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Ah, the toaster oven: a perfect tool for making… almost anything you can think of. Yep, while this little oven does toast bread, it can do a whole lot more.
A toaster oven is more energy-efficient than a regular oven, and it can brown and crisp foods in a way a microwave can’t.
From whole eggs still in their shells (what?!) to pizza, fish, kebabs, and muffins, here’s how to use your toaster oven for more than just toast.
1. Maple-glazed sausage and figs
Fresh figs, which are in season from late summer through fall, are a nutritional powerhouse packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, potassium, and calcium. The sweetness of the figs contrasts deliciously with the savory sausage.
2. Greek frittata
A frittata is an easy way to start the morning with a healthy dose of protein and veggies. This one combines spinach, tomatoes, scallions, and feta. This easy egg breakfast provides 26 grams of protein per serving.
3. Hard-“boiled” eggs
Get this: These eggs are baked, not boiled. You heard that right. Skip the boiling water and cracked shells and pop ’em directly into the toaster oven (keep the shells on!) for eggs with hard-cooked whites and yolks.
Go ahead and eat the yolk: Studies show whole eggs may not be as unhealthy as we once thought.
4. Whole-wheat blueberry cornbread muffins
Mmmm, blueberries and cornbread. These muffins get a healthier revamp with whole-wheat flour, unsweetened applesauce, and a bunch of fresh blueberries. Each muffin has only 115 calories and 4 grams of protein.
Eat ’em for breakfast or as a snack.
5. 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.
6. 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 them with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and some dark chocolate chips.
7. Whole-wheat banana walnut muffins
These yummy bites are healthier than store-bought muffins, with whole-wheat flour, oats, and nuts. You can omit the extra teaspoon of sugar (the honey will make them plenty sweet) as well as the canola oil (bananas are a healthier substitution).
8. Chicken quesadillas
These ’dillas are filled with Tex-Mex flavors of rotisserie chicken, Jack cheese, and pickled jalapeño. Instead of white flour tortillas, choose whole-wheat. Fresh cilantro adds the final touch of freshness.
9. Roasted broccoli with crispy prosciutto
The main ingredient in this recipe is ultra-healthy broccoli. It gets a tasty, salty companion: prosciutto, Italian dry-cured ham, which is often served sliced super thin. The toaster oven makes the prosciutto extra-crispy.
10. Portobello pesto burgers
These meatless burgers are filled with pesto-seasoned portobellos roasted in the toaster oven. Serve them on whole-grain buns. The zesty carrot-fennel slaw can be served on the burger or on the side.
11. 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.
12. Delicata squash with kale
Kale, one of our favorite superfoods, joins roasted squash in this minimal recipe seasoned by just olive oil, salt, and pepper. Acorn squash and another green (like spinach or chard) would work too.
13. Spicy salmon sandwich
This sandwich takes only 10 minutes to make. Instead of plain ol’ sliced bread, this sammy uses naan, an Indian flatbread. The salmon is seasoned with thyme, sesame seeds, fresh mint, and tart-tasting sumac.
Bonus points: Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown may reduce pain from arthritis.
14. Pita melts
Much like the other pizza-esque items on this list, these melts are 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.
15. Moroccan pork kebabs
Coat cubed pork loin in a sweet and tangy sauce made from orange juice, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon. Stick it onto skewers (that you’ve soaked in water for 30 minutes), and then bake these tasty treats in the toaster oven.
Even better, this recipe includes skewers of eggplant and onion to accompany the pork kebabs.
16. Lasagna toasts
Lasagna gets a toaster makeover here. Ditch the sheets of pasta and instead toast slices of hearty whole-grain bread. Top the toasts with ricotta, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, tomatoes, zucchini, and of course, garlic.
Toast them until the cheese gets all gooey and delicious.
17. Fish and chips
No greasy fingers from this fish and chips recipe. Instead of being battered and fried, the cod is baked with lemon, garlic, and thyme (and eaten with knife and fork). But first, roast the potatoes on high until they turn into golden fries.
18. Stuffed mushrooms
This flavorful 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.
19. Miso-glazed salmon
This dish takes only… count ’em… 5 minutes to cook. The Asian-inspired sauce’s umami flavors come from a blend of white miso (Japanese fermented soybean paste), soy sauce, and sake.
Feel free to omit some (or all) of the sugar or sub a few tablespoons of honey instead.
20. Garlic kale chips
We’re big fans of kale chips, and a toaster oven is great for smaller batches. Kale is packed with antioxidants and is a great source of fiber, calcium, and iron.
21. Baked sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes (full of vitamin A, which supports cell growth) take a solid 45 minutes to bake if they’re really big. But using a toaster oven means there’s no need to heat up a giant conventional oven.
Make sure to pierce the taters before popping them into the toaster oven — or kapow! Yep, they’ll explode. To speed up the cooking, slice the sweet potatoes into ½-inch-thick rounds.
22. Roasted baby potatoes
Whole baby potatoes take only about 25 minutes to cook in the toaster oven. All you need are potatoes, a little salt and pepper, some olive oil, and herbs of your liking (this recipe suggests rosemary and thyme).
23. Pizza bagels
Load up toasted wheat bagels with sauce, lots of fresh veggies (like bell peppers), and grated mozzarella and you’ve got a satisfying and hearty snack for two in minutes. Top with fresh basil.
24. Applesauce cornbread
Applesauce replaces the fat (usually butter or oil) in this easy cornbread recipe. The recipe also includes oatmeal. Pour the cornbread batter into a small baking pan before sliding it into the toaster oven.
25. Cheese and tomato crackers
No worries — there’s no actual baking of crackers here. Instead, top whole-grain crackers with sliced tomato and a little cheddar cheese and broil until the cheese is melted.
26. Toasted persimmon slices
Persimmons, with their mellow flavor and vibrant orange hue, can be a confusing fruit to eat. To bring out their natural sugars, roast slices dusted with spices of your choice: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and paprika. Dice them to use as a topping for ice cream.
27. Toasted pine nuts
Toasting pine nuts makes them more flavorful and brings out their crunch. They can be expensive, so mix them with other nuts and dried fruits to eat as a snack.
28. Roasted brussels sprouts
Side dish for two, coming right up! Coat some sprouts in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and leave the rest of the work to the toaster oven. The little sprouts are full of vitamins, including C, E, and A.
29. Roasted chestnuts
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… um… toaster oven. Peeling them is a chore, but you can always take a shortcut and buy them steamed, peeled, and vacuum-packed. They have a rich, nutty flavor.
30. Almond flour biscuits
These savory biscuits have more protein than their white-flour counterparts. The recipe makes just two biscuits — perfect for snacks or to accompany a dinner for two.
31. Toasty artichokes
First steam the artichokes, and then remove their fuzzy cores. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and roast in the toaster oven. Serve with melted butter for dipping. YUM.
32. Beets with grapefruit glaze
This recipe is all about superfood beets, which contain vitamins A, B, and C. Once they’ve roasted for a full hour in the toaster oven, glaze these earthy-sweet roots with a mixture of grapefruit juice and maple syrup to make them even sweeter.
33. Single peanut butter cookie
It’s after dinner, and you must have something sweet, but you don’t have the get-off-the-couch to bake up an entire batch of cookies. So turn to this single-serve version flavored with maple syrup, applesauce, peanut butter, and vanilla.
34. Broiled grapefruit
Sometimes it’s the simple dishes that really sing. Cut a grapefruit in half and put it under the toaster oven’s broiler. Cook it plain or topped with a little sugar, honey, maple syrup, or cinnamon. Voila — a healthy dessert!
35. 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 (or the banana peels) and bake.
36. Fruit pizza
Spread a flatbread with lemon-flavored sweet ricotta and top it with fresh berries. The most time-consuming part of this recipe is toasting coconut flakes in your awesome, life-saving toaster oven.
37. Roasted figs
This dessert is tiny but delicious. 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.
38. Flax baked apples
For a dessert that’s easy as pie, slice up cored apples, drizzle them with molasses, and toss in some walnuts and flaxseeds. Toast until the apples are tender.
39. Grain-free oatmeal raisin cookies
These cookies don’t actually have oatmeal in them. Instead, almond flour, ground flax, coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, and raisins bring the flavors of oatmeal cookies. They’re also dairy-free. The flax, when mixed with water, takes on the consistency of an egg to hold the dough together.
40. Stone fruit mini crisps
These fruit-packed crisps include pluots — a plum-apricot hybrid — as well as cherries and peaches. But feel free to use any combination of stone fruits. To make it healthier, swap the sugar for applesauce and use whole-wheat or almond flour.
Toaster ovens are, well, mini ovens. Your regular cookie sheet isn’t going to fit in there. So arm yourself with these toaster-oven-friendly tools.
- Small cookie sheet. An 8-by-11-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? Aluminum 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 aren’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 than 10 by 5 inches, or go with mini loaf pans.
Planning on becoming a toaster-cooking connoisseur? Invest in a toaster oven baking set that includes a mini baking sheet, muffin tin, cooling rack, and cake pan.