Toaster Ovens vs Microwaves Compared

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Toaster Ovens vs Microwaves Compared

Staff Writer · Apr 6, 2010

Toaster ovens and microwaves are not interchangeable, although they share some similar characteristics that make owning either one ideal for small spaces. At the same time, their different features might make owning both the best decision.

Heating Food Fast

Both toaster ovens and microwaves heat up your food much more quickly than a traditional oven and so it makes sense to own at least one in your apartment. A traditional oven requires several minutes of pre-heating before you can warm up any food. A toaster oven works similarly, but because the inside of the oven is so small, the amount of time you need to pre-heat the oven is much shorter in duration. You may not even need to pre-heat at all if you select the “toast” option over the “oven” option.

When it comes to getting food warm the fastest, a microwave is usually the best choice-particularly if you’re reheating food. A microwave requires no pre-heating time and can warm food in minutes or even seconds. However, while microwaves do heat pre-cooked food the fastest, they may not always be the best choice for cooking food.

Crispy VS Soggy: Types of Foods that Fit the Appliance Best

One of the complaints of microwaves is that while they can heat food, they can make certain foods kind of soggy and unappetizing. Reheated french fries and garlic bread are a couple of examples. On the other hand, microwaves are ideal for heating up any food heavy with liquid like soups and stews, which are virtually impossible to warm in toaster ovens.

A toaster oven can reheat french fries, bread and other similar foods that taste best crispy nearly as fast as a microwave while making the food retain its crispiness-or even become crispier.

Heating VS Cooking: Which Appliance Does It Best

Both appliances can re-heat pre-cooked food and cook uncooked food, but each has its own strengths. Microwaves are generally ideal for re-heating leftovers and other pre-cooked foods, with a few exceptions (the crispy foods, as described above). Microwaves are good tools for thawing frozen foods, but generally may not make the food as thoroughly warm as an oven. Microwaves can also relatively quickly and quite easily and successfully cook some raw foods, such as bacon and baked potatoes; however, generally, the microwave is not the best choice for cooking uncooked food.

Toaster ovens are better suited for cooking from scratch, as they’re effectively conventional ovens in a much smaller size. You can pre-heat the oven to a certain temperature and leave a food cooking for 10 to 20 minutes or even longer, as you would with a conventional oven, but there’s usually only enough room for one serving. You can also use the “toast” setting on the oven and quickly melt, heat and crisp frozen foods. As far as re-heating cooked foods, though, in general, the microwave is faster and easier to use.

When deciding between toaster ovens and microwaves, think about what kinds of foods you cook or reheat most frequently. If you can find the space on your counter and the room in your budget, you might even consider purchasing both, since each appliance has its advantages.

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