The Simple Trick To Ensure Food Cooks Evenly In A Toaster Oven

Before the air fryer, we had the toaster oven. Rather than pop bagel bites or French fries into an air fryer and let the magic of hot air do its work, we placed our snacks on a tray, set a timer, and after a bit, we would get golden-brown, perfectly crisp snack foods that took half the time of the oven. Well, that would have been the outcome if you were careful enough. So while the toaster oven is undoubtedly a useful appliance in the modern kitchen, it's a bit finicky to use on the first try.

If you set the toaster oven too low, you'll run the risk of not cooking your food all the way through. On the other hand, if you set it too high, you can wind up burning your meal to a crisp — or worse, causing a fire. Fortunately, using a toaster oven is very easy once you get the hang of it — and learn some easy tricks to help keep your food golden-brown and not charred to a blackened rock.

Kitchen Infinity suggests limiting how much food you put into this appliance, ensuring that not only does everything get cooked evenly, but it also can prevent fire. You can also reheat baked goods, pizza, and grilled sandwiches in your toaster oven thanks to the slow, delicate heating that it oven gives (via Kitchn). But there is one very easy trick to ensure that your foods, leftovers or frozen, can come out perfect every time.

Use a light-colored pan

Chances are, you've been using the same old pan that came with your toaster oven when you purchased it all those years ago. While it's no doubt perfectly fine on its own, perhaps you need to change the style of your pan if you want better results. According to Consumer Reports, switching to a light-colored alternative will make your food much better off.

Now, this isn't because it's a suggestion to make your kitchen appliances look trendy with new colors; there's actually some science behind it. As Consumer Reports explains, a darker pan increases heat transfer to food, which can burn the underside of the meal just as quickly.

Does this mean that all dark pans can cook faster than any other pan? Not exactly, at least according to KitchenSeer. While the dark pan absorbs heat faster than other pans, it only gives the illusion of cooking faster. This is because the edges and bottom of the food may seem done, but the interior may not be cooked all the way through. This could lead to someone accidentally taking their food out long before it's done cooking or burning it after finding out it's not cooked through all the way.

A light pan prevents this, absorbing heat much slower and allowing everything to cook much more evenly. There are plenty of other easy mistakes you can make with your toaster oven, so just be careful what you put in it.