Ah, the toaster oven: a perfect tool for making… toast? While these miniature ovens do produce perfectly toasted bread, they can do a whole lot more. A toaster oven is also more energy efficient than a regular oven and has the ability to brown and crispify foods in a way that a microwave can't. From whole eggs still in their shells to pizza, fish, kebabs, and muffins—here’s how to use your toaster oven for more than just sliced bread.
What You’ll Need
Toaster ovens are, well, mini ovens. And since they’re so mini, it’s impossible to shove a giant cookie sheet in there. (Yes, we tried.) To make these recipes extra easy, arm yourself with these toaster-oven friendly tools.
- Small Cookie Sheet. An 8x11 inch cookie sheet fits most standard toaster ovens, but check your model’s instruction manual for size guidelines. Don’t want to head to the kitchen store? Tin foil always works in a pinch.
- Six-Cup Muffin Tin. It’s no surprise that a 12-cup muffin tin isn’t toaster oven friendly, but some 6-cup tins won’t either. Make sure to buy one that has less metal around the edges so it’ll fit. (Check the packaging for dimensions).
- Ramekins. These little oven-safe cups are great for oatmeal bakes, baked eggs, or individual fruit crisps.
- Bread Pan. A standard size loaf pan is likely a bit too large for a toaster oven. Look for one that’s no more than10x5 inches. Or go with mini loaf pans (or one that’s no more than10x5 inches).
Planning on becoming a toaster-cooking connoisseur? Invest in a toaster oven baking set! (This one includes a mini baking sheet, muffin tin, cooling rack, and cake pan.)
Pizza for breakfast?! Throw an egg on it, and it’s totally a morning meal. We like to swap in whole-wheat English muffins for added fiber and protein and forgo the cheese for a dairy-free version—they’ve still got enough flavor from the egg and pizza sauce.
Fresh figs, which are in season from late summer through fall, are a nutritional powerhouse packed with omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, potassium, and calcium. They also taste great and sweeten up the already sweet and savory sausage.
Frittatas are an easy way to start the morning with a healthy dose of protein and veggies. This version includes spinach, tomatoes, scallions, and feta. Combine in a small casserole dish and pop in the toaster oven for a simple breakfast with 26 grams of protein per serving. Tip: Throw in some olives for extra Mediterranean flare.
Skip the boiling water and cracked shells and pop eggs directly onto the toaster oven (keep the shells on!) for hard baked eggs. And go ahead, keep the yolk: Studies show whole eggs may not be as unhealthy as we once thought.
Mmmm, blueberries and cornbread. These muffins get a healthy revamp with whole-wheat flour, unsweetened applesauce, and a bunch of fresh blueberries. Each muffin has only 115 calories and a healthy 4 grams of protein. Eat ‘em for breakfast or as a snack.
6. Baked Eggs
Fill ramekins with eggs, tomatoes, spinach, a little bit of milk, and some cheese. Just 15 minutes in the toaster oven, and you’ve got yourself a quick, comforting breakfast!
Mint with eggs may sound like a funny combo, but it’s fairly common in French cuisine. Once all the ingredients are in a small casserole dish, breakfast is only 10 minutes away!
All it takes to whip up a batch of granola at home is a bunch of crunchy stuff and a little heat (from your toaster oven). This mix is slightly spicy with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger, and gets its base from oats, flax, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds.
10. Cinnamon Bananas
This recipe calls for only four ingredients: A banana, lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon. And for a lazy Sunday brunch (or dessert) top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and some dark chocolate chips.
These oaty bites are a healthier way to start the morning, with whole-wheat flour and oats. Feel free to omit the extra teaspoon of sugar (the honey will make them plenty sweet) as well as the canola oil (the bananas make for a healthier substitution).
These ‘dillas can be filled with all sorts of veggies, too. Instead of white tortillas, choose whole-wheat. Using fresh herbs will also give the meal extra flour so you can cut back a little on the cheese.
This recipe is mostly (super healthy) broccoli. But here, it gets a tasty, salty companion: prosciutto, a dry-cured, thinly-sliced ham. The toaster oven makes the prosciutto extra crispy for a texture contrast to the baked broccoli.
These “burgers” aren’t exactly burgers. The meat of the sandwich is pesto-seasoned portobellos. Serve them on whole-grain buns with a side of fresh carrot-fennel slaw. Each burger has 8 grams of fiber and comes in under 400 calories.
15. Tortilla Pizza
For a lighter take on pizza, try this healthy recipe: Use a whole-grain tortilla as the crust and then top with some marinara sauce, a sprinkle of reduced fat cheese, and tons of fresh veggies (whatever you have on hand works).
16. Baked Tofu
This is a super versatile lunch. Instead of battling a block of jiggly tofu in a skillet, toss it in the toaster. Press out some of the liquid first for firmer slices, and choose your favorite marinade. Cube the tofu and cook it a little longer for a bread-less crouton alternative for salads or serve it in a whole-wheat wrap with greens and julienned veggies.
Roll out small rounds of whole-wheat pizza dough (or use mini whole-wheat pitas), top with a thin layer of pesto and alternating slices of zucchini and yellow squash, and bake. The summer vegetables make for a pretty, potassium-filled lunch.
18. Paleo Pizza
The crust for this pizza is made from almond meal, egg whites, and flaxseed meal for a paleo-friendly lunch or dinner. Top it with your favorite sauce, cheese, veggies, and/or meats, and bake until crispy.
Lighten up the classic tuna melt by using reduced-fat mayo or plain Greek yogurt, reduced fat cheese, and a whole-grain English muffin. Salsa and cilantro add some zest to a regularly bland meal without any extra fat or too much sodium.
Kale, one of our favorite superfoods, joins roasted squash in this very minimal recipe seasoned by just olive oil, salt, and pepper. Acorn squash and another green (like spinach or chard) would work too!
This sandwich takes only 10 minutes to make. Instead of plain ol’ sliced bread, this sammy uses naan, or oven-baked Indian flatbread. The salmon, which is know for its ability to fight pain, is seasoned with thyme, sesame seeds, fresh mint, and tart-tasting sumac.
22. Pita Melts
Much like the other pizza-esque items on this list, these melts are super adaptable to whatever ingredients you’ve got on hand. Top a pita with fresh herbs, Kalamata olives, red onion, and mozzarella cheese, and toast away until the cheese is nicely melted.
Got leftover grilled chicken in the fridge? Slap it between two slices of whole-grain bread for lunch with tomato, mozzarella, and basil and toast until cheese is melted. For a bread-less version, cube the chicken and stick it on skewers (soak them in water for 20 minutes to prevent burning) with cherry tomatoes. Toast until warm, and add a few cubes of mozzarella.
For this recipe, coat cubed pork in a sweet and tangy sauce made from orange juice, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon. Stick onto skewers, alternatating with eggplant and onion. One kebab clocks in at about 375 calories, with 5 grams of fiber and 36 grams of protein.
Scrap the fast food tenders and make this healthier version instead. The chicken even sounds super fancy with its “herbes de Provence” seasoning. (Here’s how to make your own herb mix.) Dip the tenders in a mix of Dijon mustard and a bit of honey.
26. Lasagna Toasts
Lasagna gets a toaster makeover by ditching the sheets of pasta in favor of hearty bread (choose a whole-wheat baguette for a more filling dinner dish). Each slice of bread is coated with ricotta, mozzarella, and Pecorino Romano, tomatoes, zucchini, and of course, garlic, and then toasted until the cheese gets all gooey and delicious.
27. Fish and Chips
The standard paper basket of fish and chips from the local pub is usually battered n’ fried, and results in some seriously greasy fingers. This version forgoes the batter—lemon, garlic, and thyme—and calls for a fork and knife instead.
28. Pesto Salmon
With just five ingredients, this salmon is nearly foolproof (as long as you don't leave it in the toaster for too long). The recipe calls for pre-made pesto, but feel free to make your own (you can even freeze leftovers in an ice-cube tray for later use).
Banana… in meatloaf? We’re not kidding. The banana not only adds an unexpected sweetness to the loaves, but also helps hold all the ingredients together without adding egg. Still think it’s weird? Banana ketchup is a real thing, too!
This dish is light but filling. Fill each Portobello cap with a mixture of spinach, onion, ricotta, tomatoes, and basil. Top with a panko breadcrumb and Parmesan cheese crust.
31. Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori is a popular middle-eastern dish that usually consists of chicken prepared with yogurt and spices. This version ditches the plain yogurt, but feel free to use it as a guilt-free dipper to cool down your mouth. Serve cabbage slaw with toasted cashews on the side.
This dish only takes… count ‘em… five minutes to cook. The Asian-inspired sauce is made up of white miso (a thick paste made from fermented soybeans), soy sauce, and sake. Feel free to omit some (or all) of the sugar, or sub in a few tablespoons of honey instead.
33. Chicken Paillard
Paillard refers to a piece of meat pounded thin, making it more tender, and providing more surface area to marinate. Plus, paillarding allows for a quicker cook time. This version includes cherry tomatoes, garlic, and fresh herbs. Green olives and capers add a little bite to the dish. Once you’re done with the prep (just a little chopping and slicing) the chicken takes 10-15 minutes to cook.
This baked fish gets a healthy makeover by using fewer breadcrumbs, a little bit of Parmesan cheese, and reduced fat mayo. Asparagus (full of vitamin K!) can also bake in the toaster oven.
Snacks and Sides
We’re big fans of kale chips here at Greatist, and using a toaster oven is great for smaller batches. Kale is known to have the largest amount of antioxidants of any other fruit or veggie, and it’s a great source of fiber, calcium, and iron.
Sweet potatoes (full of vitamin A, which supports cell growth) take a solid 45 minutes to bake. But using a toaster oven means there’s no need to heat up a giant conventional oven for nearly an hour. Make sure to pierce the taters before popping them in the toaster—or kapow! To speed up the process, slice the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch thick rounds.
While whole sweet potatoes may take close to an hour in the toaster oven, these little suckers only require about 25 minutes. All you need are potatoes, a little salt and pepper, some olive oil, and herbs of your liking (this recipe suggests rosemary and thyme).
Zucchini may be a total bore on its own, but coating it in parm and broiling it in the toaster with some olive oil makes for a much tastier side dish.
Applesauce replaces the fat (like butter or oil) in this easy cornbread recipe. The recipe also includes whole oats. Pour the cornbread batter into a small baking pan before tossing it into the toaster oven.
The title may be deceiving, but there’s no actual baking of crackers here. Instead, top whole-grain crackers with sliced tomato and a little cheddar cheese, and broil until cheese is melted. (The melted cheese helps the tomato stay put!)
These roasted tomatoes are tasty by themselves, but they can also bring a salad, burger, or polenta to a whole other level. If the tomatoes are nice and ripe, there’s no need for the added sugar.
Persimmons, with their mellow flavor and pretty orange hue, tend to be a confusing fruit to eat: They’re nice raw in a salad, but alone they lack a whole lot of taste. To bring out the sweetness of their natural sugars, roast slices (dusted with spices of your choice: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika) and pair with cheese, or dice them to top a scoop of ice cream.
43. Baked Beans
Instead of boring boiled beans for dinner (one of our favorite budget-friendly sources of protein), boil them and and then bake them in the toaster oven after seasoning with salt, pepper, dill, tomato purée, and olive oil.
These bananas are sweet and savory at the same time. Sweet from the banana and maple syrup, and savory from the black pepper, sea salt, and fresh rosemary. There’s even a shot of bourbon in there too!
Toasting pine nuts not only browns them, but also makes them firmer too. They’re great as a salad topping for a little crunch, or in savory yogurt with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Coat some sprouts in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper, and leave the rest of the work to the toaster oven. The little sprouts are full of vitamins including C, E, and A.
These chestnuts need no open fire… just a toaster oven! Peeling them may be a bit of a chore, but it’s worth it. Chestnuts have far less fat than other nuts (just 1 gram of fat per ounce, whereas walnuts have 18 grams per ounce).
These savory biscuits have more protein than their more average counterparts. The recipe makes just two biscuits—perfect for snacks or to accompany a dinner for two.
You don’t need much for this recipe! First steam the artichokes then remove the cores before placing them in the toaster oven to finish cooking.
This recipe is all about the beets, which contain vitamins A, B, and C which support the immune system. After a full hour of roasting in the toaster oven, glaze the ruby roots with a grapefruit juice and maple syrup mixture and enjoy.
You know that time after dinner, when you simply have to have something sweet? When you’d rather not bake up an entire batch, turn to this single-serve recipe flavored with maple syrup, apple sauce, peanut butter, and vanilla.
52. Apple Crisp
Perfect for when it’s chilly out, this warm dessert would be extra delicious served à la mode. Make the crisp portion of the recipe healthier by using whole-wheat flour, oats, or a combination of the two.
53. S’mores Banana
Disclaimer: This dessert is messy. Throw on a bib, and fill a banana (sliced lengthwise down the center) with mini marshmallows, dark chocolate chips, and crushed graham cracker. Wrap the whole shebang in foil. You can even cook them inside their peels!
54. Roasted Figs
This dessert is tiny, but indulgent. Each fig is topped with mascarpone cheese, honey, and cinnamon and baked (er… toasted?) so the creamy cheese gets warm and the figs soften up. Serve warm or cold.
For a super guilt-free dessert, slice up cored apples, drizzle them with molasses, and toss in some walnuts and flax seeds. Toast until apples are tender.
Our favorite: boozy desserts! For this sweet treat, roast sliced mango with a little brown sugar and a light brushing of melted butter. Serve with a drizzle of rum and a scoop of low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt.
These tarts are easy as pie! (And taste like it too.) Fill a whole-wheat tortilla with thin slices of apple, a drizzle of honey, and some cinnamon. Fold up the edges, and keep the corners in place with toothpicks. Toast until apples are tender and the honey is bubbling. This dessert is low-fat, sweet, and quick to make!
These cookies are, like, seriously healthy. They’re made up of just almond flour, ground flax, coconut oil, honey, and raisins. Swap the raisins for nuts or another dried fruit of your choice. The flax, when mixed with water, takes on the consistency of an egg to help hold the dough together.
This isn’t your grandma’s apple crisp. It’s got pluots—a plum and apricot hybrid—as well as cherries and peaches (but feel free to use any combination of stone fruits). Swap the sugar for honey or some applesauce, and use whole-wheat or almond flour if you’ve got it in your pantry.
Originally posted February 2013. Updated March 2015.