A microwave oven and a toaster oven are usually used for a lot of the same things in the kitchen. Both can cook smaller amounts of food, frozen foods, and reheat leftovers. However, there are a lot of differences in what these two ovens can do. The toaster oven is more versatile, but is more expensive and loses to the microwave oven in one very important area: time. Let’s look at the pros and cons of a microwave oven vs. a toaster oven.
If you’ve ever used a microwave oven, you know how handy they are. Just pop your food in, hit a button, and seconds later, it’s hot.
- Great for quick, every day use like heating snacks or quick meals.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- Heats food much more quickly than a toaster oven does.
- Slightly more energy efficient.
- Easy to clean.
- Only safe to use with microwavable bakeware and cookware
- Microwave heating can dry out some foods and make breads chewy.
- Cannot bake, brown, toast, or crisp.
- Cannot cook certain foods, like pizzas (except those specially packaged with a foil liner).
Toaster ovens are like a miniature version of your full-size oven. You can use them for all of the same things, just on a smaller scale. You can roast meats, bake breads, pizzas, cookies, and more in a toaster oven.
- Great for every day use like cooking entrees for meals.
- Oven-like heating.
- Does everything a microwave and a toaster can, replacing two appliances.
- Can roast meats from raw, bake pizza, cookies, and more.
- Can brown, toast, crisp, and roast.
- Safe to use with virtually all bakeware and cookware.
- Slightly less energy efficient.
- More expensive than a microwave oven.
- Takes longer to heat up food.
- More parts to clean.
Convenience vs. Versatility
While a toaster oven may be much more versatile, a microwave oven has unbeatable convenience. When you’re on the go, it’s a life-saver for heating up a quick snack or meal. However, for times when you have a little more time, and want a better-quality meal, a toaster oven may be the way to go. While you can use a toaster oven in place of a microwave, most home chefs keep both appliances around.