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Small Appliances

Tovala Smart Oven and Smart Oven Pro Review

Tovala delivers two smart ovens and delicious meals—here’s why we love it

Left: Tovala Smart oven open with a tin of food inside. Right: Tovala Smart Oven Pro on a white counter with a plate of food in front of it. Credit: Reviewed / Danielle DeSiato / Tim Renzi

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  1. Product image of Tovala Smart Oven

    Tovala Smart Oven


    • Tasty pre-made meals

    • Organized packaging

    • Convenient app


    • Can't cook more than 2 servings simultaneously

With the stressful hustle and bustle of everyday life, wouldn't it be nice to press a button at the end of the day and have a fresh, tasty meal ready to eat?

That's what Tovala aims to provide, with its smart ovens and meal kit delivery service combination.

After seeing this trendy brand advertised all over TV and social media, we had to try it out for ourselves.

About Tovala

Tovala Smart Oven Pro on a white counter with food in front of it and tins and utensils on the counter.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

Tovala Smart Ovens and meal kits pair perfectly for a technologically advanced way to make dinner simpler.

Tovala makes two smart countertop ovens and offers a corresponding prepared meal delivery service designed to make home cooking easier than ever.

The Tovala meal subscription offers more than 30 meals per week to choose from, with several that allow you to customize the protein or include a dessert. The meals are also categorized by Calorie Smart, Gluten Friendly, Carb Conscious, and Vegetarian options.

Each Tovala meal kit box comes with a unique QR code that gets scanned by the machine and automatically sets the specific cooking parameters for each recipe. So once you unbox your meals and complete some (very minor) preparation, you just place the food in the oven, scan the QR code, press ‘Start’ and let the oven do all the work for you.

But the smart ovens aren't just for Tovala meals alone. These Smart Ovens can air fry, bake, and broil—and the Pro oven adds steam to the mix. They also come with handy accessories like a pot holder, air fry basket, and baking sheet.

When you use the ovens with the accompanying Tovala app, you can easily make your own recipes—think everything from homemade pizza to a rib-eye steak. Just follow the steps provided in the app and let the oven handle the rest.

The scanner can also recognize certain store-bought frozen foods, so all you have to do when preparing a batch of fries or Eggo waffles is scan the barcode with the machine, or find the item in the app, and press "Start."

How we tested the Tovala Smart Oven and Smart Oven Pro

A person scanning a Tovala recipe card on the Smart Oven Pro.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

Cooking Tovala meals is as quick and easy as scanning a barcode.

We originally tested the Smart Oven Pro, which uses steam to enhance cooking. We received two week's worth of Tovala meals—eight in total—and prepared them in the Tovala Smart Oven Pro. Throughout the process, we took note of how the meals tasted, what it was like to prepare them, how easy the appliance was to navigate, and more.

When Tovala released the latest Smart Oven, which features an improved air fry function (but no steam), we put that one to the test for a few weeks with Tovala meal kits, homemade meals, and frozen foods.

What we like

The meals are delicious and easy to prep

Two fully-cooked meals.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi / Monica Petrucci

We tested Tovala meals in both the Smart Oven and Smart Oven Pro and were impressed with the variety and quality.

We weren’t sure what to expect from our first Tovala meals, but we were definitely impressed.

Although we were skeptical about putting things like a piece of raw chicken and a tray of uncooked rice next to each other with the same cooking settings, it worked well every time. Proteins came out moist and fully cooked, while grains were perfectly tender without getting dried out.

Vegetables also come out of the Tovala Smart Oven perfectly roasted. When we served roasted broccoli to a guest who thought she didn’t care for the veggie, she was so surprised by how delicious it was that she immediately ordered her own Tovala.

The provided sauces and dressings are all tasty as well. Dishes like shawarma-spiced chicken breast with lemon garlic rice and crunchy veggie salad were satisfying and delicious.

There was some welcomed diversity on the menu, too. Highlights included Mediterranean-seasoned chicken breast with creamy dill rice and lemony roasted broccoli; coconut-crusted salmon with rice, mango salsa, and chimichurri; and kung pao braised beef and fried rice.

The instructions on the provided recipe cards are very clear and easy to follow, with never more than a couple of simple steps to combine the already-prepared ingredients. So if eating freshly made food is high on your priority list—but you hate cooking—this is a fantastic happy medium.

It’s a great countertop oven

Left: fried chicken, Right: French fries, both made in the Tovala Smart Oven.
Credit: Reviewed / Danielle DeSiato

The air fryer function on the Tovala Smart Oven turns out crispy chicken and French fries.

When we tested baked goods in the Tovala Smart Oven—whether it was biscuits delivered from Tovala or homemade chocolate chip cookies—the oven did an excellent job. Preheating was also exceptionally quick.

The Smart Oven with air fry function is the latest addition to the Tovala lineup, and it lived up to our expectations. Air fried chicken, frozen sweet potato tots, and standard frozen fries all came out crispy.

The Tovala app even has built-in cooking protocols for all of the foods we tested, so we didn’t need to look up cook times or adjust settings ourselves.

The app is clever and convenient

Left: A hand holding up a smartphone displaying the Tovala app. Right: A person wearing a smart watch that says the food in the Tovala oven is ready.
Credit: Tovala / Danielle DeSiato

This app can guide you through homemade meals, grocery lists, and more.

The Tovala App is extremely user-friendly. It's a required download in order to activate each oven, and it features a list of Tovala-compatible frozen foods (including tested-and-approved Wildgrain!), recipes that can be made in the ovens, and more.

We loved that our phones and smartwatches both notified us whenever the Tovala meals were ready (which is important, since they could overcook if left in too long), and that we could check in on how much time was left in a recipe by looking at the app.

The packaging is organized (and cute!)

A prepared Tovala meal in two rectangular tins on a white counter.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

Storing and unboxing Tovala meals was a breeze, and the mini trays make prep easy.

Each Tovala meal arrives in its own individual little (recyclable) box with a recipe card, tin trays for cooking, and individually packaged ingredients. The fresh proteins, like meat and fish, are shipped in separate, vacuum-sealed bags.

This made it easy to keep track of each recipe's ingredients without making a mess in the fridge. The Tovala boxes also feature the cooking time and best-by date on the exterior, so you can keep track of when to eat which meal throughout the week.

Tovala meal boxes are compact, which makes them easy to stack in the fridge, and Tovala provides detailed information on how to recycle everything after use.

What we don't like

The Smart Oven Pro has a weak air fryer

Cooked french fries.
Credit: Reviewed / Monica Petrucci

The fries we cooked in the Tovala Smart Oven Pro were not as crispy as we would've liked.

The Smart Oven Pro focuses on the addition of steam for optimal texture in cooking a wide variety of foods. While there are many benefits to that, we found that it negatively affected the air fry function on this model.

Even though we specifically tried the air fry function on a brand of French fries listed in the app, the results were not on the same level as those of our favorite air fryers. The fries came out soggy on the inside of the pan and burnt toward the edges, without that characteristic crispiness that we look for in air fried foods.

Some agitation or shaking halfway through could have improved the results, but the machine doesn’t give an alert during cooking the way that many traditional air fryers do, so you’d have to set a separate timer.

It's not ideal for cooking two different meals at once

The Tovala smart oven with prepared meals.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

Tovala ovens are designed for one- and two-serving meals.

Currently, there's no way to order a large, shareable meal from Tovala. You can always increase the number of meals delivered each week (which can go up to 16), but they'll always arrive in separate boxes.

While you can cook two of the same exact meal together (with the same settings), different meals have to be cooked in the smart oven separately. And more than two meals won't fit at the same time.

We were able to cook two different meals at the same time because they both included the same protein and had the same cooking time indicated on the recipe card. However, this is a risk because there’s no way to know the exact intended settings for each meal and it wouldn't be possible for meals that cook for different amounts of time or at different temperatures.

That means if you're used to sitting down to meals with your whole family, Tovala meals might not be the most convenient option.

Should you buy a Tovala Smart Oven and meal kit subscription?

The Tovala Smart Oven Pro in a white kitchen with two plates of prepared food in front of it and a Reviewed towel hanging from the handle.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

Whichever Tovala oven you choose, you can't go wrong with this smart appliance and Tovala meals.

Yes, if you want a smart countertop oven and quick, easy meals delivered

If you're intrigued by the idea of a tech-savvy appliance that takes the guesswork out of cooking, Tovala is a great fit. It cooks pre-made meals with specialized settings that make cooking and cleanup quick and effortless.

While Tovala, with its smart ovens, is a unique option in the world of prepared meal delivery services, its meals are delicious and the accompanying appliance is well made. It's somewhat of a hybrid brand, and we love to recommend it.

The Tovala meals are tasty, and the smart ovens are incredibly useful tools to have in the kitchen—even if you take a break from the meal delivery service. They preheat quickly and the air fry function on the Smart Oven is excellent, while the steam function on the Smart Oven Pro could easily become your go-to for reheating leftovers.

There is a price difference between the two ovens, but Tovala offers a discount on the appliance when you commit to a minimum meal kit subscription. Whether you want to add a steam oven to your kitchen, or prefer the air fryer route, you can’t go wrong with a Tovala oven and meal kits.

If you're just looking for meal kits to pair with your existing appliances, check out our favorite meal kit delivery services—many of which offer more variety when it comes to special diets and serving sizes. And if you’re looking to upgrade your toaster oven or air fryer, check out the best air fryer toaster ovens we’ve tested.

Buy now at Tovala

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