Join us on a culinary adventure through various cooking techniques and recipes specifically designed for two appliances. We'll also provide a thorough comparison to the usage of air fryers in this guide.
We have earlier crafted an in-depth blog post that compares the key distinctions, features, advantages, and disadvantages of each appliance discussed in this article: Toaster Oven vs Air Fryer.
Although a toaster oven can offer convenience as a substitute for an air fryer, it may not always be the most ideal choice. Toaster ovens excel at toasting bread, baking, and roasting small items.
However, when it comes to air-fried dishes like French fries or chicken wings, an actual air fryer proves to be the superior option.
Reheating & Defrosting
1. Reheating Pre-Cooked Foods
When it comes to reheating pre-cooked foods, toaster ovens are a great choice.
- An air fryer can quickly heat up your pre-cooked meal, however, it could lead to the food becoming dry.
- A toaster oven will offer more flexibility when reheating meals. It can evenly distribute heat around the food to ensure that it remains juicy and succulent.
2. Defrosting Frozen Foods
Defrosting frozen foods can be done by both an air fryer and a toaster oven.
- In an air fryer, you can quickly defrost food by blasting it with hot air. This is a great way to ensure that the food remains crisp and flavorful.
- In a toaster oven, you can either choose to slowly defrost the food on low heat or use an auto-defrost feature if your appliance has this feature. Defrosting frozen foods in this manner ensures that all of the moisture in the food is retained without risk of overcooking.
When it comes to reheating leftovers or defrosting frozen meals, a toaster oven may be the better choice than an air fryer due to its ability to more evenly distribute heat.
1. Sliced Bread
A toaster oven is a best option for toasting breads than an air fryer.
- A toaster oven, equipped with oven racks, can accommodate four or more slices of bread, or bagels and croissants at a time. The slots adjust according to the thickness of the sliced bread.
- An air fryer has a basket where you can place the bread, but it’s not ideal for toasting. The bread may end up soggy or over-cooked after just a few minutes in an air fryer.
2. Buns & Bagels
To heat buns and bagels swiftly, an ideal solution is to use a toaster oven. Its quick and efficient performance ensures a deliciously warm and crispy result.
- In a toaster oven, buns and bagels can be placed on a baking sheet or directly in the oven.
- An air fryer is not ideal for toasting buns and bagels, as they may end up soggy, dried out or over-cooked.
The most optimal way to achieve perfectly toasted waffles is by using a toaster oven.
- In a toaster oven, a waffle can be placed directly on the oven racks and toasted according to desired level of doneness.
- An air fryer can certainly toast waffles to a crispy result. However, having to put them on the bottom of the air fryer basket makes toasting less convenient. Another disadvantage is that most air fryers don't allow you to see what's going on inside.
When it comes to heating breads, waffles, buns and bagels, a toaster oven is a more convenient appliance.
- It's easier to control the toasting process in a toaster oven than in an air fryer.
- With its efficient performance and adjustable slots, it ensures that each slice of bread is toasted evenly and deliciously.
When it comes to cooking pizzas and baked breads, achieving proper cooking requires time and heat. Although the process is slightly different, both a toaster oven and an air fryer can be used to successfully bake a home made pizza.
- Toaster ovens with its ability to deliver precise temperature control and evenly distribute heat, this feature is ideal for achieving the perfect bake when making a delicious pizza. It must be said though, that a convection toaster oven does an even better job, as the hot air is distributed throughout the oven evenly - just like in an air fryer.
- Air fryers is a great appliance to bake pizza (frozen or fresh). The pizza will come out perfectly, provided you follow the guidelines. However, it has two disadvantages: most air fryers don't allow you to inspect the baking process, and it may be difficult to handle the pizza on the bottom of the basket.
2. Casserole, Tortilla & Lasagna
Both toaster ovens and air fryers are superior options when it comes to preparing delectable dishes like casseroles, tortillas, and lasagna.
- A toaster oven can provide a consistent baking performance, as well as even heat distribution - especially, a convection toaster oven. Even heat distribution ensures that the food is cooked properly without under cooking or over-cooking certain portions.
- An air fryer can do this task, but as most air fryers don't allow you to inspect the cooking process, and handling foods inside the basket requires some skill.
3. Cakes & Pastries
Toaster ovens excel in baking cakes and pastries, thanks to their customizable temperature settings. Convection toaster ovens deliver superior heat distribution. They are also convenient, as they allow you to inspect the baking process.
- Toaster ovens offer excellent baking performance and even heat distribution. This allows for cakes and pastries to be cooked consistently without any risk of over-cooking or under-cooking certain areas of the food.
- An air fryer can do an excellent job baking cake and pastries. However, the baking process requires frequent inspection, and handling cake or pastry in an air fryer basket requires some skill.
When it comes to baking pizzas, casseroles, tortillas, lasagna, cakes and pastries, both a toaster oven and an air fryer provide superior temperature control and even heat distribution. Controlling the baking process is a different story.
1. Roasted Vegetables
Roasted vegetables can be cooked in both a toaster oven and an air fryer, but the outcome differs significantly.
- In a toaster oven, roasted vegetables can be cooked at lower temperatures, which helps to retain the flavor and moisture in the food. It also offers even heat distribution around the food for more consistent cooking results.
- An air fryer also provides even heat distribution and temperature control. However, certain areas of the vegetables may end up over-cooked, too dry or even get burnt.
2. Roast Meats
For the optimal roasting of meats, a toaster oven is consistently the preferred option due to its capabilities.
- While an air fryer is suitable for roasting meats, to air fry red meat is no guarantee for consistent results. Despite temperature control and heat distribution, some areas of the food may end up over-cooked or burnt easily. In general, air frying red meat is not recommended.
- In a toaster oven, meats can be roasted at lower temperatures with even heat distribution around the food. For roasting, a convection toaster oven is recommended. This helps to ensure that all areas of the food are cooked properly without risking over-cooking or under-cooking certain areas.
3. Roasted Seafoods
Toaster ovens are the optimal choice as they offer consistent heat distribution, ensuring that your seafood is cooked evenly and to perfection.
- In a toaster oven, roasted seafoods can be cooked at lower temperatures and with consistent heat distribution. This helps to retain the moisture in the food while avoiding overcooking or burning it.
- An air fryer, with its even heat distribution, can definitely take care of roasting seafood, although the outcome may not be to everyone's taste. A disadvantage: it's hard to inspect the roasting process. But it must be said, some people will prefer air frying seafood over roasting it in a toaster oven.
A toaster oven provides the best performance for roasting vegetables, meats and seafoods.
- With its even heat distribution and adjustable temperature settings, it ensures that these foods are cooked properly without risking over-cooking or under-cooking certain areas.
- Air fryers can do the same, but due to their construction, it's harder to control the roasting process.
Grilling & Broiling
1. Grilling & Broiling Chicken
Utilizing a toaster oven for grilling or broiling chicken offers a convenient and efficient method to cook smaller portions of poultry. A large enough air fryer can grill a whole chicken to perfect result.
- In a toaster oven, grilled or broiled chicken can be cooked at lower temperatures, ensuring that the food is cooked properly without becoming dry and tough. It also provides even heat distribution around the food, which allows for crispier skin and a juicy interior.
- An air fryer is excellent at both grilling and broiling chicken, as it also has temperature control and even heat distribution.
2. Grilling & Broiling Steaks
Toaster ovens are the superior choice for grilling and broiling steak due to their even heat distribution and temperature control capabilities.
- In a toaster oven, steaks can be cooked at lower temperatures with even heat distribution around the food, ensuring that it is cooked properly without becoming dry or tough.
- An air fryer may not provide the same consistent results as a toaster oven. Red meat "acts" different in an air fryer. Also, when grilling or broiling steak, you need to keep an eye on the process. Inside an air fryer, this is hard to do. Lack of control may result in under-, over-cooked or even burnt steak.
3. Grilling & Broiling Seafoods
When it comes to grilling and broiling seafood, a toaster oven is the optimal choice for achieving delicious results.
- In a toaster oven, grilling and broiling seafoods can be cooked at lower temperatures, ensuring that the food is cooked properly without becoming dry or tough. It also provides even heat distribution around the food, which allows for a crispier exterior and juicier interior.
- An air fryer is definitely fit for grilling and broiling seafood, from shrimp to fish fillet. All you need is to keep an eye on the cooking process. Online you will find many recipes for air frying seafoods.
Both a toaster oven and an air fryer are excellent options for grilling and broiling chicken and seafoods.
- With their even heat distribution and adjustable temperature settings, they ensures that these foods are cooked properly without risking over-cooking or under-cooking certain areas.
- However, a toaster oven outperforms an air fryer where red meat like steak is concerned.
Tips & Tricks
- For best results, whether you are using a toaster oven or an air fryer, pre-heat your appliance before use. This allows for the food to cook more evenly and consistently.
- If you consider buying a toaster oven, choose a convection toaster oven.
- For a more flavorful, juicy meal, add some liquid into the cooking process or marinate the food before cooking. This helps to retain moisture in the food and infuse it with flavor.
- Clean your appliances regularly after use to prevent food from sticking and burning onto the surface.
- Always keep a close eye on the food when cooking in both toaster ovens and air fryers, as they both cook fast and can easily overcook or burn food.
- Use oil sparingly when cooking in an air fryer as it may cause excessive smoke. It's also unnecessary to add lots of oil.
- Avoid overcrowding the appliance as this can cause uneven cooking and will reduce its overall efficiency.
In the end, every appliance possesses distinct strengths, and its appropriateness relies on the intended purpose of utilization. The answer? A convection toaster oven can replace an air fryer, but I'm sure you'll miss it when it's gone.
If you want the best of both worlds in one appliance, check out our picks on the best toaster oven and air fryer combos in this detailed blog post.
A toaster oven is the superior choice overall with its versatility and performance. It consistently delivers excellent results in roasting vegetables, meats, and seafood, along with baking cakes and pastries.
An air fryer is a great option for those who are looking for a more economical and healthier alternative to deep-frying. It is suitable for cooking most fried food items, such as French fries, chicken wings, chicken nuggets, etc. But also, if you get the hang of it, for baking cake and pastries, and cooking seafoods.
In our kitchen, we use both every day.
Whether you choose a toaster oven or an air fryer, with the right tips and tricks, you can achieve delicious results in no time!
We believe this article has helped you choose the perfect appliance for your needs. May you have delightful culinary experiences on your journey!