5 On Your Side

Toasting Ovens May Not be Best for Toasting

Posted December 24, 2007 4:22 p.m. EST
Updated December 24, 2007 10:22 p.m. EST

Some people find they cannot live without toaster ovens, but Consumer Reports says that the appliances might not be the best choice for their most obvious function: toasting.

Consumer Reports testers found that toaster ovens often leave tiger stripes on one side of bread. They also took twice as long as regular toasters to get the job done.

Companies, including Cuisinart, Black and Decker and Toastmaster, though, are encouraging cooks to look beyond bread when cooking with toaster ovens. Some newer models are designed to do such tasks as bake 12-inch pizzas and cook muffins.

With some models, however, the results of such culinary undertakings were not appetizing.

Black and Decker promotes a $135 model for "quicker cooking." Consumer Reports testers found that it does toast faster. But with muffins, that promise was half baked.

"Although the muffins come out brown on top, they were still underdone inside, a little bit raw," Consumer Reports tester Tara Casaregola said.

A better choice Consumer Reports found was a top-rated $180 Cuisinart toaster oven. It not only excelled at baking but also made very good toast.

For a less-expensive option, Consumer Reports suggested the $55 Rival T-O 600 toaster oven. Testers said it did not do a great job at toasting but did excel at baking.