Many people are opting to replace or supplement their microwave oven with a toaster oven. The reasons for this vary from person to person. Here are a few of the differences between toaster ovens and microwave ovens to help you decide which option is best for you.
A microwave oven essentially steams all food. While this is a great option for some items, such as broccoli or crab legs, a microwave oven tends to make many other items soggy. Everything in a microwave is cooked the same way, regardless of what the food item is or what the best method of cooking is. A toaster oven uses dry heat, just like a normal full-sized oven does. This means food cooked in a toaster oven doesn't just get hot, it can also be cooked in many different ways.
Browning is one area where a toaster oven and a microwave oven stand apart. A microwave oven has absolutely no browning capabilities. No matter how long you cook food in a microwave, it simply will never turn golden brown. A toaster oven can brown food. When food is browned, a plethora of interesting and delicious flavor compounds are developed. Properly browned food is incredibly delicious, and this is something a toaster oven can offer you that you will never get from a microwave oven.
A good toaster oven can be used to cook anything a normal full-sized oven can, as long as it is small enough. You can bake, broil, roast or toast food in a toaster oven. You can add liquid to a covered baking dish and steam or braise your food in a toaster oven. A microwave can only steam food.
There is some evidence, although disputed by some, that there are inherent safety issues involved when microwaving food. Studies have shown that significant nutrient damage occurs when food is microwaved. This is one of those issues where you must decide for yourself where you stand.
On the issue of speed, the microwave will always beat the toaster oven. There is no appliance today that can cook food as quickly as a microwave, which is why this appliance is present in almost all modern kitchens.
Overall, a microwave is great if you want to cook or heat food very quickly. A toaster oven is best if you want the food cooked well, offering as much flavor and health as possible. It may take a bit longer, but the average heat up and cooking time of a toaster oven is much less than that of a full sized oven due to having a smaller space to heat and the close proximity of the food to the heating elements. The toaster oven is a good way to make great food quicker.