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A popular kitchen appliance is a toaster oven. They are small, easy to use, and serve a variety of purposes. But did you know you can use it for baking? The small convection oven provides even heating so foods don’t over or undercook.
You can use a toaster oven for baking various items. However, please note that the temperature and cooking time will vary from your you are used to with the conventional oven.
You will need to pick the right baking pan and learn how to properly position it under the heating elements to get your desired results.
Benefits of Using an Oven Toaster for Baking
You can bake in a toaster oven. Just remember that when baking cakes and other items will need to be a bit smaller.
Food baked in countertop ovens tastes just as good as when they are cooked in a traditional oven. Here are a few of the benefits.
- Smaller batches. You may not need to heat up a full size oven for a small cake or a small batch of cookies.
- Easier clean-up. Since you are cooking in smaller batches, you will not have as much cleaning to do after you are done.
- Faster baking. Smaller cakes or batches mean faster cooking. However, you will need to watch it carefully as it will burn easily if you don’t remove it as soon as it’s done.
- Very little pre-heating. A toaster oven takes about half the time to preheat when compared to a traditional oven.
What You Need to Know About Baking in a Toaster Oven
There are a few things different about baking in a toaster oven, but just like the regular oven, you can get great-tasting results. Here are some tips for baking in a toaster oven.
Tip 1: Find the Hot Spots
Since the toaster oven is much smaller than a traditional oven, it has smaller heating elements. These elements sit closer to whatever you are baking.
Because they sit so close to your baking pan, you cannot use parchment paper for baking in a toaster oven. Knowing your oven’s hot spots helps you know how to rotate the pan to get even oven bake results.
You can use oatmeal to help you identify the hot spots. /spread out a thin layer of oats on a pan. Place it in the oven and let the oats toast.
When you take the pan out of the oven, you can clearly see the areas that were closer to the heated coils.
Tip 2: Find the Right Pan
Before you start mixing ingredients, make sure you have the right pan. Regular baking sheets and large baking pans will not fit in the toaster oven.
Even if the pan fits inside the oven, it can touch the heating elements. Make sure the pan is the right size. Another thing to check is if your recipe will fit in the baking pan. Remember that the pan will only need to be 2/3 full.
Tip 3: Modify the Temperature and Time
Most recipes include baking time and temperature settings. But every toaster oven is different and have various heating capabilities. The size of the oven affects baking time too.
If it’s your first try at baking in a toaster oven, don’t rely totally on the information in the recipe. Check it every few minutes to ensure it’s baking and it’s baking correctly.
You can use the thermometer to adjust the temperature of the oven as needed. Check the instruction manual that came with the toaster oven for instructions on changing the temperature.
If you are baking a chocolate cake in a toaster oven, set the temperature 25 degrees lower than what is suggested in the recipe. That will help prevent it from burning.
Tip 4: Parchment Paper
In general, you may want to avoid the use of parchment paper. However, there are a few things that absolutely need it. Just cut the parchment paper so it fits the pan perfectly and doesn’t hang over the edges.
Three Settings on a Toaster Oven
Most toaster ovens come with three settings: toast, broil, and bake. Here’s the difference.
Toast Setting – This setting uses both heating elements (top and bottom). That is so your toast comes out evenly browned on both sides.
Broil Setting – This setting will only engage the top heating element. It’s great for roasting veggies or melting cheese or butter on top of different foods. Don’t use foil when using the broil setting, it can pose a fire hazard.
Bake Setting – This setting uses both the top and bottom heating elements, but most of the heat comes from the bottom one. If your oven has a bake setting, it should also be equipped with a temperature knob and a timer. Some of the newer models include a pre-heating function.
How to Bake in a Toaster Oven
Here are the step-by-step instructions for baking in a toaster oven.
- Preheat the toaster oven. Allow the toaster oven 10 minutes to heat up. Don’t skip this step as it’s the first step to achieving an evenly baked cake or cookie.
- Grease baking pans before cooking. You can use butter or the oil of your choice to grease baking pans. This helps prevent sticking.
- Leave room for batter to rise. Baking pans should only be filled to 2/3 full. If the pan is filled all the way up, it’s likely to touch the heating elements.
- Keep an eye on your goodies. You’ll want to check your cake, cookies, or other baked goods every few minutes. Once the batter has risen, usually this happens about half way through the baking process, turn the pan 180 degrees to make sure it bakes evenly.
- Use aluminum foil. Using a thin layer of aluminum foil on the top of your baking dish can help prevent the top from burning while the items are cooking.
- Test for doneness. You can use a toothpick or a cake tester to check for doneness. If the tester or toothpick comes out clean, the cake or cookie is done. This is important because baking times can differ greatly depending on various factors like pan size and the heating power of the oven.
- Let the baked goods cool before removing. After you take the cake, cookies, or brownies out of the oven, let them cool. Once they are cool, they are much easier to remove from the pan.
Final Thoughts on Using a Toaster Oven for Baking
You can certainly use a toaster oven for baking many foods. You’ll just need to take a bit more care and watch the contents of the oven a little more closely.
Most of the time, they are equipped with a light and a window in the door. A Breville smart oven will also have a preheat setting. That allows you to see when your cookies, cakes, or other foods are starting to rise.
Of course, you are not limited to baking desserts. You can use your toaster oven to cook food. You have lots of choices from roast chicken to mozzarella sticks.