I Tried the ‘Wonder Oven’, and It Changed My Mind About Air Fryers

If you haven’t heard of Our Place by now—wow, what is your average weekly screen time and how can I get on your level? I admire your ability to stay off of social media (or the internet really), because at this point the cookware (and now full-on home goods) brand has become ubiquitous no matter what your “For You” page looks like.

The brand’s first piece of viral cookware was the multipurpose Always Pan; launched in an array of earthy millennial-friendly colors like Spice (coral pink) and Sage (an herbaceous green), it promised to replace all the scratched, mismatched cookware in your cabinets. (If you can’t tell by now, it delivered.) Our Place’s arsenal quickly grew to include the instantly viral Perfect Pot, as well as other ovenware, tableware, and cast-iron and mini versions of its now-classic cookware. The brand’s newest debut is also its biggest departure; this summer, Our Place debuted the Wonder Oven. This new addition to the Our Place family is a six-in-one countertop appliance that promises to bake, air fry, toast, roast, reheat, and broil, all while preheating in under two minutes. 

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Since we’re such big fans of Our Place here at VICE, my expectations were pretty high—meaning, this oven had to outperform your run-of-the-mill tabletop air fryer or toaster oven to even begin to wow me. Everything the brand claimed about this Easy-Bake oven for adults™ sounded too good to be true—like the fact that it “uses significantly less energy, takes less time…and cooks 30% faster than its traditional counterparts, all without overheating your kitchen.” In an attempt to put this Wonder Oven through its paces and see if it was up to snuff, I headed to the Hasidic market in my neighborhood—right before Yom Kippur (whoops)—to stock up on veggies to roast, frozen french fries to air-fry, and the last package of chicken in the entire store to see if this gadget could truly bake juicy chicken and also render crispy skin. 

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I enlisted the help of a friend in the culinary industry because we are our own worst critics (and my dog is not discerning) to test all the functions of the oven and decide once and for all if the Wonder Oven is a worthwhile new kitchen gadget or just another thing to take up space on the countertop. Here’s my honest review. 

First impressions

Not only is this all-in-one oven incredibly lightweight (weighing in at under 12 pounds), but it’s also surprisingly compact. It stands at a very cute 11.6 inches by 10.6 inches by 11.5 inches, and fits snugly beneath kitchen cabinets, with hopefully a bit of extra clearance. The fact that it’s so light means that you could realistically put it away between uses if you don’t have a ton of free counter space, but like most Our Place items, it is attractive enough to keep out year-round. It comes in four muted tones—Steam, Char, Blue Salt, and (the limited-edition) Spice, all of which match the brand’s core cookware colors. I went with Steam, the (non-boring, tofu-colored) beige, and was delighted upon opening up the box to find a beautifully packaged appliance with colorful and well-designed instructions and recipe books that got us up and running in 15 minutes. While we ran the preliminary preheat (for context: Our Place suggests doing so to burn off any dust from shipping), we did notice a bit of a chemical smell, but nothing more intense than when you run a coffee maker for the first time.  

We were surprised by how quickly the oven got hot and enjoyed how intuitive the dials and functions were after a quick scan of the user manual. Before cooking anything, one of our first questions was: “What’s the difference between roast and bake?” According to the handy little quick-start guide, “baking is a form of self-care. With the Wonder Oven, taking care of yourself is easier than ever. Gooey, chewy treats await.” OK, hmm, a little obtuse, but traditional; we get it. Next, we sought counsel on when to use the “roast” function. The answer: when you need to, “quickly roast some sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, or Peking duck… the roast function has got you covered.” Still a little confused, we decided to get to cooking and figure it out, and we appreciated how many accessories the oven comes with—an air fry basket, bake pan, wire rack, and crumb tray. 

What blew us away

In short: everything. I have to admit, I had never used an air fryer before, mostly because I had no desire to fry anything with air, and because I procure most of my deep-fried delicacies a few times a year at San Gennaro or some other neighborhood “feast.” I didn’t think the function would perform any differently from a super-hot oven, but boy, was I wrong. After just 15-ish minutes, we had perfectly crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside (previously frozen) seasoned fries that tasted better than the best Popeye’s fries you've ever acquired. Roasted carrots came out caramelized and crispy, a single semi-defrosted chicken thigh came out perfectly cooked and juicy (with extra-crunchy skin), and toast was ready faster than our two-slot toaster (and browned more evenly). 

We also loved how easy it is to flip from one cooking mode to another, with almost no downtime in between. We went from roasting to baking to air-frying one after another in this small-but-mighty machine. Another thing we really loved was how easy it is to keep an eye on what you’re cooking. If you’re putting the Wonder Oven on a kitchen countertop, the oven’s window is at eye level, is really bright, and is way easier to clean than your gas or electric wall oven.

Whether you’re cooking for one or two people, handling weeknight meals, reheating pizza and leftovers that would otherwise turn to rubber in the microwave, or just looking for an oven that won’t turn your entire apartment into a blazing inferno come summertime, the Wonder Oven truly delivers on its promises in almost every way. 

What fell short

The only real complaint we had was when transitioning from bake to broil; when we attempted to do this, we encountered quite a bit of smoke. That’s bound to happen in any oven if your fat is rendering quickly in a very hot oven, but the Wonder Oven doesn’t have a vent fan like most traditional ovens, so make sure to keep an eye on it and turn on your actual oven’s vent before you inadvertently set off your kitchen’s fire alarm. 

We also noticed that the outside knobs and handle tend to get warm while cooking (especially for longer periods of time), so be mindful and always have a rag or mitt around in case they get a little too hot to handle with bare fingers. Last but not least—and we’re being nitpicky here—but the time knob is a bit hard to turn precisely and starts at 10 minutes, so if you want to cook something for less time, you’re basically going to end up eyeballing it. 

TL;DR: Is the Wonder Oven worth it?

Yes, it 1,000 percent blew us away for its size and price point. What was truly most impressive was the sheer number and variation of dishes you can produce in a small amount of time with just one device. That’s especially surprising given that the Wonder Oven isn’t gargantuan (in fact, its compact size makes it ideal for apartment or small-space living), but its internal capacity is big enough to make dinner for two, and it is way easier and more reliable than a typical oven in a rental. 
The ability to switch between cooking modes in a matter of minutes is something I haven’t seen elsewhere, and if you’ve been wanting an air fryer, I suggest copping the surprisingly affordable Wonder Oven and also ditching your existing toaster and/or toaster oven while you’re at it. In short, I definitely think the Wonder Oven will be the surprise hit of Thanksgiving this year—and would also make a great gift thanks to its charming aesthetics and versatile functionality. 

Chag Sameach!

The Wonder Oven is available at Our Place

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