My recommendation to the question of how long to preheat a toaster oven is to usually preheat it for 5-7 minutes.
The minimum we should preheat a toaster oven for is 5 minutes.
Some of you might have the impression that all ovens should be preheated for 15-20 minutes. It applies in some cases but not here.
I would say that the 20 minute preheat time should be regarded as universal for big home ovens.
Home ovens are a lot bigger than the small countertop toaster ovens that we’re focusing on in this discussion.
Naturally, they take longer until they reach the desired temperature for our recipe.
We have: 5 minutes on average for countertop toaster ovens and 15-20 minutes on average for big home ovens.
There are also a couple very big exceptions to this 5 minutes on average preheating time for toaster ovens rule.
If we want to bake a pizza on a baking stone, then we’ll have to preheat for however long the baking stone requires. That will mean at least 30 minutes. Some will need 45 minutes, it also depends on the thickness of the pizza stone.
Another exception is if we use a Dutch oven or a bread cloche for baking bread. We might want to preheat either of these two empty with the lid/dome on for about 30 minutes and then bake our bread.
How Long to Preheat Toaster Oven: 5 Mins on Average
The general preheating time for smaller ovens is 5-10 minutes. 5 minutes is enough for really small models. The bigger ones might take just a bit longer.
On the other hand, a big home oven will take longer until it heats up all that big space at the desired temperature.
Another example in this area is that basket air fryers only need 3-5 minutes to preheat because they have such small chambers. That’s an aspect that makes us declare that air fryers don’t consume that much electricity because they cook food fast and we don’t need to wait for 10-15-20 minutes until we can cook.
Moreover, preheating time in a toaster oven and any other oven also depends on the temperature we need the oven to reach.
If we bake at 350 degrees F, preheat time will be shorter than if we bake at 450 degrees F. That’s quite logical.
Of course, baked goods demand more precision both in the temperature we set the oven at and in the preheat time we set up.
On the other hand, if we cook meats or casseroles, stews, and many other dishes, then preheating time and even the precise cooking temperature won’t have such a big impact as it’s the case with baked goods.
Thus, it also matters what we’re cooking.
And what we’re baking in/on, as you saw in the two examples that I offered as exceptions: pizza stone and Dutch oven.
How Long to Preheat Toaster Oven: Concrete Examples
The best way to approach a talk focused on the subject of how long to preheat a toaster oven is to look at some of the most popular toaster ovens at the moment and to see what they recommend.
Thus, whenever we want to know something about our kitchen appliance, whether it’s a blender, an air fryer, a toaster oven, a microwave oven, an indoor grill or whatever else we might be using, we should first consult the user manual.
Whenever I buy an appliance, the first thing I do is to read the user manual entirely and then to experiment with whatever instructions are written there. That’s just my approach.
And I’ll take the same approach here.
Besides checking the user manual for various toaster ovens to understand how long to preheat a toaster oven, there is another thing that can guide us in this matter.
Whatever recipe you’re making, they’ll most likely indicate how long the oven should be preheated for.
Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Toaster Oven 6 Slice
We could say that the 6 Slice Toaster Oven from Hamilton Beach is one of the most basic we could buy. It’s also among the most affordable ones.
We get three buttons: temperature dial, function dial, timer. And an ON indicator light.
Temperature goes up to 450 degrees F.
Functions are: bake, broil, toast, convection,
The recommendation from the user manual is to let the oven preheat for 5 minutes prior to placing the food in the oven.
The 5 minutes are enough because it’s a small oven.
Oster and Cuisinart also recommend preheating the oven for at least 5 minutes. Oster might recommend 5-7 minutes.
Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro
This is so much more than a toaster oven. We get a bunch of functions and so many interesting things.
However, it’s also one of the most expensive countertop ovens or air fryers on the market.
Moreover, it’s not called a Smart Oven for nothing.
Preheating time is handled by the oven. We don’t have to set a time for it.
According to the user manual, if we want to bake or cook food, we start by selecting the cooking function, and then by pressing the Start/Stop button.
The button will illuminate red, the LCD will illuminate orange and the oven alert will sound.
Next, the LCD screen will indicate a blinking PREHEATING. When it completes the preheating cycle, an alert will sound. And then we can cook and bake. A countdown for the timer begins.
Thus, it’s done automatically and we don’t need to worry about setting a time.
As you can see with this Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro, in some cases the question of how long to preheat a toaster oven is determined by the appliance and not be us.
The same instructions also apply for the cheaper and smaller versions of this one, the Breville Mini Smart Toaster Oven.
Cosori Air Fryer Toaster Oven
This is another model that resembles the one from Breville.
Preheating is once again done automatically so we don’t have to worry about setting up a time.
When it’s done preheating, it beeps several times.
Moreover, there’s also a 10 minute window for us to put the food in, in case you can’t do it as soon as the beeps start.
If you want to pass the automatic preheat cycle, you can push Start/Cancel one more time and it will pass it entirely and you can get to cooking right away.
Is it essential to preheat our ovens?
Most of the time, it’s absolutely essential, like when we make baked goods. Those absolutely need it so don’t skip it whether you’re making bread, pizza, cookies, cakes, muffins, etc.
However, if we cook casseroles, mac and cheese, stews, lasagna or other foods that require long cooking times, we can skip preheating if we don’t want to wait.
The consequence is that we will need to increase cooking times by a bit so we’re not exactly escaping it.
If we skip preheating the oven, cooking times indicated in a recipe will no longer apply. It will take a bit longer until the food is ready.
Preheating an oven is simply allowing the air inside the oven to reach the temperature we need to bake or cook at.
Certain reactions happen when our food is placed in a hot chamber. We need that blast of hot air that hits our face when we open the oven door to hit our foods so that the magic can happen.
That’s also why we heat our pan or griddles first. We don’t cook on cold cooking surfaces.
The hot air makes the yeast go into overdrive.
It activates the sugars in vegetables to make them deliciously caramelized.
It makes cookies set around the edges, puffs up the layers of pie dough, etc.
All in all, what we truly learned in this guide on how long to preheat a toaster oven is that it’s definitely recommended to include this step in our baking and cooking and that it’s no hardship since, in general, it only takes about 5-7 minutes.