Microwaves vs Toaster Ovens, if you have to pick one choose this

Toaster Oven Vs Microwave. What if you have a small kitchen and not much kitchen counter space? Which is the better choice for you if you only have room 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 between what a microwave can do.

microwave vs toaster oven

I wanted to explain some of the benefits of the Breville Microwave vs a regular microwave 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 microwave because it’s rubbery, except popcorn.

Reheating refrigerated soups/stews – One thing that a microwave does better than anything else 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.

microwave popcorn

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 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 good at 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% as much electricity as an electric oven and the food cooks faster. Modern toaster 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.

breville oven

Make Toast – The Breville Smart Oven can make 6 slices 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 fry mode, which makes things really crispy.

Making Pizza – Small ovens get so much hotter in less time while using less power. 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 that uses less energy. I can use it to bake anything from chicken to a batch of cookies and much faster than in my regular 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 different heating elements for different functions. 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. Rarely turns on her oven.

combi wave 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 of 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. 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. It 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.

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