Why You Should Never Use Glass Or Ceramic Bakeware In A Toaster Oven

Toaster ovens generally come with at least one small baking pan meant specifically for that appliance. Sometimes, there's even a mesh basket for air-frying included. But, any metal pan suitable for roasting, baking, or broiling may be used in your toaster oven as long as it fits. Be careful, however, when it comes to selecting cookware: Even if it's rated "oven-safe" or "broiler-safe" by its manufacturer, bakeware made of glass or ceramics is best left for conventional ovens.

The reason for this is that the heating elements in a toaster oven are located much closer to your bakeware because of the appliance's small size. Ceramic and glass bakeware are both prone to thermal shock, and glass, in particular, expands and contracts when exposed to high heat. When rated "oven-safe" and used in a conventional oven, ceramic and glass cookware are generally safe as long as certain other precautions are taken to avoid thermal shock, such as bringing refrigerated bakeware to room temperature before placing it in a hot oven. But, when it comes to a toaster oven — with that source of heat so close to the bakeware — even "oven-safe" glass or ceramic has a greater likelihood of breaking or shattering. With so many other types of bakeware available, it's not worth taking the risk.

So what type of bakeware should you use?

When it comes to selecting bakeware for your toaster oven, it's always a good idea to consult the owner's manual or check the manufacturer's website for specific guidelines and recommendations. Every toaster oven is different. In general, however, steel or aluminum bakeware are the top choices for toaster ovens, as each responds well to changes in heat and is able to withstand close exposure to the heating elements. Silicone baking mats and small pizza stones designed for toaster ovens are also good options. A readily available quarter sheet baking pan — approximately 9 by 13 inches — can work very well as long as the inner dimensions of the toaster oven accommodate its size.

Perhaps surprisingly, given that they're a little flimsy, disposable aluminum pans can be used in a toaster oven, although care should be taken when handling them, as they are lightweight and not as sturdy as regular pans. The use of aluminum foil in a toaster oven has been called into question by some, but it's generally safe as long as some basic precautions are followed. Don't let the foil touch the toaster oven's heating elements, and never line the inner surfaces of the oven with foil, as that leads to poor air circulation and overheating and is a possible fire hazard.