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How Do Toaster Ovens Work?

Elizabeth Dearborn

A toaster ovens are basically enclosed electric space heaters. They are made of brushed metal, with tempered glass doors that are able to withstand high temperatures and not discolor. Inside the ovens are one or more shelves to hold the toast and removable crumb trays for easy cleaning.

How Do Toaster Ovens Work?

What's a Toaster Oven?

These appliances have heat-reflecting interiors for efficient cooking. Toaster ovens are smaller than most microwaves, and are designed for household use only. It's fine to put metal, such as aluminum foil, into a toaster oven. Toaster ovens come with dial controls for temperature and 30-minute timers with chime. A basic toaster oven will hold 2 to 6 slices of toast at a time. Some toaster ovens are capable of convection cooking, baking, broiling, and more. Convection ovens have a fan that circulates the hot air evenly throughout for faster and more even browning at lower temperatures than conventional ovens.


Toaster ovens are inexpensive, take up very little space, and do not heat up the kitchen.


Since they are so small, toaster ovens do not cook more than one or two portions at a time. Basic toaster ovens have a limited capabilities, and cannot perform the functions of regular ovens, convection ovens, microwaves, or specialized cookware. Many TV dinner packages specifically say the contents should not be prepared in a toaster oven. This is especially important if the tray is made of plastic, which will melt in the intense heat of a toaster oven. Also, recipes that contain a lot of liquid are not suitable to be prepared in a toaster oven.