Turbo ovens cook fast and are easy to clean. They are a good alternative to toaster ovens. We look at how they compare against conventional ovens.
Turbo ovens are pure convection ovens: hot air is blown around the oven to cook the food. It’s like using a hair dryer to cook.
Popular brands include Sunpentown, Aroma and Farberware.
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How Turbo Ovens Work
Turbo ovens don’t look like normal ovens. They look like a goldfish bowl. The food is placed in the bowl and the oven top is used to cover the bowl. The heater and fan are in the oven top.
The heating elements are hidden and do not radiate heat directly on to the food. This means even-cooking, the top of the food will not be burned.
The food is normally placed on a grill to allow hot air to circulate underneath. This also allows fat and grease to drip off when cooking meat. Lining the bottom with aluminum foil makes cleanup easier.
Some ovens are hybrids, combining halogen and infra-red with the turbo oven.
Advantages of Turbo Ovens
While not as widely used as microwave or toaster ovens, turbo ovens do have significant advantages:
- No need to preheat the oven.
- Glass bowl is easy to clean.
- Cooking progress is easily monitored through the glass bowl.
- Versatile. Can be used for anything a normal oven is used for, including baking cakes.
- Can be used as a steamer.
- Oven is hot enough to crisp skin and meat. Most can reach 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Glass bowl can be used to serve food directly to the table.
Disadvantages of Turbo Ovens
Turbo ovens do have issues that need to be considered:
- Grease can build up in the oven top and fan, like in a cooker hood. This is difficult to clean, like in any convection oven.
- The glass bowl is not as rugged as a steel oven. Plastic is sometimes used instead of glass but plastic bowls can break too.
How to Choose a Turbo Oven
Most turbo ovens have similar specifications and features, with only minor differences:
- Glass bowls last longer than plastic and don’t discolor from the heat. The only issue is that they break more easily if dropped. Some models use glass bowls from well-known brands such as Pyrex (Corning) and Arcopal.
- Most turbo ovens will come with a low grill and a high grill, to allow two levels of food to be cooked at the same time.
- A combination stand/handle is provided with some models, useful to keep the hot bowl off the kitchen counter.
- Turbo oven bowls can reach 10 to 12 quarts, with diameters of 12 to 14 inches. Some have extender rings: glass collars to extend the height of the bowl when cooking large food items.
- Maximum power ranges from 1300 to 1500 watts, about the same as toaster ovens. Controls are like those on toaster ovens: temperature, timer.
Turbo Ovens Versus Conventional Ovens
Anyone considering a toaster oven should take a look at turbo ovens. Their many unique advantages make them a good choice for home use.
Slow cookers should also be considered.