A go-to appliance in most kitchens, the best toasters are surprisingly handy pieces of kitchen tech. From the cheap and basic to the more technologically advanced, toasters can do so much more than make the perfect slice of toast, including crisping up waffles, bagels, crumpets, veggie burgers and sweet potato.
But in this post, I won’t be talking about all the things you can cook in a toaster, but instead, the foods that you shouldn’t cook in a toaster. While some of the foods on this list might surprise you, they really shouldn’t be popped in your toaster to avoid excess mess and potential fires. For example, despite Jamie Oliver talking about flipping his toaster on its side to make cheese on toast, many fires have sparked this way so it’s best you use your toaster upright… and avoid using them to cook the following 5 foods.
Before I get into this list which will only be focusing on food, it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that you shouldn’t be putting anything in your toaster which could catch fire or electrocute yourself. This means no utensils or silverware should go in your toaster to pry out a stuck piece of bread, and parchment paper and aluminium foil shouldn’t make contact either.
1. Buttered bread
Starting off strong, you shouldn’t be putting buttered bread in your toaster. While this method might sound like you’re killing two birds with one stone, the butter on the bread will melt inside the toaster, making it extremely messy and sticky. As a worst case scenario, the butter could potentially spark and catch fire which isn’t safe and puts a dangerous spin on a simple slice of toast. With anything you’re spreading on your bread, including butter, jam, peanut butter or chocolate, you should always toast the bread first before slathering on your spread of choice.
This is a quick PSA to anyone listening (or reading in this case): stop trying to make grilled cheese in your toaster! Grilled cheese, cheese toasties, cheese on toast – whatever you like to call it – shouldn’t be put in your toaster for many reasons. As the cheese melts, it gets gooey, sticky and messy, meaning your grilled cheese might stick to the inside of the toaster and be hard to get out. The general clean-up after this will be tedious and time consuming, too. Putting the mess aside, the cheese and heat in the toaster can catch fire. If you’re making cheese on toast (which tends to be one piece of bread with cheese on rather than a sandwich), many people choose to flip the toaster on its side to melt the cheese. As mentioned previously, your toaster shouldn’t be used on its side as you’re more at risk of a fire, and as you’re changing how the appliance cooks, the cheese and toast will cook unevenly. It’s just not worth the hassle… or the potential fire, of course.
There are many kitchen appliances that can cook bacon, from ovens and grills to pans and even toaster ovens. But your regular ‘pop-up’ toaster isn’t one of them. In general, there are better cooking methods you can use to make crispy bacon so it doesn’t make sense to put it in a toaster. As bacon and other meats can be fatty, the oil from the bacon will drip into the toaster which makes it hard to clean and can make your toaster smoke or catch alight. The force of the bacon popping out of your toaster can bring hot oil with it which can splatter and burn you. If you’re trying to make a bacon sandwich, step away from the toaster and use the best oven, grill or frying pan instead.
4. Garlic bread
Can you cook garlic bread in a toaster? Yes. Should you? Probably not. Similar to buttered bread, the butter from your garlic bread will drip which causes a mess. If you’ve made your own garlic bread with chunks of garlic, the garlic can easily burn which will fill your kitchen with smoke and an unpleasant smell. It won’t make your garlic bread taste good, either. Simply put, garlic bread tastes better and is less likely to burn if you put it in the oven.
5. Leftover pizza & fried food
This might be controversial as I’ve seen many sources raving about cooking leftover pizza and fried food in a toaster. However, most of the research I’ve looked at recommends either heating up leftover pizza in a toaster oven or putting it in a toaster-safe bag before putting it in a regular toaster. But if you don’t have toasting bags, all the grease and melty cheese from your pizza or fried food will flood the inside of your toaster, making it messy and unsafe. Like grilled cheese, people put their toaster on its side to heat up pizza, which as discussed above, you shouldn’t be doing. To reheat your leftover food, a quick zap in the best microwave or under the grill will give you the best results.
P.S. For more cooking tips, check out what NOT to cook in an air fryer, a multicooker or Instant Pot, a barbecue, a slow cooker, a non-stick pan and a microwave.