Stuck between a toaster and microwave? Is a toaster oven good enough a replacement of the microwave?
It could be that you are pressed for kitchen space, or perhaps you want something that is line with your cooking style.
The truth is, there’s no straightforward answer to this question. The best we can do here in this article is to give you the main highlights of both products. That way you should be able to form up your own opinion based on your needs.
Although microwaves and toaster ovens carry out similar tasks in the kitchen, they are in no way identical gadgets.
In this article, we will further look into the question ‘can toaster oven replace microwave?’ by looking at both through many angles.
Also Read: Can Toaster Oven Replace Normal Oven?
Toaster ovens and microwaves cook food in different ways using different heating techniques.
Toaster ovens are small conventional ovens as they are designed to carry out all the cooking activities that a conventional oven does but on a relatively smaller scale.
They use heating elements located at the top or bottom or both, which ensure a constant supply of heat in the oven cavity.
Although the number of heating elements differs from model to model, large versions generally have more. Heat radiates directly to the food, cooking evenly from the outside-in direction.
Microwaves, on the other hand, use an electromagnetic wave.
The waves beamed penetrate the food, making the water molecules to vibrate, which in turn emit heat.
Microwaves are relatively faster cooking gadgets in part because water molecules heat up quickly.
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A toaster oven is a versatile kitchen gadget that not only cooks and heats food slowly but more evenly.
It is used for toasting, cooking, broiling, baking bread and cakes, and even roasting and grilling. With toaster ovens, there are outstanding results when it comes to toasting, browning, and crisping.
However, perhaps all you want is hot food. Maybe you’ve got some leftovers that need warming.
If that’s the case, then a microwave would be your ideal gadget. Also, when it comes to defrosting, a microwave does a really good job, and it can be used for different foods.
The type of food notwithstanding, a microwave is much more faster than a toaster oven.
Also Read: Toaster Oven vs Convection Microwave
When you are in the market for a cooking appliance, food quality is undoubtedly one of the most important factors to consider. So, how exactly do a toaster oven and microwave compare?
Toasting and Browning
toaster ovens use direct heat that initiates a Maillard reaction, which adds a new flavor and odor to create the caramel-like taste in foods like scones and sandwiches.
The heat allows even browning of food and meats, something that is not possible in a microwave.
Foods cooked in a microwave have a soft and soggy feel. The water molecules used to heat the food in the form of waves are retained hence making it impossible to get crispy results.
A toaster oven can help you prepare dishes like crispy chicken skin, bacon, and pizza to perfection.
While toaster ovens are the ideal and intuitive options for baking, microwaves can also be used to bake almost anything including bread, pizza, cake etc if you have right recipe in hand.
Also Read: Can Toaster Oven Bake Cake?
Heating high water content foods in a microwave is very convenient. That is why drinks like milk and coffee heat perfectly in microwaves.
Also Read: How to Reheat Pizza in a Toaster Oven
Here is a short way to remember the cooking styles of both appliances.
- Toaster Ovens cook from outside to inside
- Microwaves Ovens cooks from inside to outside
The following are some more things to consider when wondering if toaster ovens can replace microwaves or not.
Toaster ovens operate between 1200-1800 watts, translating to an average cost of between $0.15 and $0.22 per hour, going by the standard rates. In high-cost electricity areas, bills can shoot up to $0.25 per hour.
With microwaves, an average wattage of between 700 and 1300 W is consumed. That’s roughly $0.08 to $0.16 per hour.
Compared to toaster ovens, microwaves are cheaper to operate and use relatively less energy. But of course, a lot still depends on the type of food in preparation. Different foods have different power settings.
When you have a small kitchen, it is important to maximize space by ensuring the efficient use of appliances.
Whether you wish to acquire a brand new appliance, get an additional one, or even maintain the current one, you will need to consider countertop convenience.
Toaster ovens are more compact and lighter, so they take little space and are convenient to move around. The number of slices they can toast at once determines their sizes.
The two main types in the market include the two and six slice toaster oven models. Of course, the six-slice version is larger than the two-slice toaster oven, but both are smaller compared to a microwave. A typical toaster can fit over the countertop or in a cabinet.
Microwaves are relatively large, taking up more counter space. They come in different sizes too but do not beat the compactness of a toaster oven.
Keeping both appliances clean is the most important piece of maintenance work.
It is easier to clean a microwave interior and exterior with just soapy water and a sponge.
Most models come with removable glass plates that can be washed under the sink or a dishwasher in case of spillage.
For toaster ovens, you have to remove racks, crumb trays, and baking pans, and clean them externally all the while making sure that you d not damage the delicate heating elements.
Wiping down the exterior, interior, and the glass doors is recommended after every use to get rid of spillovers.
Also Read: Best Toaster Ovens for Small Spaces
So Can Toaster Oven Replace Microwave?
Not really. Toaster ovens cannot replace microwaves oven simply because they both are unique devices. Just a cooking stove cannot replace a microwave, neither can a toaster oven.
Sure they can both be used for heating and cooking but their results are significantly different from each other. As such, you will choose the one that resonates with your in terms of your preferred cooking style.
Fortunately though, you can have both functions in one appliance as well.
There are some 2-in-1 devices that combine both the convection oven as well as the microwave oven features therefore you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Also Read: What is a Smart Oven?
If most of your cooking involves toasting, broiling, crisping, and browning foods, microwaves will be a total let down. It also limits the types of food you can prepare, making it a less all-round gadget in the kitchen.
However, if you are thinking of replacing your microwave with a toaster oven, remember no oven can outperform everyday quick snack heating and easy defrosting.