Toaster Oven Vs Microwave. What if you have a small kitchen with limited space or not much kitchen counter space? Which is the better choice for you if you only have enough space for one of these kitchen appliances?
I’ve written before about how much I love my Breville oven. It’s a smaller appliance but it does everything. I rarely turn on my oven. But there is a key difference with what a microwave oven can do.
I wanted to explain some of the benefits of the Breville Microwave vs traditional microwaves AND talked about the Breville hybrid Oven/Microwave. I should say that this post is not sponsored, I am just such a big fan of the Breville mini appliances that I want to share all of the pros and cons with you.
When To Use A Microwave
In our house we have an ongoing microwave debate. My son hates anything cooked in the regular microwave because it’s rubbery, except popcorn.
Reheating refrigerated soups/stews – A microwave is the best option for reheating leftovers that are NOT frozen. The Breville is particularly good at this because it has a “smart reheat” feature where it adjusts the power and time based on the number of ounces and what you are reheating. It takes an extra second, but the result is a more evenly heated dish.
Popcorn – Nothing beats a microwave for making popcorn quickly. I like to make my own, not the kind in the bag, I pop it in a brown bag. It’s so much healthier and just as delicious.
Emergency defrosting. I say emergency defrosting because the microwave really sucks at defrosting some foods. The Breville has a “smart defrost” feature, but it’s not perfect. Defrosting chicken breasts or ground beef still leaves a lot to be desired. The cooking process begins and the outside edges get cooked.
Have you ever tried to defrost a container of chili and it’s frozen in the middle but the outside is boiling? I really HATE defrosting in the microwave. I feel like it is supposed to be an excellent choice for this, but it isn’t.
Better methods for defrosting are 1.) plan ahead and do it in the fridge or 2.) defrost under cold water in the sink. If I don’t have time for one of these I will use the microwave. It works better than the toaster oven, but that’s not saying a lot.
Softening butter – A microwave is also really good at softening butter without melting it. This is another special feature of the Breville. It’s great if you want to make cookies and you need soft butter, but not liquid butter.
I rarely use my microwave other than for these things listed. Microwaves work by making the water molecules in your food vibrate. As a result, foods with a high water content cook quickly. That’s why microwave cooking is good for frozen foods.
When To Use A Toaster Oven
A toaster oven uses about 33%-50% less electricity than an electric oven and the food cooks faster. Modern toaster ovens or countertop ovens can make so many things more than just quick toast. Their only limitation is that they don’t have a large capacity if you have a large family or need to make large meals.
Make Toast – The Breville Smart Oven can fti 6 slices of bread at once.
Reheating leftovers that aren’t liquid – My toaster oven is superior at reheating solid leftovers, like chicken nuggets, chicken parmesan, or anything that can be reheated on a sheet pan. The Breville toaster oven is both a convection oven and it has an air frying mode, which makes things really crispy.
Making Pizza – Small ovens get so much hotter in less time so they have improved energy efficiency. It makes a crispy crust for pizza, but you might have to cook more than one if you are cooking for a lot of people
Baking Antying – Not all toaster ovens are created equal. The best toaster ovens on the market have the capability to do everything a traditional oven does and more. The Breveille is just like a conventional oven, but with less energy consumption. I can use it to bake anything from chicken to a batch of cookies and much faster than in my standard oven. I love that it is more energy efficient than full-size ovens and doesn’t heat up my whole kitchen.
Hybrid Toaster/Microwave Ovens
Breville makes a hybrid that can be both a microwave and an oven. It’s called the Combi-wave because it has a different heating element for each function. It can cook like a convection oven, an air fryer or a microwave. If you can only fit one countertop appliance and you really need a toaster and a mircrowave this appliance is awesome.
I recommended this to a friend that I helped to remodel her kitchen (add link) and she says it does a great job and she rarely turns on her oven.
It comes with a removable glass tray and a metal baking “crisper”. You can use metal pans when you use the air fryer and convection oven functions. I don’t love the round baking crisper, but you can use your own pan as long as you get one that fits.
It is not as good a microwave as the Breville microwave or as good of an oven as the Breville toaster oven, but if space is your issue it’s a great solution. Be aware before you purchase it that you do have to have a ventilated area around it, just like with a toaster oven. Due to safety concerns, it is not meant to be used inside of a closed cabinet.
In the long run, if I had to choose ONE there is no contest. I would choose the toaster oven. This little oven takes up less space and can do so much more. It’s the one appliance that at the end of the day, I couldn’t do without.