How bad is nonstick for you really? There are a lot of opinions on that. I personally choose to avoid it considering that some studies show that the chemical, PFCs, found in nonstick, has been linked to lower birth weights (1), abnormal thyroid hormones, inflamed liver, and a weakened immune system (2). If you breathe in fumes from overheated nonstick, you can develop “Teflon flu,” named for the flu-like symptoms you get from it. My understanding is that companies phased out the much-hated PFOAs in 2015, but still contain PFCs.
That said, it’s probably fine if it’s not heated above a certain temperature. The problem is, that is far easier to do than you’d think. It’s advised not to cook above medium heat when using nonstick, and to avoid cooking things like steak on it. A study found that the pan cooking steak over high heat reached a high temperature in under ten minutes. If you are heating oil in a light weight pan, it can also reach too high of temperatures within 2 ½ minutes. (3)
So when I was looking to buy a long desired toaster oven (we had a used one from a friend for a while that finally quit), it was with some dismay that I realized that almost all of them were coated with nonstick. While I wasn’t planning on using them over 500F, I was cautious considering how easy it was to overheat a nonstick pan. I wondered how high of a temperature the sides of the toaster oven really got considering how close they were to the heat source. I felt uncomfortable with that, and so wanted to avoid it. We needed a toaster oven desperately as we would be living without an oven for over six months, so I buckled down and did some homework on the topic.
Before I go any further, I’ll say that while I’ve included Amazon affiliate links, this post is not underwritten by any company, and I purchased my toaster oven myself. I just wanted to share the good news about this nonstick-free toaster oven that has met our needs so well!
Because we were going to be using this toaster oven a lot it needed to be large, hold up to daily use, NOT have nonstick, and heat evenly for baking and toasting. It was a high order, and I almost gave up but low and behold I found one!
At the time that I was researching, the Breville Smart Oven were getting rave reviews everywhere online. And I’m not going to lie. Even when I found out that the interior was nonstick, I still wanted one. However, in the end, I wanted to have an appliance that I was comfortable using every day, and kept looking.
That’s when I found that one brand, Waring, had several toaster ovens that did not use nonstick in the interior. However, not all of them got good reviews on Amazon. But their newest (at least at the time) was not only large enough for my needs, but also got great reviews. Plus, it was much, much cheaper than the Smart Oven. So I crossed my fingers and ordered one. This is the one I ordered: Waring Pro Digital Convection Oven.
I have been super happy with it!
It does everything that I wanted it to – it bakes well, it toasts well, it doesn’t have nonstick, and it is solidly built. Even though I now have a full sized oven again, I’m still using it all of the time. It does toast slower than a regular toaster, by the way, but it toasts well. This is unusual for a toaster oven. Plus, you can put up to 6 slices of bread in the toaster oven, so this is great for large families.
We’ve been using it for about seven months or so now, and even though I now have a large oven to use again, I still use it just about every day.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for toaster ovens without nonstick:
- “Stainless steel” toaster ovens are usually talking about the exterior, not the interior.
- We typically think of nonstick as being dark, but apparently some nonstick finishes look shiny and more like stainless steel than our dark baking pans. Never go simply by appearances but double check with the company that it is truly NOT nonstick.
- It can be hard to track down the interior materials of a toaster oven. Sometimes the best thing to do is to go to the company’s website and look at their Q and A page. If the information isn’t there, then sending them an email is your best bet. (I sent emails to Waring and to Breville about their toaster ovens interior).
For example, I have heard rumors that this Cuisinart Convection/Steaming Toaster Oven has stainless steel interiors, which would be great! It’s much more expensive, but if you are an avid baker (perhaps of sourdough), you would certainly enjoy the baking/steaming option on this unit. But before I would buy it, I would contact the company directly to double check on the interior, as I couldn’t find it explicitly mentioned.