A Guide to the Best Mini Toaster Ovens of 2022
If you have a small studio apartment, or if you’re a student in a dormitory, you don’t have a lot of space for large appliances. You’ll want something that will heat up or cook as many types of food as possible. Also, even if you have a large built-in oven in your kitchen, you don’t need it to heat up some pastries or a small pizza. A mini toaster oven is a perfect solution.
We’ll see that a mini-toaster oven (or, the slightly larger compact toaster oven) will usually be able to heat up frozen pizza or waffles or reheat rolls or pastries. And, of course, they’ll also prepare toast, with several settings for exactly the degree of crispiness that you’re looking for. They can also broil and roast with excellent results–something that a microwave oven can’t do. And many of them are equipped with special sensors to make sure your food doesn’t overheat or burn!
We’ll go through some of the most versatile mini-toaster ovens available nowadays. You’ll be amazed at what they’re capable of doing!
Types of Mini Toaster Ovens
Conventional Oven: A conventional oven will have heating elements on the floor and ceiling of the oven. The food nearer to the heating element will cook more quickly. It can still be versatile enough to perform multiple functions, such as the Panasonic FlashXpress Toaster Oven.
Panasonic FlashXpress Toaster Oven
Convection Oven: A convection oven will also have heating elements, but will use a fan to circulate the hot air inside the oven’s cavity. This will ensure a quicker preheating time, for dishes that require a preheated oven. Convection can help you reduce the cooking time by as much as 30%! Also, the food will be cooked more evenly, since all sides of the food are exposed to the hot air. However, a convection model can be as much as $100 more than a conventional oven. A good mini toaster convection oven is the Breville Smart Oven Pro Countertop Convection Oven.
Breville Smart Oven Pro Countertop Convection Oven
What reviewers say
Noise of a convection oven: One customer who used the Breville mini-toaster convection oven said that the fan on the oven started to make noise only after 6 years of use!
Great for small families: If you just want to defrost or warm up food for a small number of people, a mini-toaster oven is a go-to item for that. If you would choose to use your main kitchen oven, it will take considerably more time.
Wrapping food in aluminum foil: In a mini-toaster oven that uses quartz heating elements, you don’t have the same concerns as when using a microwave. But you should make sure that the aluminum foil doesn’t touch the heating elements. Some manufacturers also warn against wrapping the crumb tray with aluminum foil, out of concern that it will cause the oven to overheat.
Number of slices of toast: Most of the mini toaster ovens that we examined can fit 4 pieces of toast at once. The Oster Digital Convection Toaster Oven is a bit larger and is able to prepare 6 slices of toast at once for you.
Oster Digital Convection Toaster Oven
Toasting and baking options: You’re not limited to toasting only boring sliced white bread. The Breville Compact Smart Oven will also allow you to toast English muffins, artisan bread, and bagels as well, where you prefer one side to be crispy and the other to remain soft. You can specify the number of slices that you want to toast, and how brown you want them to be, ranging from 1 for lightly toasted, to 6 for darkly toasted. These toaster ovens will also be able to bake cakes, muffins, and pastries.
Smart ovens: Nowadays, a “smart” appliance is something that you can control with a smartphone app. But, many mini-toaster ovens are “smart” in that they have special sensors to turn off the heat and maintain the temperature when your food is ready.
Rack heights: You should change the rack height depending on what you’re preparing. The top rack height on the Breville Compact Smart Oven is for broiling, the middle setting is for toast, or for preparing cookies or pizza, while the bottom rack is for baking, reheating, and roasting.
Replaces other appliances: Not only is a mini-toaster oven economical in terms of space. It can also replace other appliances. We have already seen that they can toast bread, bagels, and English muffins. But there are also mini toaster ovens, like the Breville Smart Oven Pro, that can accommodate a Dutch oven and slow-cook for you, and even roast an entire chicken!
Easy cleaning: You certainly would prefer a toaster oven that’s easy to clean. Most of them have a removable crumb tray underneath the grates to catch crumbs. The Hamilton Beach Easy-Reach Toaster Oven (Model No. 31126) is a bit innovative in the design of its door. It lifts up entirely above the oven, as opposed to those ovens where the door opens by lowering the door. In this design, there is less of a chance of the door getting dirty.
Hamilton Beach Easy-Reach Toaster Oven, illustrating the crumb tray and top-lift door
We went through some of the best mini toaster ovens available. It’s a small investment of usually less than $150, but it’s a big convenience, allowing you to reheat and even cook small quantities of food. Whether it’s just for a dorm room or suite, or to quickly reheat cold pizza or other leftovers in your home, a mini-toaster oven is a great choice!