Although I didn’t grow up with parents who spent much time in the kitchen, I’ve grown to love cooking (baking, especially) in my adult years. As soon as the Breville Smart Oven Air came out, it went on my Covet List and I knew I had to review this little piece of kitchen magic.
The Breville Smart Oven Air is so frickin’ beautiful. You know, as beautiful as appliances can be. So beautiful, in fact, that I relegated my microwave to another part of my kitchen so I could put the Breville oven it its place — front and centre for all to see. The handles just happen to match those of my fridge, stove and dishwasher, which was a coincidental bonus.
There are so many settings on the Breville Smart Oven Air that there’s no way I could get to ALL of them before writing this review. And I’m unlikely to use all of them ever because there are some things I just don’t cook. Here are all of the available pre-programmed settings:
- Slow Cook
Because it can toast, air fry, slow cook and dehydrate, getting a Breville Smart Oven Air means less clutter on your countertop or in your pantry. You won’t need to go in search of the air fryer you used perhaps once a month or your dehydrator you used once a year. We completely ditched our toaster when our Smart Air Oven came home, freeing up a lot of real estate on our counter.
For such a compact countertop oven (truly — it’s about the same size as a standard microwave), it sure can cook a good amount of food. From a 14-pound bird or 12 cupcakes to nine slices of toast or a 9″ x 13″ lasagna, there’s no reason why this appliance can’t replace your oven for most of your everyday cooking. It has for us.
And that’s because it takes less time to heat up, cooks everything so evenly and uses far less energy — which, in the end, will obviously cost us less money, too.
The Element IQ quartz heating elements power up like a dream and send heat both above and below the food. I’ve cooked pizza, lasagna, sweet potato fries, toast, bagels, Morning Rounds and banana muffins so far and there have been no uneven spots like you can often get in your large oven, with one corner “done” more than the others.
So that means I’ve used the bake, broil, air fry, toast, bagel and pizza options to date. Oh, and I’ve used the warming option, too, to keep waffles warm as they came out of our waffle iron. I was going to try to dehydrate some apple slices before writing the Breville Smart Air Oven review, but — alas — I had no idea that dehydrating takes a full day or two. I’ll get to that eventually but I’d rather be home the entire time an oven is left on in my home and right now we’re too busy to stay home for two days!
Baking things like muffins has been a breeze. The preheating time is dramatically shorter than my regular oven and my famed black bean brownies (which are probably more like muffins, but whatever) still come out like a charm — and the Breville shaves two minutes off the total cooking time.
I was probably most skeptical of the air fry option, and that’s because the shape of the Smart Oven Air in no way resembles the top air fryer on the market (you know the one…) and — for whatever reason — I thought that spaceship-y look had something to do with how the air is circulated around the foot inside. Clearly, not so. Because I made the yummiest sweet potato fries in my perfectly rectangular Breville oven.
One of my favourite things about using this oven is that you don’t feel energy-wasteful making personal-sized meals. I would have never made myself a single-serve lasagna before owning the Smart Oven Air, because the guilt of heating up an entire oven for a dish with a four-inch circumference would have gnawed at me too hard. But in my compact countertop oven? No question. I make a one-woman-lasagna at least once a week now.
Not only does the Breville Smart Oven Air feature a convection option, but it also has SUPER convection. This is how it creates a bigger volume of air to do things like air frying and dehydrating.
Once it’s all set up, it’s very intuitive. Even my nine year old quickly figured out how to make his morning toast in the Breville Smart Oven Air. Need a few more slices of toast? A little less heat? More time for your pizza? No problem…these are also easy to adjust with a turn of a knob. It’s really the simplest thing ever.
Even though the Breville Smart Oven Air costs about $600, I refuse to put that in the gaffes. Yes, that’s a lot of dough. But we need to consider that it’s going to replace your toaster (mine was $50), your air fryer (about $200), your food dehydrator (around $100 for a good one) and potentially your slow cooker (ours was about $60; but note that I haven’t tested this personally yet so am not sure if it will mean I ditch ours). Right there, you’re at $410 in appliances, so we’re talking about another $190. And that’s without taking into consideration the reduced energy bills from doing a lot of day-to-day cooking in a much smaller oven. This is why, for me, the price absolutely cannot go in the gaffes.
The instructions are not clear about how to insert the crumb tray when you first pull your new Breville Smart Oven Air out of the box. It simply instructs you to “insert the crumb tray.” It does NOT go in the main oven. Instead, you have to close the door and slide it in underneath the door here:
Similarly, I didn’t realize until I watched a YouTube video that the trays go in — what seems like — upside down. This is not a must and they do go in easily both ways, but is especially important if little fingers are pulling out toast or you’re trying to remove a hot pizza tray. Both are much, much trickier if you have these trays in the wrong way up. Be sure to put it in like this:
The glass gets very hot when the oven is in use. I wish there was a double layer of glass or something to prevent this because it doesn’t help me helicopter parent any less.
Like all warming temps, in the Breville or your regular oven, if you’re warming something that was once on the crispy side (like sweet potato fries or waffles, in my case), you need to know that it will not maintain the crispiness. Moving ahead, we’re just going to eat our waffles as they come out of the waffle iron. The sweet potato fries were still really good after being kept on warm, but not as spectacular as the time we ate them straight out of the oven. So keep this in mind. One thing I may try next time for foods like these is to keep it on air fry but turn the temperature down.
4.5/5 (this is probably more like a 4.75/5 but I don’t have that rating in my rating guide)