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When it comes to kitchen gadgets, I’m a bit of a minimalist. My stand mixer and my blender are pretty much about small appliances. I also have a food processor which was a gift and is currently collecting dust on the shelf above my fridge. Part of this is my personality – I have a deep and deep love for streamlining my life and owning only the things I absolutely use – and the other part has to do with my kitchen. It’s small. It’s not as small as other rental kitchens I’ve had, but cabinet space and countertops are tight, so I have to be smart with what I do have.
That said, I’ve been in the market for some type of toaster (regular or toaster oven) since I started eating toast late last year. I know that sounds impossible, but I only started eating toast! Since the beginning of WFH life, I have had more time to spend on breakfast. And that breakfast now includes making toast — with butter and jam, with nut butter and honey, with scrambled eggs and, yes, with avocado. I’m about to make a slice of avocado toast now with hard-boiled eggs on it.
I’ve tried using my oven and my hob, usually in conjunction with my cast iron skillet. And, it’s fine. Really, it’s good. It gets the job done. But it takes time and patience and cleaning up – and sometimes, especially on Mondays, it’s just too much. So I’ve been looking for the perfect, compact solution for a small kitchen and a few times I thought I might have found it. There’s this extremely sleek version of BALMUDA, but as spicy as it may seem, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag ($300) and I wasn’t really looking for a ton of dough knowing there might be another viable option out there. is .
I also considered the significantly cheaper Courant toaster oven at just under $70, but it had several complaints about not working right away or needing to be replaced. And this mint green toaster oven from Dash, the cheapest of them all at just $25. In this case, small might be at small. “This toaster oven is super small. Even a slice of wheat bread barely fit. Only half a bagel could possibly fit,” wrote one reviewer, adding, “It’s pretty cute, though.” In the end, however, I opted for a tried-and-true make and model recommended by a colleague here at the Kitchn’s who is a gear pro. is: the Breville Mini Smart Oven.
This workhorse on the counter can do everything from baking the perfect pizza and making delicious cookies to toasting thick slices of sourdough to perfection. Our pro describes this as the Tiffany box of toaster ovens – luxury in a small package. Its dimensions — 16 by 14.25 by 8.5 inches — make it just right for my 24-by-24-inch patch of counter space next to the stove, which is really too small to do much prep work on.
Most importantly, the toast setting is a no-brainer that gets it right every time. And besides successfully toasting my morning bread, it’s also a winner for roasting, baking, and roasting when I can’t be bothered to pull out the sheet pans and cast iron skillet I’ve kept in my oven. Plus, it has a non-stick coating on the inside, smart algorithms that prevent uneven heating, a fast preheating time that’s perfect for weeknight meals, and an easy-to-read LCD display.
In fact, it’s usually $180, but right now it’s on sale for $127, which is good news for you – but less good for me, as I paid full price!