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Cuisinart Chef's Convection Oven Review

A great all around performer that was held back due to poor temperature accuracy
Cuisinart Chef's Convection Oven
Credit: Cuisinart
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Price:   $280 List | $250.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Dual cook mode adds versatiliy for complex dishes, included pizza stone
Cons:  Pricey, slightly lower performance than other models in price range
Manufacturer:   Cuisinart
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Oct 25, 2016
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 11
  • Baking - 30% 7
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7
  • Temperature Accuracy - 20% 4
  • Frozen Food - 15% 5
  • Toasting - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Cuisinart Chef's Convection Oven placed itself solidly in the upper echelon of performers in our testing. It received high marks for toasting, baking, and ease of use. The only thing that separated it from the top award winners was its below-average temperature accuracy. This might cause issues if you bake very temperature-sensitive items, but most likely would not be noticeable otherwise. If you're not particularly concerned with temperature accuracy, the Chef's Convection Oven is a great choice.

In our testing we used the Chef's Convection Toaster Oven, model number: TOB-260N. That model has since been discontinued and replaced with the Chef's Convection Toaster Oven, model number: TOB-260N1. After a detailed review of the new model's specifications, it is clear that it is essentially the exact same machine with some minor cosmetic differences. Therefore, we feel confident that our testing results apply to this new model as well.

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Pros Dual cook mode adds versatiliy for complex dishes, included pizza stoneGreat baking performance, great temperature accuracy, can also air fry and dehydrate, flips on its end when not in use to save spaceCompact, great all-around cooking performance, great temperature accuracyMakes great frozen pizza, easy to celan, convection mode, great toastFast and convenient, great toasting quality, great for frozen foods
Cons Pricey, slightly lower performance than other models in price rangeSomewhat expensiveSmaller capacityMediocre temperature accuracy, only average baking performanceSmaller capacity, odd controls
Bottom Line A great all around performer that was held back due to poor temperature accuracyOne of the best multifunction cooking devices on the marketA perfect oven for those that want high performance but don't have much counter spaceA convenient and reliable budget option with reasonable performance at a great priceA small capacity, amazingly fast oven that can also replace 90% of microwave functions
Rating Categories Cuisinart Chef's Co... Ninja Foodi Digital... Breville Mini Smart... Black+Decker TO3250XSB Panasonic FlashXpress
Baking (30%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
Ease Of Use (25%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
Temperature Accuracy (20%)
4.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
2.0
Frozen Food (15%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Toasting (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Cuisinart Chef's Co... Ninja Foodi Digital... Breville Mini Smart... Black+Decker TO3250XSB Panasonic FlashXpress
Outer Dimensions 17" x 12" x 20" 19.7" x 7.6" x 15" 15.5" x 14" x 8.8" 14.5" x 22" x 11.5" 13" x 12" x 10.2"
Maximum Pizza Diameter 13" 13" 11" 13" 9"
Accesories Extra oven rack, Baking pan, Broil rack, Pizza stone Wire rack, air fry basket, sheet pan Baking pan Baking pan, wire rack Baking pan
Power Consumption (W) 1875 1800 1800 1500 1300

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Cuisinart is the only model we tested that comes with a pizza...
The Cuisinart is the only model we tested that comes with a pizza stone.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

Baking


The Cuisinart was on par with but just slightly inferior to the two top performers in our baking test. The only reason it missed out on a higher score was that it was somewhat less adept at retaining moisture. It made cookies with crispy edges and gooey middles that, if anything, were just a tad too dry. It cooked cakes very evenly but again with a slightly drier texture. Its drumsticks were top-notch, but again the meat was just a bit drier than that of the best performing ovens.

The Cuisinart's cookies: somewhat crunchy on the outside, somewhat...
The Cuisinart's cookies: somewhat crunchy on the outside, somewhat dry on the inside. Overall they were some of the better cookies that came out of our testing.
Credit: Steven Tata

Ease of Use


The Cuisinart again sat right behind the top performer in our ease of use testing. It has a solid crumb tray that is easy to remove and clean. A well-lit LCD screen displays all relevant information, and one main knob allows you to toggle through settings. Spinning the knob cycles through the Cuisinart's ten main cooking modes: toast, bagel, waffle, bake, broil, roast, pizza, sandwich, keep warm, and leftover. Pushing the button at the center of the knob selects the cooking mode and turns the knob into a temperature selector. Pushing the button again selects the temperature and lets you then select the cooking time.

Once selections are made, a start/stop button begins the cooking cycle. Convection can easily be turned on and off at the push of a button. It also has a dual cook button. This allows you to program in settings for foods that have two cooking stages. Say you have a dish that requires slow cooking at 250˚ for an hour and then another 20 minutes at 450˚ to brown the outside. You can plug this into the Cuisinart, and it will automatically run through both of those stages with no mid-cycle adjustments required. You can also set the oven to a low temperature, like 150˚, to keep items warm after they finish cooking. Just note that the oven can't cool down instantaneously, so be careful about overcooking things if you use this option.

The Cuisinart's single knob design feels slightly less stremalined...
The Cuisinart's single knob design feels slightly less stremalined than other designs, but is still a pleasure to use.
Credit: Katherine Elliott

Temperature Accuracy


Our temperature accuracy test is where the Cuisinart really fell behind the top performers. When set to 350˚ in our test, the Cuisinart was 10˚ hot at the 15-minute mark and rose to 25˚ hot at the 30-minute mark. It consistently ran 25˚ hot when set to 400˚. When set to 450˚, it fluctuated between 20˚ and 25˚ hot.

Frozen Foods


The Cuisinart shared the bottom score with one other model in our frozen meal preparation test. It was able to cook frozen pizzas fairly evenly on the surface, but it often left the dough at the center quite underdone. We got similar results with tater tots: crispy outsides but insides that felt a bit too soggy. While most of these problems could probably be fixed by lengthening cook times, it is annoying to follow the provided cooking instructions and come out with less than stellar results.

During our testing we felt that the Cuisinart often left the middles...
During our testing we felt that the Cuisinart often left the middles of frozen pizzas slightly underdone.
Credit: Steven Tata

Toasting


The Cuisinart was again just below the top performers in our toasting quality tests. It made phenomenal bagels, on par with the quality of any other model in our test lineup. It toasted faces evenly with just a few light spots. It was also able to leave the backsides untoasted. Its toast map showed a fairly large toasting sweet spot with all three slices in the center of the rack toasting fairly well, but it did produce some light spots near the crusts. The slices adjacent to the sidewalls did come out very light compared to those in the center. Overall we feel most people will be happy with the toasting quality of the Cuisinart.

The Cuisinart was able to make some perfectly toasted bagels.
The Cuisinart was able to make some perfectly toasted bagels.
Credit: Steven Tata

Value


The Cuisinart has a reasonable list price, but other similarly-priced models perform better, so we'd have a hard time calling it a great value.

Conclusion


The Cuisinart is a solid, upper-tier performer that will function well in most kitchens. However, it is priced similarly to other slightly better-performing models, so it would not be our first recommendation for most people looking for a toaster oven. Its dual cook function is unique and interesting and may make this a good choice for people who often cook things that require two different cooking stages.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata