May 16

Are Toaster Ovens Healthy? | Is Infrared Radiation Safe?


Author: Ana Stanar and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Toaster ovens are a great appliance for home kitchens and offer many of the same functions as full-size ovens. They're perfect for cooking small meals for one or two people.

Toaster ovens can be used to toast bread and bagels, bake cookies and cakes, broil meats and veggies, reheat food and defrost frozen foods. Other models have rotisserie features that allow you to roast meat without heating up your entire kitchen.

However, some people wonder if toaster ovens are healthy or not. Don't worry, I'll shed light on the subject in this guide.

How Does a Toaster Oven Work?

To know if toaster ovens are healthy, we need to understand how they work first.

Radiant Heat: Toaster ovens work by using radiant heat of heating elements from below and above to cook food. This means that the heat source is directly under and above the food being cooked rather than surrounding it on all sides like in convection ovens.

The temperature inside a toaster oven can reach 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), but most models operate at around 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Most toaster ovens have features such as timers and temperature controls so you can set them up before leaving the house and come back later to find your food cooked perfectly.

toaster oven closeup

Convection Toaster Ovens

Some models have a fan that circulates hot air around the food, helping it brown evenly and cook through faster. This type of toaster oven is often more energy-efficient than other kinds of toasters because the heat is distributed more efficiently throughout the unit.

Are Toaster Ovens Safe for Health?

If you're watching your weight or trying to lower your cholesterol levels, then this is definitely something to consider when buying a new kitchen appliance.

It is true that a toaster oven will use less oil when compared with frying cooking methods. In fact, if you compare two identical meals, one cooked in a convection oven and the other cooked by frying in a pan, the meal that was cooked in the oven will have less of an impact on your health than the meal that was fried.

The reason for this is that the conventional oven cooks the food without adding any extra fat or oil to it. That means that you can enjoy your favorite meals without worrying about how much fat they contain.

food in opened toaster oven

Toaster Oven Vs Microwave


A microwave is a small kitchen appliance that heats food using microwaves. Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation that is generated by an electronic magnetron tube.

The microwaves travel through the air to be absorbed by anything they come in contact with. When they reach the food, they cause water molecules in the food to vibrate at very high speeds. This creates heat that cooks food.

The Effects of Microwaves On Food

A microwave oven is a popular appliance for heating food, but some people still question its safety. The most common concern is that microwave radiation destroys vitamins and minerals in food. However, research shows this is not the case. Microwave ovens do not destroy nutrients in food because they cook quickly plus do not leach nutrients like other cooking methods such as boiling.

Microwaves Lose Fewer Nutrients

A microwave oven doesn’t destroy nutrients at all. In fact, studies have shown that microwaving vegetables can actually retain nutrients such as vitamin C and other antioxidants when compared to boiling or steaming them.

The reason for this is that boiling and steaming tend to leach some of these important compounds out of the vegetables into the cooking water whereas microwaving does not.

equipped kitchen

Food Safety and Carcinogens with Microwave Oven

A microwave oven cooks food by the use of non-ionizing radiation. The food cooked cannot cause cancer because this type of radiation doesn’t carry enough energy to break chemical bonds or damage DNA.

In addition to microwaves, non-ionizing radiation includes visible light, infrared heat waves, and radio waves. All of these types of radiation can be found in nature; for example, sunlight is made up of a mix of UV rays and visible light.

Ionizing radiation such as X-rays and gamma rays is a different kind of electromagnetic energy that has enough energy to remove an electron from the atom it hits.

 If a cell is exposed to ionizing radiation, it can be damaged in many ways, including losing its genetic information or causing a mutation that could lead to cancer.

Toaster Oven

While microwaves use microwave radiation to heat food, a toaster oven uses infrared radiation or heated air to cook.

Infrared radiation is the radiant energy that is given off by the surface of a material. This is the same type of energy that keeps you warm if you are sitting next to a fire or stove. Infrared radiation is also used by a toaster oven to cook food.

a person preparing food in toaster oven

The infrared radiation of the toaster oven comes from its heating elements. When plugged in, these elements that give off heat get hot enough hence cooking food quickly. The temperature inside the cavity can range from about 300 degrees Fahrenheit to 425 F depending on the model of the toaster oven that you are using.

You can Cook Everything in Toaster Oven

Toaster Ovens

Toaster ovens are more versatile than microwaves. You can bake, roast, toast, broil, and much more. They also have more space than microwaves to cook large meals like a whole chicken or a casserole. And if you want to make something like pizza or a sandwich, you can do that too.


Microwave ovens are better for reheating leftovers and heating up snacks like microwave popcorn or frozen food items. They don't have the same space as a toaster oven so you cannot use them for big meals.

The second difference between these two appliances is speed. The microwave heats quickly, which is why it is great for reheating food and doing small tasks like melting butter or making popcorn. However, it takes longer cooking foods in a microwave than they do in a toaster oven because microwaves only heat from the inside out, while a conventional oven or a toaster oven heats from all sides of the food equally at once.

a sandwich with fish and vegetables

FAQS Related to Toaster Ovens

Is Toaster Oven Cancerous?

The toaster oven is not cancerous. Toaster ovens cook food using infrared radiation instead, which is safe and doesn't have any adverse effects on your health. However, toaster ovens can be dangerous if you leave them unattended or if you set them too high.

Are toaster ovens healthier than a microwave?

No, toaster ovens healthier are not healthier than a microwave.

Toaster Oven Safety Tips

Make sure that you do not leave your toaster oven unattended while it is on. If you need to leave the room while it is still cooking, turn off the power and unplug it so that no one else can accidentally turn it back on while you are gone.

Use Oven Mitts or make sure hands are dry when operating a toaster oven: Always make sure that your hands are protected when lifting hot food from a toaster. They should also be free of moisture before touching any part of your toaster oven or its accessories.

Moisture on your hands can cause electrical shock when you touch something inside the unit or its accessories that is still connected to a source of electricity like an outlet or power cord.

Automatic shut-off features; If at all possible, choose a model with automatic shut-off features in case you forget about whatever food item is inside the unit while it is still running. This feature will automatically turn off when it is done cooking.

If your toaster oven has a removable crumb tray, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning it. Don't clean the crumb tray with a metal brush or other abrasive material; this could scratch its surface, which could cause harmful chemicals to leach into food during cooking.

a slice of bread in the toaster oven

What Are the Disadvantages of a Toaster Oven?

A toaster oven is a small, countertop kitchen appliance that allows you to cook a wider variety of foods than a microwave. It has the ability to bake, broil and toast, but it can't roast a whole chicken, etc., as a range can. While it's useful for cooking smaller portions of food, it doesn't have enough power to cook large meals quickly or efficiently.

Does not allow you to Cook Bigger Meals

This means that if you're cooking for more than one person or trying to feed your whole family, you'll need multiple appliances. Additionally, if you want to cook something more complex than toast or reheat pizza, you'll need more space in your kitchen than just an ordinary countertop appliance.

If you're looking for an appliance that will allow you to cook bigger meals at home without having to take up valuable countertop space, consider investing in a conventional oven instead of a toaster oven. Convection ovens use fans to circulate air around food while it's being cooked so that it cooks evenly and thoroughly.

Another disadvantage of toaster ovens is that they are more expensive than regular toasters. This is because they have multiple functions and come with extra features such as rotisseries, convection cooking, broiling, and more.

Toaster Oven Types

Now that we've learned if toaster ovens are healthy, you can find out more about different types of toaster ovens to suit all your needs. Check out the extracts from our reviews:

2 in 1 Toaster Ovens

These toaster ovens generally feature a 2 slice toaster on top of the oven chamber. Hence, 2 in 1 toaster ovens not only can they toast using the chamber, but also using their slots above. The benefit here is that the slot toaster can be used for some quick toasting for breakfast whereas the oven can be used for irregular food like pizza, bagels etc that cannot fit into the slots.

Rotisserie Toaster Oven

The benefit of a multi-function Rotisserie toaster ovens is that they can help you de-clutter your kitchen space. For example a toaster oven that combines both rotisserie as well as an air fryer feature can end up saving you from individually investing in a separate appliance.

Toaster Ovens with French Doors

These are the rarest kind of toaster ovens since only a select few extra large models feature these. Nevertheless, if you value good looks and ease of access, then french doors toaster ovens are excellent - you can find one that can fit your basic requirements be it affordability, digital, or compactness.

6 Slice Toaster Ovens

These are generally large ovens that are fit for a regular sized family. Not only can these toaster ovens toast 6 slices of bread at a time, they can also cook large recipes as well. The difference in price depends upon the features the model offers. Some offer simple features with knob controls, others offer digital controls or even smart features.

Basic Toaster Ovens

If you have very simple and minimal cooking like toasting, reheating or preparing frozen meals, then you can certainly look into the best basic toaster ovens out there. They are not just compact, they are also quite affordable. However, the definition of “basic” differs from person to person.

About the author

Ana Stanar

An Art Teacher, entrepreneur, and a mother of three, Ana considers cooking a form of art - pleasure for all senses as well as a process that requires creativity, passion and devotion. Since she leads a busy life, Ana just loves testing various kitchen appliances for Kitchen Gearoid, especially those that save her time while preparing food and cooking but also make every meal a masterpiece!


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