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While there are many toaster ovens on the market, you will need to purchase a toaster oven specifically designed for baking. These will have 2 large racks and a wide, roomy interior. The two rack feature is important for two-layer cakes. Air must be able to circulate around both items, so a roomy interior is a must. Look for a toaster oven that is both wide and tall. Usually, these will also feature convection ovens, which will help speed-up the cooking process. Hamilton Beach makes a nice double-racked toaster oven that sells for around $100 is my preferred choice for baking.
Recommended Reading: Get started with baking by reading our Ultimate Guide to the Best Baking Equipment for Beginners!
Think compact and bake based on size. For a regular toaster oven, full-sized baking pans are useless unless your toaster oven has full-size baking capabilities. Specially created toaster oven pans are available with a non-stick coating to use in both compact and full-size toaster ovens. These usually measure 7 ” x 12″ and are priced around $5 each. I purchased mine on Amazon.com when they were offering a “buy 3 get 1 free” offer. A year later the non-stick coating is doing great and the pans have not rusted at all.
Always remember to adjust your cooking times. For toaster ovens without convection capabilities, the cooking time will generally be longer, however if your toaster oven has convection capabilities, the cooking time will be shorter. On average, add about 20% more time for non-convection toaster ovens and 20% less for convection toaster ovens. With all toaster ovens having built-in timers, set the timer for 10 minutes less than specified baking time and adjust as necessary. Note: Since toaster ovens turn on and off based on the timer function, check food before the timer goes off to ensure constant heating. Remember all sides of the toaster oven are hot (both inside and outside). Be sure to wear proper hand protection to avoid burns.
Suggested reading: Check out our guide to the best 4-slice toasters!
When cooking easily-burned items, be sure to cover sensitive foods. Just like in a regular oven, a toaster oven can burn foods due to its top and bottom heating elements. Be sure to cover items like cheeses, pastas, sauces and other easily-burned items until the last 10 minutes or so. This way a crust or thickness can occur without the food(s) becoming burnt. If adding toppers to items like French Baked Potatoes, these cook-up fast and can blacken within 10 minutes. Be sure to watch items that can easily burn, as they can turn from “not quite done” to “burnt” almost instantly.
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!