With all of the healthy kitchen gadgets on the market today, it can be confusing, cluttered, and downright expensive to try and stay on top of the latest trends and technologies. But, if there was one product that encapsulated it all, it would be the Brava oven — a one-stop cooking shop that somehow combines the magic of a convection oven, air fryer, microwave, broiler, pizza oven, and (believe it or not) even more. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to put the Brava to the test — here are my honest thoughts.
(While I did receive the Brava in exchange for an honest review, all of the following thoughts and opinions expressed below are my own and are not influenced by Brava, in any way.)
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What Makes the Brava Oven Different?
At first glance, the Brava oven looks almost like a toaster oven. It is 11.3 inches tall, 16.4 inches wide, and 17.3 inches deep (about the size of a standard microwave), and weighs a hefty 34.4 pounds, so definitely keep that in mind if you live in a walk-up or don't have counter space where it can comfortably live. There is a handle on the front to open the door, similar to your standard oven, and a small touchscreen control center on the top. You'll need to plug it in, so proximity to an outlet is crucial, and it does need ventilation on all sides — Brava recommends a few inches on each side — so you need to be able to use it somewhere safe.
According to Brava, the innovative oven uses a "combination of visible and infrared light to cook food faster and more efficiently than the hot air of convection ovens, or the conduction of stovetops." In the same way that air fryers use air to cook food more efficiently, the Brava oven uses light. But, unlike an air fryer, light can be easily targeted and adjusted to specific areas. This means you can place several types of food on the same tray and cook them at the same time while the Brava uses its smart technology to perfectly cook each appointed section.
The Brava has six high-powered lamps, eight temperature sensors, two particle detectors, and a camera (that you can watch from your phone) and is filled with hundreds of preset cooking techniques, as well as the option to customize your own. The trays that come with the oven are divided into different zones and the Brava will explicitly explain how much food to place into each zone. To break it down even more simply, you can place salmon in zone one, Brussels sprouts in zone two, and carrots in zone three, select the cooking setting for salmon, Brussels sprouts, and carrots, and it'll cook each food perfectly to your liking.
If you have personal preferences for certain foods — like a good char on your sprouts or slightly al dente carrots — you can manually change the cooking time, but the Brava will always have a standard in place, which makes it a pretty effortless and seamless process.
Every Brava Oven comes with a TempSensor (a thermometer that can help with meat and fish) and a Brava Plus Membership for two years, which is in the form of a phone app and can help you brainstorm recipes, troubleshoot any issues, or chat with other Brava users. There are also three options when purchasing the oven: The Starter Set ($1,295) comes with one metal tray and one glass tray; the Bake and Breakfast ($1,495), which comes with two metal trays, two glass trays, one muffin tin, one square pan, one loaf pan, and one egg tray; and the Chef's Choice ($1,695), which comes with all of the aforementioned plus a Chef's pan.
Pros of the Brava Oven
The all-in-one capabilities, the speed at which food is cooked, and the ease of both cooking and cleaning are truly what make the Brava worth it. There is no need to preheat — the oven can reach 500 degrees Fahrenheit in one second — and clean-up only requires a quick rinse of whatever tray you're using (which are all dishwasher safe). It also prepares food in a more efficient way than both a traditional oven and a toaster oven, making it an environmental and economical win.
I've cooked and tested out a ton of different meals, foods, and techniques, and every single time, it's yielded a near-perfect result. I learned that I do like to add a little bit of time to certain veggies to make them extra crispy, but now that the oven has learned my preference it schedules that time in for me. I also love that I can cook both a protein and veggie on the same tray. That is often my roasted dinner meal of choice and, whereas before, I may have had to time them out differently or even use two different trays, I can now cook both at the same time.
This is very specific, but I also love to use it to heat up leftover pizza. There is a setting for reheating pizza during which the oven knows to turn up the heat from below, so the crust can get crispy again, without burning the top — which, anyone who has ever microwaved their pizza knows, is a game-changer. I've also made my own granola, grilled shrimp, and cooked eggs in this oven, always to perfection.
Cons of the Brava Oven
While the pros, in my opinion, outweigh the cons, there are a few things that I think are important to note. First, the unit is really quite large and heavy — granted, I don't have the biggest kitchen, but if you're short on space (and already have a few good appliances and gadgets), it may not make sense to add this into the mix. I can't fit it into any cabinets when not in use, so it stays out on my countertop, which could be a deal-breaker for some.
Another pain point I found is that it does take a bit of getting used to when you're first starting out, which isn't the case for most appliances. The first time I used it, I attempted to make french fries and they took way longer than an oven would have taken. Granted, I was not using it right, so that's on me, but it is a very unique and technologically advanced product that requires a bit of practice.
I also would be remiss to not acknowledge the price — while it does replace the need for most other kitchen appliances and therefore makes up for the hefty price tag, it is still a bit of a splurge.
Is the Brava Oven Worth it?
All in all, I think this is a super cool product. If you are looking for a one-and-done gadget that can cook up all types of food in a healthier, faster fashion, I don't think there's a better option out there. From pizzas and veggies to eggs and muffins, you can make it all.