A toaster oven is a great solution for small space and energy conscious cooking. There are many different styles and types of toaster ovens in the market all with varying features. The size of most models range from 16 by 8 inches to 20 by 10 inches which makes them perfect for small and compact spaces. These ovens are easy and fast to use than the big traditional oven. Here are 6 tips to help you make the best use of your toaster oven.
1. Preparatory steps to take before using a toaster oven
The great thing about a toaster oven is that when you buy one, it is already assembled. You just need to remove it from the box, plug it in a power outlet and begin using it.
However, before you use it for the first time, clean the interior and exterior surfaces thoroughly. Next, read the manual to familiarize yourself with the features of the toaster oven. Understand how each feature works, if the racks are removable, know how to properly remove them and put them back.
You can also determine if the pans you have can fit inside the toaster oven. If you have bread pans, cake pans or cookie sheets that can fit perfectly, then you will not need to buy smaller pans.
2. How to properly use the toaster oven
To prevent damaging your toaster oven, you should use it properly.
To do this, place the food on a pan. Ensure the roasting or baking pans have low edges to help air flow reach the food. Now insert the pan in the middle rack of your toaster oven, set the timer and temperature and allow it to cook.
Keep checking the food as it cooks. Check it of the way through and about 10 minutes before it is ready. This helps to ensure that it does not undercook or overcook in the toaster oven.
When cooking in a toaster oven, do not cover the food with a lid or foil. This is because air flow is part of the cooking process and covering only blocks the free flow of air.
3. The best accessories to use
You should use baking sheets and pans that are specifically designed for toaster ovens. Often, handles of baking pans and dishes may not allow it to fit inside the oven. For example, if the capacity of your toaster oven is 12 inches, a 9 inch baking pan with handles may fit perfectly but a 12 inch baking pan with handles will not fit.
Therefore, when purchasing accessories for your toaster oven, go for pans and baking sheets without handles.
4. The right foods to cook in a toaster oven
You can cook any meal in a toaster oven from lasagna, pizza and whole chicken. Baking bread, pies and cookies also comes out perfectly.
For meat, it is best cooked in a convection oven. Because of the dry heat, the meat gets roasted perfectly with a crackling skin but a moist inside.
5. Cleaning tips
For food safety, you should clean your toaster oven regularly. Also, the buildup of grease and crumbs may pose a fire hazard.
Since toaster ovens are small, it is easy for food smells and tastes to transfer if the interior is not cleaned. To clean, first unplug it, empty the crumb tray and wipe all the spills. Using a cloth or sponge and a cleaning solution, wipe the racks, sides, pans as well as the exterior and ovoid the heating elements when cleaning.
For greasy mess that are hard to come out, wet a sponge with warm water and place it on the mess for a few minutes. Then clean it.
Rinse the interior taking care not to wet the heating elements and allow the toaster oven to dry completely before plugging it back.
6. How to properly store a toaster oven
If you have enough space in your kitchen, it is best to leave the toaster oven on the countertop. However, if your space is limited, you can store it in a cupboard or pantry. Before you store it, ensure it is clean and completely dry.
If your toaster has been sitting unused because you have no idea how to use it, dust it off and follow the above tips to begin using it. You will find that this small kitchen appliance is highly versatile and will offer great benefits to your household.