Can You Bake Cookies in a Toaster Oven?

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10 minutes
July 7, 2022
Carole Jones

Want some hot, delicious cookies fresh from the oven but really don’t want to heat up the whole house by turning on your regular oven? You have a toaster oven sitting on your counter but can you bake cookies in a toaster oven and have them turn out just as great as from a full-sized oven? YES, you can, and it is very easy. Plus, you can customize your cookie recipe and batch size. All you need are a few tips and tricks to make it work flawlessly, so keep on scrolling!

can you bake cookies in a toaster oven

Is a toaster oven really an oven?

From a technical standpoint, any piece of equipment that evenly radiates heat in an enclosed space is an oven. So yes, a toaster oven is technically an oven. In fact, the current air fryer obsession is quite funny because they don’t fry anything. They are small convection ovens and do a great job of crisping food because of the convection—no “frying” involved.

Differences between toaster oven, conventional oven, & convection oven

To understand how to be successful baking cookies in your toaster oven so they turn out just as perfectly as using a traditional oven, first let’s understand the differences. That knowledge and understanding are essential to perfect sweet treats every time.

Conventional oven

Most likely, this is the type of oven you have in your kitchen right now. It uses either electricity or natural gas to heat food from the bottom of the appliance. This tends to create hot spots, so conventional ovens do require rotating baked goods for even browning. It is what most recipes are written for using because it is the most common type of oven found in the US currently.

A conventional oven has two racks inside and can easily fit a baking sheet across its width. While you can bake on both racks at the same time, it isn’t ideal because it doesn’t allow the heat to reach evenly.

Convection oven

This type of oven circulates hot air from the back of an oven using a fan, allowing food to cook faster and more evenly. There is no need to rotate the pan during cooking. Some ovens allow for both a conventional setting and convection setting based on what you are cooking and what style would work best.

A convection oven also has two racks like a conventional oven, but because the blowing fan allows for the inside to heat evenly, both racks can and should be used at the same time. No need to use only one oven rack at a time.

Toaster oven

A toaster oven is a countertop appliance, not something built into your home. Though both go on the counter, it is different from a countertop oven. It uses electricity, and because it’s small, it heats up quickly. Toaster ovens are great for small spaces, like small apartments, and small-batch cooking. But they’re also perfect for summer recipes, since their size means they don’t heat up the entire house the way your conventional oven does. 

Toaster ovens typically have heating elements on both the top and bottom. A convection toaster oven will also have a fan to move the heat around, like a convection oven, but that’s less common.

Equipment needed

This cookie baking technique is simple! All you’ll need is a few kitchen items, a toaster oven, and, of course, cookie dough! Make sure you have enough dough—these fresh cookies will be in high demand.

Large bowl. If you’re making cookie dough from scratch, you’ll need a bowl large enough for the batch you want to make. Because they’re small, toaster ovens lend themselves to small-batch cooking, but you can make as much as you want.

Hand mixer. Though not necessary, a hand mixer—or a stand mixer—is always helpful when mixing cookie dough. Growing up, my mom always mixed her cookies by hand, and that’s how I made cookies, too. But when I got married and got a stand mixer, I realized how much easier it is to mix cookie dough with a little extra help.

Baking pan. Also called a baking sheet, baking tray, or cookie sheet, you’ll need a sheet for your cookies to bake on. For a toaster oven, smaller sizes of cookie sheets work best.

Silicone mats or parchment paper. Lining the baking sheet with something prevents the cookies from sticking. It also separates the bottom of the cookie from the hot metal pan, letting your cookies bake more evenly. Silicone mats are a reusable option that are becoming more popular. If you don’t have silicone mats, packages of parchment paper will work just as well. You could line your pan with aluminum foil, but this creates the same problem as the pan itself: the bottom of your cookies are exposed to more concentrated heat than the tops, resulting in uneven cooking.

Cookie dough. You can use almost any cookie dough recipe to make cookies in a toaster oven—sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and more. Just be sure to adjust the oven temperature and cook time based on the recipe. You could even use store-bought Pillsbury cookie dough. If you’re looking for a healthier option, you can substitute half of the white flour in any cookie recipe for whole wheat flour.

Toaster oven. While you can certainly make cookies in a regular oven, a toaster over is easy, fast, and keeps your house cool in the summer while you make soft, delicious cookies for the whole family.

Toaster oven recommendations

If this is your first time baking with a toaster oven before, it can seem intimidating, but I have good news! A toaster oven is fairly similar to a regular oven. Here are a few tips and tricks to make your toaster oven cookies come out perfect every time:

  • Make sure to place your pan of cookie dough in the center of the toaster oven. This makes sure your cookies bake evenly.
  • Line your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. This prevents the bottoms of your cookies from burning or sticking to the pan.
  • Use a light-colored baking pan. Like lining your cookie sheet, a lighter-colored pan slows the transfer of heat from the pan to the cookies, preventing the bottoms from cooking too quickly.
  • Clean your toaster oven regularly. Crumbs, grease, and other food remnants cause a burning smell when allowed to live at the bottom of your toaster oven. No one wants cookies that smell charred!
  • Double-check your settings. Just like a regular oven, different toaster ovens will have different settings, so be sure you’re familiar with your temperature settings, bake setting (like bake vs. broil, or conventional vs. convection, if your toaster oven has that option), and temperature control.

Troubleshooting

Overbaked cookies

To prevent overbaked cookies with extra crispy edges, watch your cookies carefully while they bake, especially as they approach the end of their bake time. You’ll know they’re done when they start to look dry and golden-brown around the edges. They might still look wet in the middle, but cookies keep baking as they cool.

If you forgot about your timer and accidentally let the cookies bake for too long, don’t worry—you can still save them. Once they’ve cooled completely, wrap a couple cookies in a damp paper towel and microwave them from 15-20 seconds. That should help them absorb more moisture, softening them. You can also put a slice of bread in whatever air-tight container you store your cookies in. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread like magic.

Additionally, make sure you’re baking your cookies at however many degrees F the recipe recommends. Baking at a higher temperature will bake the cookies too fast, leading to scorched cookies.

Underbaked cookies

It’s important to remember that cookies continue baking as they cool. So if they look underdone right after you take them out of the toaster oven, let them cool before you make your final judgment.

If you’ve let a batch of cookies cool and they’re still underbaked, you can put them back in the oven for a minute or two. Watch them carefully, since it’s easy to go from underdone to overdone with this method. Your cookies will also likely be a little drier than normal, since they’ve had more time for moisture to evaporate, but they are still delicious.

If your cookies are consistently coming out underbaked, it’s probably time to adjust the bake time or temperature of your oven. While the recipe has the best information, things like altitude and ambient temperature affect how long your cookies need to bake, and you might need to just start leaving them in the toaster oven for a minute longer.

Edges done before the center cookies

If only one side of the pan is done before the rest, or all the edges cook faster than the center cookies, make sure you’re placing the pan of cookie dough in the center of the toaster oven. You can also reposition the oven rack, making sure it’s in the middle of the toaster oven. If this is still a problem, you might need to rotate the baking pan halfway through or bake fewer cookies at a time.

Cookie Recipes to use with the toaster oven

Any drop cookie recipe will bake nicely in a toaster oven.

What are drop cookies?

Cookies made by dropping balls of dough from a cookie scoop (or just a regular spoon) are considered drop cookies. This includes chocolate chip cookies, some sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, and many others! Scroll down for a few of the best cookie recipes to make in a toaster oven.

Swig Sugar Cookies

This Swig sugar cookie recipe is a perfect one to test out in the toaster oven. It uses simple ingredients—like flour, white sugar, powdered sugar, and eggs—that you probably already have, so you won’t even need to make a trip to the store.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Another great option is these deliciously thick & chewy chocolate chip cookies. These use brown sugar and bread flour for a rich flavor.

Chocolate chip cookies in the toaster oven have so many options! If you want some cookies with a little twist, try peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

Other cookies to try

If you’re a chocolate lover, try these fudgy cracked chocolate cookies.

Browned butter snickerdoodles make a perfect non-chocolate treat. 

Or, if you love pumpkin flavor all year round like me, make peanut butter pumpkin cookies.

When you try this out, let me know how it went in the comments! Which cookie recipe is your favorite to make in the toaster oven?

Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

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