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I'm a pro baker, and I use this compact Cuisinart more than my full-sized oven — grab it on sale

It cooks and bakes just as well, but it heats up in a snap and doesn't turn my kitchen into a sauna.

Once upon a time, I worked as a professional baker — and while I currently make a living testing and writing about kitchen products, I still love to whip up homemade treats in my spare time. But, I have a confession: As much as I appreciate having a full-sized oven for large batches of cookies, I often end up using my Cuisinart toaster oven for smaller items. Judge away, but this compact appliance does the job just as well, and in less time. With warmer weather on the way, I'd also like to avoid turning my kitchen into a sauna. Intrigued? It's marked down to $159 (from $180) for Amazon's Big Spring Sale.

Faster food, cooler kitchen — this compact appliance is a no-brainer, especially during the warmer months. 

$159 at Amazon

Why is it a good Amazon deal?

This toaster oven rarely dips lower than its current price, and when it does, it's not by very much. In my opinion, it's a small price to pay for such a versatile appliance, and it comes with a three-year limited warranty for peace of mind. (And compared to this Breville Smart Oven with similar specs, it's a steal.)

Why do I need this?

How do I love the Cuisinart Deluxe Convection Toaster Oven? Let me count the ways. I'm fairly confident that anything I could cook in a normal oven, save a Thanksgiving turkey, I could cook in my toaster oven. Speaking of Thanksgiving, this little wonder saved my butt a few years back. I was all set to host, and about a week before the holiday, my oven died. I bought this Cuisinart and prepared every side and pie in it — it saved the day. (As for the turkey, my mother-in-law ended up taking that on!)

Since then, I've found that using this toaster oven for cakes, brownies, baked pasta and even roasted tofu and vegetables is my preferred route. It heats up in no time, plus it can fit a decent amount of food for my small household: six slices of toast, a 12-inch pizza or even a 4-pound chicken. The LED display is easy to use once you get the hang of it; it has six functions, including Toast, Bagel, Bake, Broil, Keep Warm and Reheat (though I tend to use the Bake and Toast modes more often than any others). You select the setting you want using a dial, then adjust the temperature and time with corresponding buttons.

One thing to note: The oven will turn off once the timer goes off, so I like to set it for longer than I need just in case, and set another timer on my phone. Oh, and because it's a convection oven, I find that my food cooks much more quickly than in my standard oven, so make sure to check in more often! That said, the heating is extremely even, and I've never ended up with food that was over- or undercooked.

author photos of a homemade cherry pie and homemade glazed cinnamon rolls, both of which were baked in a Cuisinart toaster oven
A tale of two homemade desserts, both baked in my Cuisinart toaster oven. (Britt Ross/Yahoo Life)

What reviewers say

The Cuisinart Deluxe Convection Toaster Oven has perfect ratings from over 1,300 Amazon customers, so I'm far from its only champion.

"I have been using my new convection oven/toaster almost every day," wrote one happy home cook. "I live alone and most often have no need of using my big oven anymore. I can heat up some fish and chips in just a few minutes, make a quick bread or pan of brownies. It fits on my countertop without taking up a lot of space. It's easy to clean and so far I have not had any issue with the labels on the buttons fading."

"I first experienced this toaster oven while visiting friends," shared another satisfied shopper. "I was so impressed by how much better their bagels were toasted than we'd ever had at home. I called her to find out the exact model. I purchased this model years ago and have never been disappointed. We use it daily and have actually stopped using our toaster completely. After years, it is still working beautifully and still looks like new."

"I have tried quite a few convection toaster ovens and this is one of the best," raved a final fan. "This Cuisinart maintains the proper temp (even dings when it is preheated) and [has a] great LCD display with easy-to-use control buttons. The only complaint is that it does not have an internal light." (That's my biggest qualm as well!)

Grab it before this deal is toast — the price on this popular model usually won't go much lower.

$159 at Amazon

To ensure your food is always perfectly cooked, might I suggest a digital meat thermometer?

This top-seller might technically be called a meat thermometer, but don't underestimate its value when it comes to liquids and baked goods. The most accurate way to tell whether food is done is by taking its temperature, and this gizmo presents a reading in seconds. It can measure an impressive range of temperatures — from -58°F to 572°F — and its magnetic back allows you to store it right on the fridge for easy access.

Save $10 with coupon
$11 at Amazon

Your Spring Sales Shopping Guide: Spring sales are in the air, headlined by Amazon's Big Spring sale event. Our expert editors are curating all the best spring sales right here. Follow Engadget to shop the best tech deals from Amazon’s Big Spring Sale, hear from Autoblog's car experts on the best spring auto deals on Amazon and find spring sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

Read more about how we review products and deals: Our deal-hunting team of writers, editors and testers around the country are all seasoned experts in their fields (tech, style, home, beauty), many with 20+ years of experience. Our unbiased experts maintain strict editorial integrity: We only feature deals we believe will save you money.

If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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Your Spring Sales Shopping Guide: Spring sales are in the air, headlined by Amazon’s Big Spring sale event. Our expert editors are curating all the best spring sales right here. Follow Engadget to shop the best tech deals from Amazon’s Big Spring Sale, hear from Autoblog’s car experts on the best spring auto deals on Amazon, and find spring sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

Read more about how we review products and deals: Our deal-hunting team of writers, editors, and testers around the country are all seasoned experts in their fields (tech, style, home, beauty), many with 20+ years of experience. Our unbiased experts maintain strict editorial integrity: We only feature deals we believe will save you money.