The Best List

I’ve Tested Nearly Every Toaster Oven on the Market. These Are the 4 Best for Most Home Cooks.

updated Jan 6, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

There are two main types of home cooks out there: those who believe in toaster ovens and those who don’t. A good pop-up toaster is nice for quickly making toast, but in my professional opinion (I spent more than 30 years testing and reporting on all things kitchen for the Good Housekeeping Institute), I think the versatility of a toaster oven is hard to beat. In addition to making tuna melts and pizza bagels, and warming up frozen nuggets and fish sticks, you can also use a good toaster oven to make roasted veggies and chicken, bake an apple crumb cake, or broil teriyaki salmon.

How can you make sure you get a good toaster oven? You pick one from this list!

The Best Toaster Oven

If you have the room for it (and the budget allows), this spiffy-looking toaster oven just may change your life. In addition to being one of the best toasters you can find, it can roast a chicken in just 45 minutes, bake two cake layers at once, and broil fish just as well as that big oven that you have to bend down to use. It has an LCD screen, from which you can select preprogrammed settings for a variety of foods (helpful if you’re never quite sure what temperature or for how long to roast your Brussels sprouts or bake your pizza!).

This toaster fits a 9×13-inch pan for making a giant batch of brownies or a lasagna. If you like, you can set the oven to bake a mac and cheese casserole at a moderate temp and then automatically amp up the heat to brown the crumb topping at the end. During cooking, the remaining time is displayed on the screen so you know how many minutes are left, and a bright oven light makes it easy to see how your food’s progressing. For your money, you also get a heavy-duty broiling pan and a pizza stone plus a manual with recipes that you’d actually want to cook.

Second opinion: Meghan Splawn, our former food editor, says she used this toaster oven in the last test kitchen she worked in. “It’s not surprising that this was Sharon’s top pick. It heats up evenly — more even than some actual ovens — and, really, can do anything an oven can do.”

The Best Toaster Oven for Small Kitchens

Think of this as the Tiffany box of toaster ovens: luxury in a beautiful, small package. This is the one I have in my New York City apartment and use it every time I cook, for everything from roast asparagus to baked ziti. I can’t remember the last time I broiled anything in the full-size broiler. There’s preset programs for toast, so I never give a thought to how much time I’m setting and can see the minutes count down when I’m impatient for my morning bagel. With the mini, you also get a sturdy broiling pan.

Second opinions: “We were gifted the Breville for our wedding and while it’s definitely a little luxurious, it’s by far the best toaster oven I’ve ever used (and I’ve used quite a lot!). Our regular oven takes forever to preheat so it’s such a huge time-saver when we want to just bake two pieces of fish or roast a small amount of vegetables. Plus, the toast setting gets it right every single time,” says Sheela Prakash, former senior contributing food editor.

The Best Budget Toaster Oven

If price, convenience, and results are super important to you and you’re not looking for a statement piece for your countertop, this is the toaster oven for you. Not only does the Hamilton Beach brown bread beautifully, it’s also almost as fast as a pop-up model. It will roast up a batch of garlicky potatoes or herbed chicken legs just as well as a regular oven, although it can’t accommodate a whole chicken.

It’s called “Easy Reach” because the door rolls back, eliminating any chance you’ll singe a hand on the hot door when you’re putting food in or taking it out; it also frees up space in the front of the oven when you take the pan out. And when you’re on a cleaning spree, you can remove the door and clean off those stubborn splatters in the sink. You won’t find fancy electronic controls here, and the baking pan that’s included is made of very lightweight aluminum.

Second opinion: “The roll-up door is AWESOME. It clears up so much space on my counter. I can actually put my plate down in front of the toaster and retrieve my items without burning my knuckles on a hot door,” says one Amazon reviewer.

The Best Toaster Oven That’s Also an Air Fryer

If you have limited counter space in your kitchen (or just want to minimize clutter) but are lusting after an air fryer, this multitasking appliance is the solution to your problems. In addition to an oven shelf for toasting and baking, the Black + Decker comes with a large air frying basket that can hold up to three pounds of chicken pieces or an entire bag of fries. Just be sure to also pick up an air fryer cookbook because the use and care information doesn’t include any air frying advice.

Second opinion: “I used this recently at a friend’s house; we put it on the air fryer setting and threw in half a bag of sweet potato fries,” says Lisa Freedman, former lifestyle director. “They came out super crispy. While air fryers are not THAT different from countertop convection ovens (see: How Do Air Fryers Work?), the wire basket in this toaster really makes a difference.”

Why You Should Trust Our Gear Pro

For more than 30 years, I was in charge of testing and reporting on everything from wooden spoons to connected refrigerators at the Good Housekeeping Institute. I’ve walked the floors of every trade show and read every new product release for longer than most digital publications have existed!

My street cred? I also worked as a chef in New York City restaurants for seven years.

I’ve tested, used, and played with nearly every piece of kitchen gear (including toaster ovens) to come on the market for years. When it comes to gear, it takes a lot to impress me, and I know what actually works.

Picked by a Pro. Tested by Real Home Cooks.

I’ve tested what feels like every toaster oven on the market (at all the price points, low to high!) and these are my all-time favorites. But you don’t have to take my word and my word alone, either. Kitchn editors — a unique hybrid of professionals and home cooks, who develop and test great recipes in real home kitchens — and real Amazon shoppers weighed in on some of these picks too, testing my favorites in the context of their actual home cooking.

After all, when it comes to kitchen gear, what matters is that it works for a home cook — not just that a chef endorses it, or that it passed some high-flying bar in a sterile test kitchen. You want gear that is above all, practical, long-lasting, and mindful of real cooks, real kitchens, and real budgets.