One of the many things I unpacked when I moved into my first solo apartment was a hand-me-down toaster oven from home. It was far from anything fancy, but it did the job. In those years, cooking for myself most days of the week, I used it more than any other appliance in my tiny studio kitchen — yes, more than the microwave, stove, and regular oven. That's because it can do almost everything those appliances can on a smaller scale, making it incredibly ideal for the solo cook.
If you're a household of one, or even two, a toaster oven really is an awesome tool to own. Here are seven reasons why.
1. Bake a couple of cookies.
Maybe you can tackle a whole dozen cookies on your own, but you know you probably shouldn't. Instead, freeze your favorite dough then bake off just a couple at a time in the toaster oven when the craving hits.
2. Roast just enough veggies for one.
Roasting vegetables is easily one of the best ways to enjoy them. But for the single cook, roasting a whole sheet pan's worth in the oven means you'll be eating them all week. Instead, use the toaster oven to roast a personal portion of vegetables.
Give Those Veggies Some Flavor: 5 Easy Ways to Flavor Roasted Vegetables
3. Reheat better-tasting leftovers.
There's no denying it — the microwave makes leftovers taste sad. But the solo cook is bound to have some to reheat. Reach for the toaster oven instead to bring your leftovers back to life and actually taste good.
Get a Recipe: 17 Meals That Make Great Leftovers
4. Make a quick pizza for one.
Turn to the toaster oven to make a quick and easy pizza dinner. Use an English muffin, bagel, or pita as your base and you've got a simple, comforting dinner in no time.
5. Heat up bread from the freezer.
It's not easy for a solo cook to get through a fresh loaf of bread before it gets stale, which is why it's incredibly helpful to freeze your remaining loaf so that you can eat your way through it at your own pace. Take out what you like, wrap it loosely in foil, and stick it in a 350°F toaster oven to revive it and warm it up.
Get the Quick Tip: Slice Loaves of Bread Before Freezing
6. Bake a little fruit crisp for one.
Instead of waiting to make a baking dish's worth of this homey dessert when friends come by, make an individual one just for you. Make a full batch of crumble topping and keep it in the freezer so that you can reach for it whenever you like. Then simply fill a ramekin with fruit, sprinkle some of the crumble topping over it, and bake it in your toaster oven.
7. Make a single baked potato.
A baked potato can be a single cook's breakfast, lunch, or dinner when topped with hearty ingredients like beans, an egg, cheese, meat, or veggies. But it's silly to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen just to baked one potato. Stick it in the toaster oven instead.
Get a Recipe: 15 Ways to Eat a Baked Potato All Day Long
Do you love your toaster oven? Tell us the ways it serves you well — whether you're cooking for one or more.