When I bought my toaster oven, I didn’t expect to get an appliance that could bake cakes and cookies. Needless to say, that was an excellent surprise and I’ve made the most of having a countertop baking appliance.
But is it actually better than baking the traditional way? I’ve been doing some experimenting recently and thought you’d want to find out how the two processes compare. My experiments were based on 4 key areas: cooking times, temperature accuracy, general health and safety, and which is the most energy efficient.
I am a big fan of my toaster oven, so I just want to get my biases out there before I start. I want to be fair in my assessment of the two processes, but I can’t say that I don’t have a preference in my own home. After you’ve read my advice, do a little experimenting of your own. Then you can find out what works best for your family.
Table of contents
- What’s the difference between baking in a convection toaster oven and a conventional oven?
- Does a convection toaster oven bake faster?
- Is a convection toaster oven more accurate than a conventional oven?
- Is a convection toaster oven more energy efficient?
- Toaster oven vs conventional oven, which is healthier?
- Do I need a convection toaster oven to bake?
What’s the difference between baking in a convection toaster oven and a conventional oven?
Baking is a great way to get kids into cooking and a lot of families like to use it to help kids start. I’ve liked making cookies with my son and our life was made a lot easier with the user of our toaster oven.
A convection toaster oven cooks by using convection air flows. By circulating heat around the cooking cavity, you can make sure that everything is cooked evenly and thoroughly. When baking, this can be positive and negative. You don’t want to have cool spots when cooking a cake – you will get soggy or doughy parts that can make cookies and cakes inedible.
Conventional ovens can bake by making the cooking cavity extremely hot. You will find that you can get shorter cooking times with smaller batches. This means that you will have crunchy and delicious baked snacks every time.
The way the two appliances cook is very different. Circulating heat around makes for good quality bakes, but that doesn’t mean it is perfect for baking. Let’s investigate further.
Does a convection toaster oven bake faster?
They can, but it really depends on what you are cooking. As convection toaster ovens are smaller, it is easier for them to heat up to their optimal temperature. This means that you can start cooking after preheating faster and cut down on cooking times.
But because conventional ovens are larger, they can hold more heat. It is less likely to be circulated around the cooking cavity, but they can cook food fast because of that. Introducing a fan to the cooking cavity can cause problems for the timing.
By using a convection toaster oven, you will find that cooking takes slightly longer than a non-convection toaster would need. This actually means that baking brownies and blondies is excellent in a convection toaster oven – the slightly slower cooking time means that you can get the very best brownies easily.
For everything else, you may want to use a conventional oven. Although you will need slightly longer to get the cakes or cookies “cooked”, you won’t need to add extra time for extra crispness.
Is a convection toaster oven more accurate than a conventional oven?
Yes, which is the main reason you would want to use a convection toaster oven. Convection toaster ovens circulate the heated air throughout the cooking cavity This means that there are no cold spots. You can get an even cook throughout whatever you have put in your toaster oven easily.
In a conventional oven (especially older appliances), cold spots are a real problem. If one part of an element fails, then you will have certain areas in your oven that cannot cook cakes. This means that you either have to turn your baked good around as they bake or you will get underbaked, doughy food. And no one wants that.
Is a convection toaster oven more energy efficient?
Another strength of the toaster oven. By using convection air flows, they circulate heat to cool spots. This means that the toaster oven doesn’t need to constantly be heating up and cooling down in order to keep the optimal temperature.
Conventional ovens such as gas ovens require a lot of energy to heat up. This is especially true if there are cold spots. Each time that the temperature drops below a certain heat (for example, when you open the door), the oven has to fire up again. This means that one bake could actually require your conventional oven to heat up 3 or 4 times.
If you are cooking smaller batches, convection toaster ovens are a clear winner. The average toaster oven only needs around 170W to cook a batch of cookies, but a conventional oven will need well over 300. This really adds up over the long term.
Toaster oven vs conventional oven, which is healthier?
There’s not anything unhealthy about cooking with gas, but there are reasons to believe that conventional ovens can bake unhealthier goods. This is down to their higher temperature and the tendency to burn things slightly.
Burnt food leads to a carbon build up. This means that you will be eating food that increases your chances of getting long-term illnesses, such as cancer. These risks are very low and I wouldn’t suggest someone shouldn’t buy a conventional oven, but it is something to bear in mind.
Do I need a convection toaster oven to bake? Not really. There are many devices that can bake cakes and cookies in an excellent way.
Something that is important is that you need to consider the energy efficiency, quality of a bake, and general cooking times. Then you can make the decision about what is best for you. For me, though? I still side with the toaster oven.