The Seven Best Toaster Ovens for Every Home Cook
Toaster ovens have always been able to cook food faster and more efficiently than a regular oven, but for the new models on the market right now, those features are the floor, not the ceiling. With settings like air-fry, dehydrate, proofing, and rotisserie, it's almost as if toasters went to the future—and have graciously come back with new technology to make mealtimes just a little bit easier for all of us. To help us choose our favorites, we consulted cookbook authors—Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore—and asked them to share what they look for in a great toaster oven. Wyss and Moore, who run the recipe site Plugged Into Cooking, consider the toaster oven the most underused appliance in the kitchen. That's why they wrote Toaster Oven Takeover ($17.89, amazon.com), a cookbook with over 80 creative yet approachable recipes designed just for this underrated kitchen appliance.
Before you skim through our list of top toasters, Wyss and Moore recommend doing a little self-assessment. "Evaluate what you would like to cook in it," they advise. "Is this a convenient countertop oven you plan to use daily for most of your meals? Or is this an oven you might place in the downstairs kitchen and think it will be popular for pizza, hot sandwiches, and other snack foods on game or television nights? There is no wrong answer but knowing how you plan to use it makes a wise purchase much easier." Starting with those questions helps determine another important factor in choosing the right oven: size. Most toaster ovens articulate their size based on how many slices of toast can be made at once. Wyss and Moore, however, suggest going a little further in imagining the possibilities—and constraints—of a toaster oven you are considering purchasing. "What pans fit? Does your favorite casserole dish fit easily or does a common baking pan fit, with room to spare? If pizza is on the agenda, what size of pizza fits?"
As for the bells and whistles that accompany a few of our picks, Wyss and Moore agree that the bare minimum a toaster should be able to do is toast, bake, and broil. "With these settings you can make an array of food, from breakfast classics to quick sheet pan dinners and from easy appetizers to delicious desserts," they say. As for the rest of the features, they should feel like they would be useful for you and your household members. "Some people may not be able imagine living without a pizza setting, a frozen food setting, or a rotisserie accessory on their toaster oven, while others may rarely use these," says Wyss. "If you are not one to dehydrate foods, this setting might be extra."
Now that you know what a good toaster oven can do to support mealtimes around the clock, consider which one of these options would work best for your needs and shop our top picks.
What makes this toaster oven "smart?" It's a combination toaster oven and air fryer from Breville, an appliance company that consistently earns top ratings from consumers and professionals alike. Boasting an extra-large capacity that can fit up to nine pieces of toast (not to mention a 14-pound turkey), along with a "super convection" function setting that can reduce cooking times by 30 percent, this the one to invest in if you're looking to regularly make meals in a toaster oven.
Shop Now: Breville Smart Toaster Air Oven, $399.95, amazon.com.
This toaster-air fryer combination takes up less space on the counter than the average toaster oven but can still toast up to four slices of bread at a time (not to mention air-fry up to three pounds of food). Its functions are vast—from broiling asparagus to proofing bread, this small but mighty machine can handle anything. Perhaps more importantly, its nonstick interior means that you can handle the cleanup with ease.
Shop Now: Cuisinart Air-Fryer Toaster Oven, $199.99, bestbuy.com.
Zojirushi, a venerable appliance company most famous for their rice cookers, offers this no-fuss toaster option for folks who want to have their toast and their roast without much fussing around involved. If you ever think appliances are getting a little too smart for their own good, then we think you'll appreciate the simple design and solid build of this toaster oven.
Shop Now: Zojirushi Toaster Oven, $89.99, bedbathandbeyond.com.
The beloved Instant Pot has a new sibling for all of us to coo over. It comes equipped with a dehydrator setting, air fryer, and even a rotating function for rotisserie cooking. Simply put, there are many possibilities with this oven. And for as numerous as the features are, it's actually heralded as one of the most user-friendly toaster ovens on the market today.
Shop Now: Instant Omni Plus Air Fryer Toaster Oven, $157.14, walmart.com.
If your goal is to have a spare appliance in addition to regular oven that can handle toast for breakfast and the occasional frozen pizza and mozzarella sticks for game night, then there's no need to spend more than $100. But before reaching for the very cheapest options, which tend to heat unevenly and break down quickly, consider this affordable model from Austrian appliance company Mueller. It does a solid job with the basics; you can rely on this one to toast, bake, and broil foods quickly and evenly.
Shop Now: Mueller Four-Slice Toaster Oven, $59.24, amazon.com.
Best for Dorm Room or Camper Van
Yes, it's tiny. Seriously—we're talking one-toast-at-a-time tiny. However, this highly-rated pocket-size toaster oven has plenty of fans. Whether it's because of limited counter space, cooking for one, or living the vanlife, fans of this oven appreciate the cute factor as much as its features like auto shut-off and automatic 400° temperature setting for crispy toast and bagels every time.
Shop Now: Dash Mini Toaster Oven, $29.99, target.com.
Style, class, speed! Don't worry, you didn't accidentally click a link to a press release of the latest sports car—we're still talking about toaster ovens here. This one from Tokyo-based technology company Balmuda fits all of those descriptions and more. Most popular with toast connoisseurs, the special feature that sets this oven apart is its steam technology: You pour a little water into a slot at the top before toasting, which creates just enough steam to keep bread, pastries, or pizza from drying out, as the high heat creates a crisp, golden-brown crust.
Shop Now: Balmuda "The Toaster," $329.95, williams-sonoma.com.