5 Things You Shouldn't Cook in a Toaster Oven

Know your toaster oven facts.

<p>Carlo A/Getty Images</p>

Carlo A/Getty Images

For many households, the toaster oven is one of the most versatile and used appliances, since it can quickly cook, bake, reheat, and toast pretty much anything. Well, almost anything. Unlike a traditional oven, toaster ovens have hot and cold spots, which can result in an uneven temperature. If you’ve ever tried to heat something like pasta or chili in the toaster oven, you have probably noticed that the bottom of the dish is hot while the middle is still cold. 

In addition to uneven cooking temperatures, putting certain foods in a toaster oven can also be dangerous and even start a fire. Greasy foods or dishes with a lot of liquid could leak onto parts of the toaster oven and may cause smoke and burning. So, while the toaster oven is a great, everyday gadget, there are a handful of foods you’ll want to avoid cooking in your toaster oven in the future. Here are five things you shouldn’t cook in a toaster oven.

Related: 7 Things You Shouldn’t Cook in an Air Fryer

Soup or Meals With Too Much Liquid

When it comes to reheating soups or any type of dish that has a lot of liquid, stick to the stove, oven, or microwave. Not only will soup or liquids not heat well in the toaster oven, but it’s also dangerous since the liquid can spill or splash onto the heating element in the toaster oven and cause a fire.

Pasta

If you're making a baked pasta dish the toaster oven should be able to get the job done, so long as there’s enough space, but it’s not great for reheating noodles. While you technically can reheat leftover pasta in the toaster oven, it’s not the best idea. No matter what type of pasta and sauce you have, the toaster oven won’t heat it evenly because it’s prone to hotspots. The best and quickest method to reheat pasta would be to use a saucepan instead. If the pasta is pre-cooked and frozen, however, like in store-bought mac and cheese, the toaster can reheat it sufficiently if it’s specified in the cooking instructions.

Related: 8 Pasta Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Meal

Rice

Reheating cooked rice is always tricky, but the last thing you want to do is put it in the toaster oven. The toaster will cause your rice to get crispy, especially at the bottom. Instead, here’s a little trick: Pour your leftover rice into a colander and run it under hot water from the faucet. The hot water will help rehydrate the rice without making it too mushy.

Seeds and Nuts

Toasted seeds and nuts are a healthy and crunchy topping for anything from yogurt bowls and overnight oats, to colorful salads, flavorful pastas, and decadent desserts. But, the most important thing to remember when toasting seeds and nuts is that they’re small and they burn very quickly—that’s why heating them up in an oven or pan on low heat is the best method. If you need to use the toaster oven, be sure to toast your nuts and seeds on a low temperature and check on them frequently. 

Related: The 3 Major Mistakes You're Making When Buying and Storing Nuts

Pastries

Baked goods and pastries need to be cooked or reheated at an even temperature, which means the toaster oven is a no-no. Breakfast favorites like croissants and cinnamon buns will not only dry out, but they won’t heat evenly, especially if they were originally frozen.

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