February 9

Can Toaster Oven Replace Microwave? – Learn Here


Author: Gisele Perez
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Stuck between a toaster and microwave? Is a toaster oven good enough a replacement of the microwave? Can you use a toaster oven like a microwave?

It could be that you are pressed for kitchen space, or perhaps you want something that is line with your cuisine style.

The truth is, there’s no straightforward answer to this question. These two appliances have many differences, 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?

Heating Methods

Can Toaster Oven Replace Microwave
Toaster Ovens use a heating element; microwave ovens uses microwave radiation

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 kitchen 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 keeping your food warm.

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.

On the other hand, microwaves use an electromagnetic waves to cook and heat food.

The electromagnetic waves beamed penetrate the food, making the water molecules vibrate, which in turn emit heat for much faster cooking with less cooking time.

Microwaves are relatively faster cooking gadgets in part because water molecules heat up quickly.

Also Read: Best Stainless Steel Toaster Ovens

Best Uses

A toaster oven is a versatile kitchen gadget that not only cooks and heats frozen foods slowly but more evenly and provides more cooking options.

It is used for toasting, broiling, baking bread and cakes, and even grilling and roasting  chicken ( not big enough for turkey). 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 or kitchen appliance. 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

Cooking Results

When you are in the market for a kitchen 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

Breville Toaster Oven
A Toaster Oven is much like a conventional oven but smaller in size. It is excellent for baking

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

Other Considerations

The following are some more things to consider when wondering if toaster ovens can replace microwaves or not.

Energy Use

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.

On the other hand, microwave uses an average wattage of between 700 and 1300 Watts 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.


Microwave Oven
Most Toaster Ovens and Convection Microwave Ovens can easily fit on countertops. However, an average Toaster Oven is still smaller

When you have a small kitchen, it is important to maximize the area 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 counterspace. 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 a removable ceramic glass plate or glass trays that can be wash under the sink or a dishwasher in case of spillage.

For a toaster oven, 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 A 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, a toaster oven and a microwave 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.

Toshiba EC042A5C-BS
Convection Microwave Ovens combine both the microwave oven as well as a convection oven features. Source: Toshiba

Also Read: What is a Smart Oven?


If most of your cooking involves toasting, broiling, crisping, heating liquids, and browning foods, microwaves will be a total let down. It also limits the types and quantities 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 your meal.


1. Can a toaster oven replace a microwave?

A Toaster oven can replace a microwave for many, but not all, microwave functions. You may only use a toaster oven, so you have to warm drinks, toast a bread, heat coffees and teas. But if you want a gadget with a high temperature and with fast cooking speed to defrost your frozen food, use the microwave.

2. Should I get a microwave or toaster oven?

A rule of thumb is to go for a microwave if you want your food to be quickly cooked and energy-efficient. But you should go with a toaster oven when you want the food to be well heated while only using half the toaster oven power.

3. Can I pop popcorn in a toaster oven?

The popcorn should be made in a toaster oven when the oven toaster is heated enough on the kernels. To save the popcorn from bursting all over the place inside the toaster oven, use a cage or a tent of tin foil.

4. Can you put a glass bowl in a toaster oven?

Yes,  you can be place it in a toaster oven as long as it is oven-safe labeled. Although most glass dishes are not ovenproof, some manufacturers produce glass dishes which are ovenproof.

5. Does a toaster oven use a lot of electricity?

A toaster oven consumes around 1/3-1/2 lower energy than a traditional electric oven when reheating small meals according to industry leaders. A toaster oven uses usually 1200 to 1400 watts of electricity power.

About the author

Gisele Perez

When not giving in-home, hands-on cooking classes, or developing recipes, Gisele "cooks" wonderful posts for us. She writes about various topics related to cooking appliances and cooking methods.


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