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I, a pro baker, use this Cuisinart toaster more than my oven — get it on sale

It cooks and bakes just as well as my full-sized appliance, but heats up in a snap without turning the kitchen into a sauna.

Once upon a time, I worked as a professional baker — and while I now test and write about kitchen products, I still love to whip up homemade treats. But, I have a confession: As much as I appreciate having a full-sized oven for, say, large batches of cookies, I often end up using my Cuisinart Toaster Oven for baking projects. This compact wonder does the job just as well, and in less time. And now that we're way into summer, I also like to avoid turning my kitchen into a sauna. Intrigued? It's now marked down to $144 (from $180) at Amazon.

Faster food, cooler kitchen — this compact appliance is a no-brainer, especially during the warmer months. 

$144 at Amazon

Why is it a good deal? 💰

This toaster oven hasn't dipped lower than its current price all year, and in my humble opinion, it's a small price to pay for such a versatile appliance. It comes with a three-year limited warranty for peace of mind (and compared to this Breville Smart Oven with similar specs, it's a steal).

Why do I need this? 🤔

How do I love the Cuisinart Deluxe Convection Toaster Oven? Let me count the ways. I'm fairly confident that anything I could cook in a normal oven, save a Thanksgiving turkey, I could cook in my toaster oven. Speaking of Thanksgiving, this little wonder saved my butt a few years back. I was all set to host, and about a week before the holiday, my oven died. I bought this Cuisinart and prepared every side and pie in it — it saved the day. (As for the turkey, my mother-in-law ended up taking that on!)

Since then, I've found that using this toaster oven for cakes, brownies, baked pasta and even roasted tofu and vegetables is my preferred route. It heats up in no time, plus it can fit a decent amount of food for my small household: six slices of toast, a 12-inch pizza or even a 4-pound chicken. The LED display is easy to use once you get the hang of it; it has six functions, including Toast, Bagel, Bake, Broil, Keep Warm and Reheat (though I tend to use the Bake and Toast modes more often than the others). You select the setting you want using a dial, then adjust the temperature and time with corresponding buttons.

One thing to note: The oven will turn off once the timer goes off, so I like to set it for longer than I need just in case, and set another timer on my phone. Oh, and because it's a convection oven, I find that my food cooks much more quickly than in my standard oven, so make sure to check in more often! That said, the heating is extremely even, and I've never ended up with food that was over- or undercooked.

author photos of a homemade cherry pie and homemade glazed cinnamon rolls, both of which were baked in a Cuisinart toaster oven
A tale of two homemade desserts, both baked in my Cuisinart toaster oven. (Britt Ross/Yahoo Life)

What reviewers say 💬

This toaster oven has five-star ratings from over 1,400 Amazon customers, so I'm far from its only champion.

Pros 👍

"I have been using my new convection oven/toaster almost every day," wrote one happy home cook. "I live alone and most often have no need of using my big oven anymore. I can heat up some fish and chips in just a few minutes, make a quick bread or pan of brownies. It fits on my countertop without taking up a lot of space. It's easy to clean and so far I have not had any issue with the labels on the buttons fading."

"I first experienced this toaster oven while visiting friends," shared another satisfied shopper. "I was so impressed by how much better their bagels were toasted than we'd ever had at home. I called her to find out the exact model. I purchased this model years ago and have never been disappointed. We use it daily and have actually stopped using our toaster completely. After years, it is still working beautifully and still looks like new."

"We are in North Carolina and have had to use toaster ovens for some things in the summers here," explained a third. "The Cuisinart oven can get us small batches of cookies, small cakes and beautiful potatoes au gratin without heating our apartment to 200°. My husband is the chef in the family and he's over the moon that this little oven is actually at the temperature that it was set to! And stays that way until the end of baking. We have never had a small oven that was reliable as to temps."

Cons 👎

"Users should just be aware that the front legs are set well back behind the front of the unit," noted one buyer. "I had a rather heavy load in a baking pan with the rack set in the middle. When I pulled the rack/pan combination out, the entire unit tilted forward. If I hadn't been paying attention, my entire rack and dinner could have been on the counter and floor."

"I have tried quite a few convection toaster ovens and this is one of the best," said a final reviewer. "This Cuisinart maintains the proper temp (even dings when it is preheated) and [has a] great LCD display with easy-to-use control buttons. The only complaint is that it does not have an internal light." (That's one of my biggest qualms as well.)

Grab it before this deal is toast — the price on this popular model usually doesn't get much lower.

$144 at Amazon

To ensure your food is always perfectly cooked, might I suggest a digital meat thermometer?

This top-seller might technically be called a meat thermometer, but don't underestimate its value when it comes to liquids and baked goods. The most accurate way to tell whether food is done is by taking its temperature, and this gizmo presents a reading in seconds. It can measure an impressive range of temperatures — from -58°F to 572°F — and its magnetic back allows you to store it right on the fridge for easy access.

"It is amazing," wrote a culinary pro. "It doesn't use a weird battery, but an easily available AAA. ... It shuts itself off when not in use. Professional chef here, but sometimes like to slightly underdo things, [and] this lets you know. Everything like a cake or bread could be tested, and you can cook with confidence and precision."

$10 at Amazon

If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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