A person pulling freshly baked chocolate chip cookies out of a countertop oven

HOW TO USE A COUNTERTOP OVEN OR TOASTER OVEN

Countertop ovens provide a great way to experiment with different heating and cooking techniques to help bring new dimensions to your culinary creations. On a smaller scale, some countertop ovens can grant you much of the same cooking abilities as a full-size oven while still producing the high quality results you expect from each of your kitchen appliances.  

Countertop ovens may occasionally be referred to as toaster ovens. When it comes to comparing countertop ovens vs. toaster ovens, however, countertop ovens traditionally offer a wider array of settings and more cooking space. With this guide, you’ll learn about the many cooking possibilities of countertop ovens so you can start utilizing this powerful and convenient appliance in your kitchen.

USING A COUNTERTOP OR TOASTER OVEN: STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Most countertop ovens offer a handful of different settings you can choose from to best accommodate the dish you are making. Knowing which cooking or heating option to select will help to yield the best tasting results.

A front-view of a black KitchenAid® countertop oven

STEP 1: POSITION THE COUNTERTOP OVEN AND RACK

Begin by placing the appliance on a dry, flat surface. If your countertop oven has multiple rack placement options, position the oven rack based on what you’re cooking to achieve the best results. The top rack should be used for broiling most meats, cookies and toast, while the second rack is optimal for most cooking and baking operations, including taller food items.

A black KitchenAid® countertop oven with a closed door

STEP 2: SELECT A COOKING FUNCTION

Your countertop oven will have various settings, though the number will depend on the model. KitchenAid® countertop ovens come equipped with nine to twelve modes designed to help you accomplish a variety of cooking tasks. For instructions specific to your model, consult your owner’s manual to ensure you select the right function for your chosen food item. Learn about each of the following cooking modes available on select KitchenAid® countertop ovens that you can use to try out different techniques.

COOK MODE

DESCRIPTION

TOAST MODE Toast mode delivers fast and even toasting by distributing power between the top and bottom heating elements. Use this mode to give a nice toasted finish to foods like bread or pastries.
BAGEL MODE Bagel mode distributes power between the top and bottom heating elements to lightly brown the top of cut bagels while gently warming their outside surfaces.
PIZZA MODE Pizza mode distributes power between the top and bottom heating elements to maintain the desired oven temperature. If your appliance features one, you can use the Frozen button to provide extra time for frozen pizzas that may need a bit of extra time to cook.
COOKIES MODE Cookies mode allows you to make delicious cookies by distributing power to the top and bottom heating elements, maintaining the desired oven temperature. To prevent heat loss during cooking, open the oven door only when necessary.
BAKE MODE With Bake mode, the desired oven temperature is maintained as power is distributed between the top and bottom heating elements. This function is great for creating tasty baked goods like cakes or muffins—however, you should check your food items before their expected finish time to avoid overcooking.
BROIL MODE Broil mode cooks your food from above by delivering direct radiant heat through an even distribution of power between the two heating elements.
ROAST MODE Just as in a full-sized oven, Roast mode on a countertop oven maintains the desired oven temperature by distributing power to the top and bottom heating elements.
KEEP WARM MODE As the name suggests, Keep Warm mode is useful for keeping your food warm before serving by distributing power to the bottom heating elements. Check the owner’s manual for your appliance for model-specific information on preset temperatures for this mode.
REHEAT MODE Reheat mode allows you to bring your food items to serving temperature by distributing power to the top and bottom heating elements. Check the owner’s manual for your appliance for model-specific information on preset temperatures to avoid overcooking or drying your food.
AIR FRY Air Fry mode allows you to create recipes with crispy, crunchy exteriors and juicy insides as you would with a standard air fryer. The KitchenAid® countertop ovens with this setting have the added advantage of a No-Flip Air Fry Basket and 360° Air Fry System that allows you to skip flipping on many recipes.
CONVECTION BAKE Convection Bake mode helps distribute heat throughout the appliance with the use of all five heating elements and dual convection fans. Use this mode to achieve crispy outsides for baked signatures like mini cakes, breads, casseroles or roasted meats.
DEHYDRATE The helpful Dehydrate mode on select KitchenAid® countertop ovens allows you to easily remove moisture content from recipes that call for dried fruits or vegetables. Use this mode to preserve your ingredients for later use or create delicious charcuterie boards with dried banana, mango chips or salmon jerky.
MEAT PROBE Use the Meat Probe function on select KitchenAid® countertop ovens when cooking juicy steaks, chicken and other proteins to reach your desired internal temperature.
PROOF Looking to speed up the proofing process for your favorite homemade bread or dough recipes? Proof mode allows you to use your countertop office to accelerate the rising process through a range of temperature options and lower heating elements.
A person preheating a black KitchenAid® countertop oven to make pastries

STEP 3: PREHEAT

Depending on the recipe, preheat the countertop oven by waiting until a Preheat tone has sounded after selecting your desired cooking mode. While this may not be necessary for all cooking modes, preheating your countertop oven will help the appliance remove cold spots and maintain temperature.

A person holding a tray of kebabs cooking inside a black countertop oven

STEP 4: PLACE FOOD AND START COOKING

Place your food onto the oven rack, pan or air fry basket, making sure to leave some clearance between the top of the food and the upper heating elements.

 

Some countertop ovens allow you to adjust the temperature and cook time. For items cooked using the Toast or Bagel modes, your appliance may prompt you to select the number of slices or desired shade using the temperature or timer dial. Once the cooking cycle is complete, a chime will sound. Once the cook time has ended, carefully remove food from the oven using oven mitts.

Two whole roasted chickens and greens cooked inside a KitchenAid® countertop oven Two whole roasted chickens and greens cooked inside a KitchenAid® countertop oven

HOW DO YOU USE A COUNTERTOP OR TOASTER OVEN AS AN OVEN?

One of the great advantages of having a countertop or toaster oven in your kitchen is its versatility. With a countertop oven, you have similar abilities to a standard oven or range with the convenience of less space and electricity. 

Some countertop ovens are capable of reaching the same high temperature needed to prepare foods traditionally cooked in standard ovens, like homemade pizza dough or this Horchata inspired creamy corn cake. To use your countertop or toaster oven as an oven, select cooking modes that are similar to the cooking actions of a full-size oven such as Bake, Broil or Roast.

Empanadas cooking inside a black KitchenAid® countertop oven Empanadas cooking inside a black KitchenAid® countertop oven

HOW DO YOU USE A COUNTERTOP OR TOASTER OVEN AS A MICROWAVE?

Your countertop or toaster oven is also capable of bringing the impressive cooking power of a microwave to your kitchen. Thanks to a wide range of cooking and heating options, you can use your countertop oven as a microwave by utilizing specific cycle modes to bring the desired crunch and crispiness back to leftovers that may otherwise be left limp or soggy. You can also use the various settings on your countertop oven like the Frozen option to bring new life to items like frozen bread by restoring their flaky exteriors and chewy, fresh-tasting middles.

When you want to use your countertop oven to reheat leftovers or bring the temperature of cooked food up for serving like you would with a microwave, use the Reheat or Keep Warm modes on your appliance. Use the Reheat or Keep Warm modes to give a bit of warmth to desserts like unfrosted chocolate cake or appetizers like this recipe for broccoli cheese filled bread.

Two countertop ovens side-by-side featuring different meals Two countertop ovens side-by-side featuring different meals

HOW DO YOU USE A COUNTERTOP OR TOASTER OVEN AS AN AIR FRYER?

Air frying foods gives a deliciously crisp texture to foods like homemade air fryer chicken katsu sandwiches that can serve as a simple dinner that’s packed with flavor. If your model has one, you can simply select the air fryer setting on your convection countertop oven to use your appliance similar to a standard air fryer.

Select KitchenAid® countertop ovens come equipped with a specialized air fryer setting that can help you create healthy and fresh possibilities without having to use too much oil or grease on a cooktop. Use the air fryer setting on your countertop oven to use features like the No-Flip Air Fry Basket and 360° Air Fry System to make everything from homemade french fries to delicate fish.

SHOP KITCHENAID® COUNTERTOP OVENS

Designed to help make your culinary visions a reality, KitchenAid® countertop ovens allow you to bake, broil, roast and toast with ease. Explore the collection of countertop ovens by KitchenAid brand to utilize the power of a full-size oven with the versatility of preset cooking functions and easy-to-read digital displays.

LEARN MORE ABOUT USING COUNTERTOP APPLIANCES