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What Is an Infrared Toaster?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated May 16, 2024
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An infrared toaster is a small countertop appliance which can heat and cook food through use of radiant heat. Infrared light raises the temperature of food directly without heating the air around it. These appliances typically require a shorter amount of time in which to completely cook food than standard models. This technology can be found in standard slice slot toasters and toaster ovens.

Traditional toasters cook food by heating internal metal coils that warm the air inside the appliance. Food placed inside must then remain in the toaster or toaster oven for an extended amount of time as its internal temperature is raised to match the surrounding air. Toaster ovens often require an additional pre-heat time so that the internal temperature of the appliance may reach a heat level conducive to cooking or heating food. Small sections of food can often be cooked unevenly and burned as a result in these standard appliances when placed too close to the metal heating coils.

The infrared toaster instead cooks food through the use of near and far infrared technology. Rather than heating the air, the infrared toaster heats the food item directly using radiant heat. Infrared light, which is beyond the visible light spectrum detected by the human eye, is directed onto the food. The food absorbs this light and cooks as a result.

Cooking time length can be greatly reduced by using an infrared toaster. No pre-heating is necessary for toaster ovens which also use this method of heating. Some manufacturers claim that infrared technology can reduce the cook time of any food item by 40% to 50% when compared with standard metal coil toasters and toaster ovens. Food items may be fresh or frozen when placed into the toaster, and can be completely cooked through to a uniform temperature using infrared light.

Most infrared toaster models are equipped with additional features to help consumers cook their food more efficiently. These models often include removable crumb trays for easy cleaning. Many provide a shade selector that cooks bread to a degree of doneness ranging between light and dark. Slots are made wide to accommodate bagels and English muffins, in addition to bread slices. The toaster ovens also feature an internal common light bulb that is triggered to turn on when the door is opened, and a glass panel on the door so that food may be viewed during the cooking process.

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Discussion Comments
By backdraft — On Feb 16, 2012

I don't recall ever seeing one of these in stores. Are they widely available or would I have to go to a specialty cooking store? I guess the easiest way would probably be to just look online.

By truman12 — On Feb 16, 2012

I have an infrared panasonic toaster oven and I love it. I have a husband and five kids so we are making a lot of food, all the time.

I can cook up chicken fingers or frozen pizza for the kids in a matter of minutes. I can defrost meat quicker than I ever could in a microwave and I can make frozen french fries in less than half the time it used to take. I don't want to call it a miracle device but it has done wonders for my kitchen.

By tigers88 — On Feb 15, 2012

Wow, I have never heard of an infrared toaster oven before but this article makes me really intrigued. I cook a lot of food on the fly and it would be a big help if I could reduce my cooking time.

How much would I expect to pay for one of these? Is there a big range in quality between the cheap ones and the expensive ones?

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