There are a lot of cool things out there that make us wonder — do they really work? In our I Tried It series, we set out to use them in the real world and have determined that, in fact, they really do.
On Trial: Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven
The Tester: Brandon Carte, whose refrigerator is always full of leftovers that require reheating.
The Brief: This small but mighty toaster oven is hands-down my favorite kitchen appliance because of its speed, versatility, and sharp looks. I don’t think I could live without it.
The other night I made the most hearty and delicious lasagna. It had perfectly crisp — but not burnt — edges and was layered with melty mozzarella and ricotta cheese, Italian sausage with just the right amount of spicy kick, and a garlicky deep-red sauce. I’m telling you, it rivaled my favorite restaurant’s lasagna.
I baked it in the Cuisinart Chef’s Convection Toaster Oven — my new kitchen obsession — in just a half-hour. I was able to construct the lasagna, cook it, consume it, and clean the mess up all in less than an hour.
I know it sounds absolutely crazy to say that a kitchen appliance has changed my life, but the Cuisinart toaster oven has made cooking so much better and easier. I always thought that a microwave and a full-sized oven were enough, but I was wrong.
What makes the toaster oven shine — besides its sleek, stainless steel exterior — is its incredible versatility. The toaster is deep and wide enough to fit a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking pan or even a 13-inch pizza. It has four rack slots (two racks are included), so you can cook multiple dishes that vary in size.
The oven reaches temperatures as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit when the broil setting is activated, but it can bake anything between 150 and 450 degrees. It also packs plenty of pre-programmed cooking presets so you don't have to second-guess yourself on what temperatures to bake at. I’ve used the toaster oven to bake brownies, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and biscuits. It has helped keep my grilled steak warm when I need extra time in the kitchen to prepare side dishes.
The oven preheats in just 3 minutes, it's well ventilated, not too loud, and I love that it helps me avoid turning my kitchen into a sauna, like my full-size oven does anytime it’s on.
It toasts bread and bagels evenly and comes with a ceramic pizza stone for getting that crisp, golden-brown crust you crave. There’s even an interior light you can switch on to make sure you don’t burn anything.
My favorite feature though, is its two-speed convection fan. Basically, this means that the toaster oven doubles as an air fryer. It’s an absolute champ at reheating leftovers.
It made my leftover Korean fried chicken wings taste fresh and crispy, as if I were eating them at the restaurant I ordered them from. Any time I bring home fast food, the first thing I do when I get home is turn the oven on to reheat my french fries. They always come out crispy and delicious in a matter of minutes.
The oven is so easy to use, it looks great in my kitchen, and it is backed by an impressive 3-year warranty. If you have the counter space for it, I can’t recommend it enough.
Closing Argument: Even if you don’t think you need a toaster oven, I’m here to tell you that this one will make your life infinitely better. It’s large enough to roast a whole chicken, it bakes desserts with ease, and it will make the best leftovers you’ve ever tasted. Oh yeah, and it doubles as an air fryer!
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