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An Ode to a Toaster Oven That Can Do It All

The Balmuda toaster oven can perfectly toast bread, roast vegetables, and even bring an hours-old croissant back to life.

April 27, 2023
Photo by Rocky Luten

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I didn’t grow up in a toaster-oven home. Honestly, when it came to kitchen appliances, my parents kept it fairly simple. Along with the standard staples (a refrigerator, freezer, oven, and stove) we had a 2-slice toaster, blender, coffee maker, and microwave. If my mom was feeling really wild, she’d bust out the Crock-Pot. Rice was made on the stove, cake batter was usually mixed by hand, and cans were opened via manual, crank technology—the first time I was introduced to an electric version my hands sighed in relief.

Needless to say, I never understood the need for a toaster oven, air fryer, or egg cooker. I could wrap my head around the desire, sure, but I couldn’t bring myself to add clutter to my limited counter space (I live in a typical New York City apartment, after all) with an appliance that wasn’t totally necessary. Thankfully, I changed my mind.

My roommate, Abby, and I have lived together for over four years, and with each move our kitchen got smaller and smaller—that is, until July 2022. When we found our current apartment, the silver lining of the moving stress and chaos was that we finally had a big enough kitchen to comfortably house all of our dishes, glassware, and pantry items—you know, the things everyone should be able to fit easily in their kitchen. The catch? No microwave.

After the first few weeks of settling into the new space, we realized that we needed to either buy a microwave or find an alternative. Abby immediately suggested Balmuda's toaster oven. She had been eyeing its sleek and modern design for years, and it finally felt like the time to jump on it. I was skeptical—I thought I probably wouldn't use it much. But within a couple of days, we had the chic, streamlined appliance on our counter, and I was diving head-first into endless toast and sandwich recipes. Now, I can't imagine our kitchen without it.

Photo by Rocky Luten

I almost hate to admit that this single appliance has made such a positive impact on my life, but the Balmuda toaster oven has exceeded all of my expectations. We've used it to toast bread (both sandwich-bread slices and more artisan loaves like sourdough, bagels, brioche, and babka), reheat pizza, roast vegetables, and melt butter. The design is sleek, modern, and exceptionally user-friendly: The illustrations around the left knob show which setting to use based on what you're heating, while its manual breaks down the best settings for every kind of food.

However, the real magic happens on the inside. The oven uses steam technology to create a perfectly toasted piece of bread. It sounds like hyperbole, but it's true. Whether I'm toasting a bagel or reheating a pain au chocolat, the end result is always crispy on the outside but still fluffy on the inside. It's as if the bread has been freshly baked each time. All you need to do is turn the left knob to the illustration that corresponds with your preferred setting, pour about a tablespoon of water into a steam chamber on the top (it comes with a small cup for this purpose), and press start.

If you prefer to use a toaster oven for its baking and roasting capabilities, it's got you covered there as well. Along with a built-in metal rack, the Balmuda also comes with a small sheet pan. We've used it to make nachos, cook frozen foods, and even bake single-cup desserts (and against all odds, it worked).

Overall, the Balmuda is reliable, overachieving, and worth a spot on your kitchen counter. “I want to see you cook a Thanksgiving dinner in this thing,” a friend said to me the first time she saw it. And honestly? I think I could.

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Julia is a Senior Editor here at Food52 and a freelance writer. She has written for Grub Street, Eater, PUNCH, Edible Brooklyn, and more. She is based in Brooklyn, NY.