Can A Toaster Oven Replace An Air Fryer?

Air fryers & toaster ovens are known for both heating and crisping food. But if you are on a budget or simply don’t have the counter space, you may be wondering – can a toaster oven replace an air fryer?

So I decided to do some research. This is what I found out:

A Toaster can replace an air fryer, especially a convection toaster oven which works much the same as an air fryer. A convection toaster oven works by circulating warm air around the food. Additionally, toaster ovens are also better at reheating food.

But there’s more to know about toaster ovens than that.

For example, the best foods that can be cooked in an air fryer, or when shall you prefer using a toaster oven instead of an air fryer. But don’t worry, I will give you all the details and also suggest an amazing appliance as a bonus.

Just keep reading!

How is an air fryer different than a toaster oven?

The main difference between air fryers and toaster oven is that the air fryer heats by convection, whereas, a traditional toaster oven heats by radiation. Also, while both can be used for frying, baking, boiling, and more, the food cooked in Air Fryer is much crispier than in a toaster oven.

Air Fryers

Air fryers are small kitchen appliances that use convection air currents to cook food. It has powerful fans that circulate extremely hot air at high-speed to “fry” foods. 

Food goes in a removable basket with very little oil. As the air blows, it circulates the oil, which results in a crunchy, crispy texture on whatever you are cooking.

Air fryers are great. Because they don’t require any preheating, you can save at least 10-15 minutes while you would otherwise be waiting on your oven to get hot enough.

You can do other things besides fry, too. You can bake, cook veggies, and even “hard boil” eggs in an air fryer.

There are many advantages to owning an air fryer. It doesn’t smell like a deep fryer, it doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and parts can go right in the dishwasher.

But there many more advantages. Read this recent article to learn all of the advantages of an air fryer. What really surprised me was how 1 trick can get those air fryer fries to be just like deep-fried ones.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Toaster Ovens

A toaster oven is basically just a smaller version of a conventional oven. It can be used to toast, bake, and broil on a smaller scale.

They have front doors like a conventional oven and have heating elements on both the top and the bottom.

Instead of hot air being circulated around your food, heat will come from the top and bottom heating elements. This means the conduction from the baking pan will be the primary source of heat.

That being said, they do also make convection toaster ovens which work almost exactly like an air fryer. Convection toaster ovens use a fan to circulate the superheated air around the food.

This results in a crispier surface to the food. It can also speed up the heating/cooking process.

When should you use a toaster oven?

You can use a toaster oven for cooking almost anything that you can cook in your conventional oven. You can use it to grill, roast, broil, bake, and reheat a wide variety of food. Sometimes toaster ovens even come with a rotisserie option. The primary difference is the reduced cooking area.

Any standard toaster oven you purchase today will offer a few cooking methods. Sure, toaster ovens are excellent for toast, but they have a lot more functions, too.

If you are making a large meal with sides, you can use it for baking your side dishes while your main dish cooks in your conventional oven.

Some of my favorite things to make in my toaster oven include:

  • cookies
  • chicken tenders
  • chicken thighs
  • macaroni and cheese
  • sweet potato fries
  • meatloaf
  • muffins

It’s really perfect for reheating leftovers like pizza.

So you should use your toaster oven anytime you want to use your oven, but don’t want to heat up the whole house.

But there are a few differences between a conventional oven and a toaster oven. For one, when baking, your toaster oven will use both the top and bottom heating elements. You’ll want to do baking at a lower temperature or a shorter amount of time than if you were baking in a conventional oven.

When broiling, your food is going to be much closer to the top heating element, so keep a super close eye on it. You just want to brown the top of your macaroni and cheese, not blacken it!

Remember, your toaster doesn’t have as much space as your conventional oven. As a result, you should purchase specialized bakeware specifically for your toaster oven. This way, you know your dish will fit in the toaster oven properly.

This will allow you to use your toaster oven for meatloaves, muffins, and much more.

What are the best foods to cook in an air fryer?

The best foods to cook in an air fryer are the ones that would normally need deep frying. These include frozen french fries, frozen chicken tenders, chicken wings, veggies, egg rolls, and anything breaded. 

You may have to make some adjustments to the amount of coating you use and the amount of oil you’ll need. But air frying produces excellent results using less oil and less fat than deep-frying.

Some foods that work really well in an air fryer include:

  • frozen or fresh chicken tenders
  • pumpkin seeds
  • frozen french fries
  • homemade chips
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • egg rolls
  • frozen veggies

Many of these items can be made in your deep-fryer or your oven. They will all come out better in your air-fryer than they would in your oven. None of them will smell up or grease up your house as the deep-fryer does.

Some things that don’t work so well in the air fryer include:

  • fresh vegetables
  • fresh french fries
  • battered foods
  • cheesy foods
  • feeding a crowd

Fresh vegetables just don’t come out well in an air fryer. I’ve found that they come out soggy. I can never get fresh french fries to come out right in my air fryer, either. Those are definitely better in the oven or deep fryer.

Anything battered or with cheesy will make a huge mess that will be a challenge to clean up. And if you have a lot of people to feed, you should stick with your deep-fryer or consider batch cooking.

Crowding the air fryer could cause it to overheat and smoke. To read more about whether an air fryer can overheat and what to do to prevent it, check out this recent article.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What can a toaster oven do that an air fryer can’t?

A toaster oven can do a lot more than an air fryer can do. For example, it is better to use a toaster oven for reheating leftover food. Toaster ovens are also ideal for cooking a larger quantity of food, as overcrowding air fryers can cause a lot of smoke.

A toaster oven can do a lot of the same things that an air fryer can do. 

A toaster oven can be used to make french fries and cook up some chicken tenders. But it can also do a few things that the air fryer can’t do.

For example, if you have leftovers that need reheating, it’s probably best done in a toaster oven.

It’s easier to watch your food in a toaster oven than it is in an air fryer. Air fryers don’t have windows, making it difficult to see the doneness of food without removing the basket.

Toaster ovens also have a larger capacity, which means that they can cook more food more evenly.

You can cook a six-pound chicken, a 9-inch cake, or a 13-inch pizza. While you can bake in an air-fryer, it’s going to be on a much smaller scale. If you’re single and only want a tiny cake, this is fine.

But if you are baking a birthday cake for your kid, you want at least a 9-inch round cake. You can only do that in your toaster oven.

Toaster ovens are also easier to clean and don’t make as much noise as air fryers.

So really, a toaster oven can do everything an air-fryer can do, and more!

It can even do everything your microwave can do, too. But is it a good replacement for your microwave? Head over to this recent article to find out!

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do they make an air fryer toaster oven?

Yes! Cuisinart makes its TOA-60 Toaster Oven Airfryer, and it can do it all. It is a premium full-size toaster oven with a built-in air fryer. It does all of the things a standard toaster oven does, like baking and broiling.

Just click that link to see the current price on Amazon.

This means you can prepare all of the same fried foods that you can with a stand-alone air fryer.

While it seems a little pricey, if you consider that you are purchasing two appliances in one, it’s really not all that expensive. It may actually be less expensive than buying two appliances, depending on what brands you purchase, and what features they offer.

It gets great ratings, too. It’s been reviewed by more than 7,500 people and has almost a perfect 5-star rating! Lots of people own it, and for the most part, they all love it. It’s also an Amazon’s Choice product.

It also only takes up the space of one appliance.

This means no dragging one or the other out of a cabinet when you are cooking. Since it can live on your countertop, it also means you’re more likely to use it.

And Cuisinart is a globally recognized name, so you know it’s a quality product.

This would be a great product to own if you are lacking storage space or just wanting to not spend the amount of money you would spend on multiple products.

Did I answer everything you wanted to know about – can a toaster oven replace an air fryer?

In this article, I talked about whether a toaster oven can replace an air fryer. We discussed how air fryers are different from toaster ovens.

Also, now it must be clear to you about when you should use a toaster oven, and what toaster ovens can do that air fryers can’t. There are many foods like frozen fries and veggies that are the best to cook in an air fryer.

Also, the Cuisinart Toaster oven air fryer is a combination of air fryer and toaster oven, and make you cooking much easier. And now, I hope all your doubts are clear, and you will know whether to choose an air fryer, toaster oven, or a combination of both. 


Photo which requires attribution:

McDonald’s will be cooking their foods on the Power Air-Fryer oven by PatrickRich and farmers market 13 by SupportPDX are licensed under Public Domain and CC2.0 respectively

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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