Review: Breville Toaster Oven (of awesomeness)

I have long wanted a really good toaster oven. One that had decent capacity, was versatile, and insulated such that it doesn’t lose a ton of heat when sticking food into it. As well, I can’t deal with poorly designed products and will often choose dead simple over a full featured item simply because simple is harder to screw up.

After 8 months of research and comparisons, I finally settled on the Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven. It isn’t simple and it certainly isn’t cheap, but the Breville is really quite an excellent piece of technology.

The Breville’s controls are straightforward. You select the mode first, then there are two additional dials that configure, effectively, temperature and time. For toasting, the two additional buttons select slices and darkness; seemingly silly, but it actually works quite well!

As well, the toaster oven has a convection setting and a “frozen” setting that automatically adjusts the cooking times to account for cooking frozen foods. The “frozen” button is the one feature that borders on frivolous gadgetry. Then again, cooking random frozen foods really isn’t a part of our diet. If it was, the adjustment it makes actually does make sense.

The interior capacity is large enough to bake a 13″ pizza or roast a whole chicken (though you might have to cut it into two halves). Combining decent insulation with high wattage, the Breville both heats relatively quickly, holds heat well, and the outside does get warm, but not terribly hot.

When the internal rack is in toasting position, opening the door magnetically slides the rack out a few inches. Very convenient.

All in all, the Breville is a well engineered kitchen tool. It can easily replace your toaster and can often fill in for your full sized oven while both pre-heating more quickly and using less electricity overall. And, of course, the Breville can act as a secondary oven for those times when you need two ovens.

Since the addition of the Breville to our cooking toolset, it sees daily use.

In particular, we use the Breville for:

Toast & Hot Sandwiches
Well, it is a toaster oven after all! And toast it does!

One advantage over a regular toaster is that you can toast bread of any thickness, including bagels, muffins, and the like.

Better yet, it is possible to make a delicious hot sandwich in the toaster oven without frying in a pan in butter or oil. It is just a matter of layering the meat on top of one piece of bread and the cheese on the other. Mayo, mustard, and the like can go between bread and meat/cheese, shielding it from direct heat.

Once done, slap the two halves together and your delicious sandwich is done.

It is quite easy to throw together a quick dough, slather on some sauce, spread on some cheese and bake up a delicious pizza in the Breville. Or most grocery stores have a pre-made dough that is pretty cheap.

One of the joys of making your own pizza is that you can put whatever toppings you want on it. You would be surprised at just how delicious, say, a pear, duck breast salami, and cabernet goat cheese pizza is!

Whether it be fingerling potatoes drizzled in olive oil and rosemary or a lemon-honey game hen, the Breville does a great job of roasting foods. It pre-heats more quickly than a regular oven and, with the insulation, holds heat well and is fairly efficient.

The Breville also does a fantastic job of cooking fish. Sole drizzled with balsamic, olive oil, and truffle salt is just wonderful.

One of the advantages of a toaster oven with a decent seal is that it holds more moisture in as there is simply less volume for the humidity to spread across. Roasted foods turn out quite deliciously juicy!

Dinner Biscuits or Bread
Often, a touch of fresh baked bread or biscuits makes a meal. The Breville does a fine job baking up a quick batch of biscuits or a freeform loaf of bread. It will do so faster than a regular oven and if you are using your oven for other purposes, the Breville can backfill to bake bread, biscuits or — even — a pie.

All in all, a great tool. I’m sure I’ll continue to use it regularly and I’m sure I’ll discover more uses over time!

6 Responses to “Review: Breville Toaster Oven (of awesomeness)”

  1. Jeffrey J Hoover says:

    Wow. That sounds very nice; I must admit I’m balking at the price. We’ve gone the other toaster oven route and have gone through three or four B&D Toaster ovens at a cost of between $25-$40. Did you look at anything in the $100 price range? Delonghi has one that doesn’t look too bad…

    Thanks Bill

  2. bbum says:

    I looked at a slew of toaster ovens and concluded that anything int he $100 price range would either seriously irk me or break within a year or so (not too mention the lack of efficiency). Or the design sucked, or… ultimately, I just couldn’t find anything I liked for less money. (And, btw, I’m a cheap bastard– the reason why it took me 8 months to make this decision was because the $250 price point was offensive).

  3. Mike says:

    Ah, I’ve been waiting for this review. 🙂

    Just from looking at your pizza pic from Twitter, I could justify the $235 price tag. It’s still a ridiculously expensive toaster oven, but here’s the thing: I don’t own a microwave. I use a toaster oven exclusively for all my leftover heating needs, and I don’t miss the microwave one bit.

    Right now the toaster oven I’m using is a cheap Rival oven from Wal-Mart that I’ve had for almost seven years, and it still works good, although it really can’t do more than warm up food and toast bread. When the toaster oven finally craps out on me, I would buy that Breville in a heartbeat. I still have no real use for a microwave, so putting the money towards a kick-ass toaster oven instead is no problem.

  4. nikt says:

    Toaster ovens are excellent tools for more geeky pursuits, too. Such as soldering SMD parts and steel annealing.

  5. janine says:

    Just out of curiosity, did you compare to the Krups and if you did, how did it fare? I have the Krups 6-slice FBC2 model (though it’s really a 4 slice model with normal sized bread). I’ve been happy with it for what I’ve used it for, but I haven’t tried making pizza or really anything else I’d call actually cooking, except for making baked potatoes.

    It was expensive, especially for what I use it for, but I’m with you 100% on the cheaper models driving you nuts. Or just not lasting, making them just as expensive over time. I decided a long time ago that the kitchen is a place where it pays to have good equipment.

  6. Valerie Bright says:

    Whenever I’m in the mood for a quick breakfast, I just crack open a couple of eggs and drizzle them over a slice of bread (whole grain is my favorite) and then pop it into the toaster oven. Set it at 300 degrees for about 4 minutes and voila! A delicious egg and toast breakfast. Can makes a fantastic egg sandwitch lunch too.

    If you’re like me and you love Breville’s toaster ovens, check out their juicer products too. I find they are really good at helping you get all the fruit and veggies you need in your diet but in a really fast and fun way!

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