Why is Your Toaster Oven Smoking & How to Fix It

Smoking Toaster Oven

Smoke coming from your toaster oven can cause you to panic, but there’s usually an easy fix for this problem.

A toaster oven may start smoking due to oil and grease build-up, food debris left inside, or the use of cleaning solvents. If the toaster oven was in storage for a long time, it may have accumulated dust and debris that could be burning off. Additionally, new toaster ovens may emit smoke during their first few uses.

As you can see there are a few reasons for toaster ovens to start smoking, but once you identify the cause, solving the issue is quite simple (unless it’s a malfunction). Keep reading to discover the appropriate actions to take when your toaster oven is smoking, depending on the underlying cause

Why is My Toaster Oven Smoking?

Your toaster oven may be smoking because of food splatters, dust, or even cleaner residue. Toaster ovens can also smoke when they are new or if they haven’t been used for a long time.

Oil and Grease

When you are cooking fatty foods, grease and oil may splatter in the toaster oven. When the grease or oil comes into contact with the heating elements, your toaster oven may start to smoke.

The best way to minimize the chances of this happening is to cover foods with tin foil or an oven-safe lid. This will help contain the splatter of oil and grease so it doesn’t touch the hot elements.

Cleaning your toaster oven regularly will prevent the build-up of oil and grease. Use warm water and soap to wipe down the rack and interior of the oven after it has cooled completely.

Food Debris

Your toaster oven might be smoking because there are bits of food in the bottom of the oven. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to cook your food on a tray or baking sheet. Don’t place food directly on the toaster oven rack.

Food can also get stuck on the heating element if there is not enough space between them. Make sure to leave enough room above your food so it does not come in contact with the hot element.

Let your toaster oven cool completely after using, then use soap and warm water to clean off any bits of food. It is much easier to clean at this point than after it has sat for some time and hardened.

Cleaning Solvents

If you have recently cleaned your toaster oven, this may be the cause of the smoke. Some cleaners can leave a residue behind that will smoke when heated. 

Soap and water are usually enough to clean your toaster oven. If you are using other solvents, be sure to thoroughly rinse after with a wet cloth. This will get rid of most of the residue so that your toaster oven doesn’t smoke.

Toaster Oven was in Storage

Sometimes your toaster oven will smoke if you haven’t used it for a long time. Depending on where you have stored your toaster oven, it may have accumulated dust and debris while sitting.

The first time you use your toaster oven after taking it out of storage, clean it first. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the interior and exterior. This will remove any dirt or dust that could cause it to smoke.

New Toaster Oven

A small amount of smoke coming from a new toaster oven is normal. Manufacturers use a factory coating to protect the toaster oven until it gets to the consumer. When the toaster oven is heated, this coating can produce smoke and odor as it burns off.

When you purchase a new toaster oven, you should wash it with soap and warm water before letting it dry thoroughly. Then heat your empty toaster oven at high heat for five to ten minutes. Any remaining coating will burn off in this time.

If your new toaster oven continues to smoke after the first couple of uses, there may be a safety issue with it. 


When there is no clear reason for your toaster oven to be smoking, it may have a defect. You may not be able to see the problem but there might be an internal problem or wiring issue.

Any safety problems with your toaster oven are an indication that you should replace it. Do not attempt to fix any electrical or internal issues with the toaster oven as this can cause electric shock.

What to Do When the Toaster Oven Starts Smoking?

If your toaster oven starts smoking, it’s important to act quickly to avoid any potential fire hazards. First, turn off the toaster oven and unplug it from the power source. If the smoking persists, do not try to open the toaster oven or put anything inside of it. Instead, move the toaster oven away from any flammable materials and let it cool down. Once it’s cool, you can try cleaning the inside of the toaster oven to remove any burnt debris that may be causing the smoke.

If cleaning doesn’t work or if the smoking persists, it’s best to stop using the toaster oven and either have it repaired or replace it with a new one.

There is always a risk when your toaster oven is smoking that it may catch fire. If this happens, unplug it first, then put out the fire. Use a fire extinguisher or smother with a fire blanket. Do not hesitate to call emergency services if you cannot control the fire.

Safety First, Toasting Second!

A toaster oven is an economical, efficient appliance to have in the kitchen. Following a few simple steps will help you use it safely.

Always cook your food on a tray, not directly on the rack. Clean your toaster oven after each use to remove food, grease, and oil. 

Keep your toaster oven in a spot that allows for adequate airflow around it. Unplug the toaster oven when not in use and regularly inspect cords for any damage or discoloration.

Larry Flynn

Hi everyone! My name is Larry Flynn and I've been working in the kitchen appliance industry for decades. From manufacturing to retail and everything in between. My latest hobby is running this website, where I share all the knowledge I gathered throughout the years in the industry. I also run a small toaster repair shop in downtown NY, and collect vintage toasters.

One thought on “Why is Your Toaster Oven Smoking & How to Fix It

  1. I almost got a heart attack when my new toaster oven started smoking. I never knew about the factory coating but seems like that was the issue. Thanks for the article.

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