How to Toast Bread in an Oven

And other ways to make toast without a toaster

Sheet Pan French Toast on a sheet pan

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

We’ve all been there: maybe the cabin you booked for a weekend getaway is missing a toaster, or yours has just decided to stop working. Never fear! You can toast bread without a toaster—in an oven, under the broiler, on the stovetop, or even in an air fryer.

How to Toast Bread in an Oven

The same appliance that baked your bread can also toast it to perfection. And because you can use both oven racks with this method, you can make toast for a crowd relatively quickly—and each piece will be ready to eat at the same time.

Note that it’s best to start with room-temperature bread for these methods. If you’re toasting bread straight from the freezer, you may need to add a minute or so to the cooking time. Double-check your slices to ensure you’re not stuck with cold or frozen centers.

To make toast in the oven, preheat your oven to 350 F. Layout however many slices of bread you need to toast in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake the slices for around 10 minutes flipping them and rotating the pans at the five-minute mark. Check for doneness towards the end of the bake time to account for variations in oven temperature (and how dark you like your toast).

If you have a convection oven, making toast is even simpler, as convection is designed to make foods deliciously browned and crisp in less time than a conventional oven. For this reason, you’ll need to tweak the recipe a bit so you don’t end up with burnt bread.

There are a couple of different ways to convert this method for a convection oven: One is to use the same cooking time (10 minutes) but set the oven to 325 F. The other is to stick with 350 F, but cut down the bake time by 25 percent—so seven to eight minutes total, still flipping each slice halfway through.

How to Toast Bread Under the Broiler

Looking for a quick way to toast bread in the oven, especially for a crowd? Use the broiler. Its more intense, direct heat is great for adding that crunchy, kissed-by-fire texture and roasty, toasty flavor. 

To make toast with your oven’s broiler, first set the oven to broil and allow it to preheat. Meanwhile, layout your slices of bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. When the broiler is ready, place the baking sheet on the top rack of your oven (or whichever rack is closest to your broiler—on older ovens, the broiler may be in the bottom drawer).

Your toast should be golden brown and crisp after about two minutes. But since ovens vary, it’s a good idea to check your toast after the first minute, especially if it’s the first time you’re making toast with your broiler.

How to Toast Bread on the Stovetop

Maybe you don’t want to turn on the oven for just one or two pieces of toast—that’s understandable. Making toast in a pan or skillet on the stovetop is a great option for smaller batches. This method also gives you a little more control over the doneness of your toast than the oven or broiler methods do.

To make toast on the stove, heat a skillet over medium to medium-high (you can use nonstick, cast iron, or stainless steel; since most nonstick pans are made of light aluminum, you might want to go with medium heat). Add a little butter or olive oil, then add your bread. Cook for a couple of minutes until the first side is crisp and golden-brown (or however you like your toast). Flip and toast the other side, then serve.

Can You Toast Bread in an Air Fryer?

Yes, the trendiest kitchen appliance right now can also make you toast. Many multi-function air fryers even come with a toast setting. If yours does, you can follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

For air fryers without a toast setting, here’s how to make toast in an air fryer: Put two slices of bread in the air fryer and set it to 400 F. There’s no need to preheat, and it’s best not to use a liner.

Air fry the bread for around four minutes, although thinner slices could be done in as few as three minutes. Keep in mind that once the moisture has been driven out of your toast, the fan of the air fryer might cause it to move around. Don’t be alarmed—this just means your toast is done. Remove the toast and apply butter, jam, peanut butter, or whatever condiments you prefer.

How to Rescue Burnt Toast

One advantage of the toaster over these methods? Your toast pops up when it’s done—and as long as you’ve got the settings right, you don’t have to worry about your toast burning or becoming overcooked.

These alternative methods—oven, broiler, and stovetop—offer some useful advantages, but they do leave a little more room for human error. So what do you do if your attempt to toast bread without a toaster goes awry?

Depending on the severity of the char on your bread, you might be able to simply scrape away the blackened bits, revealing crunchy, golden-brown toast underneath. You can do this by scraping a sharp knife over the burnt portion of the bread—just do it over the sink or trash can, so you don’t get burnt crumbs everywhere.

Another method for saving burnt toast is using a box grater to remove the blackened layer, revealing the tasty toast beneath. Start with the coarse side, gently rubbing the burnt area of the toast against the grater, then move to the finer side and rub again until the blackened bread is removed.

Toast too far gone? Salvage it as best you can, then let it stale and turn it into croutons or breadcrumbs.