Cuisinart is a well-known and well-loved manufacturer of kitchen appliances. Ever since they launched the first food processor in the American market, they have become synonymous with convenience and quality.
Their Convection Toaster Oven is a perfect example of what makes this brand great. Thanks to its simple controls and sleek industrial design, this is the kind of multipurpose appliance that you can expect to use every week.
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What Makes the Cuisinart Toaster Oven Special?
At first glance, the Cuisinart convection toaster oven is an elegant, upscale addition to any modern kitchen. Just like most Cuisinart products, a great degree of care went to ensuring this piece remains looking like new for years. Instead of the blocky figure that we usually associate with “resilience”, this toaster oven uses smooth steel panels and soft curves. This means it will resist a few bumps and scratches.
However, the main reason why this appliance has become such a hit is due to its versatility. This product offers different cooking modes: a toaster, oven, broiler and food warmer. It also comes with all the necessary accessories for each:
- A baking pan for the standard oven or “bake” mode
- A small broiling grill, to lift any meats you are broiling
- A crumb tray that will help you keep it clean while toasting bread.
The crumb tray must always go on the very bottom of the oven. However, the baking pan and broiling grill can be placed at three different heights. From highest to lowest, these are known as rack positions A, B, and C
How to Use all the Features of your Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven
The convenience of switching from a toaster to an oven by just turning a dial comes with one major downside: sometimes, the best way to operate this appliance is not immediately obvious.
Using the Toaster Function
The toaster function in your Cuisinart toaster oven allows you to choose between light, medium, or dark toast. It is also the simplest one to use:
- First, place the baking tray in the middle (or B) position.
- Then, insert your bread slices. Make sure they are evenly spaced, and if possible, that they do not touch each other.
- Turn the top knob (the temperature one) to the highest temperature setting
- Turn the middle knob (also known as the Function dial) to the Toast position
- Move the bottom knob (or timer) towards one of the toast icons located at the bottom of the dial
- Wait for the bell to ring, and your toast should be ready and at the desired shade!
- If you toast a second batch, you may need to set the timer one position forward (for example, on the light toast position instead of the medium, if you want medium toast), as the toaster will already be hot.
Using the Broiler
Your toaster oven has a broiling mode, which allows you to heat food intensely, but from the top only. This is a great option for grilling meats, as it gets rid of much of the fat, or to brown the top of lasagna or anything covered in cheese.
This is what you need to do:
- Add 2 tablespoons of water to the crumb tray
- Set the broiling rack on top of the baking tray, and place both on position C (the highest one)
- Turn both the top and middle knobs to the “Broil” position
- Turn the timer to “dark toast” position to let the oven preheat, and wait for the bell to ring,
- As soon as the bell rings, open the oven and place your meat on top of the broiling rack. Make sure to wear oven mittens or use prongs!
- Close back the oven
- Turn the timer again and twist it to the “Always On” position
- Leave the oven door slightly ajar while the meat is cooking. Your toaster
- Make sure to stick around to check on your food! If you are cooking meat, it is best to use a thermometer to check the food’s internal temperature.
Using the Oven
If you are looking for a comfort meal, baked goods will provide an unmatched sense of warmth for your entire family. The Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven offers two separate baking modes: a standard “bake” one, which heats food using both heating coils, and a “convection oven” function, which adds an internal fan that keeps hot air moving inside the oven.
To use either of these functions, you will need to:
- Place the baking tray in the B position.
- Set the function dial to “Bake” or “Convection bake”
- Set the temperature dial to your desired temperature, which is most likely included in the original recipe.
- Preheat the oven for at least 5 minutes, by moving the timer to the “dark toast” position
- Open the oven and insert the food
- Bake your food for the desired time.
- If you are using the convection oven mode, but your recipe offers instructions for a standard oven, try reducing the temperature by 25 degrees.
Making the Most of your Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven
These four basic functions will allow you to create dozens of dishes at home. For best results, you will also need to keep an eye out for food safety, and you will want to keep your oven properly clean.
Food safety guidelines
According to the FDA, the best way to ensure if meat is safe to eat is by checking its internal temperature. Whenever you are baking or broiling meat, use a meat thermometer to see if it’s well done. The exact time required to reach a safe temperature will vary according to the type of meat and its thickness.
For quick reference:
- Cook all ground meats until they are at least 165 F
- Cook fresh red meats (veal, lamb, or beef) until at least 145 F
- Cook all poultry until at least 165 F
- Cook all fresh pork or ham to a minimum of 145 F
You can see the full FDA guidelines for food safety here.
If you want to avoid overcooking, try setting the timer for 5 minutes less than indicated in the recipe. Then, check using a meat thermometer. If you have reached the minimum temperature, then you’re set! Otherwise, put the meat back in the oven and give it an additional 4 or 5 minutes.
Maintaining and cleaning your toaster oven
Keeping your toaster oven clean will help it stay looking as good as new for longer. It will also prevent the steel finishes from rusting. Discarding any fat drippings, on the other hand, is a matter of fire safety! Do so after every use.
- Before cleaning the oven, make sure it is unplugged and that it has cooled down.
- The exterior casing and the glass door can be cleaned with a damp cloth
- Slide the crumb tray carefully, to prevent the crumbs from falling inside the oven.
- The crumb tray, baking tray, and broiling rack are all dishwasher safe
- If you do not have a dishwasher, try using warm soapy water
- Don’t even try to scrub the inside of the oven with a wire sponge or Brillo pad!
The Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven can be a great addition to any kitchen. If you are fond of warm meals and crusty bread rolls, you may find yourself using it at least once a week! If you are still unsure about your purchase, try learning more about the different types of ovens for home use.