Mini ovens are known in the UK as mini ovens, however, in America, they are more commonly known as toaster ovens. But what are mini ovens used for?
They are practical substitutions for regular ovens and are popular chose for people who live alone, those looking for additional cooking space and are widely used by people who have motor homes, like to camp or boat.
In essence, mini ovens are small convection ovens and can fit on any table top in your kitchen (boat, caravan or motor home).
Since their invention in the early 1900s, mini ovens have become a very popular appliance to have in one’s kitchen. Their compact size makes them energy efficient, able to fit in the smallest of spaces and they are capable of cooking various foods, not just toast as the name might suggest!
For those living in small homes, flats, student accommodation or are living alone and don’t necessarily need the size of a much larger oven, a mini oven and grill are the perfect appliance! Granted, it may be difficult to cook an entire Christmas dinner in there, but for heating up anything from bread to pizzas, a mini oven just might be the one for you!
Similar to convection ovens, you will easily recognise a mini oven by its resemblance to a convection oven:
- Stainless steel finish
- a glass door
- a baking tray
- a grill rack and
- possibly a fan
- minute timer
- And the best mini ovens can be found with hot plates too!
Indeed, with the advancement in technology, it is now easy to come across a convection mini oven, which uses the same heating method as a standard size fan assisted oven. They are incredibly easy to use and easy to clean!
What Can You Cook in a Mini Oven?
Due to its compact size, our main concern before buying a mini oven is “Will I be able to cook as much as I cook in a normal oven?” Well, there’s no need to fret as yes, you can cook nearly anything you cook in a regular oven. Of course, due to its size, it would be extremely difficult to cook something like an entire roast dinner in there, but you could cook it bit by bit if necessary!
A mini oven and grill offers a variety of options for all different kinds of cooking. They are great for any kind of baking, re-heating, obviously toasting and the grill setting makes them very adaptable at grilling! More modern ovens have even been known to be used to make a rotisserie! If you still aren’t convinced, there are multiple cookbooks on the market specifically made for mini oven meals.
Russell Hobbs UK have a super short video showing the diversity and variety of uses for their best mini oven including a new feature ‘air fry’ for perfect chips – this is worth a view if you are unsure about the flexibility of what you can cook in a mini oven.
Are Mini Ovens Good for Baking?
Yes – mini ovens are great for baking!
Depending on the size of mini oven you get, baking an entire loaf, for example, could be a bit tricky. However baking any kind of buns, cookie, cake, etc, is more than doable. In fact, due to their compact size, mini ovens are quicker and easier to heat to your desired cooking temperature, which suggests that your food could be ready in a fraction of the time it would take to cook in a convection oven!
Do Mini Ovens Just Plug In?
Yes – mini ovens can be plugged straight into your kitchen sockets making them very easy to use!
Due to the fact that mini ovens, no matter the size, tend to all be relatively low voltage, you can plug your mini oven into the same socket that you use for your kettle! Of course, it’s always wise to keep an eye on these things.
It’s important to buy a mini oven from a reputable company and not just anything you come across. Buying from a reputable company generally means that, should anything go wrong, you can easily contact the manufacturer for any advice or help.
It is important to know that buying your electric mini oven from a reputable company does not necessarily mean a much more expensive price!
There are quite a few mini oven manufacturers available on the market and you will be able to find the best mini oven for you at a reasonable price.
Some of the more well known names include; Russell Hobbs, Tower, Beko and De’Longhi.
A good rule of thumb is to keep an eye on your appliance and the socket where it is plugged in, to make sure that there are no oddities such as sound, marks, or anything! If all seems good, then you have nothing to worry about!
If, on the other hand, you are noticing some unsettling things, then contact the manufacturer immediately. If the socket appears damaged then do not use it again without first contacting an electrician and letting them check it before using it again.
What are the Best Mini Ovens?
The best mini ovens will soon become your favourite kitchen appliance, and as many who brought their mini oven as a backup have found, a mini oven is often used equally or more than their main oven, especially during a great British heatwave, when the last thing we want are higher kitchen temperatures caused by using a regular oven.
The best mini ovens will be easy to use and literally do everything your normal oven does but on a smaller scale.
With a wide chose of mini ovens on the market to choose from here are a few questions to ask and features that are worth looking for when reviewing the best mini ovens:
You will be able to find the right mini oven for you, as their popularity from their creation to today has meant that you can find more and more mini ovens on the market!
Does the Mini Oven Have a Baking Tray and Grill Rack?
On the whole, most mini ovens do come with at least one baking tray, and a grill rack if the model you are looking at has a grill (note, that not all table top ovens have a grill as standard).
You will find that it is common for your mini oven to have one baking tray, which is normally enough for most people, on the whole, you will be cooking small joints of meat, fish and maybe pork chops.
If you are someone who is keen on baking, you may find that an additional baking tray will come in handy for cooking biscuits, so you can cook one batch and have the other ready to pop in when the first batch is ready.
Does a Mini Oven Have a Minute Timer?
The best mini ovens will have a timer and usually, this will last for 60 minutes, however, there are mini oven models that have 120-minute timers. The more expensive ranges will incorporate LCD screens to show the temperature you are cooking at and of course, a count down of the remaining time left on whatever you are cooking.
We recommend looking to see what timer your electric mini oven comes with. If you choose a model with a 60 minute timer, note that you will need to be on hand to reset the timer when it reaches 60 minutes if you need your food to cook for longer.
What Cooking Options Does the Mini Oven Feature?
This will depend on the model that you chose that is best for you.
- Do you live on your own and want a mini oven to satisfy all your cooking needs?
- Do you need a mini oven as a stop-gap, for example, your main oven may have broken and you’re waiting on a replacement?
- Do you own a motor home or boat and need a mini oven to make life a little easier when away?
The point here will be your budget and how often you will use your oven. Those that will be using their mini oven will likely be keener to buy a mini oven with many features than those who are like to use it for shorter periods.
Key Mini Oven Features to Look For:
- Baking tray(s) wire grill racks and a tray handle (not all come as standard)
- Number of heating elements
- Conventional grill settings
- Weight, is it lightweight and portable?
- Does it have hobs?
- Does it come with a warranty?
- Is it easy to use
- What and how many cooking modes does it have?
- Is it suitable for baking?
Will the Mini Oven be Easy to Clean?
Yes, you won’t have any issues with cleaning your mini oven. Simply:
- Unplug your mini oven from the wall
- Take out the baking tray(s) and grill rack and pop into your sink of hot soapy water (check the manufactures instructions, you may find that these can be washed in your dishwasher).
- Using dry cloth remove any large debris and crumbs
- Fill a bowl of hot water and detergent and take it to your mini oven.
- Using a soft, no abrasive cloth clean the inside of your mini oven
- Wipe clean using a dry cloth or kitchen towel
- Wash and dry your baking tray(s) and grill rack and pop them back in your oven
- Plug your mini oven back into the wall.
Are Mini Ovens Safe?
Mini ovens are safe as long, as any small appliance, you follow the guidelines by the manufacturer. The standard safety measures are:
- leave plenty of space around your oven to ensure good ventilation,
- do not place items such as paper or tea towels on top
- Keep your mini oven away from water, i.e. do not place this near your sink
- ensure your oven is pushed back and safely positioned where it can’t get accidentally knocked off
- mini oven’s do radiate a lot of heat, never leave small children unattended when you are using your min oven and grill.
Mini Oven FAQ’s
The prices of mini ovens vary from £70 – £300. You can expect to pick up a good model for around £150
The temperature range of mini ovens will vary from model to model. From the mini ovens we have researched and reviewed the temperature range is between 60°C and 230°C, which is the same as for regular ovens.
Yes, mini ovens are cheap to run.
Mini ovens are great alternatives to convection ovens if you don’t quite have space for a big one, or if you don’t need to use that size oven for the food you are preparing!
Some people choose to have both a convection oven and a mini oven, for the main reason that they do not need to use the power that a convection oven needs to heat up something small.
As a mini oven heats up far quicker than a convection oven, you will not need to use it for as long, which means using less power, which means it will be cheaper and possibly easier to use than your convection oven.
Yes, it will be possible to find a mini oven with a hot plate, in fact they tend to come in pairs so you will be able to cook your meal in the cavity and use the hot plates for your potatoes, pasta or vegetables.
But, take the time looking as many compact ovens don’t feature them. It will, of course, be a personal choice, but for me, when I was buying a table top oven for my sister they were an essential feature (There was a delay in her new cooker arriving and she didn’t have a hob for back up).