Brava Smart Oven review
Countertop ovens can be excellent alternatives to traditional ovens. However, their features and functionality vary greatly from one model to another, making it challenging to sort through the options to find one that’s easy to operate and will speed up cooking times with great results.
Brava claims to have the solution with their smart oven. The company promises the appliance is simple to use and can cook food in less time than traditional ovens. Pick your recipe, put the food into the pan and let the oven do the rest, with no preheating time needed.
We decided to put the company’s claims to the test to see if the Brava Smart Oven could actually speed up cooking times and turn out properly cooked food. We also compared it to countertop convection ovens, which are designed to cook food faster than traditional ovens. Here’s what we found.
Testing the Brava
To test the Brava Oven, we put it through the paces cooking all types of meals in different arrangements. These included lunches and dinners with steak, chicken or fish, as well as various types of veggie side dishes such as sweet potatoes, asparagus and green beans. We also tested different doneness options for the steak, from medium-rare to medium-well, to see how accurately the oven cooked. We also tried both skin-on and skin-off chicken, and bone-in and boneless.
In the morning, we used the Brava for breakfast, putting eggs, breakfast meats, and toast, bagels or English muffins all into the oven at the same time. We made sure to test different doneness levels on the eggs as well.
What is the Brava?
The Brava is a high-tech countertop appliance that aims to replace your countertop oven and toaster in one device. By using a combination of visible and infrared light to cook foods via direct energy transfer, it cooks faster and is more efficient than radiant heat and hot-air ovens.
The Brava Oven is designed to make it easy to cook multiple foods — including items like meats and veggies or toast and eggs — all at the same time and without having to worry about one getting overcooked while the other comes out underdone. This is made possible by a combination of zone heating and eight temperature sensors that allow it to automatically adjust the temperature in specific areas of the oven.
The Brava makes it easier for inexperienced cooks or those looking for convenience to create delicious meals without a lot of time, effort or know-how.
How to use the Brava
The Brava Smart Oven seems a bit intimidating at first, but is actually quite easy to use once you familiarize yourself with navigating its touch-screen menu. Despite its many features, non-techy people shouldn’t have any trouble setting it up and operating it.
To use the Brava, start by touching the screen to wake it up. Next, pick the recipe you want to cook and follow the instructions that appear in the top right-hand corner to prepare the ingredients. It also tells you which of the Brava pans you should use. If you don’t want to follow the recipe guide, you can choose a specific food and portion size.
Once your pans are prepped with all of the ingredients, slide them into the oven on the specified tray level and stick the probe into your protein. If you accidentally put the pan on the wrong tray level, the Brava will alert you.
Next, swipe through the rest of the recipe options, which include choosing your doneness setting and specifying a thickness to your protein. It will automatically choose the temperatures of its various zones as well as the cook time. When you get to the final screen, a button lights up green to let you know that the Brava is ready to start cooking.
If you don’t want to use the automated cooking features of the Brava countertop oven, you have the option of selecting everything manually. Choose the type of cooking, such as sear, roast, reheat or bake, and then the temperature and cooking time.
Key features of the Brava
The Brava Oven has many features not found in regular kitchen or other countertop ovens. Perhaps its most innovative feature is the zoned light-based heating that allows you to cook multiple items on the same tray of food, and for the same amount of time, without anything coming out overdone or undercooked.
Another feature most people will appreciate is the touch-screen menu with step-by-step recipes that make it easy to create great meals. The Brava, which connects to your home Wi-Fi, is regularly updated with new recipes every week.
The Brava includes a removable probe on the inside of the oven that you can stick into your protein to monitor the temperature during the cooking process. You can check it at any time via the display panel or by using the Brava app on your iOS or Android device. There’s even a camera inside the oven if you want a live view of your food.
Other top countertop ovens
This attractive countertop oven offers a nice mix of features and aesthetics. Its stainless steel exterior and sleek menu give it a premium look, while the five independent quartz heating elements and hot air circulation provide even heat throughout the cooking chamber.
The Toshiba Digital Toaster Oven is a great kitchen addition for anyone on a tight budget. It has three rotary dials on the front that allow for simple operation, and the cooking chamber is large enough to accommodate 4 pounds of chicken.
The Livenza 9-in-1 was built with a focus on convenience and versatility. It has seven cooking methods, one of which is air frying, and it preheats 60% faster and gives off 30% less heat than many other ovens.
The Brava costs between $1,295 and $1,695, depending on how many accessories you want. The cheapest option comes with two cook trays and accessories, while the most expensive includes nine. Color options include silver, red and black.
Where is the Brava sold?
The Brava is available on the Brava website.
The Brava cooker offers several benefits over other countertop ovens. It makes preparing meals easy, even for those who aren’t proficient home cooks. The ability to place everything in the oven together without having to worry about food getting burned is extremely convenient. After putting your food in the oven, the Brava handles everything else so you can go about doing other things.
While not perfect, it does a good job of achieving the proper doneness on proteins without requiring you to constantly monitor its progress. You can also use Brava’s app to see how your food is doing.
The included nonstick pans are very easy to clean because food rarely sticks to them. Also, perhaps due to the innovative light-based heating, the interior doesn’t seem to get dirty as quickly as regular countertop ovens. Anything that splatters onto the sides or high-temperature cooking lights seems to just burn away on its own.
We also liked that the Brava not only comes with a large variety of recipes to choose from, but also that new recipes are added every week, so you shouldn’t get bored with your options. All of the recipes are designed to be easy to follow.
The Brava’s main drawback stems from the same thing that makes it so great: its specific cooking methods and recipes. It was designed with such a focus on convenience, and for users to choose from its preprogrammed cooking options, that it can be difficult to adjust settings freely. While it can be done, it requires a bit of a learning curve. We would have preferred it to be easier to create custom programs for meals that aren’t part of the Brava’s recipe list.
Should you get the Brava?
If you’re looking for a timesaving, convenient way to prepare meals without much effort or culinary knowledge, the Brava Oven will be an excellent addition to your kitchen. We found that it expedited our cooking time and prepared our food well. Though very expensive, it will probably reduce the number of times you eat out per week, so you may find that it soon pays for itself.
On the other hand, those who enjoy cooking and who like to experiment with their own recipes may find the Brava Smart Oven feels restrictive, at least until they become proficient at adjusting the various settings manually. Also, its small size compared to a standard kitchen oven means that it isn’t ideal for preparing meals for large families. It comes with a free 100-day trial, so you can test it for a few months and see if you like it.
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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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