How to preheat the toaster oven? (+5 steps)

In this article, we will answer the question “How to preheat the toaster oven?”, and how do I know when preheating is done?

How to preheat the toaster oven?

  1. On the temperature dial, set the temperature to the preheating temperature required by the recipe. The typical preheating temperatures are 350 °F – 400 °F or 176 °C – 204 °C.
  1. Make sure the toaster oven is completely air-tight; the door should be tightly shut and there should be no air leaks.
  1. Preheat your oven according to your recipe. However, If no preheating time is specified in the recipe, go for 15-20 minutes.

How do I know when preheating is done?

This question is mostly asked by beginners. In case you have a digital toaster oven, this ain’t no problem as the LCD screens constantly show you the temperature progress. If your toast oven does not offer this amenity, go for the estimate which is 20-30 minutes. 

The other option is to invest in a toaster oven thermometer. It is supposed to be placed in the oven before preheating and requires constant attention as in constantly checking to see if the temperature has reached our desired level or not.

How to tell the accuracy of your toaster oven when preheating?

With a thermometer 

  1. A thermometer should ideally be hanged in the oven but you can also place it on the middle rack.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉ or 170℉.
  1. After preheating your toaster oven at this temperature for 20 minutes, note the reading.
  1. Repeat this process a number of more times. Let the oven cool before repeating it. 
  1. Lastly, divide the sum of the readings by the frequency of the readings. If the toaster oven is working fine, the average temperature should come out to be 350℉. Otherwise, your toaster oven needs fixing.

Just like an iron, the toaster oven will show a reduced temperature right after it reaches its desired value, this is to maintain the temperature at the set value. 

This makes room for misinterpretation of the readings taken. To eliminate this error, measure the temperature over time or at regular intervals.

Without a thermometer 

  1. Preheat your toaster oven to 320℉ or 160℃.
  1. Place white or brown granulated sugar in a toaster-oven safe bowl or plate.
  1. Let the sugar cook in the toaster oven for 10-15 minutes.

If the sugar has melted after 10-15 minutes, your toaster oven is doing fine because sugar melts at  320℉ or 160℃. Otherwise, your toaster oven is not reaching the desired temperature.

Can I put food inside a toaster oven without preheating?

You can but you should not. Unless the recipe asks for this, placing your food in a cold toaster oven for baking, broiling or roasting will alter its texture, rise, and browning, etc.

What happens If I put my food during the preheating process?

When you place food during preheating in the toaster oven, the effects vary with the type of food and the cooking process used.

Baking process 

Leavening agents used in the baking include yeast, baking soda, and baking powder which need a specific temperature to be activated. When any food is placed in the toaster oven during preheating, these leavening agents would be activated before or after their optimum time leaving in collapsed or deflated bread.

Broiling process 

Broiling means cooking meat, fish, or vegetables at high heat for a specific time so that It tenderness stays intact. If you place your meat or vegetable during the preheating time, the meat starts to cook in Its owns juices and becomes chewy by the time the oven reaches its desired temperature.

Roasting process 

Roasting works at the same principle as the broiling process. Heating at inadequate temperatures will result in your food being over-cooked, fried-out, or even worse, both.

Other FAQs about Toasters which you may be interested in.

How does a toaster work?

How long does It take to preheat a toaster oven?

Toaster ovens reheat very quickly due to their small volume as compared to regular ovens. If you have a digital toaster oven, LCD display, or light or beep going off is an indicator the oven is ready. 

For other ovens, It will take about 15-20 minutes to reach 350℉. The preheating time will vary with the set temperature.

Why is preheating important?

Preheating reduces the cooking time which results in faster baking. It also makes sure the food is cooked to just the right extent eliminating the uncertainty of food being evenly cooked.


In this article, we answered the question “How to preheat the toaster oven?”, and how do I know when preheating is done?


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