A toaster oven is a great appliance to have in your home, but with so many possible ways of using it, mistakes can easily be made.
In this article, we'll be going over some of the most common toaster oven mistakes, to help you avoid making them in your home – let's get right into it.
Don't use too much food in the toaster oven
You might be tempted to make a big frozen pizza in your toaster oven, but doing so can lead to some serious accidents. Because you'll likely be cooking it on high heat, too much food will increase the overall temperature of the appliance substantially.
This will cause it to burst into flames and set fire to your kitchen. To avoid this calamity, always ensure that you're using only enough food so as not to block all of the ventilation holes on the bottom rack. If you need extra space for other things (such as pans used for baking), use another rack instead.
Don't try and cook raw meat in there
You might think that it'd be easier if you just threw a steak straight from your local grocer into your toaster oven, but this is a big mistake.
First off, meat cooked in a toaster oven doesn't have the delicious smoky flavoring that you'd get from an actual grill or barbecue. Secondly, because of the low heat involved in the toaster oven cooking, you're running the risk of food poisoning by trying to cook raw meat inside one. Avoid this by always making sure that any food has been cooked before being placed inside the toaster oven. Otherwise, you could end up with something much worse than undercooked chicken — potentially fatal food poisoning.
Keep an eye on your food so it doesn't burn
Another common problem people have when trying to use a toaster oven is that they forget all about their food and just let it sit there for hours.
You should always be following your progress through the window of the toaster oven, so you can see when it's time to flip something over or take it out. A good rule of thumb is that if you're taking longer than 15 minutes, then you need to check on your food more often. This isn't like cooking things in an actual oven – since the heat has nowhere else to escape from inside a toaster oven, the temperatures will rise much faster without any cooling down periods in between.
Don't roast marshmallows inside your new toaster
Yes, it might sound like an awesome idea. But don't do it. It's going to take much longer than you expect, and you'll end up burning the entire toaster if you put them on high heat. Always avoid roasting marshmallows in your new appliance. Instead, only use it for cooking things that are meant for a regular oven. This will ensure that everything works out okay (and won't get too messed up if you happen to burn something).
Preheat the toaster oven for a few minutes before cooking anything
This is a factor that many people forget about when using their toaster oven, and it can lead to some bad outcomes. To avoid these messes and accidents, always make sure that you preheat the toaster oven for at least 5 minutes before using it for any food preparation. This ensures even cooking times and avoids any potential fire hazards from occurring. Moreover, it'll help remove any odd odors or smells previously left from when you used it last.
Always make sure the toaster oven door is closed securely
The most common mishaps that occur with toaster ovens are caused by poor door locking mechanisms. When using a regular oven, you can sometimes just carelessly close the door without ever realizing that it's not completely shut. But since there's no way to check on a toaster oven, you must always double-check if the appliance is properly secured before cooking anything in there. This will help greatly reduce possible fire risks and ensure that your home remains safe at all times.
Don't leave your food in there any longer than necessary
Many people make the mistake of trying to get as much use out of their appliances as possible. But this can be a dangerous move if you're not careful. If you find yourself with extra time on your hands during the day, then we recommend turning off the power so nothing overheats and causes any accidents.
It's best to avoid using your appliance for up to an hour after you've taken something out. This will ensure that the temperature is stable and won't lead to any mishaps.
Always let it cool down before cleaning
Cleaning a hot appliance can cause severe burns on human skin, so always be aware of this before doing any cleaning work on your new kitchen tool. The last thing you want is for someone in your home to get hurt simply from trying to clean a device that they just used. Let everything cool down first, then start cleaning up and putting things away.
Be careful not to turn the dial-up or down when you're preheating
This can cause problems with your settings and make it hard to cook anything at all. Therefore, it's advised that you don't move the temperature dial on your new appliance until it begins to heat up. This will prevent any possible accidents from occurring and keep things safe for you.
Never put water or liquids inside a running toaster oven
This is an easy mistake to make, since some people may not know that this isn't exactly safe for their kitchen tool. But always avoid putting in liquids while cooking with a toaster oven – if anything spills out onto the heating elements of your device, then fire risks are highly likely. Use proper care when using your new appliance, as there are many factors at play here that can lead to disaster.
Always use potholders.
They'll save you from getting burned while removing hot dishes from the oven's rack or door. Potholders will also make it easier to grip things while they're still hot, so you don't accidentally drop something in the sink. This will keep your kitchen clean and safe from any potential messes.
How To Safely Clean Your Toaster Oven
Now that we've looked at the mistakes to avoid, let's speak about what to do when it comes to cleaning your new kitchen appliance.
Use a soft, moist cloth
This is the best way to effectively remove any dust buildup or leftover grease from your new toaster oven. You can either use disposable towels or washable rags for this purpose, but make sure that they're washed off in hot water and completely dried before you store them away again. This will help prevent any mold from growing within those fibers, which could harm your health down the road.
Never immerse your appliance in the water while cleaning it
Now while there are certain parts of your device which can be cleaned with water (like the racks), always avoid putting your whole oven into a sink full of soapy water. You run the risk of accidentally damaging certain parts of your appliance, such as its heating elements. Instead, you'd be better off using a wet cloth or sponge to wipe away any grease and grime that may have accumulated over time.
Baking Soda is a great cleaner
If you want to avoid the chemicals in most cleaning products, then we highly recommend that you use baking soda for your day-to-day kitchen needs. This substance has been proven to be an effective cleaner when dealing with baked-on food and stains on surfaces – it can even remove tough marks from granite countertops. So next time you're at the grocery store picking up some new cleaning supplies, make sure to pick out some baking soda too. It's cheap and incredibly useful.
What happens if I leave my food in a hot oven too long?
If it goes directly from a cold temperature (like being in the refrigerator) to the hot temperature of an oven, then very serious consequences may ensue for whoever eats that food afterward. If you leave just about anything inside your toaster oven for over 20 minutes after cooking begins, then there is potential for botulism to form within that food, which can lead to serious health issues.
Can you put frozen foods in a toaster oven?
You can – but we don't recommend it. Generally speaking, it's not worth the risk if you want to make your life easier over time. So while using your new appliance may seem like a great way of getting out of cooking dinner for yourself one night, there are many factors involved here that can end up ruining everything for you.
For example, always avoid putting bread in the freezer together with things such as meat and vegetables – doing so could lead to dangerous bacteria forming on those non-frozen foods before they're placed into the oven. If someone doesn't wash their hands before handling the food, then harmful pathogens could easily spread from one item to another.
Why does my toaster oven burn everything?
This is a common problem that can be dealt with easily by adjusting the settings on your device. For example, it's important to keep an eye out for the browning dial when you're setting things up for this purpose – turn it down if you don't want everything to come out too crispy or charred.
Why are my toast slices unevenly cooked?
When cooking bread in a toaster oven, there's always gonna be one slice that comes out a bit darker than the other – this is normal and shouldn't be cause for concern. However, if both pieces of toast look significantly different, then it's probably due to the way you've positioned them inside the oven. Make sure they aren't touching each other while cooking so that they can get cooked evenly.
What happens when I don't use my toaster oven for a long time?
Even though leaving your appliance unused for an extended period isn't ideal, there are ways in which you can prolong the life of your unit by storing it properly. Try not to leave it out in areas where it could be exposed to dust or water – that way, you won't have to worry too much about mold growing within any fibers.
Final thoughts on the biggest Toaster Oven Mistakes
Because of the smaller nature of a toaster oven, you're going to have to be extra cautious about what you do when it comes to cooking food inside it.
When following the above rules, you'll find yourself getting better results, not running into many issues with toaster oven cleaning, and saving time in the long run.
It also helps to check out others’ reviews when it comes to choosing the best toaster oven under $100 to buy if you’re in the market for a new and more updated version of this appliance.