them!
Not only is it healthier, but it’s just as easy. And you can get even more creative with the ways you can cook them; see these recipes for the best ways to cook eggs in a toaster oven.
Cooking in the shell
Basic Egg Bake
Eggs on a Cloud
The great thing about cooking salmon in a toaster oven is that there are so many was you can do it! Here are 2 of the tastiest ways to cook your salmon, starting with the simplest:
The rule of thumb is that when baking salmon, you’ll want to cook it for roughly ten min per inch, take note of the thickness of your salmon portion before setting your timer.
The process of broiling salmon in a toaster oven is similar to that of baking it, with a few important differences. For starters, the main similarity to the cooking process is that you will cook the fish for the same amount of time.
Rather than placing parchment paper (which burns easily while broiling) on your grates , line them with tinfoil instead. During the cooking process, the temperature will typically reduce. To combat this, keep the door propped open so the broiler element stays on and can maintain a consistent temperature.
Steaming in parchment paper, otherwise known as un papillote, is an incredibly easy and tasty way to cook fish.
For the perfect papillote, follow these steps:
The best way to cook a steak in a toaster oven is by broiling it. Follow the quick steps below for the perfect cut of meat from your compact toaster oven.
Remember: The fat from the steak may drip and cause splattering and smoke, therefore, keep a close eye during cooking.
We all probably remember those toaster strudels (popularized in the 80’s) you could buy from the frozen section. Yes they are deliciously lacking nutritional value of any kind, but many loved them for the convenience and combination of tastes and textures.
Cooking them is simple; just turn the toaster oven on, and toss them in. It’s relatively easy to make your own toaster strudel, take a look at the recipes below for examples. We’ll share some cooking tips to make sure you get the tastiest treat!
If you want the best toaster strudel with a crispy, buttery flaky pastry and gooey filling you’ll want to make sure you know how to cook your homemade toaster strudel.
Here’s how to achieve the best results:
Using your toaster oven to prepare your favorite items isn't just simple, it also saves energy and keeps your kitchen cool.
There is plenty of toaster oven hacks out there to help you cook your favorite tasty meal, the only limit is your creativity. Be bold, be creative, and get cooking!