You may have noticed that frozen foods always come with “do not prepare in toaster oven” instructions. People who don’t know why food providers mentioned that get surprised often.
Best of all, if you know what can happen if you use a toaster oven for your frozen entrees, you can use this device for frozen meals as well by following a few instructions.
Toaster ovens usually come in smaller sizes, and when you put frozen entrees on its shelf, the heating element is closer to the food and can provide too much heat that can overcook the food. Because frozen entrees are usually pre-cooked, or nearly cooked, they must be prepared at a convenient temperature to be eaten.
However, you can still use your toaster oven for frozen food by following some actions listed in this article.
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Why do Frozen Meals Always State”Do Not Prepare in a Toaster Oven”?
Toaster ovens have a different working mechanism nearly identical to other ovens. But the user has to know about its uniqueness, which can help the chief to get the best out of this device.
That question is why those frozen meals say do not prepare in a toaster oven and what show you do to prepare that meal.
A toaster oven is a little oven than other ovens and follows a ration heat system. Generally, heating elements in these devices are not best for pre-cooked or nearly cooked meals as they can cook the food at an excessive temperature.
Indeed, the toaster oven gets heated quickly, and frozen entrees need to cook slowly at low temperatures.
As this device heats up faster, it can burn or overcook the meal which nobody wants.
In simple words, direct heat from closer heating elements is a problem for the frozen entree.
So, How can you cook a frozen meal in a toaster oven?
Here’s the answer: Before putting it into the toaster oven, You must wrap the frozen meal pan with a thin foil.
The thin foil will act as a shield to protect the meal from direct heat radiation. This trick is proven that we have personally used for a long time.
Be sure the toaster oven is not too pre-heated as we need to take the temperature at the lowest for frozen meals.
Always keep an eye on your meal and check feed is not burning due to excessive heat.
Why do the Instructions Say not to Use Toaster Oven?
Processed and frozen foods commonly come with a prevention notice described on the packing. These instructions have been mentioned on the packaging because meals require correct heating temperature, storage space requirements, space climate conditions, etc.
Usually, frozen entrees are not suitable to cook in the toaster oven as per food supplier instructions.
However, using a thin foil can protect from direct heating elements and help eaters bring frozen food to the eaten temperature.
Ovens such as regular ovens have more space than toaster ovens. These ovens have slow cooking and temperature control settings.
But these qualities are missed in toaster ovens. Frozen meals are pre-cooked meals meaning a person just needs to provide low heat to the frozen meal to be eaten.
The pan(a meal container) you use for the toaster oven matters to protect the meal from this device’s exploded heat elements that can set the frozen entrees to fire if placed in a cardboard container.
However, If you don’t have a microwave and a toaster oven is left for you, you use it for frozen entrees by wrapping the container with thin foil.
The primary issue with frozen meals with a toaster oven is that this device has less inside space, and when we put meals into it, heating elements get a lot closer to entrees, and the outcome will be burned food.
Frozen entrees should be cooked for a long time at a low temperature.
Unfortunately, a toaster oven cannot cook any meal at low temperature for a long duration because a quality that makes it unique from other ovens is quickly heating.
Being toaster oven users, we know that it cooks faster. Cut off preheating time and put frozen dishes at preheating time to prevent excessive heat. Always try to reduce or set the temperature lower.
What Can You Not Put in a Toaster Oven?
There are some materials that you can not put in a toaster oven, such as plastic, aluminum foil, mugs or cups, ceramic, and stoneware dishes, parchment paper, styrofoam containers, and bakewares made of glass. These can easily damage by direct contact with excessive heat elements.
Let’s learn why these things should not be inserted into a toaster oven!
Plastic: Many households own plastic pans and containers for meal preparations. However, this material can melt and burn if set into a toaster oven.
Excessive heat production elements can change the shape of plastic-made containers within a few seconds.
You may have noticed, whatever frozen meal we buy, it is restricted to be put into a toaster oven and most microwaves.
The best way will be to put a frozen dish in a metal container after making it free from the plastic container.
Aluminum foil: Of course, you can use aluminum foil for grilling or cooking food. But, as we have to consider appliance manufacturing guidelines, many instructions prevent aluminum foil from setting into the heating element of the toaster oven.
Some people have reported overheating problems in their toaster oven while using aluminum wrap on their meals.
The radiation and direct heat elements can speed up the heat if a thin metal foil gets added.
Ceramic and Stoneware dishes: Many chefs, including me, like to use ceramic and stoneware-made containers and plates for preparing meals in regular ovens.
As these materials can crack easily with exploded heat, you cannot put these dishes in a toaster oven. Many coffee cups and mugs can come in ceramic and stoneware materials.
If you have used these items before in any range, be sure you don’t do the same with your toaster oven. Your toaster oven elements and traditions have the ability to break and crack your ceramic and stoneware-made containers.
Parchment paper: If the company or manufacturer of your appliance does not list parchment paper for use, don’t try to use it.
Indeed, parchment papers can act as a fire hazard in any oven, whether a toaster oven or a conventional oven.
Closer heat elements can cause burned parchment paper, and it can damage appliances while burning meals.
Instead of this, use a Silpat as it’s a non-hazardous mat. It’s highly restricted to not being used in halogen toaster ovens.
Styrofoam containers: you may have styrofoam-made cups, balls, boxes, or food containers.
The actual fact is that styrofoam is a processed material made from expanded polystyrene.
This material things unable to support heat, and high temperatures can melt and damage styrofoam containers.
However, before using any container, first read the label.
Bakeware made of glass: Glass bakeware does not withstand heat. It means you cannot put glass-produced containers in the toaster oven because of heat.
If you use it in the oven, it can overheat the container and might cause shattering. Moreover, it can damage the interior of your toaster oven while breaking the container itself.
In fact, you should read the manual first before guessing about things. And if the manual says it’s protected, go further.
Do Not Cook in a Toaster Oven?
If you have access to a toaster oven, you might know well about its advantages, but as it’s the best alternative to conventional ovens, it also has some disadvantages.
For instance, you cannot cook everything into it because of some noticeable cons.
Many manufacturers provide temperature-controlling settings within their toaster oven, but not all of them.
You can find a variety of toaster ovens that have poor heat control. It’s not mean, you cannot cook some meals that required specific temperature settings.
Frozen meals cannot be cooked in toaster ovens if the appliance itself has really bad temperature control. You might fail in preparing meals that require proper temperature and time.
If you do so, you must keep an eye on the devices to look at the status of the dish. Because if the dish gets overheated, it may burn and will not be eaten.
However, if the toaster oven has a proper temperature controller, you should reduce the temperature by 25 degrees for frozen and low-temperature required meals.
Doing this is necessary as it helps to secure the meal from a lot closer elements and small space heat radiations.
If the meal is packed with paper or plastic for cooking, it cannot be put into the toaster oven.
As radiation heat is too hot in the device space, it can melt plastic and paper can be burned.
You should follow the instructions listed on meal packaging to prevent it from burning.
As the toaster oven heats up quickly, it can burn frozen food. However, you still cook frozen entrees by putting them in a metal container and wrapping the container before letting it cook inside the appliance heat.