Does this sound familiar? You find a great pan that’s supposedly designed for “standard-size” toaster ovens. You buy it, bring it home, and womp womp the pan doesn’t fit – it’s too big.
The secret to avoiding this frustrating experience is simple: measure the inside of your toaster oven before you shop. All you need is a few minutes, a tape measure, and this handy guide!
Ready To Measure The Interior of Your Toaster Oven?
Similar to cleaning a toaster oven, always make sure your oven has cooled completely and is unplugged before you start sticking your hands in it.
Step 1: Measure The Length
Most toaster ovens have rack guides on the sides of the ovens that extend beyond the wall. Manufacturers don’t usually take these guides into account when listing the interior cooking space.
In our main oven, a Breville Smart Oven Pro (BOV845BSS), the guides pop out about ¼-inch on each side.
For the most accurate length measurement, place your tape measure against the guides/popouts and not just the walls of the toaster oven.
Step 2: Measure The Height
Next place the cooking rack in the lowest position. Then, measure the distance between the cooking rack and the upper heating elements.
Quick Tip: Try to avoid actually touching the heating elements with the measuring tape. Some ovens use quartz heating elements which are more delicate and easily damaged.
In our main oven, there is a third upper heating element that is used when broiling. It’s in the middle and sits a little lower than the other two elements.
If your oven is similar, you’ll want to measure from the cooking rack to that lowest-sitting top element.
Step 3: Measure The Depth
Lastly, measure from the front of the cooking rack to the rear of the toaster oven.
Some toaster ovens have a curved pop-out in the back of the oven to accommodate cooking a large pizza.
This curved area does not usually go the length of the entire back wall of the oven.
If that is the case with your toaster oven, measure the shortest distance to the back wall and ignore the pop-out.
Okay, I’ve Got The Measurements, Now What?
When I was first searching for pans for our little oven I would keep these measurements in a note on my phone. That way I could easily refer to them when shopping.
The Proper Fit
Just like in a traditional oven, pans and baking dishes should never touch the walls or the door of a toaster oven.
That’s because there needs to be enough space for the oven’s hot air to circulate freely. Using oversized pans and obstructing the oven’s airflow can lead to uneven cooking and other undesirable things (like a potential fire hazard).
For sheet pans, I like to have as much space as possible but at least ½-inch between the oven walls and each side of the pan.
When using covered baking dishes, I try to have at least 1½ to 2 inches of space from the top elements.
The exact amount of space needed is going to depend on your oven. Because there are so many styles of toaster ovens, please read your owner’s manual for specific directions.
In addition to following your manual, you should always double-check the Care and Use Guidelines for any pan or baking dish before cooking with it in a toaster oven.
Learn More >>> 4 surprising Things I’ll Never Use In Our Toaster Oven
Baking Pan Sizes
Now that you’ve got your oven measurements and you’ve read your manual let’s focus on the other side of this pan problem…how to know the size of your baking pan.
When people talk about a pan’s size (like an 8 x 8-inch pan or a 13 x 9-inch pan) they are usually referring to the interior dimensions (measured from one inside edge to the other).
The interior dimensions do not include any exterior handles or the pan’s thickness.
Take our favorite 7 x 5 baking dish. As you can see the exterior dimensions are very different from the interior ones.
This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just something you need to be aware of when shopping online and especially if you’re cooking with a smaller oven.
Lastly, be cautious of covered baking dishes (especially when purchasing online). Often the height listed in the description is only for the dish itself, not with the lid on it.
If you’re unsure about the measurements supplied for a pan or baking dish, just email the company and ask.
It might take a day or two to hear back but if you get to avoid the hassle of a return, I’d say it’s worth the wait.