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 favourite food, setting the machine and waiting until it’s finished but hold up there for 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 exactly the item you’re cooking is done, we’re here to help you out and provide some tips and tricks on how to cook a variety of foods in your toaster oven so they are cooked to the ideal doneness. Starting 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
- A toaster oven is basically a miniature oven; the same principles you would use with your standard oven can be applied to your toaster oven.
- Learn the functions of your machine. At the very least, understand the difference between bake, broil, and roast.
- If cooking a dough, cake, or anything that constitutes a raw base, you will want to preheat your toaster oven first! Throwing raw items into a toaster oven that isn’t preheated will result in uneven cooking.
- If your machine has a convection setting, learn how to use it! It’ll become your most loved function. The convection function will assist you in properly cooking your foods by way of even heat distribution.
Selecting The Right Machine – Main Design Features That Will Affect The Cooking Process
The first step to being able to cook up your favourite 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.
If you plan to cook breads, sponge cakes, and other items that require room to rise then you’ll want to make sure the internal space of your toaster oven can accommodate this. 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, the number of people you intend to cook for will be a factor to the size of machine you’ll need. Finally, the last and most important factor in size will be the counter space available.
Automatic Cooking Settings
If you plan to cook specific items in your oven such as baked potatoes or pizza, you may want to look for a toaster oven with pre cook settings for these particular foods; making the activation of 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
Standard toaster overs will typically have one or two heating elements. Higher end models normally have more elements which are highly adjustable and designed to accommodate a variety of types off cooking methods such as broiling, convection heating and baking. Some models are even build 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, you’ll want to make sure your machine has a way to let you know when the food you’re cooking is ready.
Note: If your primary function will be to make toast in your toaster oven, 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 very important things to keep in mind when cooking and reheating pizza however, the points we mentioned, can also be applied to any other food that you plan to cook in a toaster oven.
Two of the most important things to remember, when cooking in a toaster oven, are:
- All toaster ovens will have hot spots, learn where these are so you can properly rotate your food for better control oven the cooking process
- Note the type of heating elements your toaster oven has; some only have one on the bottom, most have two (bottom and top), and some are equipped with elements on their sides
How To Cook ‘X’ In A Toaster Oven
Ever wanted to know how to cook the perfect grilled cheese, eggs, salmon or other specific foods in your toaster oven but never really knew the proper procedure? Take a look below for an easy to follow how to, on the proper way to cook a variety of your favourite foods in your toaster oven.
How to Make Grilled Cheese in a Toaster Oven
Making the perfect grilled cheese can be achieved by following this simply procedure. As a note, it isn’t necessary to pre heat your toaster oven; we actually advise you not to. For one grilled cheese sandwich, the best results will be achieved by:
- Placing two slices of bread next to each other into the toaster oven. Set the toaster to light, so that it can lightly toast the bread. If there is no timer on your machine, light toasting will take anywhere from 1-2 min depending on the power of your oven.
- Once lightly toasted, place the desired amount of cheese onto both slices, ensuring the cheese doesn’t go over the edge.
- When the cheese is almost melted, open the oven, place both pieces of the bread together, close the oven and allow the cheese inside to melt together, binding the two pieces of bread. This should take around 1-2 min.
- Remove the sandwich from the toaster oven, cut with a serrated knife and serve up some cheesy goodness.
How to Make Toast in a Toaster Oven
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. What this means is that, regardless of the setting (light, medium, or dark) the time required to toast to each doneness, will be the same, what changes is the strength of the heating element during each settings.
If you want to make the best slice of toast, here’s how:
- Place your slices flat in the toaster oven, select your desired setting
- After the bread has lightly toasted, brush it will butter; making sure you don’t miss any crevices
- When the butter has began to melt, remove the slices, sprinkle flaky sea salt on top and return to the oven
- Once the butter is bubbling and the bread is golden brown, you can remove the slices
- Enjoy with your favourite jam, marmalade or have it plain in all its buttery glory
How to Cook Hotdogs in a Toaster Oven
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 as extremely simple.
- Line your toaster oven rack or a tray with tinfoil. This will prevent any liquid leaking onto the elements as the hotdog cooks and releases juices
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Ensure consistent cooking by scoring the hotdogs roughly 3-4 times along a diagonal, making the cuts 1/4 inches deep. Remember to use a sharp knife. Without scoring the hotdogs the steam may build up and cause them to burst
- Cook the hotdogs for around 4-5 min on one side
- Flip to the other side with tongs, cook for an additional 4-5 min before removing from the toaster oven.
Toasting Tip: A minute or two before you remove your hotdog, place the bun in the toaster oven to toast; by the time your hotdog is finished, the bun will be lightly toasted. For a little extra flavour to your hotdog, pop the hotdog in the lightly toasted bun, place 1 cheese slice (cut in half) lengthwise on the hotdog, and return it to the toaster oven for 30 seconds to melt the cheese.
- Different brands of hotdogs contain specific fillers and are made up of varying amounts of fat. This means, the hotdogs with more fat will require additional cooking time and will be less likely to dry out. The leaner the hotdog the faster it will cook.
- Some toaster ovens such as the Elite Maxi Matic have a hotdog roasting piece that rotates the hotdogs as they cook, ensuring an even more perfectly cooked hotdog!
How to Make a Baked Potato in a Toaster Oven
For many, a baked potato is one of the tastiest accompaniments to a meal. Cooking your baked potato 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
- Preheat the toaster oven to 375 degrees F
- Wash the potato well, removing all dirt from the crevices
- You can keep the potato whole or cut it in half lengthwise, prick vent holes around the potato, roughly 1/2 inch deep
- Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with seasoning (rock salt & pepper)
- Place your potato on the rack inside the toaster oven. If you want to steam the potato rather than create one with a crispy skin, wrap in tinfoil
- Cook at 375 degrees F for 35 – 50 min
Quick Cook Method
- Wash the potato well, removing all dirt from the crevices.
- Place the whole potato in a pot of water, bring the water to a boil and cook the potato until it is partially cooked. When you stick a fork in potato, it will push in and come out with only a little resistance
- Follow steps #3, #4 and #5 from the standard cooking method
- Cook at 220 degrees F for 10 min
Flavour Tip: Remove your potato from the tinfoil, make a deep slit lengthwise down the centre. 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 centre of the potato while it is cooking in the toaster oven. The skewer conducts heat and will allow the potato to be cooked from the inside out at the same time it’s being cooked from the outside.
- No matter which method you choose, you’ll need to remember that cooking time will depend on a few factors: Size of the potato, variety, and the power of the toaster oven.
- To test if your toaster oven baked potato is finished, insert a fork into the centre; if it removes easily, without resistance, consider your potato perfectly cooked.
How to Cook Eggs in a Toaster Oven
Cooking eggs in a toaster over is a great alternative to frying them! Not only is it healthier, it’s just as easy and you can get even more creative with the ways you can cook them; see the recipes following the best ways on how to cook eggs in a toaster oven.
Cooking in the shell
- Preheat your toaster oven to 375 degrees F
- Simply crack the egg in half, and cook in the shell if you like runny yolks
Basic Egg Bake
- Preheat your toaster oven to 350 degrees F
- Crack the eggs into a ramekin (make sure it is oven safe) and beat lightly with a fork. Add any spices/herbs or cheese if you’d like additional flavour
- Bake for 10-15 min on the centre rack (depending on the power of your oven)
- Once the eggs have set, remove with a heat protective holder
- Let cool a few minutes before enjoying
Eggs on a Cloud
- Set you’re toaster to the light toast setting
- Place a slice of toast into the toaster oven
- While your bread is toasting, separate the egg by placing the yolk in a ramekin and the white in a larger container, ready to whip
- Whip the egg white until stiff peaks
- By now, your bread will be toasted, brush it with butter or margarine
- Place the egg white on the toast, evenly distributed
- Add the egg yolk to the centre of the egg whites
- Select broil on your toaster and broil for roughly 3 min or until the whites have began to brown slightly and the yolk appears runny.
- Remove and enjoy!
How to Cook Salmon in a Toaster Oven
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 up 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.
- Line your toaster oven rack with parchment paper or lightly oiled tinfoil; this will prevent sticking
- Preheat the toaster over to 425 degrees F; set on bake
- If you have a glaze to put on or seasonings, this is the time to do so
- The salmon is fully cooked when it flakes apart easily
- Tasty Tip – Marinating your salmon beforehand will create a more moist and delicious product!
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 on your grates, which will burn easily while broiling, you’ll need to line with tinfoil instead. During the cooking process, due to the thermostat, the temperature will typically reduce which is why you’ll want to keep the door slightly propped open so that the broiler element stays on and a consistent broiling temperature is maintained.
Steaming in parchment paper, otherwise known as un papillote, is an incredibly easy and tasty way to cook your fish. For the perfect papillote, follow these steps:
- Lay a piece of parchment down; large enough of a piece to wrap the fish
- Place your piece of fish in the centre of the parchment
- In the meantime, preheat the toaster oven to 425 degrees F
- At this time, you can add any herbs, butter, wine or any other flavour enhancing ingredients to your salmon
- Wrap the salmon in the parchment by taking corner by corner and bringing them together until they join in the middle. The now four corners should be twisted to create a seal.
- Place on the rack and cook for 10-15 min until the paper becomes browned and puffy
- Carefully pull out the papillote, open it up and enjoy your perfectly cooked piece of salmon which has been steamed in its own juices.
How to Cook a Steak in a Toaster Oven
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.
- Line one of the toaster oven trays with foil, set aside
- Preheat your toaster oven to the broil setting and 275 degrees F. Preheating will take roughly 10 min
- Rub your steak with whatever seasoning you want (etc. Peppercorns) , including olive oil or butter
- Place the steak on the tray and pop it into the toaster oven.
- For a more flavourful steak, marinate for an hour before
- A medium rare steak will be cooked to 160 degrees F. You can check the doneness of your steak with a meat thermometer
Remember: The fat from the steak may drip and cause splattering and smoke therefore, you should keep a close eye during cooking to make sure it isn’t smoking and causing a fire.
How to Cook Toaster Strudel in an Oven
We all probably remember those toaster strudels you could buy from the frozen section, popularized in the 80’s, simple turn on your toaster oven and toss them in. Yes they may have been deliciously lacking nutritional value of any kind but many loved them for the convenience and combination of tastes and textures. It’s relatively easy to make your own toaster strudel, take a look at the recipes below for examples, we’ll share with you some cooking tips to make sure you get the most tasty 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:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Preheat the toaster oven to 375 degrees F
- If working with a fresh toaster strudel, make a slit on top of each to act as a vent, chill for 20 minutes. Continue on to step 5
- If previously formed, and you’re pulling them from the freezer, you’ll want to allow them 15-20min to thaw
- Brush the tops with egg wash
- Bake until golden brown, roughly 20-25 min (Depending on the setting and heat intensity of your toaster oven)
- Remove from the toaster oven, let cook for 15 min, glaze and serve
Whether you’re cooking a pizza, baked potato, salmon or any other item, you want to make sure you’ve reviewed the basic principles to cooking in a toaster oven. Using your toaster oven to prepare you favourite items won’t only be simple but it will save you energy and allow you to cook in a way that won’t heat up your kitchen. There are plenty of toaster oven hacks out there to help you cook up your favourite tasty meal, the only limit is how creative you want to get. Be bold, be creative, and get cooking!