Toaster Oven life hacks

When it comes to small appliances, toaster ovens have come a long way, baby. Beyond their usual toasting and reheating functions, these small but mighty countertop gadgets offer a versatile (and impressive!) range of capabilities that can save you loads of time and effort—at a fraction of the cost of a traditional range oven.

From air frying to roasting, baking and dehydrating, get the most out of your toaster oven with these life hacks.

Need a toaster oven?

1Indulge your sweet tooth—even on hot days.

toaster ovens for baking sweets

Toaster ovens can be your ultimate go-to for baked goods in a pinch (or a heat wave!). Easily portable on your porch or patio on those summer days when it’s too hot for a conventional oven, their handy, economical size means you can whip up  a batch of cookies, a half a dozen muffins, or a tray of brownies without breaking a sweat. That’s because some models now come with convection airflow functions, which circulates heat around the food, using steam to bake quickly.

Got some ready-made puff pastry dough on hand? Bake some hot, fresh turnovers, fruity hand pies, or croissants (also delish using the air fryer setting).

You can even bake bread in the toaster oven using convection setting. Some toaster ovens come with special bread proofing settings⁠—a low temperature designed to encourage dough to rise.

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Quick Tip
Avoid altering larger-sized bakeware by cutting or breaking them down to fit. Instead, use sheet pans and cookware that are specifically designed for toaster oven use.

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2Roast wholesome meals and side dishes—fast(er).

Roast wholesome meals and side dishes with your toaster oven.

Want fast food that’s actually healthy? Your toaster oven is your cohort when it comes to nutritious dinners and side dishes—and in less time than it would take for your oven to heat up. Use it as a roaster oven for your veggies to help bring out the sugars, enhancing the sweetness and natural flavours.

Or whip up a sheet pan meal for two. Hungry for more? Here are dinner ideas for foods that work especially well in a toaster oven’s high temperature setting.

  • Baked potatoes are ideal in the toaster oven, especially if you only need a few. Root vegetables in general, like sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, carrots and beets stand up well to the high heat of roasting, as do green beans and asparagus. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Your toaster oven can be especially handy for making baby and toddler food. Experiment with roasted vegetable textures, favours and combinations
  • Roast garlic and mix it with butter for delicious, savoury garlic bread —or squeeze into into meals for instant flavour (and nutrients!)
  • For a fast and simple dinner, roast firm fish like salmon, cod or halibut with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon. Cook tender, flaky fish fillets every time, no muss, no fuss (and there’s nothing wrong with frozen favourites!).
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Quick Tip
Want your veggies to roast faster? Try slicking them a little thinner before placing them in your toaster oven.

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3Give your foods a crispy kick.

Give your foods a crispy kick with your toaster oven.

The crunch and texture of fried food is a craving that requires just the right fix. With an air fryer toaster oven, you can get that crispy kick at home—even with leftovers. Whether you’re reheating pizza, chicken wings or even French fries, use the air fry setting for a more authentic texture that stands up to fresh.

  • Frozen appetizers are ideal on the air fryer setting and can be heated up quickly to add to school lunches (or for those working from home)
  • Try experimenting with different foods to achieve different textures. For example, biscuits and pastries get extra flaky when given an egg wash before baking
  • Make sure food is spread in an even layer or else it won’t brown up evenly. Air fryers cook food using convection heat, so there needs to be space for the hot air to circulate
  • The air fry setting is also amazing for reheating leftovers. Microwaves heat the water within food, while a toaster oven heats from the outside in (eliminating uneven temperature).Quick Tip: Spray your oven-safe pan with oil for an extra crispy texture.

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4Whip up a breakfast bonanza.

whip up a breakfast bonanza with your toaster oven.

With multi-functional capabilities like baking, crisping and warming, a toaster oven is poised to become your one-and-done breakfast prep partner. Turn the toaster oven on to preheat while you hit start on the coffee maker and get ready for all kinds of morning favourites for the whole family.

  • Don’t have time to spend over the pan cooking bacon? (Nor a fan of having the smell of bacon in your hair and clothes?) Try cooking bacon in a toaster oven instead. Just be sure to use an toaster oven liner–you don’t want any grease pooling on the bottom of the oven directly!
  • Bake individual eggs in ramekins, perfect for weekend brunch (everyone can choose their own toppings) or a simple meal with a fresh salad
  • Sausages cook well in a toaster oven thanks to the even heat. Roast sausages, peppers and onions for a flavourful and protein-packed addition to rice, white beans or sweet potatoes
  • Keep waffles and pancakes warm while you whip up more.

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5Entertain like a pro.

Use your toaster oven to help you entertain like a pro with plate warmerss.

Entertaining guests? Keep main dishes and sides piping until you’re ready to serve them.

Or take things to the next level and warm your plates or serving platters: Just set your toaster oven to “Bake” or to “Warm” using the lowest setting, and allow plates to slowly come to temperature. Just make sure you’re using plates that are safe for the toaster oven.

(Here’s an idea: Treat dad to a warm breakfast in bed on Father’s Day!).

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6Get your cheese fix

Get your cheese fix.

Love cheese? Toaster ovens are terrific appliances for cheesy treats and are sure to help satisfy any cheese craving.

  • Doesn’t a wheel of brie feel like the perfect size for a toaster oven? Be sure to use the correct oven-safe pan, then top with favourites like almonds, brown sugar, cranberries or rosemary
  • Making grilled cheese is low-effort in a toaster oven. Not only does it come out evenly crispy, but, you can easily customize your grilled cheese with bacon, apple, tomato, broccoli, tuna, or roast veggies, too
  • Heat up queso dip or make a mini-batch of nachos smothered in cheese with all the trimming
  • Garlic bread pairs perfectly with pasta (sprinkle your favourite cheese blend on top and use the broil setting).

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7Make healthy snacks like fruit leather.

Love fruit rollups? Make your own homemade fruit leather from the comfort of your kitchen with your using the convection setting on toaster oven. You’ll want a low, even temperature of 140° to 160°F for a fun, wholesome snack, using any fresh or frozen produce.

Experiment with different flavours like beef jerky, which is a good source of protein and a convenient snack on the go.

Note that dehydrating foods in your toaster oven can take anywhere between six and 12 hours.

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Quick Tip
Protect your toaster oven with a removable toaster oven liner that can be cleaned and reused. While using parchment paper or aluminum foil to line the pan makes for easy cleanup, some manufacturers say it’s not for use in toaster ovens, so be sure to always read the manual and instructions on any accessory or item you plan to use inside your toaster oven.

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