Can a toaster oven replace a microwave? Find out

can a toaster oven replace a microwave

Toaster ovens are best used for crisping or browning with little water content, such as breads and baked products, because they cook food more slowly than microwaves. Toaster ovens, on the other hand, work more like regular ovens and are not as efficient or quick at doing typical microwave activities, such as heating liquid ingredients, drinks, soups, popcorn and defrosting food. 

Among the most commonly used appliances are microwaves and toaster ovens. While each has its own unique functions, many wonder how can a toaster oven replace a microwave. In this guide, we will compare the functionalities of these two and establish if indeed a toaster oven can replace a microwave

But before diving in, look briefly at what a microwave and toaster oven is?

What is a microwave?

For a long time, microwaves have been known for their ability to warm up food quickly, defrost things directly from the fridge or cook some particular recipes. This is why many people wonder whether can a toaster oven replace a microwave or not. Microwave radiation heats the foods in a uniform manner. They are particularly effective in situations such as warming leftovers or preparing beverages. Also, microwave ovens are designed with specific parameters and features for several cooking tasks like preparing pop corns, potato baking or meat defrosting.

What is a toaster oven?

On the other hand, toaster ovens are just miniature replicas of ordinary ovens. Using electric heating elements that generate heat and cook meals. Unlike microwaves, toaster ovens take some time to heat up but they provide more options for cooking, because of this, a lot of individuals question can a toaster oven replace a microwave  However, they can toast bread, go beyond the bake stage, broil and roast. In fact, they can be used to prepare numerous appetizing foods such as crunchy pizzas and vegetables cooked in an oven.

Now we can jump to the real question: Can a toaster oven replace a microwave? Considering the unique features

What can a microwave do that a toaster oven can’t?

– Quick heating and defrosting capabilities

– Evenly reheating leftovers and pre-cooked meals

– Cooking certain types of food (popcorn, steamable vegetables)

FeatureMicrowaveToaster Oven
Quick heating and defrosting capabilitiesCan rapidly heat or defrost food using microwave radiation.Typically slower at heating, may have a defrost function.
Evenly reheating leftovers and pre-cooked mealsHas the ability to evenly heat food throughout due to microwave radiation.May have uneven heating, requiring periodic turning of food.
Cooking certain types of food (popcorn, steamable vegetables)Suited for specific foods like popcorn and steamable vegetables.Versatile in cooking a variety of foods, including baking and roasting.

Advantages of using a toaster oven over a microwave

– Versatility in cooking methods (baking, broiling, toasting)

– Ability to achieve a crispy texture on food

– Suitable for small food portions and single servings

AdvantageToaster OvenMicrowave
Versatility in cooking methods (baking, broiling, toasting)Can perform various cooking methods such as baking, broiling, and toasting.Primarily designed for heating, defrosting, and some specific cooking.
Ability to achieve a crispy texture on foodProvides the option to achieve a crispy texture on the surface of food.May not consistently achieve a crispy texture on all foods.
Suitable for small food portions and single servingsWell-suited for cooking small portions or single servings of food.Often used for larger quantities, and some models may not be efficient for small servings.

Limitations of a toaster oven compared to a microwave

– Longer cooking times for certain foods

– Inefficiency for heating liquids or soups

– Limited space and capacity

LimitationToaster OvenMicrowave
Longer cooking times for certain foodsCooking times may be longer, especially for certain dishes.Generally faster cooking times for a wide range of foods.
Inefficiency for heating liquids or soupsNot as effective for quickly and efficiently heating liquids.Well-suited for quickly heating liquids like soups.
Limited space and capacityGenerally has limited interior space and may not fit large items.Typically has larger interior space for larger containers.

When can a toaster oven replace a microwave?

– Cooking or reheating small meals or snacks

– Achieving a desired texture on certain foods

– Limited kitchen space or absence of a microwave

ScenarioToaster Oven as a ReplacementMicrowave
Cooking or reheating small meals or snacksWell-suited for small meal preparation or reheating snacks.Also suitable for small meals but may be quicker.
Achieving a desired texture on certain foodsOffers the ability to achieve specific textures, like crispiness.May not consistently provide a crispy texture.
Limited kitchen space or absence of a microwaveCan serve as a primary heating appliance in the absence of a microwave.Typically a space-efficient appliance in kitchens.


 In conclusion, can a toaster oven replace a microwave? Although a toaster oven provides flexibility and different methods of operation, it cannot completely replace a microwave in fast heating, defrosting, and certain cooking methods. Nevertheless, in particular cases and according to personal requirements and preferences a toaster oven may become an excellent choice for the kitchen. In the end, it ultimately depends on an individual’s cooking needs and habits.

Have a look on another guide for more info toaster oven vs microwave.


1. Which is better; a microwave or a toaster oven?

It will depend on what you are looking for within your preferences. Hence, considering the speed with which a microwave reheats and defrosts food, it will be difficult to replace it with a toaster oven. But if you use a microwave for basics such as warming food or preparing popcorn, then a toaster oven may be used in its stead. A toaster oven bakes, broils, toasts, and even roasts small amounts of food providing more methods of cooking than a microwave oven. Another group of people select not to possess or store microwaves adequately due to radiation fears as well as the unrealized desire for extra space in their kitchen. In such circumstances, a toaster oven can stand in for a missing microwave.

2. Can I heat food in a toaster oven?

Yes, a toaster oven not only heats food but also is used to cook, which provides the possibility for more diverse types of cooking. However, with a toaster oven, you can use it to bake cookies as well as roast vegetables or broil fish. Therefore, it is an ideal substitute for full-sized ovens for cooking smaller meals or snacks. To add, toaster ovens are usually installed with a convection feature which ensures even heat distribution and fastens the cooking process. Therefore, if you are searching for a gadget that will carry out the reheating and cooking activities at home, a toaster oven is the best. Nevertheless, you should be aware that some microwave functions like defrosting and fast heating of liquids may have their limitations. So, when it comes to a microwave versus a toaster oven, you can only go so far before you decide what works for you and your cooking requirements.

3. What is the alternative to a microwave?

Microwave cooks very fast, and toaster ovens allow for greater choices in food preparation and heating than microwaves do. On the other hand, some people may insist that microwaves work better than reheating leftovers as well as thawing frozen food but toaster ovens can perform the same with a bit more time and slight sensitivity. So then if you’re looking for an alternative to either the microwave or perhaps just tired of it, elsewhere a toaster oven could come in handy.  But, it should be acknowledged that toaster ovens are not always perfect for a large amount of cooking or every kind of cooking. In the end you have to choose between a microwave and a toaster oven on their specific needs and preferences

4. Can you replace your oven with a toaster oven?

For many people the question asked can a toaster replace a microwave. Before we answer that commonly asked question, the answer to this query would be that it depends on your needs and preference. One thing about toaster ovens is that they are multipurpose machines and not just used toasting bread. They also have the capability to bake, broil and even roast little quantities of food. Nonetheless, there are certain limitations to take into account. Microwaves are faster to heat up than toaster ovens. If you need a unit that will cook your food within the shortest time, when you have no hurry, or if you just want to warm some leftovers, then microwaves will be more preferable. Also, microwaves have a better capacity for heating liquids and other types like drinks and popcorns for snacks. However, the toaster ovens provide an even cook and can leave food crispier than microwaves. Overall, it is a matter of personal cooking requirements and taste on whether one decides to choose the toaster oven or a microwave.

shahzoon naz

shahzoon naz

Shahzoon Naz is a freelance Content Writer. He spends most of his time in the kitchen, you will see him in the kitchen and every time cooking something new and tasty.

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