BLACK+DECKER Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake Review
Pros: Inexpensive, good overall baking performance
Cons: Poor tempertaure accuracy, results can be less than consistent
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The BLACK+DECKER Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake is the perfect budget option for those that want an easy way to make standard meals, but those that seek out recipes with higher degrees of difficulty may be disappointed by its propensity for temperature inaccuracies.
The Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake provided good but not spectacular results in our baking tests.
Every item we pulled out of this oven tasted good but had some minor imperfections. For example, chicken drumsticks were fairly evenly cooked with crispy skins, but the meat was slightly on the drier side of things. Cookies likewise cooked evenly but tended towards the crispy side of things, which is great, but even recipes that were meant to produce chewy cookies came out relatively crispy. The cakes we made also lacked a little moisture and some surface areas browned a bit more than others, but still provided enjoyable afternoon treats for the office.
The Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake also provides an air frying setting, a unique feature, particularly for an oven in this price range. However, we weren't impressed with the setting. Air fry is meant to make things crispy and/or cook faster by quickly circulating very hot air. When we engaged this setting, however, things like tater tots failed to come out particularly crispy unless we let them cook for considerably longer than the recommended time.
Overall, all of these items tasted good, but none elicited the, "Oh my I can't believe this was made in a toaster oven," response that some of the top models garnered. Therefore, we think most people we be more than pleased with the Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake's results. However, if you're one that likes to make minor changes to fine-tune recipes in order to maximize the results, the Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake may lack the consistency needed to make those efforts worthwhile. This is certainly a utilitarian tool rather than a gourmet one.
Ease of Use
The Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake's operation is simple enough, but some aspects of that operation could be a bit more convenient.
The process of using the Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake is quite straightforward. There are three knobs — one to select the cooking mode, one to set the temperature, and one to set the timer. However, these knobs are labeled with relatively small writing that can be hard to read, and there is no digital readout, meaning there is no way to verify that you've turned the knob to the exact temperature or time that you want. Additionally, the door will slam down onto the counter if you don't guide it down with your hand. While this is a minor thing, those of us that were used to ovens with spring-loaded doors got an unpleasant surprise every time we opened the door.
On the good side of things we found it quite easy to clean the Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake. The oven compartment is roomy and doesn't have many places for grease and grime to hide, making it easy to wipe out. The Crumb tray also fits snugly and slides in and out without much effort.
This is where the Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake really struggled in our tests, which makes it a no-go for those that will be baking temperature-sensitive items.
In our testing the Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake never managed to nail a temperature setting, with the actual temperature always differing from the set temperature by a relatively wide margin. The one saving grace is that it always ran hot, so you could counteract this somewhat by setting the temperature a bit lower. However, the degree to which it runs hot is not consistent either — it usually ran 15-30˚ hot in our tests, but sometimes was as much as 50˚ above the set temperature, and occasionally only 5˚ over. Therefore, you can't really assure that you'll get the exact same results from a recipe over and over.
Akin to its performance in our baking tests, the Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake cooked frozen foods effectively, but with some inconsistencies.
The frozen pizzas we made with theExtra Wide Crisp N' Bake consistently came out crispy on the top and a bit softer/doughy on the bottom. For those that like a softer crust this is great, but we found it difficult to get a crispy crust without overly browning the cheese. Frozen tater tots were a similar story, with some cooking faster than others. We got better results if we shook the tray a few times during cooking.
The Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake produced quite consistent toast in our testing, but displayed some cold spots around the edges of the cooking chamber.
We were impressed by the Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake's toast, with both sides receiving even browning and taking on a nice texture. However, if you cram the toaster full of bread the toast near the edges and the door come out considerably lighter than those in the center.
Though not a top-performing model, the Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake offers good all-around performance for a relatively low price, making it a great option for those shopping on a budget.
The BLACK+DECKER Extra Wide Crisp N' Bake is one of the best low-cost toaster ovens we've tested, offering all most people want and need from a countertop oven for a below-average price. Just don't expect any gourmet miracles from this wallet-friendly machine.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell