I recently tried out the Proctor-Silex 31120 Pizza and Toaster Oven for the purpose of providing an in-depth review to those considering purchasing this toaster oven. I replaced my usual toaster oven with the Proctor-Silex model for four weeks to see how it handled day to day cooking tasks. Here is my review, plus you'll find my ratings for this toaster oven at the bottom of the page.
First, it is important to note the price of this toaster oven. It costs just over $50, so this is definitely a budget-friendly model. Upon removing it from the box, I noticed it is constructed out of somewhat thin metal and it does have an inexpensive look to it. I suppose you really do get what you pay for. This toaster and pizza oven comes equipped with control knobs rather than digital controls. This is a relatively large toaster oven that is designed to bake a twelve inch pizza.
I always like to start out a review period with making toast, since this is an area where many toaster ovens struggle to impress. This one toasts well; it produced a beautifully brown and crispy exterior with a moist interior. Just during the short time I had the unit on to prepare toast, it was apparent that this model has very little insulation. The outside gets quite hot. This is common amongst lower priced toaster ovens. This doesn't necessarily have to be a deal-breaker, just be sure to always use oven mitts when touching the hot oven. It can, however, be an important issue if you have young children or accident prone adults around the kitchen.
My second test for this review was whole grain pumpkin bread. It is especially important to have even cooking with whole grain baked goods as they are more prone to dryness than baked goods prepared with refined grains. Unfortunately, by the time the interior of the pumpkin bread was fully cooked, the top of it had a bit of undesired charring. This is often the case with inexpensive toaster ovens; they just don't have the ability to produce even heating and the portion of the food closest to the heating elements gets over-cooked.
This model is credited as being a pizza oven, so my review certainly could not be considered complete without trying to make a few pizzas. I prepared both frozen packaged pizzas as well as homemade ones. This unit cooked them up like a champ. I was delighted by the crisp crust and bubbly cheese.
The size of this unit really does make it quite versatile. I was able to fit in a 12 x 12 x 3 inch baking dish, although I will admit it was an incredibly snug fit. The heating elements do get hot enough to brown food, which is definitely a plus for me. I often checked the temperature during the review period and did find this unit to operate at a higher temperature than it is set, sometimes by as much as 15 degrees F. You will certainly want to keep an eye on your food to ensure it is not overcooked due to this.
Overall, I found this to be a great toaster oven for certain tasks. It does well with anything that ought to be browned, such as toast or roasted chicken. It does not do as well with items that need more even cooking, such as cupcakes or zucchini bread. Depending on your needs, this unit can be a good value for the money.
All ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest possible rating
Appearance rating: 5
True to set temperature rating: 5
Even heating/cooking rating: 4
Overall rating: 5