13 Reasons You’re Underestimating Your Toaster Oven

When it’s sweltering outside, the last thing you want is to turn on your oven and cook. Or you’re at work and there is no big oven to speak of, just a modest toaster oven. Here are 13 ways to put it to good use.

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Embrace Your Toaster Oven

Amazing roasty things can come from even a small, single-shelf version of this appliance. Most things that can be baked will work in a toaster oven, if scaled down to a size and quantity that can fit inside of it. A toaster oven has several unique advantages over a big oven. Because it is small, it heats up quickly. For the same reason, the heating sources on the top and bottom are close together and cook things quickly. Many models cheerfully “ding” and turn themselves off at the end of the time you've set. (If yours is not one of them, you’ll have to turn it off yourself.) Please do continue making and enjoying toast. Toast is good. But so is roast chicken. So make that, too. 

Roast Chicken

If you can cook chicken nuggets, you can roast a spatchcocked Cornish hen on your toaster tray. Eat it at your desk, to the envy of your cubicle neighbors. 

Toaster Bacon!

Lay some strips on the rack with the tray underneath. Enjoy at 3 p.m. Also excellent for bribes.

Miso-Glazed Salmon

… or any number of other fancy-sounding fish recipes. Fish cooks quickly, so it’s an ideal toaster-oven food.

Garlicky Roasted Green Beans

They are small, and it doesn’t take long for the heat to get through to the center. Roast a single layer of them tossed in garlicky oil.

Sausage and Peppers

Nestle some Italian sausages into a bed of sliced onions and peppers. You’ll want to stir this a couple of times mid-roast so nothing burns. 

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Almonds 

Toss nuts with a sweetener like maple syrup, sugar or honey, sprinkle with salt and a spice like cinnamon or chili powder, and toast in a single layer. 

Pan of Cornbread

Make some cornbread and cook it in here while something else is hogging your oven.

Fruit Crumble

Pat a crust directly into your baking tray, fill with fruit and top with crumble. 

Fresh Weekday Muffins

Freeze muffin batter in foil-lined muffin papers. Bake a few while you take a shower, and pretend you are in a commercial as you emerge, dressed in a business suit, to a fresh warm muffin for breakfast.


Assemble these on the tray, brush them with oil and bake until melty cheese peeks out of the edges.

Almost-Immediate Apple Pie-Like Food

Scatter thinly sliced apples on a flour tortilla, sprinkle generously with brown sugar and a little cinnamon, dot with pats of butter and toast it until the apples are soft.

Banana Bread

If a small loaf pan fits into your toaster oven, a banana bread or zucchini bread can be baked in there.

Two Cookies

Scoop cookie dough and freeze the scoops. Store in the freezer. Bake two of them. Eat them with a glass of milk. Share if you are nice. 

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