What's the Difference Between a Convection Oven and a Toaster Oven?

By LeafTV Contributor

When it comes to weighing the differences between a convection oven and a toaster oven, it's all about the fan. A toaster oven is more versatile than a simple bread toaster, but much smaller than a convection oven. Due to the drawbacks of a toaster oven and the size of convection ovens, you can get conventional toaster ovens, which are somewhere in-between. Learning the differences between oven models will help you decide which is best for your cooking habits.

Woman squatting down in kitchen to look into the oven
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Which side are you on in the heated debate between convection and toaster ovens?

Toaster ovens are useful for conveniently warming foods that are too big for a toaster, such as croissants, muffins and thick bagels. A toaster oven is also more energy-efficient than a built-in convection oven for tasks such as warming up small pastry dishes or pizza slices. Toaster ovens take up a lot of kitchen counter space, while convection ovens are usually built into the kitchen counter. Convection ovens cook food faster and more efficiently than a toaster oven.

Due to the fan assistance of convection ovens, they heat food more evenly. Toaster ovens, on the other hand, are more likely to unevenly heat food since the heating elements are only inches from the food, depending on the model. Without the fan that convection ovens have, toaster ovens tend to have hot spots in the back, which could cause food to burn or overcook on one side.

Convection ovens help chicken skin brown quicker and help meat retain its juices. They also bake goods, such as croissants, pies and cookies faster due to the circulation of heat, which creates an acceleration effect. Therefore, when using a convection oven, you should reduce the temperature and the cooking time. Generally it is advised you set a convection oven 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit lower and make the cooking time about five minutes shorter unless the cooking time is less than 15 minutes.

Most modern toaster ovens are convection toaster ovens. Like large built-in convection ovens, they're fan-assisted, which circulates the hot air around the oven. Furthermore, the high-end convection toaster ovens have a heating element located at the fan, which allows them to circulate freshly heated air. Toaster ovens with convection tend to be larger and more versatile; however, this varies between manufacturers.