So you thought the toaster oven was just for making toast? Think again. Aside from the usual bread with melted cheese, your toaster is capable of a lot more than you ever gave it credit for. Despite what you’ve heard, it’s possible to make a quick and delicious lunch, dinner, or snack with only your toaster oven. It’s not just an appliance built for breakfast! Check out these 10 recipes for some great toaster oven hacks you haven’t thought of before and need to try immediately.
1. Lazy Grilled Cheese
This is more a set of brilliant instructions instead of a recipe. Take your upright toaster, turn it on its side. Carefully place a piece of bread with a very flat piece of cheese (try provolone, muenster, Swiss, any slice deli cheese will work). Repeat your method, slap the two pieces together and voila: perfect grilled cheese. Get the recipe here.
2. Twice Baked Potatoes
If you’ve got a potato, you’ve got dinner. This recipe for twice-baked potatoes is simple and the bacon and cheese combo is unbeatable. For an seriously rich potato, use some of the extra bacon fat on the inside of the scooped out potato skin. Get the recipe here.
3. Basic Baked Eggs
With some ramekins and dozen eggs, you can make quick baked eggs that are great paired with a crusty baguette and a salad for a light lunch. Add a little bit of milk or cream to the eggs to add a bit of creaminess. Get the recipe here.
4. Toaster Bacon
If you’re making a BLT for lunch, don’t bother dirtying up the stovetop and use the toaster oven to cook up some crispy and delicious bacon. If you are cooking bacon with a lot of fat be careful to watch as it cooks in case there’s an excessive amount of grease. Get the recipe here.
5. Hash Brown Cups
These parmesan hash brown cups are a great vehicle for any snack – throw in some crème fraiche, roasted vegetables, or a poached egg. Use a small six-cup muffin pan that will fit in the toaster oven and you’re good to go. Get the recipe here.
6. Cranberry Orange Toaster Oven Cookies
The joy of using the toaster to make cookies is that you can make one cookie at a time without any fuss. This recipe uses quick-cooking oats and includes dried cranberries, orange zest, freshly squeezed orange juice, and whole wheat flour for a healthy take on an afternoon snack. Get the recipe here.
7. Toaster Oven Hardboiled Eggs
Eggs in the oven? It’s unusual, but a great way to make do if you’re without a stovetop or can’t boil water. Using a toaster oven takes a little bit longer (about 30 minutes) but if you’re making a big batch of egg salad you can easily scale up and put the whole dozen in the toaster at the same time. Get the recipe here.
8. Spinach Artichoke Dip
A rich and creamy dip that’s definitely not low-cal. Use a small toaster-safe dish to cook half the recipe at one time and freeze the other half – the toaster is a great way to make smaller portions. Get the recipe here.
9. Portobello Pesto Burgers
A vegetarian burger you can cook in the toaster – it’s hard to believe but it’s just as juicy and flavorful as any veggie burger you’ve ever eaten. Packed with pesto flavor, this is a healthy recipe you can make with just a few ingredients. Get the recipe here.
10. Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers
A great recipe if you want to make just a few stuffed peppers, this combination is irresistible. Cream cheese, sour cream, scallions, cilantro, and lime juice make for a zesty mix that cooks up in the toaster oven in a matter of minutes. Cook until the cheese filling just starts to brown. Get the recipe here.
Caitlin M. O’Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC’s best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.