Can a toaster substitute a microwave? – Chicago Tribune

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Toaster versus microwave

Are you thinking of investing in a powerful new toaster that promises to bake, fry cookies, heat pizza and roasts, and toast?

If so, you may be wondering if you have room for both, or if you use the microwave enough times to justify it taking up the entire counter.

Keep the following in mind if you want to replace your microwave with a toaster.

Why should I get a toaster?

Modern toasters are powerful devices that can usually do a lot more than toasted bread. With the settings for convection baking, toasting and grilling, a toaster can take the place of your conventional oven in an emergency.

Convection baking in your toaster

Many toaster ovens have a built-in fan for hot air baking, which not only improves the browning of meat and baked goods, but also bakes up to 30% faster.

The gold standard for countertop convection ovens is the 1800 watt Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven. Although the Breville has a larger footprint than most toaster ovens, it can handle anything from morning toast to whole roast chicken or a Bundt cake.

It’s known for its exceptionally even heating and lack of hot spots, so you can expect every cookie on a tray to bake and brown evenly. The indoor stand can hold bakeware up to 12 “by 12” with handles, although they are not wide enough to fit in a 9 “by 13” Pyrex baking dish.

Roasting and toasting in the toaster

Toaster ovens are designed for toasting bread and are perfect for bagels and pizza. Many even come with a special pizza pan.

The broil setting can be used for anything from a crispy edge on leftover lasagna to quick baking apples and pears.

Should You Get Rid of Your Microwave?

Before we compare the features of toaster ovens and microwaves, consider your current microwave setup and how it will be used.

Do you have a built-in microwave?

This may go without saying, but if your kitchen design includes a built-in microwave on the wall or on the cabinets, it is easiest to leave it there. A toaster cannot normally go into the same room for safety reasons.

How do you currently use your microwave?

Think about your routines and how often you use the microwave. It could be more often than you think.

Warm up drinks such as coffee or tea several times a day. Regularly warm up leftovers such as soup or stew. Defrost small portions (e.g. homemade baby food) without contaminating another dish

Toaster against microwaves

There is no doubt that the microwave heats food faster. Baked potatoes typically take more than an hour in a traditional oven (25% to 30% less in a fan oven). With a microwave, they can be done in just eight to 10 minutes.

Although today’s toaster ovens preheat very quickly, they can’t keep up with the speed as they cook food from the outside in (via a heating element) instead of cooking it inside out (via radiation, which affects the water molecules in the ovens ) Food).

If speed is your number one priority, stick with your microwave.

Both devices heat food well and perform a variety of cooking tasks. Hence, here we focus on the tasks that each device does well that the other does not.

Heating foods with a high water or fat content (e.g. soup or drinks) Melting popcorn in a microwaveable bag Butter or chocolate for baking recipes Disinfecting a kitchen or a make-up sponge Bake potatoes

Toasters are ideal for:

Toasting bread Baking and browning food Cooking meat such as roast chicken or bacon Baking cakes, biscuits, cakes and pastries (if large enough) Baking or reheating pizza (especially good with a perforated pan)

Also, think about what your other devices are doing.

If the only thing stopping you from throwing your microwave is reheating your soup for lunch, decide whether you want to do this on the stove from now on to free up your counter.

Size is an important factor, depending on the size of your kitchen and how much work space you are willing to give up on an appliance in the long run. If you are short of counter space, consider assembling a device.

Microwaves are the larger of the two devices, usually a standard size of 24 inches wide by 19 inches deep. Toaster ovens can range from 16 “by 8” to over 20 “by 10”.

Countertop microwaves range from $ 50 to $ 200, with the recommended models’ sweet spot being around $ 100. Small toaster ovens start at around $ 20, while larger convection ovens with robust features can go up to hundreds of dollars. You can still roast, bake, and roast with a bargain like this 1100 watt Müller oven.

In the past, toaster ovens had a bad reputation for starting kitchen fires. The manufacturers responded with safety functions such as a timer with automatic shutdown. While this feature is used to prevent kitchen fires, it is also handy for preventing overcooked or burnt food for the forgetful cook.

Concerns about radiation exposure from microwave use have largely been addressed, but the risk of burns from overheated liquid or accidents from heating metal objects remains.

It should be noted that the outside of toaster ovens usually feel hot, whereas microwaves do not.

Microwaves are generally easier to clean because you can steam and then wipe the entire interior of the oven. (Tip: Use a sliced ​​lemon half in a small bowl of water to deodorize the microwave while cleaning.)

Toaster ovens have removable pans and crumb trays that are easy to clean, but a glass door and heating elements that require more effort.

Keep a special silicone baking mat in the baking sheet of your toaster for easy cleaning.

Can’t decide between a toaster and a microwave?

If you decide to go for a toaster but aren’t ready to part with your microwave, you can use this hack that takes advantage of the strengths of both: heat up food in the microwave, then brown it in the toaster.

For example, if you want a crispy skin on your baked potato but don’t want to wait, preheat your toaster while you bake the potato in the microwave. Once the fork is soft, put it in the toaster to dry the outer skin.

Experiment with a device for a while

Just because you invest in a toaster doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your microwave permanently.

Try living without a microwave for a week and see if you miss it. If not, it may be time to downsize.

Rachel Boller is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a unique mission: to help you simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products in order to recommend the best recommendations to most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners can earn a commission when you buy a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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