The Toaster Oven That Changed How I Feel About Toaster Ovens Is Currently on Sale on Amazon
For years, I was a toaster oven denier. Who needs a miniature, worse version of something already in your kitchen? Sure, it heats up quickly, but many of those little jobs could probably be handled in a toaster, and it never seemed worth the extra counter space. Then my sister told me she wanted a toaster oven for Christmas. Mind you, I remained personally anti-toaster oven, but for the sake of my little sister, I’d do the internet research and pick out a nice one for her.
Which is how, a few years ago, I found the Breville Smart Oven Pro. Slowly, via my sister’s glowing reviews, plus getting to used it myself, I started to revise my convictions. And while I remain toaster-less myself (a tiny Manhattan kitchen makes even the world’s best toaster oven impractical for the time being), I have become a convert. So much so that this Christmas, I decided to get my mom one even though she hadn’t asked for one. (Spoiler: It was a hit.) Because I planned poorly and inspiration hit me late, I had to pay full price. Luckily for you, the exact model I gifted is now on sale, meaning you can get one for yourself or your loved ones for over 20 percent off.
So what makes the Breville Smart Oven so great? First, I have to start with a bit on why so many others are bad. Uneven toasting, controls that are anything but intuitive, sliding grates and faulty doors that can too easily slip and burn your hands — these were all reasons I thought a toaster oven was an easy skip. Breville solves all these problems, and improves on the competition. In fact, I’d go as far as saying using it is a damn delight. Here are my favorite features.
This may seem silly, but this is a huge sticking point for me. Too many household appliances don’t feel intuitive to use. (I am still not convinced I’ve ever actually successfully adjusted a microwave’s cook power.) The Smart Oven actually makes it easy to toggle between functions — something I’ve never even bothered to do with other toaster ovens. Things are clearly labeled, and any adjustments within each setting (like number of slices of bread and desired darkness) are easy to figure out as well. There’s also an easy on/off button, which, again, seems minor, but I’ve stared at a fair number of appliances wondering just which of the knobs or buttons does that very important job.
The toaster oven also features a magnet that pulls out the rack for you when it’s in middle, or “toast” setting, meaning your food is easy accessible. (Two other rack settings mean you can also set it to a level good for baking and broiling.) It also slides back in when you close the door with no snagging. A bottom that slides out easily also makes cleaning it a total breeze — no fallen crumbs ruining your day or filling your kitchen with smoke. There’s even a button for an oven light if you want to get a better look at your reheating pizza.
The main reason I was inspired to get my mom this oven has to do with burnt toast. She is famous in my family for putting a piece of toast in the oven and … just forgetting about it. It can be hard to guess the perfect cook time for something, but the Smart Oven allows you to set how many slices of bread you have, as well as desired darkness, and get a custom toasting time just for you. My mom is still texting me pictures of the perfect slices of toast she’s made with it. While this is just one function, there are other features, like “slow cook” and “reheat” that take some of the guesswork out of getting the exact right temperature.
Of course, if you’d rather have all the control, you can choose the bake function (and even set it to convention). It automatically starts at 30 minutes once it’s preheated, but if you need longer (or want it to automatically shut off after the desired baking time), that’s an easy adjustment on the knob. I’ve loved getting to use the bake function to make veggie sides or bacon for two — especially when bigger dishes are cooking in the oven.
While it’s not a small piece of equipment, it has a relatively small footprint when compared to its capacity. My parents have the giant, immaculate kitchen of my dreams, but even I was hesitant to get them something that brags about being able to cook a 13-inch pizza. But my sister, who has the far-smaller starter kitchen, was also able to find space for hers and reassured me that repurchasing this size, rather than sizing down, was the way to go. Still interested but really have limited cooking space? The mini version, while lacking all the bells and whistles, is also on sale right now.