6 Things You Must Never Put in Your Toaster Oven

an illustration of a toaster oven with red lines beside it

An illustration of a oven toaster with red lines in the background

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You may have forgotten where your old toaster oven is, with all the multifunction kitchen tools available. This is a shame as toaster ovens are great for baking bread and other baked goods, including cobblers and crumbles.

Toaster ovens can be described as small ovens. “Anything you cook or bake in an oven is fine. With the added convenience that something small can heat up quite quickly,” John Savoia, who works for Kitchenwitcha Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, kitchen supply shop.

If asked, what would you choose? Not Toaster ovens, self-described “avid toast-oven enthusiast” Lois DeWittAuthor of Pop It in the Toaster Oven, jokes: “Wet mittens!”  She says, “No, seriously. Just about any food item can baked to perfection in a toaster oven.” DeWitt says that the main differences in baking in a conventional oven and a toaster oven are the portion sizes, types of bakeware available, temperature, and proximity to baking elements.

But there are some precautions you should take to avoid poorly cooked food and—more importantly—fires. DeWitt states that toaster oven fires can be caused by foods being too close to heat elements, not being adequately contained, or using a high temperature for baking or heating. “However, safe baking is possible for almost any food item, from perfect bacon and sunny-side-up eggs to spice-rubbed Cornish hens and stir-fries.

Here are some food and cookware that you should be cautious about when using your toaster oven.

1. Greasy or Fatty Foods

“I would recommend the No. Fatty or greasy foods are best avoided as they can cause dripping. “Some toaster ovens have exposed heating element, which can cause a fire,” says Paul HopeSenior Home and Appliances reporter Consumer Reports. I know of people who have used toaster ovens to heat up french fries and other super-cheesy foods. However, you don’t necessarily have to avoid fatty or oily foods. As long as you take care. DeWitt says, “To prevent fat and greasy food from dripping or splashing, cover them with aluminum foil or in a covered baking dish.”

Related: How to Clean Your Toaster Oven 

2. Pastries

Hope says that foods that are at high risk of drying out, such as pastries or cinnamon rolls, should be avoided. “I prefer to microwave them until they are warm through, then I use the toaster oven for a crispy finish. DeWitt suggests covering foods that are likely to dry out, and then removing it to allow them to crisp up. “If you have a crumble topping, such as an apple cobbler or other baked goods, leave the cover on for several minutes until the crust is brown.

3. Rice

“I wouldn’t reheat rice in the toaster oven,” says Tanya ChristianConsumer Reports, reporter on appliances and home for. It can get crispy especially on the bottom.

Related: How to Store and Safely Reheat Rice

4. Unattended Nuts & Seeds

You should not be too close to a hot oven. This is especially true if you’re cooking fast foods like nuts or seeds. “I donated my toaster oven because I was always convinced it was a danger—it gets so hot and it’s easy to forget about the food one is cooking—especially when trying to toast nuts … I have burned a lot of these!” One friend shared this information with me. The toaster oven can be a quick way to toast small quantities of nuts and seeds. However, it is important to stay near the device and to keep your eyes and nose open.

5. Glass and ceramic bakeware that’s not oven-safe

Savoia says, “I don’t think you should feel restricted beyond what would go in an oven. But some extra care should be taken because the heating elements tends to sit closer to your cookware and bakeware due to their diminutive size.”. “I would be very careful about glass and ceramic bakeware that’s ‘oven-safe’ but not broiler safe, as this distinction becomes more blurred when your heating element’s so close. As with regular ovens, you should not place cold glass or ceramic cookware inside a hot oven.

You can even choose a different material. Savoia says, “I would suggest that if you have the choice between glass bakeware or metal, or silicone, then choose the silicone or metal.” It doesn’t matter how oven-safe the glass bakeware is, if you have the metal loaf pan, it’s much easier to use than cleaning up all those broken glass pieces from your toaster oven. This is perhaps an overly cautious approach, but most people who ask me what safe to use in XYZ ovens are already somewhat cautious.

6. Paper, wood and plastic

You shouldn’t put anything in your toaster oven that you wouldn’t use in your regular oven.

DeWitt states that any paper including wax paper, wooden spoons or bowls, plastic wrap, storage containers, food for microwaving, dinnerware, and dishes that aren’t oven-safe, is prohibited from the toaster oven. Aluminum foil is safe for use in the toaster oven. But, make sure it doesn’t touch heating elements. She gives her thumbs up to aluminum foil, parchment paper, disposable aluminum containers (e.g. pie plates), metal bakeware, and regular and nonstick bakingware such as muffin tins and loaf pans.

Bottom line

You can cook almost anything in your toaster oven with a little bit of common sense and knowledge, although you may need to make some adjustments.

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