Start thinking of a toaster oven as a substitute for your full-size conventional oven and not as a substitute for your four slice toaster. You want to look for an Oster convection toaster oven. Convection ovens circulate heated air using a high-temperature fan. Food heats faster in a convection oven because the fan blew air disturbs the thin layer of insulating air that otherwise surrounds the food.
If you live in an area of the country where Summer means 24 x 7 air conditioning an Oster convection toaster oven can save you both discomfort and money. Instead of turning on that monster oven to roast a chicken or bake a pie and heat up your entire kitchen in the process, go with an Oster convection toaster oven. For a small family, a digital convection toaster oven can meet all your household cooking and baking needs. You can use it to bake, broil, toast, dehydrate, and defrost. A .5 cubic foot model can roast a 5-pound chicken.
Although the better models can reach an internal temperature up to 500 degrees F convection toaster ovens can cook at a lower required temperature than a full-size conventional oven and also cook the food more quickly. Another benefit of moving, heated air is that it heats the food surface more evenly eliminating “hot spots” on baked goods. Convection cooking produces superior results in up to 1/3 less time than conventional ovens. Your toaster oven will come with a recipe book to help make the time and temperature adjustments. There are also many specialized toasters over cook books at Amazon.com.
The models featured below are good choices but generally, when shopping for a toaster oven you want controls that let you choose between bake, broil or toast, and an adjustable rack that can be removed for cleaning. You will find variation between brands and models but toaster ovens get hot to the touch. Some get hot enough to melt a plastic drinking cup left on top. None present a fire hazard but the hot exterior is a consideration if there are small children in the house.
Every toaster oven will darken bread. The Oster Convection Toaster Oven Broiler and the DeLonghi EO1238 1/2-Cubic-Foot Toaster Oven will do a lot more. The Oser gets slightly better marks with the experts because it has an automatic shut-off and a drip tray, which are lacking in the DeLonghi. The DeLonghi stays cooler to the touch during use and may be indicative of better insulation and sealing. Both use a fan to circulate heat and truly can be used to bake and broil just like your conventional oven, with the size limitation of course. The T-Fal OT8085002 Avante Elite Convection Toaster Oven and Krups FBC4-12 6-Slice Convection Digital Toaster Oven with Preset Cooking Functions are also highly regarded.