Today we will be talking about countertop convection ovens, also known as toaster ovens. Most people spend at least some part of their day in the kitchen preparing food. This is often a tedious task, so you need to make it as simple as possible. One way is to use one of these ovens. This cooking unit has many advantages over the traditional oven. For one it uses much less watts, which ensures you save money. In this day and age living is very expensive so you need to save as much as possible. The next advantage are the preheating times, which are a fraction of what it would take to heat up a large oven. This is a big time-saver, especially if you are always in a rush and can’t afford to waste precious time waiting for your oven to warm up. Another good advantage is the space you will save. With the average size of these ovens being around 17″x14″x9″ they will fit in almost every kitchen out there. The average weight is around 15lb, so if you don’t have space on your countertop, it could easily be unplugged and stored away for the next time you need it. Many models will have a handle on top for this very purpose. They are incredibly useful though, so there should be no need to put them away in storage! Below we will be discussing some of the various features and varieties of countertop ovens out there.
What are some of the features they have?
To start off with, you should know that these kinds of ovens are not a complete replacement for your traditional oven. They will cook a large variety of food, but cannot for example cook a full chicken, or a thanksgiving turkey due to their size. Don’t be fooled though as they still have a very large capacity. You shouldn’t let that discourage you though as there are many different meals you can make with ease on a daily basis using your countertop convection oven. Most toaster ovens out there come with a variety of features. Cooking, toasting, defrosting and even the ability to broil are some of the popular features you might find. You can get them in digital or manual varieties. The digital ones do end up costing a bit more, as they will have a lcd screen fitted, but are of course a bit easier to use, and will look stunning in any modern kitchen. The manual varieties come with various dials to control the cooking temperature. Many feature specific temperatures designed for such tasks like cooking, toasting and defrosting. If you are cooking from scratch, or even preparing a frozen meal, these ovens will be perfect for you as they can make your meal in record time! They can be great for one or two people, or you could even make enough food to feed a small group. Many of the models will be large enough to accommodate a 12″ pizza, which should be enough for 3 or so people. A pizza is normally something you would cook in the oven because of its size, but now you can save electricity and use this unit instead. You might be concerned about any type of grease or oil dripping (as cheese can get a bit greasy). The good news is that most of the models have a shield in place which protects the heating coils from any melted cheese or oil drips. Besides that you might also worry that any bits of food that fall off during the cooking period could get stuck to the bottom. The solution to this is the crumb tray, which catches any stray crumbs and food droppings. It will slide out, and is very easy to clean. It can even be put in the dishwasher with your regular plates and utensils.
What else do they come with?
Besides that most convection countertop ovens will come with a oven style rack, which can be removed. Most units will also come with a cooking pan that is specifically designed for the unit, or you could use your own. As an extra convenience you will find that certain models have a rack that will slide out when you open the oven, and slides back in when you close it. This is a handy little feature which allows you to have a good look at your food to make sure it is cooked. As with normal ovens you will need to use oven mitts when handling hot food or the touching the oven racks/crumb tray after use, as they can get very hot. Most of the models out there will have some sort of glass front so that you can keep an eye on your food. The handles are often made of tempered glass which is always cool to the touch. If you have children then you could look out for some of the models that have a “safe to touch exterior”. This feature ensures that the exterior of the unit remains cool when cooking so that your little ones can never burn themselves on the unit. An additional safety feature to look out for is the cut off timer. Once the cooking timer is off then the unit will switch off. This is very handy if you forget about your food, as it will make sure that it won’t burn the food. With this feature in mind, if you forget about your food and it is cold by the time you remember, most ovens will have a quick reheat feature. This allows you to reheat your food without cooking it any further, which can be very handy if you are always in a rush.
Where can you get them?
Some of the bigger retailers out there such as Walmart tend to keep quite a few models in stock, so that is certainly worth a look. If you can’t find a model locally that ticks all your boxes, then the internet is another option. Amazon for example keeps a big range of these, with the added benefit of customer reviews so you can see how reliable the unit actually is. You can see what Amazon currently offers.