You Probably Didn't Know The Toaster Oven In Your Home Can Do This

The amount of available space in your home can impact how you shop for kitchen appliances. For the most part, many people do not have the luxury of a spacious kitchen to house extravagant appliances, nor can they afford the high electric bills they bring. According to Direct Energy, a typical electric stove or oven can use anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 watts of power, costing you upwards of $0.36 per hour. With this in mind, it would be incredibly beneficial for households to adopt a more compact and energy-efficient way of cooking. Enter the wondrous world of toaster ovens.

Toaster ovens are table-top cooking appliances that allow you to heat your meals without taking up a lot of room. According to Consumer Reports, they range in size from smaller versions that can be 10 inches wide to 12 inches high to larger-scale models, 22 inches wide and 19 inches high. However, these small appliances can still pack a hot punch, with some models generating up to 1,800 watts of cooking power. But what exactly can toaster ovens do, and is it right for you?

Types of toaster ovens

Much different from a toaster — traditionally used to brown bread, bagels, English muffins, and dessert tarts — a toaster oven contains a wire rack and a baking pan, just like a regular oven. Depending on the model you purchase, it also heats up as an oven would, using coils located in various areas of the device. 

According to MasterClass, there are two primary toaster oven models. A regular toaster oven can have a bake and broil function much like a standard stove, or you could opt for the other, a convection toaster oven. Both produce heat to warm your meals, although, unlike the traditional toaster oven, a convection toaster oven uses a fan to distribute heat evenly. This type of toaster oven could be more energy-efficient and may even cook your food in less time than a regular toaster oven, informs Life Family Fun. However, a convection toaster oven tends to be quite expensive and may take up more counter space than the other variety.

Surprising foods to cook in your toaster oven

These tabletop appliances are capable of much more than reheating leftover pizza slices and cold fries. Depending on the model, they can heat up to a scorching 500 degrees, allowing you to cook, bake, and broil, among other things, savory meals. According to recipes found on the Food Network, you can harness the power of a toaster oven to roast chicken, cook crisp bacon strips or fresh fish fillets, and make savory sausages and other elaborate dinners. For dessert, use a baking sheet to make yourself delicious homemade cookies, crusty apple pie, or even roast some spice-coated nuts for a quick treat. 

BuzzFeed has recipes for a small bowl of fluffy quiche, loaded mashed potatoes, or even pizza stuffed bell peppers for lighter lunches. With so many innovative and creative meals made in a fraction of the time as standard ovens, it's no wonder why toaster ovens can be the popular choice among conveniently-sized cooking appliances.