When preparing a holiday meal, your oven is usually tied up with your roast for most of the day.
But you have another oven in your kitchen! It’s sitting on your counter.
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But it can do so much more.
Your toaster oven can actually make your main dish for dinner. And not just any dinner, but your big, laborious, holiday dinner.
Say goodbye to its sidekick reputation and elevate your toaster oven to star status. This year, free up your main oven and let your toaster oven cook this Herbed Roast Beef that serves 10!
One element of an entire meal is not worth sacrificing your oven for all day long, so we developed a recipe that you can pop into your satellite oven, leaving your main oven free for larger dishes that can’t fit in your toaster.
Using your toaster oven for more than just reheating takes the stress off of hosting a crowd for the holidays. This recipe makes timing your meals and getting all the food on the table at the same time more achievable than ever.
The Best Toaster OvensWe baked 10 batches of cookies, broiled 100 asparagus spears, roasted 10 chickens, and toasted a whopping 860 slices of bread to find the very best toaster oven.
Four Steps to a Toaster-Oven Holiday Roast
Here’s how we delivered ease and incredible flavor in a recipe that’s more than 50% hands-off than typical roasts.
- Spread an herb-mustard paste inside the roast before cooking. We cut open the roast and spread this paste (made from minced parsley and thyme, a shallot, and some mustard) inside the meat before closing it back up to get herby, savory flavor throughout.
- Refrigerate the roast for at least an hour before cooking. This time allows the flavors and seasonings from the herb-paste to penetrate the meat.
- Cook the roast low and slow. A long cook time at a low temperature gave us the most evenly cooked interior and a delicately burnished exterior—no need to broil or sear.
- Coat the cooked roast in herb butter and let it sit. We typically let our roasts rest anyway, so we took advantage of this 20 minutes. Using some of the herbs and minced shallot from before, we added that to softened butter and spread that over the resting roast to mingle with the meat juices to create an instant sauce.
Toaster-Oven Herbed Roast Beef
Serves: 8 to 10
Time: 2¼ hours, plus 1 hour refrigerating time
Toaster Oven Setting: Air-fry or convection
Before you begin: Measure the interior of your toaster oven. The smallest oven we tested that successfully completed this recipe was 12½ inches (inside wall to inside wall) by 9½ inches (back wall to door) by 4½ inches (from lowest rack position to top heating element). Confirm your toaster oven allows at least 2 inches of space between the roast and the top heating element.
The coarse texture of kosher salt makes it easier to sprinkle evenly over a large roast; if you don’t have kosher salt, you can substitute table salt, but reduce the amount to 1 tablespoon. The air-fry or convection setting helps to achieve more uniform browning; if your toaster does not have these functions, use the standard bake function.
Herb Paste and Butter
- ⅓ cup minced fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, plus extra for serving
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 (3½- to 4-pound) boneless top sirloin roast, fat trimmed to ¼ inch
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Cornichons (optional)
1. FOR THE HERB PASTE AND BUTTER: Combine parsley, thyme, and shallot in bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons herb mixture to second bowl and stir in oil and mustard. Add softened butter to remaining herb mixture and mash with fork until combined; set aside.
2. FOR THE ROAST: Position roast fat side up on cutting board. Insert knife one-third of way up from bottom of roast along 1 long side and cut horizontally, stopping ½ inch before edge. Open up roast. Keeping knife parallel to cutting board, continue to cut through thicker portion of roast about ½ inch from bottom of roast, keeping knife level with first cut and stopping about ½ inch before edge. Open up this flap. If uneven, cover with plastic wrap and use meat pounder to even out.
3. Sprinkle roast evenly, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Spread herb-mustard mixture over interior of roast, fold back together, and tie securely with kitchen twine at 1½-inch intervals. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
4. Adjust toaster oven rack to lowest position, select air-fry or convection function, and heat oven to 250 degrees. Set small wire rack in small rimmed baking sheet and spray rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat roast dry with paper towels, rub with oil, and place fat side up on prepared rack. Roast until beef registers 115 to 120 degrees (for medium-rare) or 125 to 130 (for medium), 1¼ to 1¾ hours, rotating sheet halfway through roasting.
5. Transfer roast to carving board, spread herb butter over top, and let rest for 20 minutes. Remove twine and slice ¼ inch thick. Serve with cornichons, if using, and extra mustard.