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How To Preheat A Toaster Oven

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Toaster ovens are convenient appliances that work great for toasting and so much more.

These tend to be popular in small apartments or dorm rooms where an oven just might not be an option. Of course, anyone can use a toaster oven if you have somewhere to put it. 

Using toaster ovens is typically pretty easy. There are a few things to know beforehand but most of them are very simple to work with.

So, how do you preheat a toaster oven? It’s really easy to preheat your oven! You basically just need to select your temperature and then give the toaster oven time to reach that temperature. Some ovens will have preheating modes and you may have to play around with the settings to avoid timer issues that shut the oven off. 

In this guide, we will walk you through exactly how to preheat a toaster oven. We will walk you through the process step-by-step and let you know the tricks for the best preheating process.

The steps are simple to follow and will have your toaster oven preheated in no time. Keep reading to learn how to preheat a toaster oven and more! 

A Quick Guide To Preheating A Toaster Oven

Let’s start with the how-to and then we can cover some other logistics. If you’ve used a toaster oven very often, you know that they usually have a dial or a button design to set your temperature.

Many times that will also trigger a timer for the oven, although this depends on the oven itself. 

Now if you plan to preheat your toaster oven to let it get to temperature before you cook, you need to be prepared to spend some time.

Most toaster ovens do not get to temperature really quickly. In fact, you probably need to plan on about 20 minutes to get the toaster oven pre-heated

That is on top of your cooking time. 

Some toasters have preheating indicators, just like an oven would. The indicator lets you know the oven is heating up and lets you know when it gets there. You might be able to use a preheating setting as well.

Generally, if your oven preheats like this, it will beep when the oven is heated to the selected temperature

This does depend on the toaster oven so keep that in mind. 

Most toaster ovens work similarly to ovens. They are just much smaller. They take similar amounts of time to cook and similar amounts of time to preheat as well.

The design is similar in that you will choose your settings using a knob or digital display and then let the oven do the work. 

Now, here are some simple steps to follow to preheat your toaster oven: 

  1. Check to make sure the door to the toaster oven is closed completely and sealed. You don’t want the hot air to seep out of the door. 
  2. Set the toaster oven to the needed temperature. Depending on your toaster oven, you will use either a temperature dial or the buttons that adjust the temperature. 
  3. Leave the oven to heat up for a bit. This process typically takes about 10-20 minutes. If your oven has an indicator light or beep, wait for that to reflect the oven is ready. 

That’s it! It’s really pretty simple if you know the little parts of the process. If you aren’t sure how to tell when the toaster oven is heated, we’ve got you covered there too. 

Now that you know the basic steps, let’s dig a little bit deeper into some of the details. 

How Can You Tell When The Toaster Oven Is Preheated? 

It’s easy to know if your toaster oven is preheated when you have an indicator light or a beeper on the toaster oven. However, not all toaster ovens have these handy features. 

Here’s the thing: every toaster oven is going to vary slightly. They are not all the same. If you have that preheating indicator or the beep that alerts you, these are the easiest ways to be sure the toaster oven is preheated. 

Of course, if you don’t have those, the best thing you can do is just give it a bit of time. The good news is that you can’t really overheat the oven when you preheat so it’s ok to give it time to get warm. 

In most cases, letting the toaster oven warm up for about 15-20 minutes will give it sufficient time to warm to your temperature. If you don’t have a nifty indicator or beeper, just follow this method and give it plenty of time. 

While you may not be able to find the exact temperature, this should get you pretty close. 

You can also test the temperature with an oven thermometer. You need to be sure you use a suitable thermometer for this purpose. They do make oven thermometers so that should do the trick.

If you are using a thermometer, you need to place it in the toaster oven before you turn it on and then monitor the temperature as it warms. 

How Can I Tell If My Toaster Oven Temperature Is Accurate? 

Many people choose to test their toaster ovens. A great way to do this is to measure the temperature in the oven.

We talked about this briefly above for knowing your preheating temperature. The process works the same for testing the temperature accuracy in your oven. 

Here are some steps that you can follow to help you out: 

  1. Use an oven thermometer.
  2. Place the thermometer in a cold toaster oven. 
  3. Shut the door and make sure it is sealed and closed. 
  4. Set your toaster oven to a temperature for testing. We recommend using a simple 350°F for this process. 
  5. Leave the toaster oven alone for a bit to let it warm up. If it has a preheating mode, you can use this. Otherwise, give it about 20 minutes to heat. 
  6. Check the temperature when the toaster oven is finished preheating. It should be close to 350°F. It may vary by 5°F above or below but this is acceptable. 

The best way to test whether the toaster oven is really accurate is to do this several times and then figure out the average of all of the tests.

For example, if you test the temperature 4 times and get 348°F, 352°F, 350°F, and 347°F, you can use these numbers for an average. That’s 4 temperatures so when you average the number, it’s 349°F.

That’s a pretty accurate toaster oven! 

Does A Toaster Oven Have To Be Preheated? 

Technically you don’t have to preheat a toaster oven, just like you don’t have to preheat a regular oven. However, the best practice for the best results is to preheat.

There are certain dishes and certain foods that do better when you skip the preheating process but this is rare. 

For example, some stoneware and glass ovenware can be sensitive to temperature shock. In these cases, it might be better to put the dish in during preheating. 

We just want to note that this is not the norm. In most cases, it is best to go ahead and preheat your oven. The reason for this is that most foods cook better when they are placed in the oven at the designated temperature. 

Placing food during the preheating process might affect your overall cooking results. If a recipe tells you to preheat, you should follow that for the best results

The unique thing about a toaster oven is that it can also toast and not just bake like an oven. That is your exception. If you are air frying or toasting, you don’t need to preheat. That is primarily for baking and roasting purposes. 

Related Questions

We hope that this guide to preheating a toaster oven is helpful for you. We invite you to review the common questions below for some additional information that could be useful too!

How long does preheating take? 

This will vary depending on your toaster oven. We recommend planning on 15-20 minutes for the preheating process. However, it’s possible that it could take up to 30 minutes

Can you test the toaster oven temperature without a thermometer?

Yes, you can but it might not be as accurate. This is done by placing granulated sugar on an oven-safe dish and letting it cook.

Here’s a helpful video covering how to use this method to test your oven’s temperature!

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