I find it hard to count how many times I was forced to go to work with an empty tummy because I hit the snooze button way too quickly and, as a result, slept a few minutes too long. And then as a family we were late and running around like crazy people! Moms, you can relate to this, everyone else gets fed, while you organize and forget to eat….. sounds familiar?
Like to jump straight to reviews? We review each oven indepth further down the page…
For an average person that may not sound so terrible. There’s one thing in the morning I really dislike – cold breakfasts. And I equally don’t like the taste of food reheated in a microwave. In fact, for me anything that’s colder than hot is not a real breakfast and should be considered a sin…
Luckily, it all changed the day I finally decided to get myself a toaster oven. And not just some random and ordinary one – I went all the way and got ourselves a modern infrared toaster. Ever since I did that (that was a few years ago), my life changed tremendously and we love it. Let me help you change your life too. Here are some great ideas of what can be cooked in one of these funky ovens
Why I love Infrared Ovens?
Of course, now I use my toaster to prepare a lot more things than just our breakfasts. There are a few benefits to using an infrared oven over a convection one. Let me list just a few of them, and I will go over some of the below (and add a lot more) later in the article:
- It gets your meal/s ready really fast (that was the most important thing for me)
- Energy efficient – save a lot of money in the long run
- It enhances the natural flavors released by foods
- You can prepare a variety of food using it
- And the food will taste great unlike a microwave
- Cooking low fat and healthy food is super easy
Of course, there’s more benefits than that – this basic list is just to point out the most significant benefits of the best toaster oven to buy . That doesn’t mean they were all created equal though. They aren’t. Don’t worry, though. I’ll share with you five different toasters I think you’ll get value from, (it would be weird if I had five ovens at home, wouldn’t it?)
The Best Toaster Oven Will Make Your Life Easier
Depending on your needs, your very own personal toaster can save you a massive amount of time. There’s a lot of food that you can prepare using one: tasty pizzas, juicy steaks, healthy vegetables, yummy desserts, warm bread… depending on the model. And probably half of all your family favorites.
Thanks to many available features in the best toaster oven to buy, cooking becomes a smooth and easy process (these are the functions you should look for in any infrared oven). They are safe enough for children to use to whip up an after school snack when they are starving and march in the door demanding they could eat a horse!
Clear LCD Display
In the era of old toasters, LCD displays were not as popular. What a pain it was to set all the functions properly. The screen doesn’t have to be big (as long as there are all the buttons), but it should have all the options clearly displayed for convenience of use.
Efficient Pre-Heat System
If you often pressed for time, check if your toaster comes with a preheating system. It will not only speed up the cooking process, this system works well to make your food taste a lot better as it is heated more evenly.
Pre-Set Cooking Options
Unless you really love experimenting and don’t mind waiting some time trying to figure out the best program for your favorite pizza, you want the preprogrammed cooking options. The best toaster oven to buy gives you options.
There’s no point in memorizing all the temperatures for different kinds of food. Especially when preset options are waiting to make your life easier with a button. I love ease in my life and I know you do too. Make sure you read those infrared convection oven reviews so you buy the right model for your needs.
There is also one other significant benefit of preset options – energy efficiency. The best toaster ovens incorporate advanced cooking technology that dynamically distributes heat to different areas. The result: evenly cooked food.
This reduces the amount of energy needed and sends the heat where it’s needed most. Those preset options help you get the right consistency of the food – what should get nice and crispy on the outside will not be raw on the inside.
Precise Temperature Settings
Of course, there will be a time when you will have to set temperatures manually (no toaster has programs for all the food in the world). In this case, you want to be able to set the temperature precisely, without jumping every 20 or 30 degrees.
Airtight Door Seal (Not Really a Function but Just as Important)
To ensure your oven doesn’t cost you a bundle in energy bills and heats up your food instead of your room, make sure that it has an airtight door. If you want to ensure it does – simply choose one of the ovens I recommend at the bottom of this review.
One other thing you should keep in mind is the size. There are ovens designed for families with kids, as well as for singles. The choice of size is critical because if you cook just for yourself, you don’t want to go with too big an oven, not to mention that if you live in a small flat, it might be a bit bulky.
At the same time, if you have a busy family, a small oven might not fit in the pizza snacks your kids love so much. I’ll say it again, read those infrared convection oven reviews so you know what you are buying.
Safety of Infrared Cooking
Many of my friends who saw me cook using infrared asked me whether it’s safe. Despite a strange name that might suggest some kind of radiation is involved, infrared heating is completely safe. In fact, it’s not much different from cooking on an open fire, but without the harmful smoke and far far faster. Infrared technology has come a long way and many say it’s the solution to conserving energy in the future.
High Temperatures Kill Bacteria & Organisms
Thanks to the high temperatures an average toaster oven can achieve, it easily kills bacteria and other microorganisms in food that could be harmful. Because infrared heat heats the food itself and not the air, more moisture is retained in the food, minimizing the risk of burning food.
Low Fat Meals
One other concern when it comes to baking and frying food is the use of fat. Using infrared heat makes it a cinch to prepare low-fat meals, which is another great health benefit and so important for those who pay extra attention to their waistline and diet.
Sounds Great, but What Exactly Is an Infrared Oven Toaster?
They Can Work 40% Faster
Having listed so many benefits to infrared cooking, it’s time I looked more closely into some technical details. As I already pointed out, the reason I got my first infrared oven was the speed of cooking. In fact, a good oven can toast, bake, brown, broil, roast, defrost and reheat up to 40% faster compared to a regular convection toaster.
What Is Convection?
And the reason for this is easy. A convection oven heats up the air around the food, which then slowly gets warm and then hot by being blasted with hot air. An infrared toaster focuses its heating power on the food itself. Meaning more heat goes straight into your food instead of the air. If you wanted to heat up your room, you would just turn on your heater, wouldn’t you?
Quartz And Ceramic Elements Are Used
To achieve all that, the best toaster ovens use high-efficiency quartz and ceramic elements which are evenly positioned in the front and the back of the inside chamber. The food receives an even amount of heat from each side.
Your important advantage – energy efficiency. If you can prepare your food faster, you will need to use the toaster for a shorter time. Which in turn saves money on power bills. The more you cook using an infrared oven, the more you save compared to a traditional oven. On top of that, you don’t need any extra preheating or defrosting. That can take ages too…
What Other Things Should I Pay Attention to When Choosing My First Infrared Oven Toaster?
Apart from the technical must-haves that I have already listed such as a variety of cooking programs, which allow you to prepare a variety of foods and change the way your toaster distributes heat, there are a few minor features that can make your experience with the oven much more enjoyable.
Make sure that the oven has a visible digital timer. Some older models didn’t have a timer, and it’s hard to control the cooking process without being able to check or change the time. One thing with buying online, you can’t test the alarm that beeps when your food is ready to eat. Check the included features list please.
Convenient Interior Light and See-Through Door (Watch Your Food Cook… And Get Super Hungry!)
We all like to watch our food getting ready. Not only because we are hungry and want to eat it right now, but also because it tells us whether we have set the options correctly. By choosing a toaster oven with interior light, we can have an eye on the cooking process.
One thing that you might find handy is the door and baking rack connection. When your food is ready and you open the door, the rack gets pulled towards you to conveniently remove the food out of the oven.
Ease of Cleaning and Extra Accessories
Every high-quality infrared oven comes with nonstick materials that easily withstand high temperatures and makes cleaning a smooth and easy process. Make sure a removable crumb tray is included in the brand. A toaster oven with an interior light helps you remove all the tiny pieces of food or anything else that stays inside after cooking.
Many ovens come with accessories pre-made to make the cooking of certain types of food a lot easier. Such as additional trays of different sizes, baking trays, wire racks or grill pans. While not all of the ovens come with a full set of accessories, you’ll find extra accessories online.
1) Panasonic NB-G110P Flash Xpress Toaster Oven, SilverThis Panasonic FlashXpress Toaster Oven is a very popular pick for anyone who are looking for a fast simple way to prepare, or reheat their food in a healthy and quick way while keeping the taste. High tech quartz and ceramic heating elements are positioned in the front and back to evenly cook food.
6 Pre Set Touch Modes Auto Calculate Temp and Time
Thanks to the automatic calculating time function, it’s very easy to use it to prepare a variety of foods. Six pre-set touch modes do all the work by automatically calculating the exact perfect temperature and time. You can heat everything from leftovers, frozen hash browns , pizza and even toast.
While it might not be the best choice to bake a cake, it easily fits a pizza of up to 9 inches in diameter and by far the best 4 slice toaster oven (perfect a quick breakfast, isn’t it?).
Benefits of Panasonic Toaster Oven:
- Non-stick interior, bright light and front removable tray for easy, fast and efficient cleaning
- Double infrared power for up to 40% faster toasting, baking, browning and reheating
- 6 Autocook menus. A set of programs prepared for people who are busy and have no time to look into the recipe each time they are hungry
- Square-shape inner tray – perfect for a quick pizza
- No need to preheat your food. No more waiting and starving after coming back from work
- Digital timer
Hot Meals- The FlashXpress Has You Covered!
What if you want to serve the perfect snacks for friends who drop in, piping hot family meals and nice side dishes? The cutting edge touch-button temperature sensor allows you to precisely manually control the 8 precision heat level settings from 250°F – 500°F. Plus there is a smart digital timer to keep track of time should you be distracted….
The sleek clean design is available in Silver or White. The Panasonic measures 14.5 x 13.5 x 13.5 inches and it doesn’t take much space. Panasonic’s commitment to quality is apparent in the design, layout and high-quality materials used which is everything you might need.
If you’re looking for something family-oriented and if what I wrote above suits you – go check the Panasonic FlashXpress toaster oven reviews.
2) Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven with Element IQThe second on the list is Breville’s Mini Oven, which in reality is not that small, considering that it comes in 3 different sizes! This Mini Oven measures 15.5” (L) x 14” (W) x 8.75” (H)
Advanced Heating System
But this variety is not the reason why I like it so much. This infrared oven was the first that my Mom owned which offered truly smart power distribution. An advanced heating system of 4 quartz elements, which cooked your food quickly and evenly, without hot or cold spots. The Breville Mini Smart Oven is also best 4 slice toaster oven for turning out crunchy toast.
Benefits of Breville Oven:
- 8 preset cooking programs – just click and cook, no playing with options required
- Great set of accessories – baking pan, broil rack and pizza pan
- Up to 5 quartz elements (in the BOV800XL). Please keep in mind that while the price goes up together with the size, it’s still a pretty affordable option.
- 3 Different Smart Oven sizes (16x13x9 inches, 16.5×15.5×10.25 inches and 18.5×16.25×11.25 inches), allow you to prepare 11, 12 or 13-inch pizza and up to 6 toast slices.
- Clear LCD display shows the progress (different colors for preheating, cooking and end of program)
Such Useful Design FunctionsIf you are yet to decide on the size, but you like the different options offered by this toaster, you definitely should think about the Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven features.
There is a pull out crumb/ drip tray which you pull out from the front and is the best idea for easy cleaning. During cooking time, the back-lit easy-read LCD display is orange. The LCD calculates the correct the time and temperature and turns blue to alert you once the cycle is complete.
Reinforced Powder Coated Exterior
The outer shell is designed from reinforced, powder coated steel, no cheapy plastic thank you. The interior is a non stick surface which capably handles high temperatures. The bonus of non stick surfaces, you simply wip ethem down to clean them. No matter if you are single or you live with a whole family, there’s a Breville Mini Smart Oven size for everyone.
Element IQ Variable Power Distribution
And the unique Element IQ Variable Power Distribution is definitely worth every penny. The Mini Smart Oven adjusts power of the 4 individual quartz heating elements to cook food more evenly and quickly. Basically, the Smart Oven distributes heat where needed. How smart is that! Add that together with the 8 preset programs, the toaster becomes an almost hands-off solution to your cooking problems!
3) Frigidaire Professional Stainless Programmable 6-Slice Infared Convection Toaster OvenThis Frigidaire Professional Infrared Oven markets itself as one offering everything you need to cook your food to perfection. And honestly, it’s not far from the truth.
The biggest advantage of this toaster oven is its PowerPlus programs. PowerPlus Convection lets you cook and brown even faster and more evenly and PowerPlus Pre-Heat heats up your food quickly and efficiently. No more waiting and wasting time. Of course, that would not be enough to make an impression on me.
Benefits of Frigidaire Oven:
- Beautiful, Large and Clear Display – this is one of the clearest screens out there. Obviously, an oven is not a computer, but it’s a lot more convenient to use a toaster with a display that’s clear and shows all the info you might need.
- Cleaning – it’s really easy to clean, thanks to top-quality non-stick surface and bright light
- Extra baking pan – we all love free accessories which take away the hassle of having to look for them separately
Good Family Sized Oven
The Frigidaire Professional Infared Convection Toaster Oven measures 17.8 x 16.7 x 11.5 inches, making it one of the larger ovens on the market.
8 Preset Programs
8 preset cooking programs make preparing the most common meals a breeze. If you want the best 6 slice toaster oven that can easily get you six bread slices done at once (or a 12-inch crispy pizza) – this oven will be the right choice.
While there are not as many buttons on the cover and you have to play with the options on the screen, that’s absolutely not a problem.
4) Morning Star – Extra Large -12-Slice Countertop Digital Infrared Convection Toaster Oven, Stainless SteelYou will definitely love this big Morning Star Convection Toaster Oven if you like to eat A LOT! Or maybe you have a big family and loves to cook for gatherings, this one is perfect for you which can fit as many as 12 slices of bread, or a full chicken. Actually, I think this is the ONLY 12 slice toaster oven I have ever seen.
Extra Large Dimensions
With such extra large dimensions, 21″x 13″ x 13.5″ inches, it’s probably not the best choice for one person. If you have a family, or invite friends to visit you often, you will love not only its size but also a few other things that every quality oven toaster should have.
Convection And Infrared Heat Combination
Most infrared toasters can’t offer to accommodate the bread pans, racks, quarter baking sheets and other large baking pans that the Morning Star can. The convenient blend of traditional convection technology with infrared heating give you the best cooking results.
Convection heat is simply hot air being blown around the interior of the oven. Infrared heat cooks the food directly in front of the quartz ceramic elements. The combo means food cooks more rapidly.
Benefits of Morning Star Toaster Oven:
- Multiple preset settings for quick and easy selections of programs (you’ll get addicted to the pizza one).
- Super easy to clean interior thanks to the non-stick cover, convenient removable crumb tray, and stainless steel front.
- Beautiful, bright and big display (even larger than the Frigidaire’s one)
- Lightning infrared technology – despite its size, it cooks fast.
Additional FeaturesWhile one could think that the only advantage of this toaster oven is its size, it’s really far from the truth – size is just one of them. If you are looking for an oven with a commercial lean, the Morning Star 12 Slice Toaster oven would fit your needs
The racks can be moved to 4 different heights to provide the best cooking results for your chickens, salmon fillets, cakes or pizzas. By the way this oven can fit a 12 inch pizza, great for a quick weekend or after work snack…
5) Panasonic NU-HX100S Countertop Induction Oven with Induction Technology and Infrared Heat, Stainless SteelLast but definitely not least – the most sleekly beautiful, energy efficient and professional infrared oven toaster I’ve ever seen is the Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven.
Infrared And Induction Heat
Induction heat is the new kid on the block. The biggest novelty in the Panasonic NU-HX100S is the mix between infrared and induction technologies. A unique system that will help you keep all the flavors of the food while radically shortening the time needed for cooking. I could really list a lot of things for which I love this toaster but let me focus on the most important ones.
You can make everything in this oven! Steak, fish, chicken, vegetables, family desserts, cakes and more. I’m not sure you’d even need a regular oven if you own one of these…
Benefits of Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven:
- There’s no better-designed toaster oven on the market. Period.
- Capable of preparing a variety of dishes including fish, chicken, lamb, pork, salmon steaks as well as pizzas or bagels (all that with six pre-set autocook menus for meat, vegetables, meat, etc.).
- Airtight door seal prevents the heat as well as the flavor from escaping
- It’s very easy to keep it clean – even though it doesn’t really look like that (because it looks superb)
- Dishwasher safe accessories, including unique, heavy-duty grill pan
The Panasonic NU-HX100S Countertop Induction Oven Is An Investment
While it’s not the cheapest, if you treat your kitchen appliances like an investment and want something that will serve you for years to come – you can’t go wrong with Panasonic NU-HX 100S. It will help you prepare healthy and tasty meals in a matter of minutes with a click of just a few buttons. You can make a far wider range of foods in this oven than the first 4 ovens.
And all that without spending a fortune on energy bills.
How Does The Panasonic Work To Create Flavorful Food?
Direct induction and dual heating work to rapidly raise temperatures for control of precise cooking. A fine mist of steam is circulated around the ovens interior and flavors are released by your ingredients which improves the taste and texture.
Easy To Use Controls
You can see at a glance what needs to be done on the control panel display window and by selecting dial, it’s easy to choose the right cooking methods for meals, snacks and baked foods.
6 pre-programmed auto cook menus give you results in minutes. Push a button and you’ll be serving quick, healthy one pan meals, steak, chicken or fish with crunchy vegetables, plus your usual family favorites of desserts or pizza’s, bagels and more…
Yes, The Panasonic Can Multi Function….
The Panasonic can multi function. Fancy a machine that can multi function…:) It can simultaneously cook foods requiring different heating times. It can sear and cook beef, lamb and pork steaks and vegetable. It can broil to cook bacon, melt cheeses and more, as well as bake deep-dish items- pies, cakes, muffins and frozen pizza. Amazing.
Your kitchen stays cool as an airtight door seal stops heat escaping. This is a benchtop only model.
Choosing The Best Toaster Oven To Buy Can Add Freedom In The Kitchen
It takes time to choose the best toaster oven to buy. While you might be tempted to go with the cheapest option, if you value the time saving benefits and like appliances that will serve you for years, I would lean towards treating your purchase as an investment. You might have to pay some extra money, and you’ll be glad you did it each time you eat your delicious meal. But I leave that decision to you. Go over the list of ovens again if you need, and head over to Amazon to read those infrared convection oven reviews. Grab a model and brand that truly suits your needs!
We also take a look at the best infrared ceramic cooktops which are portable