Cooking Equipment

Toaster Oven Vs. Air Fryer: Best Choice to Buy

4 Mins read

Deciding Which Is Best For You

When thinking about the toaster oven vs air fryer comparison, you will need to understand how both of them work and how they distribute heat when cooking your product. If you are looking for a high-heat cooking method that offers a crispy exterior in rapid time, then you will need to use the air fryer. If you are looking for more consistent heat during your cooking process in order to cook a product through, then the toaster oven will be more in line with what you are looking for. In this article, we will explore the benefits of both.

Air Fryer Benefits

The air fryer is an intriguing appliance that offers a unique way of preparing food. Unlike traditional frying methods that require copious amounts of fat and unhealthy oils, the air fryer utilizes a different approach. Instead of submerging food in oil, it has a perforated basket where your food is placed. The air fryer then circulates hot air around the food, utilizing a convection-style heating process. This innovative technique mimics the effects of frying, although the term “fry” is metaphorical.

Air Fryer Uses

The popularity of air fryers stems from their ability to deliver crispy “fried” food, like chicken wings or french fries, swiftly and efficiently. These compact appliances heat up rapidly, providing a convenient cooking space for meal preparation. However, it’s important to note that most air fryers have a limited capacity, typically serving up to four people at most. Consequently, if you’re cooking for a larger group, you’ll need to cook multiple small batches to accommodate everyone.

An air fryer that functions well and can hold a good amount of food is the Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer. The sleek grey color is perfect for any kitchen color scheme. It heats up to 450 degrees for highly crispy food and a rapid cook time. It also has seven built-in cooking modes, from air frying to dehydrating. The fryer is easy to use and has one-touch programming for a smooth and efficient frying experience. 

Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer
Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer

Toaster Oven Benefits

The toaster oven is one of the world’s most widely used cooking items. How toaster ovens work is that they have racks inside their cooking carriage, much like a regular oven. A toaster oven will have fans in the back, and as the oven heats up, the fans will circulate the hot air throughout the carriage to cook your food with even heat distribution. 

Toaster Oven Uses

Regular ovens apply dry heat with really no direction. The heat emanates from wherever the heating element is within the oven, creating an uneven cooking environment. The use of the fan in a convection oven makes it especially great for baking or browning evenly. That is because the equal distribution of air hits all parts of the object you are baking. Due to this unique feature, many see toaster ovens as superior to regular ovens. 

A great convection oven we recommend you take a look at is the Breville Smart Oven Pro Toaster Oven. It comes with ten cooking functions and the ability to steer power and heat transfer into specific parts of the oven for precise directional cooking. It offers slow-cook functionality for low-and-slow recipes and enough room for a 13-inch pizza or a 9-cup muffin tray to fit within. It also has a built-in light to see inside the cooking carriage throughout the baking process. 

Breville Smart Oven Pro Toaster Oven
Breville Smart Oven Pro Toaster Oven

Toaster Oven Vs. Air Fryer: Which is More Useful?

At first glance, these two kitchen gear pieces may be similar, if not the same. They both rely on circulating heat within their respective cooking chambers in order to cook food. But that is where the similarities end, as the toaster oven and the air fryer have specific cooking functions suited to their respective designs. A few major differences include size, heat intensity, size of food you can cook, and results that they will yield. 

The air fryer is specifically made with a smaller chamber to get the food item you place within it to the crispiest texture possible. A knock on the air fryer is often the relatively low amount of food you can fit in it compared to a toaster oven, but this is done for a reason. When you have a smaller area to heat and less food to “fry,” you can direct more power and heat circulation into the food you have to make it extremely crispy. So fried foods or small pieces of food you want cooked quickly are best for an air fryer. 

Air fryer with chicken

A toaster oven caters to the opposite end of this cooking spectrum. Toaster ovens are built with more room to bake or roast ingredients at a larger size for a longer period. Take a pizza, for example. A pizza dough needs to cook and rise slightly before baking and taking on its shape. You also need the cheese to brown and caramelize on top. The fans and even the heat of a toaster oven achieve this. Trying to do this in an air fryer would not work as it would be blasted with heat, leaving an undercooked dough and burnt top to the pizza. 

Toaster ovens have more space and bake at a slower speed. Recipes not intended to be “fried” should be done in the toaster oven. 

Toaster Oven Vs. Air Fryer: Comparison

Both kitchen gadgets are very popular and for a good reason. They are often healthier mediums to cook in due to the lack of fat they need to cook a dish through. The biggest difference to remember is that a toaster oven can hold more food and is focused on steady baking, while an air fryer is smaller and focuses on high heat to crisp up the food you place within it. Both are worth experimenting with and offer delicious meals at the end of their cooking cycles. Use this article and our recommendations to see which is best for you. 

Toaster oven vs. air fryer
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About author
Ray Delucci is a chef and content creator with over 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has worked managing restaurants, in food manufacturing and food product development. He is also the creator of Line Cook Thoughts, a podcast and social media brand focused on sharing the thoughts of everyday cooks in the food world. He is currently located in the Greater Chicago Area.
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