Kitchn Love Letters

The Splurge-Worthy Countertop Appliance I Use Every Day

published May 7, 2022
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The signature red knobs on Wolf Gourmet appliances are like the stripes on the Yankees uniforms: They don’t serve any function except to proclaim for all to hear, “There’s something different about this one.” And that’s exactly how I feel every time I look at my Wolf Gourmet toaster oven

The appliance I’m referencing is technically called the “Countertop Oven Elite,” but we just call it “the toaster oven” — even though it’s much more than that. This countertop wonder is chock-full of functionality, including the ability to toast, bake, and broil. And while I got mine before the air fryer trend hit full tilt, I realized soon after that, when used as such, the convection feature turns this into a sneaky air fryer — only better.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

The countertop oven is a workhorse in the truest sense of the word, often contributing to three meals a day — toast for breakfast (which takes a few minutes longer in this appliance than it would in a regular toaster, but it always comes out perfect), melty cheese on a sub for lunch, crispy pseudo-air-fried broccoli with dinner. It can even bake up cookies for dessert! The Elite Countertop Oven stays busy at our house. 

With two kids, I often find myself in the position of cooking french fries and chicken tenders at the same time (maybe not a complete, balanced lunch, but it gets eaten!), and what I’ve noticed is that the cooking temperatures for fries and tendies are always 25 to 50 degrees apart. This is the toaster oven’s time to shine, crisping freezer fries to perfection while my regular oven makes quick work of the tender. It’s also a star when it comes to making nachos. Making nachos in a toaster oven can be a dicey endeavor; that ever-present risk of fire was thrilling in my 20s but now, as a wizened 30-something mother of two, I can’t abide. This toaster oven, as you might have guessed, has the space to accommodate even a double stack without setting off the smoke detector.

It’s even easy to clean, which I do quarterly and make a big deal about for a full 24 hours afterwards, ushering every crumb into my waiting palm to rid the gleaming beauty of any potential schmutz. 

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

Ringing up at $750, the Elite Countertop Oven is clearly an investment, and for that reason, it helps to think of it, not as a toaster but as a second oven. (Yes, despite our name for it at home.) This is never more obvious to me than late in the afternoon on Friday, when I’ve got a loaf of challah in one oven and a chicken roasting in the other, the whole kitchen emitting a steamy, yeasty, chicken-y essence. Another mark in its favor is the oven’s durability. After nearly five years of rigorous use, this appliance is still going strong. It’s not small. The oven takes up a sizable chunk of countertop real estate, a complaint I’ve noticed in some reviews, but I think of it this way: It’s handling the work of several smaller appliances and looking luxe and stylish (those knobs!) while doing it.

2 Tips for Making the Wolf Gourmet Countertop Oven Elite Even Better

  • While the oven is spacious enough for a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish, it can’t accommodate a full size sheet pan, so I picked up a set of 11-inch sheet pans for baking.
  • I also recommend a small grill basket for air frying, as it allows the hot convection oven air to circulate around the food, making it super crispy.