Can You Really Make Salmon In A Toaster Oven?

Air fryers are all the rage these days. After all, who wouldn't love the nifty kitchen appliance that turns out crispy foods fast, sans frying oil? However, deceivingly, the air fryer doesn't actually fry — as the definition of frying means to cook in hot oil or fat. In actuality, the air fryer really is a countertop convection oven marketed as something new and sleek, resembling the design of a fryer basket. And because they are everyone's favorite new kitchen gadgets, there are a flood of air fryer-specific recipes gracing the internet and social media.

But toaster ovens are countertop small ovens, too, so what's the difference? The key difference is that the air fryer contains a fan to evenly distribute heat, like in a convection oven, while a toaster oven radiates heat from the bottom, like in a standard oven. Both appliances are great alternatives to cooking a wide range of meals that side-step turning on your oven, or pan frying stove-top and perfuming your whole house. Quite frankly, the toaster oven has been pushed from the spotlight by the air fryer, and it's time to give it some love for its nearly identical abilities.

A popular TikTok recipe trend is air frying salmon. For example, @lowcarbstateofmind's viral video of "perfect air-fried salmon" earned the TikToker 25.5 million views. Another inventive salmon bites recipe by @saucedupfoods caught the eyeballs of 6.1 million people. But if you're like many who haven't pulled the trigger on the air fryer, fret not. It can be just as easy to cook salmon in your toaster oven.

It's actually quite easy to make salmon in a toaster oven

In May, The Smart Cookie Cook shared a classic toaster oven-baked salmon recipe that follows very similar motions to how you would bake a filet of salmon in a conventional oven. They both yield a tender, flakey filet, but because of the toaster oven's smaller size, it takes less time and energy to preheat. Additionally, you, the cook, hold more power in terms of making temperature adjustments — for example, if you need to crank up the heat in a standard oven, the larger volume takes longer to heat than a toaster oven.

J. Kenji López-Alt developed a super speedy, five-minute toaster oven miso-glazed salmon recipe — beat that air fryer! His recipe utilizes the broiler setting on the toaster oven, blasting the salmon at high heat for a short period of time, resulting in a lightly charred exterior and flakey, moist center.

In fact, nearly every advantage the air fryer supposedly has over cooking in a conventional oven or frying can also apply to the toaster oven: quicker cook time, not heating the surrounding environment, and less energy and oil. This proves that the toaster oven can certainly produce delightful salmon recipes just as well as its much-hyped cousin.