Simple Guide on How to Preheat a Toaster Oven
A lot of first-time owners find themselves wondering how they can preheat their toaster ovens. You can easily accomplish this by learning how to operate the toaster oven properly so that you’ll be able to preheat it.
In short, if you’d like to preheat the toaster oven without difficulty, begin by setting the temperature dial to the desirable preheating temperature (which is usually 350 degrees Fahrenheit), close the door so that the hot air doesn’t escape, then let the oven heat for at least 10 to 20 minutes.
Not all the cooking that is done using a toaster will require you preheat it before you begin. So, you can look for some reasons for you to avoid preheating it before you begin cooking. For instance, when making things such as bagels and toast, you don’t have to preheat the oven.
Why do you need to preheat the toaster oven prior to cooking certain foods? Basically, when you preheat the oven, you’re letting the heat reached the desired temperature. This way, you’re sure that the food will cook thoroughly, more evenly and faster.
How to Preheat a Toaster Oven
Preheating the toaster oven doesn’t require a lot of effort. The following steps will guide you on the best and correct way to preheat a toaster oven.
Adjust the temperature dial to the preferred temperature according to your recipe. Most of the time, the desired preheating temperature should be set at 176 to 204 degrees Celsius or 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure the door on the toaster oven is completely shut. This will prevent the air heating on the inside from escaping so that it gets to desired temperature.
Most recipes include the preheating time required depending on the type of food. However, if whatever you’re prepare doesn’t include one, let your toaster oven preheat for at least 10 to 20 minutes. Once the oven is done preheating, put your food inside so that it can begin to cook.
How Do I Know When Preheating is Done?
This is a question that is commonly asked by first time toaster oven users. If you’re using a digital toaster oven, the temperature rise is normally displayed until it reaches the desired temperature.
On the other hand, if your oven doesn’t include this, is important to ensure safety. You can estimate the preheating time according to the recipe you’re using so that your food doesn’t undercook, overcook or even burn. Usually an estimated time of 20 to 30 minutes will work.
Since you cannot over-preheat your toaster oven, you can preheat it for longer during the first few times when using it so that your food can be cooked with the desired temperature. There’s the option of using a thermometer to achieve the desired heat.
This can be done by putting a thermometer in the toaster oven while it is still cold, then proceed to preheat it as you regularly check whether it has reached the desired temperature. Although the process is straightforward, it can be a bit tasking since you’ll have to be very attentive. Also, you’ll have to get an oven thermometer separately.
Testing the Accuracy of Your Toaster Oven When Preheating
Sometimes you may experience issues with your toaster oven in terms of inaccurate temperatures. If you think your appliance has some temperature discrepancies that causes it not operate properly, there are methods which you can either use a thermometer or not to test it out.
With a Thermometer
- Put a thermometer in the middle rack or even look for a way to hang it so that it doesn’t include the racks temperature.
- Preheat the oven to a temperature of at least 176 Degrees Celsius or 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once your oven has been preheated for around 20 minutes, take record of the temperature reading.
- Repeat this for several times. This means that you’ll have to let the oven cool down first before you can preheat it for another 20 minutes at the same temperature of 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
- You’ll have to divide the total sum of the readings you got by the number of times you took them. If the toaster oven keeps a specific temperature, the average reading should be around (if not) 350 Degrees Fahrenheit. If the results state otherwise, then you’d have come to a conclusion as to why your food becomes overcooked or undercooked.
Note that toaster ovens don’t have a fixed temperature, especially when they have already reached the desired temperature. They function similarly as an electrical iron. Once the oven reaches the required temperature, it then reduces a bit before it rises again. So, if you doubting the accuracy of the temperature of your toaster oven, you might just be misreading it.
You can avoid this either by monitoring the temperature over a certain period of time or by taking different temperature readings at intervals.
Without a Thermometer
- Preheat the toaster oven to reach a temperature of at least 160 Degrees Celsius or 320 Degrees Fahrenheit.
- Thereafter, put a little amount of granulated sugar (it can be brown or white) into a small container or dish that can withstand the heat of a toaster oven. The container/dish should be open on the sides so that it receives the optimum heat circulation on the surface.
- Let the toaster oven heat for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
- The results should state that the sugar melted at a temperature around 160 Degrees Celsius or 320 Degrees Fahrenheit. It the sugar doesn’t melt after the 10-15 minutes this means that your toaster oven isn’t heating properly like it is meant to.
This is a basic method of finding out if your toaster oven is reaching the desired temperatures since melting sugar can sometimes differ depending on the type of sugar you are using.
Can I Put Food Inside a Toaster Oven Without Preheating?
The answer to this is yes. The toaster oven will function as it normally would. However, you’re not supposed to do this.
Putting food in a cold toaster oven so that it can be roasted, broiled or baked can really affect its browning, texture and rising except in instances where the recipe doesn’t require you to preheat it.
What Happens When I Put My Food During the Preheating Process?
Preheating usually depends on the kind of food you’re preparing as well as the means you’re using to prepare it. Foods such as bagels and toast to not need to be cooked in a preheated oven.
On the other hand, foods like pizza, cakes and frozen dishes need to be cooked in a preheated oven. This might seem strange but it’s all determined by the temperature that given foods require in order to rise and cook evenly, therefore, if you don’t preheat the oven prior to cooking the food, you’ll have to prolong the cooking time.
As you know by now, placing food in an oven that is cold or wasn’t preheated properly will affect how it will cook. If you’d like to avoid the preheating process, you’ll have to examine other methods of cooking so that you don’t end up with bad results.
If you’ve ever baked a cake and it ended up collapsing in the middle appearing as if it was deflated, it was probably because you had the wrong heat consistency.
The main baking ingredients comprise of leavening agents such as baking soda, yeast or baking powder. For rising agents to work as they expected to, they need to be cooked in a certain temperature. Therefore, putting dough in an oven that wasn’t preheated will cause the rising agent to activated either very soon or very late. This will affect the outcome of the baked goods and you’ll be left with the wrong kind of results.
Broiling is the process of cooking fish meat or vegetables in direct heat. The heat used when broiling is normally very hot.
During broiling, the first 10 to 15 when heat starts rising, the food that is being cooked in the toaster oven begins cooking itself with the help of its juices. Therefore, by the time the heat stabilizes and it begins broiling, it would have lost all its tenderness.
The food would have lost all kinds of moisture. On the other hand, if you place your meat in a cold toaster oven, it will end up drying out and also the texture of the final outcome (of the cooked meat) will be tampered with.
The roasting process works similar to broiling. When you’re using a cold toaster oven to roast vegetables or meat, the final results may end up being dried out, overcooked or both, thus the importance of preheating the oven before you begin the roasting process.
How Long Does It Take to Preheat a Toaster Oven?
When compared to traditional ovens, toaster ovens tend to preheat very fast. This is mainly because of the size and even the volume of the appliance.
A toaster oven takes a shorter time for the hot air to circulate in it because of its miniature size. If your toaster oven includes an LCD screen, then it will display the preheating temperature while in some models, there will be a beep or flickering light serving as an indicator.
However, if your toaster oven doesn’t include this function, usually preheating takes 10 to 15 minutes for the heat to get to the desired temperature of 350 Degrees Fahrenheit. The preheating time is determined by the temperature set. If the temperature is high, it will take longer for the toaster oven to preheat.
We hope by now you know how to preheat a toaster oven. Although you may find the process to be a bit trivial, preheating the toaster oven is important for many broiling and heating recipes. If you’d like your meat to be cooked evenly with the perfect texture, or you’d like to have a perfectly baked cake, then ensure that you preheat the toaster oven before you begin cooking.
A lot of recipes include the temperature and time that you need to preheat the toaster oven. However, the required temperature is generally set at around 350 to 400 Degrees Fahrenheit for a period of 10 to 15 minutes depending on the power and size of your appliance.