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If you have a new toaster oven, you must be ready to crank it up! If this is your first time owning one, it might be a good time to read this!
In this article, we are going to talk about preheating! We’ll touch on why it’s essential, when, and how to preheat a toaster oven.
How To Preheat A Toaster Oven: Our Short Answer
Essentially, preheating a toaster oven is very simple. You will need to know the required temperature of your food item needs cooking. You start by setting the toaster oven’s temperature to this value. Then, you let it heat up to that point. The oven will start beeping when preheating is done.
This process usually lasts only a few minutes. It’s worth noting that conventional ovens take much longer to do so. After the oven reaches the correct temperature – you are free to begin cooking.
If your toaster oven has no preheating indicator system, then you'll need to maintain an average preheating time. For ex. if you select the required temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, it will take 15-20 minutes to heat up to that temperature. Note that, 350 degrees Fahrenheit is considered the most accurate mid-point baking temperature.
Why Should You Preheat Your Toaster Oven?
The number one reason would be to prevent overcooking or undercooking your food. Toaster ovens are sometimes infamous for their lack of temperature control. While there are foods that won’t mind the occasional hot or cold spike, not all are like that.
Certain food items require very accurate and consistent temperatures to cook correctly. For example: baking bread or pastries. If you want to bake bread in your oven you must preheat it properly for the best result. The bread requires quick heat for rising the yeasts.
How Much Time Does It Take To Preheat A Toaster Oven?
While there is no universal time, the short answer is: not that long! It largely depends on your model and its size. Preheating the oven means heating its interior to a specific temperature. Smaller models will take less time to heat up; larger models may need time.
These are merely a few minutes of a difference. Conventional ovens can take at least 20 minutes to preheat fully. In comparison, even larger toaster ovens can do so in 15.
How Could I Know When Preheating Is Done?
A lot of the models available on the market often have indicators. They’re usually beeping or other sounds that may let you know. Some high-end models may also include visual indicators, in addition to sound. Keep in mind that not all of them have an indicator by default. If your particular toaster oven doesn’t come with any indicators, you may need an oven thermometer.
My Oven Has No Preheating Indicator, How Could I Know When It’s Done?
Expanding on the point above – there is a slight chance your model won’t let you know. Some of them, usually on the cheaper end of the scale, won’t have this feature. Not to worry, there are still ways to track and monitor the preheating cycle! Getting an oven thermometer is good for several reasons in situations like this.
For one, it will let you determine the amount of time it takes to preheat. But, more importantly, you will be able to see if your toaster oven’s temperature settings are accurate. Thanks to hot and cold spot issues, a lot of toaster ovens won’t be as accurate.
Is It Necessary To Preheat My Oven Before Putting In Any Food Items?
Not always, but certain food types can’t go without it. An excellent example of this would be broiling meats.
Broiling most meats results in juicy, tender bites to enjoy. But, to get this effect, broiling also requires accurate temperatures. When you broil meat properly, the heat forms a ‘crust’ of sorts on the outside.
On the inside, though, it cooks but still retains some liquid to give it that tasty juiciness. Trying to broil the same piece of meat without preheating would make it come out dry and brittle. Instead of tenderizing, the heat would effectively blast through it and dry it out entirely.
Preheating is also a must when baking cakes, bread, and similar food types. Most of them rely on yeast and baking powder to come out well. Those two ingredients have peculiar chemical reactions. Incorrect or inconsistent temperatures can often hinder this process.
Keep in mind that not all foods are like this. Certain foods don’t require preheating. These are primarily things like toast slices or bagels. Even reheating leftovers or frozen foods (carefully, as always!) won’t require preheating to take place.
Can I put Food Items In During The Preheating Process?
Technically, you can. But it doesn’t mean you should. As mentioned above, some foods won’t take that kindly at all. Bagels and toast slices generally won’t mind. On the other hand, the dough might suffer significantly from this. Putting dough into the oven before preheating means you are extending its baking time. By doing this, you are delaying crucial reactions that need to take place early on.
How To Preheat A Toaster Oven Properly? (Step By Step)
This section will show you how to preheat a toaster oven quickly and easily. Below is the step-by-step guide to ensure hassle-free cooking every time!
Step 1: Start by determining which temperature your dish requires. You want the toaster oven to have this temperature already when you start cooking.
Step 2: Locate the temperature controls and set the appropriate temperature for your dish.
Step 3: Ensure that the toaster oven doors aren’t open. This will prevent the heat from getting outside.
Step 4: Wait until the oven preheats to the temperature you previously input. Once the process is completed, the oven will start alarming or you'll notice an indicator light is on.
Step 5: You may now place your food inside the oven to start cooking!
How To Test Toaster Oven Preheating Accuracy?
Now that you know how to preheat a toaster oven, it’s time to consider different ways to test it. Even if you may know how to do it, having significant temperature discrepancies will make that irrelevant. Below, you will find two different methods to ensure your toaster oven has accurate temperature controls.
Method 1: Using An Oven Thermometer
This is the most reliable way to test your oven’s accuracy. Unfortunately, you will need to invest in an oven thermometer. Toaster ovens never come with a thermometer. However, you can get one for as low as $5, so it shouldn’t put too much strain on your wallet.
For this test to work, you’ll need to preheat your toaster oven to 350˚F. Before you do, hang your thermometer in the center of the interior. You can hang it off of the middle rack, right in the middle for most accurate result.
Next, you’ll want to wait at least 20 minutes to make sure it preheats. After 20 minutes, you may take your first temperature reading.
Remember, you’re doing this to determine if your toaster oven maintains consistent temperatures. Because of this, you will need to proceed and take more readings. Over the next two hours, each at the 20-minute interval. Make sure to record your temperature readings.
Once you finish taking all of the readings, you may turn off your toaster oven. Divide the sum of your temperature readings by the total number of readings. If the average matches or is very close to the temperature, you set at the beginning – congrats! Your toaster oven is on point!
For the most accurate test result, don't open the ovens door during the test.
You must take at least 4 temperature readings to get the best result.
Method 2: Test Your Oven Temperature Accuracy Without Using A Thermometer
This method may not be as accurate, but if you have no other options – it will work in a pinch. For this approach, you are going to need a small amount of granulated sugar. You will need a toaster-oven safe container or a cookie sheet. Additionally, you will need some aluminum foil for the lining.
This time, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 375˚F. Line the container of your choice or the cookie sheet with aluminum foil. After doing so, you may insert it into the oven. You will need to wait for about 15 minutes. If your toaster oven has no calibration issues, you should see the sugar melting at this point.