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The average U.S. household spends 35 hours a year toasting bread; it’s no surprise this electric appliance has become a kitchen staple. A toaster is made out of stainless steel and is used to heat up, toast, broil, defrost, bake, and warm food. The different ways to use a toaster or toaster oven is to:
- Toast tortilla chips for a dip
- Crips bacon for breakfast
- Roast chicken
- Defrost ingredients for cooking
Toasters are usually 1.5 inches wide and will require 750 watts to 1250 watts of electricity. Unlike a toaster, a toaster oven allows you to set specific temperatures as you would a conventional oven and have settings that sets the interior to 250°F (121°C) to 500°F (260°C). A toaster oven is typically 11 inches tall, 18 inches wide, and 16 inches deep which is big enough for 6 slices of toast while a toaster can toast 2 to 4 pieces of toast at a time. You can also try the 2-in-1 combo with the best microwave toaster oven combo, which is slightly bigger than the usual toaster or oven.
This appliance can be used to bake all sorts of food such as garlic bread, potatoes, or dessert. You can choose to use your toaster to warm plates as well. The use cases of a toaster vary and include:
Heat Up Vegetable Burgers
A toaster can be used to heat up or cook vegetable burgers. Unlike traditional beef patties, vegetable patties will not be dripping with fat and damage your toaster. Take your vegetable burger patties and let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Set your toaster to 350°F (177°C) to 400°F (204°C) and transfer your patties onto the toaster oven’s rack. Cook for 5 minutes on one side before flipping the patties and cooking them for another 5 minutes.
Bake Garlic Bread
Your toaster can be used to bake garlic bread. To make garlic bread with your toaster, combine softened butter, garlic, and seasoning into a small bowl. Slice your bread into 2 pieces and spread your butter onto it. Pop your bread into the toaster slots and toast for 3 minutes to 4 minutes.
Similarly, after brushing your toast with herbed and seasoned butter, place your slices into your toaster oven. Bake your garlic bread at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes to 15 minutes.
Toast Tortilla Chips
Another way to use the toaster is to toast tortilla chips. Heat up the toaster oven to 350°F (177°C) and use the Bake setting. Grease your baking pan with cooking oil or place a baking mat on top of it. Slice your tortilla into small triangles and coat each slice with oil and sprinkle your seasoning on top. Arrange your tortillas onto the baking pan and bake the chips for 8 minutes. Flip them, rotate the baking pan, and let the chips bake for another 4 minutes to 6 minutes.
Also, a toaster oven can be used to re-heat pizza. Using the Reheat or Bake function, place your pizza slices onto your baking pan and put this back in the toaster oven on the middle rack. Use a temperature of 325°F (163°C) and let your oven toaster re-heat your pizza for 5 minutes to 8 minutes.
Re-crisp French Fries and Onion Rings
Another way to use the toaster oven is as a crisper for soggy french fries and onion rings. Use a temperature of 350°F (177°C) and place them onto a rack making sure that they do not overlap. Place the rack on top of your baking tray so that it can catch any excess oil and protect your toaster. Re-heat your onion rings in the toaster for 6 minutes to 7 minutes.
As for french fries that are no longer crispy, place them onto a baking sheet. Re-crisp them in your toaster for 5 minutes at 450°F (232°C).
Make Your Own Taco Shells
Use the toaster to make your own tacos. Place your mini flour tortilla into the toaster slot folded down the middle so that it has that traditional taco shell shape. Let this heat up in your toaster on Low for 1 minute or 2 minutes before taking it out and filling your taco with meat and vegetables.
Toast Sweet Potatoes
Alternatively, a toaster can be used for sweet potatoes. Slice your sweet potatoes into slices that are ¼ inches to ⅓ inches thick. Lightly spray or coat your sweet potato with oil and season. Insert the slices into your toaster and toast them on High. Let the sweet potato cool before you add your toppings and serve.
If you are going to use your toaster oven, use a temperature of 350°F (177°C). Place your sweet potato slices onto a wire rack and place this on a baking sheet before baking for 15 minutes to 20 minutes. Let the sweet potatoes cool then add your toppings.
Your toaster can be used to grill a 3 oz steak. Using the broiler function of your toaster oven, use a temperature of 150°F (66°C) for a medium-rare steak or 170°F (150°77C) for a well-done steak. Season both sides of your steak before placing it on a baking tray that has been lined. Grill the steak on one side for 6 minutes to 8 minutes and flip it over before letting it cook in the toaster for another 5 minutes.
A toaster is also a panini press. If your toaster has slots that are wide enough or you do not have too much meat or vegetables inside your sandwich, insert your panini into the toaster and let it toast for 3 minutes to 5 minutes.
If you are going to use your toaster oven, you will need medium-high heat or 375°F (191°C). Place your sandwich onto a baking tray and let it toast for 5 minutes to 6 minutes. Transfer onto a plate and serve.
Another way to use the toaster is for defrosting ingredients for baking or cooking. If you are using cold or frozen bread, place it into your toaster’s slots and press the handle down. You can press the defrost button so that your toaster will let your bread reach a warmer temperature before toasting.
As for the toaster oven, place your frozen ingredients into an oven-safe container and select the Defrost setting. If the model you own does not have this function built-in, you can let your ingredients defrost at 200°F (93°C) for 15 minutes.
A toaster is also a great appliance to use to toast or roast nuts. Spread out your almonds, pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts onto a lined baking tray. Heat up your toaster oven to 325°F (163°C) to 350°F (177°C). Lightly coat your nuts with 1 or 2 teaspoons of oil and toast in the toaster for 5 minutes. Stir the nuts and cook them for another 3 minutes to 6 minutes.
Your toaster can be used to warm plates during the colder months. Using the lowest temperature of 150°F (°C), place your oven-safe ceramic, glass, or metal plate into the toaster oven. Let it stay in the toaster for 15 minutes before serving.
Use the toaster as a chicken roaster. Pre-heat your toaster oven at 375°F (191°C) on the Bake setting. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Squeeze a lemon letting the juice over and inside your chicken before stuffing the chicken with sliced lemon and garlic cloves. Rub the herbed olive oil over your chicken and place it into a lined baking pan. Roast the chicken in your toaster for 1 hour and 15 minutes and add an extra 10 minutes if the juices have not run clear yet.
A toaster can also make baked potatoes. Pre-heat your toaster oven to 400°F (204°C) while your prepare your potato. Wash and scrub your potato before letting them dry. Use a fork to stab each potato twice on each side to let steam escape. Rub each potato with ⅛ teaspoon to ¼ teaspoon of olive oil and place them on the rack or baking sheet. Bake the potatoes in the toaster for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Bake your favorite dessert with the toaster. Move your baking rack to the bottom of your toaster oven and use the Bake setting at 375°F (191°C). Coat your mini muffin tin with cooking spray and let that set. In a mixing bowl, combine your milk, egg, sugar, oil, and vanilla. In a small bowl combine your flour, salt, and baking powder before tossing in your blueberries. Fold your dry ingredients into the mixing bowl then scoop batter into the muffin tin. Bake your blueberry muffins for 15 minutes to 17 minutes. Remove the muffin tin from the toaster and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Alternatively, a toaster can cook crispy bacon. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place your bacon strips on it making sure that they do not overlap. Crisp bacon in the toaster for 10 minutes to 15 minutes at 400°F (204°C).
What are the common mistakes of usage of a toaster?
As you learn how to use a toaster for bread and the use cases above, you should do your best to avoid the following mistakes:
- Assuming the meaning of the numbers. Not all toasters are designed the same so read your manual. Some toaster dials will have been designed to specify minutes while others indicate how much electricity is being passed due to toasting.
- Forgetting to adjust the settings when toasting back-to-back. A toaster’s settings will need to be lowered if you have just toasted some muffins because it has already heated up. Adjust your toaster to have consistently toasted pastries.
- Grilling cheese. Putting cheese inside of your toaster can be dangerous because it can drip and damage your heating element or cord.
- If you are going to be exploring how to use a toaster for the use cases above, the common mistakes to avoid include:
- Just using one setting for everything. As seen by the use cases above, each food has its optimal setting. Even though your toaster may have a default setting, adjust it according to what you are toasting to make the most out of your kitchen appliance.
- Mistaking your toaster for the toaster oven. Each type of toaster, as seen by the use cases above, have a certain food that they can and cannot bake, re-heat, or cook.
- Not cleaning the crumb tray. Keep your toaster oven clean to prevent any leftover grease or pieces of food from overheating and catching fire.
- Not using the lever ever. Most toasters are designed with levers that you can also press up to retrieve your bread and bagels with ease.
- Putting too many slices of bread into the toaster. Adding too much of anything into the toaster or toaster oven can lead to uneven cooking.
- Toasting with your appliance on its side. Never use your toaster on its side. This will result in uneven toasting and is a fire hazard.
- Unplugging your toaster carelessly. If you’re in a rush, you may be used to yanking out the toaster from the wall using its cord. This can lead to electrical hazards and damage to your toaster so unplug your toaster by its wall base after use.
- Using silverware to retrieve food. Never dig out food with a fork because it can electrocute you. Wait until your toaster is completely cool before retrieving any food with a brush tool.
Avoid these mistakes when you are using your toaster. This way, your appliance will be well-maintained and you can toast food efficiently.
What is the history of usage of toasters?
So, what is a toaster and what is its history? Before the electric toaster was invented and developed, bread was sliced by hand and toasted on a fork or frame. The bread was toasted over a gas stove or over a live fire where toasting utensils emerged at the beginning of the 19th century.
The first electric toaster, called the Eclipse Toaster, was invented by Alan Macmaster in 1893, Scotland. The British Compton Company manufactured and marketed this device that toasted one side of bread and required manual flipping for even toasting. In 1905, the Nichrome was invented by Albert Marsh, which was a wire with a nickel and chromium allow that was a safe and durable heating element. A year later, the first patent in the U.S. was filed using Marsh’s wire by George Schneider.
In 1909, the first electric toaster debuted from General Electric and used a competing alloy. The first commercially successful toaster that ran on electricity was the D-12 which was invented by Frank Shailor. Then in 1913, a toaster that did not need toast to be turned manually during cooking was introduced by the Copeman Electric Stove Company.
The automatic pop-up toaster that is a familiar appliance to use today was created and designed for restaurants in 1919 by Charles Strite and was patented in 1921. A household pop-up toaster, the Toastmaster, was sold by Waters-Genter in 1926, featured a timer, and could eject toast after browning bread. Robert J. Salem, of General Electric, filed a patent in 1979 for temperature sensors inside toasters. Now, there are smart toasters and toaster ovens that are used for different baked goods, come in different sizes and have programs that are not just limited to toasting.
Do the use cases of a toaster change based on type?
Yes, the use cases of a toaster change based on the type of toaster. A pop-up toaster is designed with slots at the top of the appliance where you insert bread or bagels. You just need to push down a lever to activate the heating mechanism and it will pop up when the cycle is complete. For this toaster, you can control the speed of toasting and simultaneously toast 2 to 4 slices of bread.
A toaster oven is a combination of a toaster and a regular oven and has racks for your food items. A know of digital controls helps you control temperatures or use a pre-set cooking cycle to heat up a small portion of leftover fries or roast a whole chicken. There is also a convection toaster oven which is a countertop version of a convection oven you may already own. There is a built-in fan to distribute heat that can be used to air fry or dehydrate food.
The fourth type of toaster is a conveyor toaster which has a cooker at the top and bottom of the appliance. With its chain-driven belt, bread can be carried through its chambers to cook multiple slices of bread.
Which toaster is best for making pop tarts?
The best toaster for toasting pop tarts is a pop-up toaster. Toast your pair of pop tarts by simply placing them into the slots of your appliance and waiting for the cycle to complete.
Does a toaster have more use cases than an air fryer?
Yes, a toaster has more use cases than an air fryer. Looking at the functions of each appliance, toaster vs. air fryer, a toaster has the ability to bake various wet batters that an air fryer should not be used for. Additionally, a toaster can roast, dehydrate, broil, defrost, reheat, and brown food whereas an air fryer is designed to do a few of these things.
What are other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to a toaster?
Other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to a toaster include:
- Air Fryer: This appliance uses the circulation of hot air to cook food.
- Broiler: A broiler exposes food like a grill but upsidedown with high temperatures of heat from above.
- Microwave: This kitchen tool uses electromagnetic radiation in order to heat up or cook food inside a chamber.
- Oven: An oven is a gas or electricity-powered appliance that exposes food to high temperatures inside a hollow chamber.
- Stovetop: A stovetop, the upper part of a kitchen range, has stoves used to heat pots and pans for frying, boiling, steaming, and sauteeing.
These kitchen appliances listed above have similar uses to a toaster but have use cases specific to themselves. You can learn more about the 5 other uses of these 5 kitchen tools here.