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I will admit that I’ve been known to embrace kitchen gadget trends. In my kitchen you’ll find an InstantPot (I still use it!) and there’s a sous vide wand (this, not so much), but I’d really avoided getting an air fryer. No matter how many types of air fryers you threw at me or YouTube videos singing its praises, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. It seemed like a waste of counter space to me. Folks, I finally caved, but what I got for my capitulation was so much more: the Breville Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro.
Yes, this countertop cube can air fry, but it has been so versatile, it has taken over a lot of the duties previously assigned to my full-sized oven. I’m baking cookies, roasting chicken, making sweet potato fries, reverse searing my steaks, reheating pizza and even toasting waffles for my son in the morning. One of my favorite uses is to use the air fry feature (essentially a high-powered convection oven) to roast my vegetables to a deep brown or even char I struggle to get in my standard oven. This oven is my Brussels sprouts’ best friend.
Why I’ve come to like this oven so much is that it has been able to generate more heat than I anticipated and then do it with more precision that my gas-powered standard oven. The temperature can vary widely with that big oven, but when I’m making salmon or roasting chicken or reverse searing steak, I really want that heat accuracy the Joule gives me.
There are a host of smart options for this oven as well, integrating recipes from great chefs including Gregory Gourdet, Eric Adjepong, and Claudette Zepeda. You can connect the oven to your phone to help guide you through the steps to prepare a dish. It’s not really my style to use these features as usually cook using an amalgamation of different recipes, but it was helpful to me as a reference for time and temperatures when using the oven. I could definitely seeing other home cooks making use of the features more than me.
Now, there are limitations, as you’d expect. You can chalk most of those up to its size. Braising in my large Le Creuset doesn’t happen in this oven and it would have been comical to try to squeeze my Thanksgiving bird in here. Also, if you’re making cookies on half-sheet pans, you won’t be able to bake them in the Joule, you’ll have to use quarter sheets and do a lot batches. And while there is a pizza setting on the oven, I much prefer to use my Baking Steel under the broiler in standard oven to get results that are closer to restaurant quality from my pies.
So I’m not firing my standard oven, but it has been demoted.