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The Brava Oven simplifies every step of my cooking process

I tried the Brava Oven, which uses light to cook food and can replace your air fryer, toaster, microwave and more.
Image of baked eggs and a Brava Oven
The Brava smart oven cooks food using light technology and it offers functions like bake, air fry, dehydrate and more.Courtesy Zoe Malin

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A smart oven is a multitasking countertop appliance that can air fry, toast, broil and dehydrate foods. While we’ve highlighted smart ovens from brands like Breville, Ninja, GoWISE and more, none of them function quite like the Brava Oven, which uses light (instead of burners) to cook food in specific zones and comes programmed with thousands of recipes that tailor the oven’s settings to the exact ingredients you’re using.

To understand how it works, Brava sent me an oven to try and I’ve used it for over a month. I’ve found the oven to be a great addition to my kitchen — especially if you, like me, are passionate about easy-to-use kitchen appliances that offer way more than you might expect. I also love it because — while you can certainly customize recipes from time to time — the Brava comes with preset recipes to take the worry from cooking. That’s how I use it, at least.

Brava Oven Starter Set

The Brava Oven measures 11.3 inches high, 16.4 inches wide and 17.3 inches long. The appliance’s size is comparable to other smart ovens, but it takes up a good chunk of counter space, in case you have a smaller kitchen. The Brava Oven Starter Set comes with a glass tray and a metal tray, which you put your ingredients on and slide into the oven when it’s time to cook. The oven is Wi-Fi-enabled and pairs with a companion app, too.

One of the reasons I was most interested in trying the Brava oven was because it cooks food using light, which — like I mentioned before — is unusual for a smart oven. Brava is built with six lamps that use infrared light waves to transfer heat into food, the brand says. The lamps heat up instantly, according to Brava, so you don’t have to factor in preheat time while cooking. I found that this shaves off a few minutes while cooking, and if you forget to preheat the oven before you start preparing a dish, it doesn't set you back.

Using those lamps, the oven cooks food in three numbered zones (zones 1, 2 and 3), which correspond to the front, middle and back of the oven, respectively. They turn on and off individually, and when a lamp is heating food in one zone, it doesn't heat the area around it. Brava says this three-zone design allows you to cook up to three different ingredients on one pan — the oven’s touchscreen display has diagrams to show you where to put each ingredient to align it with a different zone. When I made salmon, asparagus and cherry tomatoes using the oven’s recipe, I programmed the Brava to heat beforehand and it automatically cooked each ingredient individually.

The Brava Oven has a built-in internal camera that streams live footage to the appliance’s touch screen and app, allowing you to watch what’s happening inside at all times. When I realized it didn’t have a glass door you can see through to monitor your food, I thought this would be an issue, as I often rely on seeing food cook to determine when it’s done. But seeing the livestream footage eliminated my concern.

The Brava Oven is equipped with 10 manual cooking functions you can access via onscreen buttons: air fry, roast, bake, sear, toast, reheat, rice cook, dehydrate, slow cook and keep warm. The oven’s “cook” tile houses its full list of over 7,000 recipes, or step-by-step directions with animated diagrams that detail which equipment to use and how to set up your oven for success. You can log your own (successful) unique recipes with the oven’s “custom cook” button.

There’s always something new to explore with your oven, too. Once a week, Brava releases new recipes and once a month, it releases software updates that include additional manual cook modes, bug fixes and more. The Brava app prompts you to update the oven or you can install updates through the settings tile.

If you have any trouble adjusting to this new way of cooking, there are also lots of blog posts and video tutorials about the oven’s “zones” available on Brava’s website. Additionally, you can join the Brava Facebook Community to ask questions, connect with other Brava users and share recipes.

Brava TempSensor

My favorite Brava accessory is the TempSensor, a probe you insert into protein like meat and fish that also connects to the oven. The brand says the TempSensor tracks the internal temperature of food and tells the oven when your protein reaches the doneness level you specified to end the cooking period. You can cook protein without the TempSensor, but relying on temperature instead of time to know when food is done helps you cook protein more precisely, the brand says.

There are also notches on the TempSensor probe that allow you to measure the thickness of ingredients. For some cooking functions and preset recipes, you have to tell the oven how thick your ingredients are and make sure that thickness is within an accepted range. If ingredients are too thin, the oven’s lights may not be able to reach them and cooking will take longer.

In addition to the Brava Starter Set, you can choose from two other bundles: Bake & Breakfast bundle, which comes with eight cook trays and accessories, as well as the Chef’s Choice bundle, which comes with nine cook trays and accessories. You can also purchase cook trays and accessories separately, like an egg tray (one of my favorite accessories for making poached eggs), muffin tin, square pan, loaf pan and chef’s pan.

Other smart ovens to consider

The Brava Oven comes at a high price point of over $1,000. If you’re looking for a lower cost option, here are two highly rated smart ovens we’ve previously covered that you may want to consider.

Breville Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro

The Breville Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro is the brand’s first smart product. The Wi-Fi-enabled oven pairs with the Breville Joule Oven app, home to recipes that guide you through the cooking process — you can also use the app to program the oven to cook a specific recipe, set a timer, stop cooking and more. The oven is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Voice Assistant. It’s equipped with 13 cooking functions like toast, dehydrate, slow cook, air fry and more. The Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro has a 4.8-star average rating from 114 reviews on Breville’s site.

Ninja Foodi 8-in-1 Countertop Convection Oven

If you’re looking for a smart oven that’s not Wi-Fi-enabled, this model from Ninja offers eight cooking functions: air fry, roast, broil, bake, toast, bagel, dehydrate and warm. The brand said you can flip it to stand upright when it’s not in use, and the oven is designed with a removable crumb tray as well as a back panel that opens when you need to clean it. Ninja’s oven has a 4.7-star average rating from 20,633 reviews on Amazon.

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