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Can a Toaster Oven Replace a Microwave?

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If you are planning to replace your microwave with a toaster oven, there are a few things you might want to know about both appliances. The functionality and use of each are different, and they can provide useful kitchen services based on what food you are preparing and how you want to cook it.

To make a decision on which appliance to settle for, let’s review how they perform in the kitchen.

A toaster oven has heating elements located at the top and bottom which heat the food. The number of these elements varies based on the model you purchase. Some toaster ovens have fans installed to help in distributing the heat more uniformly. Others have heating elements made of ceramic and quartz, which improves the heating process.

A typical toaster oven can perform cooking functions such as baking, broiling, and toasting. Others have additional features such as defrosting and roasting. 

When it comes to the duration of preparing a meal, a toaster oven takes much longer in comparison to a microwave.

How a Microwave Works

A microwave uses electromagnetic waves that uniformly and simultaneously heat the water molecules resulting in an incredibly shorter cooking period. It is important to note that the electromagnetic waves do not affect your glass or plastic kitchenware.

Comparison Between a Toaster Oven and a Microwave


A toaster oven excels in crisping, browning and toasting food. It does an excellent job of baking chicken, bread, or pizza if you desire a crusty top. Baked potatoes also taste better when prepared using a toaster oven, although the time they will take to cook will be longer.

Microwaves make the food soft and soggy because of how they target the water molecules within the food. Another way in how the oven outdoes the microwave is in keeping the food warm.

A microwave also has features that make it better than a toaster oven in food preparation. The first is that all its meals will have a decent flavor on top of being cooked incredibly fast. This is more so for frozen foods.

Secondly, microwaves can cook more substantial quantities of food, making them ideal for use when you have guests over. No matter how much food is provided, it’s all inside the device; it will all cook fast and be ready at the same time.

Energy Consumption

On the overall scale, both appliances are more efficient in power use as compared to conventional ovens. The difference in energy consumption between a toaster oven and microwave is negligible. A standard microwave consumes 700-1300 watts of electricity while a toaster oven has a higher rate of 1200-1800 watts.

If you want to make a greener choice with your kitchen appliance purchase, go for those that have more energy stars.


Cleaning and Maintenance

Between the two appliances, microwaves are far easier to clean. You can easily reach all the remote parts, and the glass trays they come with are removable and simple to wash or wipe down.

Toaster ovens have trays and pans that take more time to clean. The heating elements also need to be wiped down periodically to remove any food materials that are stuck on them. Always put on gloves when cleaning the heating elements.

Toaster ovens also get grime deposits now and then, which will require more in-depth cleaning. That said, microwaves get the upper hand when it comes to the issue of cleaning since they take a much shorter time to wash or wipe them.

Addressing Health and Safety Concerns

Since their invention, microwaves have continuously been in the spotlight over whether their electromagnetic waves are a health concern. Repeated research has shown no substantial evidence that they affect your health in any way.

Another common concern is if they destroy the nutrients in your food. Most scientists have found no evidence of such, and the notion is considered a misconception. Its food-heating technique requires no fat or water, making it an even healthier choice for those wishing to reduce their cholesterol intake.

Toaster ovens have no significant health concerns. However, you should be careful when handling food around it since it heats all its parts. Remember always to unplug it during cleaning and wear gloves when wiping the heating elements.

Comparing Features of a Toaster Oven and a Microwave

Below is a table summarizing all the features of each appliance and how they perform in every section.


toaster oven


Keeping Food Warm

Great at keeping food warm by turning it on and keeping the temperature low

Once you turn it off, the food begins to cool down. It's best for meals that will be eaten immediately after warming them


They are smaller hence can only cook small food quantities, but some models are big enough to cook chicken

Bigger thus useful in preparing large amounts of food

Cooking Period

Longer cooking time

Shorter cooking period

Frozen Foods

Poor in thawing frozen foods

Great at thawing frozen foods

Energy efficiency

Consumes more power

More energy efficient


Harder to clean

Easier to clean

Heating Liquids

Not designed for heating liquids

Can be used to heat tea, milk, and soup quickly

Crisping and browning

Great for crisping and browning food

Cannot crisp or brown any food

Heating bread

They are amazing at warming baking bread 

Poor in heating bread

Exterior heating

They get really hot on both the inside and outside and can melt objects placed on their surface

They do not heat on the outside


There you have it; all the necessary details you need to make an informed decision on whether you want to replace your microwave with a toaster oven or not. Toaster ovens are versatile and offer more choices in cooking while microwaves are fast and save you on time.

One of the nice features of the toaster ovens on the market is that you can buy a small or medium size one.  If you don't have a lot of space, the smaller toaster ovens are a great option.

So, can a toaster oven replace a microwave? That decision entirely lies with you and your preferred choice. We have another article that compares microwave and toaster ovens.