Toaster ovens are small versatile appliances. And this is because you can use them for baking, toasting, roasting, browning, and even defrosting food items. It really does make cooking easy. While there is a sea of food items and things safe to keep inside a toaster oven, there are certain things to avoid putting in a toaster oven. And we’ll be discussing the top 5 common things that people unknowingly put in appliance that is not actually safe to put in a toaster oven.
With the daily use of toaster ovens, companies now manufacture oven-safe products. But not all the fancy glassware or plates you see are safe to put inside your toaster oven. There are several materials that cannot tolerate high heat inside the chamber. The material either shatters, cracks, or melts down when not oven safe.
People are now aware of what and what not to put inside the toaster oven. However, at certain times the smart branding of products misleads us and we end up exposing them to high temperatures. To sum up, the top 5 things you should avoid putting in the toaster oven are plastic, styrofoam, coffee mugs, parchment paper, and paper. Let us discuss why you should avoid putting them in your countertop or undercabinet toaster oven.
Here are 5 things that you should avoid keeping in your Toaster Oven
Avoid using plastic inside the toaster oven at all costs no matter how high-grade the material is. This is because plastic tends to melt at high temperatures. And baking involves temperature exposure up to 500 degrees F. If not melting, plastic containers or bowls might release toxic fumes. These fumes might settle on the walls of the toaster oven or infuse with food baking inside. Thus, causing health issues in long run.
Alternative: Instead of plastic, opt for silicone bakeware or food storage containers. Silicone has an exceptionally high heat resistance and is widely used for baking cupcakes. Keep the silicone molds under a cookie sheet for better heat transfer and even cooking. Also, the sheet will catch all the extra stuff that falls during baking.
Many takeaways are packed in styrofoam because of their quality to keep the food warm for a long time. Also, styrofoam is convenient to pack food and carry around. However, you should totally avoid styrofoam inside the toaster oven as the material does not have high heat resistivity. Styrofoam starts to warp or lose shape around 210°F and starts melting at around 450 degrees F.
And the worst thing is, the material is highly flammable. It releases toxic fumes on catching fire which is hazardous for you and your kids/pets to inhale. So it is better to reheat the takeout food on an oven-safe plate.
3. Coffee Mugs/Cups
You might have seen in many youtube cooking channels that people directly put their coffee mugs in a toaster oven. While it might look like the easiest way to satisfy your hunger for cupcakes, there’s something you should know about putting a coffee mug in a toaster oven. Not all coffee cups are toaster oven safe. Therefore, you should check for its heat tolerance before exposing the material to such high heat.
Many porcelain, earthenware, and china mugs are not oven safe. Also, avoid keeping thin ceramic glasses inside the cooking chamber as it increases the risk of cracking. Only keep oven-safe coffee mugs/cups inside a toaster oven for baking mug cake or reheating liquids.
4. Parchment Paper
Using parchment paper while baking goodies is a common practice. Thanks to the creamy texture of parchment paper that prevents the batter from sticking to the mold/pan bottom. While parchment papers are designed to resist high heat, they are still not safe for toaster oven use. There is a high chance of parchment paper catching fire in direct contact with the heating elements of the toaster oven. And you do not want a hazardous fire incident at your place while baking dessert for friends or family.
Alternative: Use a silicone-based rimmed baking mat sheet instead. You can reuse the silicone baking sheet multiple times, plus, it tolerates high heat well.
Bad craving for leftover pizza might make some people reheat the slices with cardboard on. And then this will be the last thing they would reheat in the oven. Although cardboard is thick, ultimately, it is made of recycled paper. And they catch fire easily. This ends up in a disaster. So any paper or cardboard in a toaster oven is a big no.
Alternative: A cookie sheet or pizza stone is a good way to reheat pizza or other food items with a bread base.
There is no doubt about the versatility and performance of a good countertop toaster oven. While the cooking possibilities with a toaster oven are endless, there are a few limitations. Few toxic and highly flammable materials should be completely avoided for the health of you and your family. It is always a good idea to read the user manual thoroughly before using the appliance for safe and sound operation.