“The Joule Oven app knows food better than I do.”
- Cooks food evenly
- 13 cooking options
- Smart app that works seamlessly with oven
- Eliminates the need for multiple small appliances
- Bagel function doesn't work quite right
We had our doubts when we heard the Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro app helped cook the food it made, but then we tested it. As far as smart ovens go, the app gives it all the brains it needs to cook and bake delicious meals. That said, the app can only do so much, and this oven, with its 13 cooking functions, needs to do most of the heavy lifting. We spent three months putting all those features to the test, and this is what we found out.
The Breville Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro is a little bigger than a standard toaster oven. The brushed stainless steel oven measures 21.5 by 17.5 by 12.7 inches, so it will fit nicely on a counter and even under a cupboard with a little room to spare. But you’re giving up that area of the counter to fit the Joule. Inside, the oven is quite spacious with its 1 cubic foot interior. You can easily fit a whole chicken in there and roast it, air fry it, bake it, or slow cook it.
With 13 different functions, the Joule can handle everything you throw its way.
Speaking of ways to cook, the Joule has got you covered with 13 functions: toast, bagel, bake, air fry, broil, roast, pizza, cookies, proof, reheat, slow cook, keep warm, and dehydrate. It comes with most of the accessories you need to take advantage of all those settings. In the box, you’ll find a 13-inch pizza pan, two oven racks, a broil rack/enamel roasting pan, and a mesh basket for use with the air fryer and dehydrator. Each of those accessories slides easily into one of the eight rack positions — there’s even room in the back of the oven to accommodate the curve of the pizza pan.
The designers wanted people to enjoy this Joule at its optimum performance, so they made it insanely easy to use. The word intuitive doesn’t even apply because the LCD literally tells you where to place the rack or mesh basket based on each function. Here’s a stroke of genius: The wire rack is designed to rotate its position to fit into the numbered slots — on one side, it sits lower in the oven, and on the other, the food is a bit higher up. There are only three knobs and six buttons on the oven that are below the light blue backlit display.
You navigate the oven functions with the confirm/rotate button, adjust the temp/toast darkness with one of the bigger knobs, and time/how many slices with the bottom nob. The start/stop button is self-explanatory. For the most part, those are the only controls you need for operation. However, the other buttons are to turn on the light, switch between convection and super convection, a bit more time, frozen food, and a favorite configuration .
I’m not usually a fan of apps for small appliances, mainly because they really don’t add to the experience. But if all smart home apps were like the Joule Oven app, I’d be a convert. In addition to featuring tons of tasty recipes from the Breville test kitchen, famous chefs, New York Times Cooking, America’s Test Kitchen, Williams Sonoma, Serious Eats, and more, it actually connects with the oven to aid in cooking. When you need to step in and rotate a pan, you get an alert on your phone. The timer on the oven will pause while you make the rotation. You’d think all apps would work so seamlessly, but no.
Setting up the app takes just a minute and is extremely intuitive. It uses Bluetooth to find the oven and then connects to your Wi-Fi network. Think carefully about what you’d like to name your oven because that’s how it will appear on the alerts. You can also connect it to work with Google Assistant and Alexa, so instead of telling the app to tell the oven to do something you can just ask Google or Alexa. Once set up, there are countless recipes that range from making bread to air fryer chicken sandwiches to prosciutto, goat cheese, and fig pizza to cookies. You can favorite recipes and view which recipes you made and when. Some of them are basic, where you’ll need to set the oven yourself, and others are ChefSteps where the app works with the oven to cook the food. These are denoted with an airplane icon in the corner of the app image. When you make one of those recipes, it truly is a set-it and forget-it cooking experience. You’ll receive notifications on your phone when you need to do something or when cooking is complete. I appreciated that feature.
The recipes are straightforward and include a list of ingredients, total time, active time, serving amount, and skill level. Each step has a corresponding video, so if a cooking or baking term is new, the app demonstrates it for you. As you work through the recipe, when it’s time to cook or set a timer, the app tells you that, too. It even includes the rack to use in the oven. My favorite app feature is that your phone screen stays on when you’re making a recipe. You will never need to use your sticky fingers to enter your phone’s passcode to return to the recipe.
I used the app recipes to make a ton of meals, and everything came out pretty well and nothing was burned or undercooked.
I used the app recipes to make a ton of meals, and everything came out pretty well and nothing was burned or undercooked. The most impressive thing I made was croissants. This recipe uses the ChefSteps, so once you roll the croissants and put them in the oven, they go through the proofing process first, and then the app switches the oven to baking mode. They turned out perfect — flaky, buttery goodness.
Perhaps the biggest testament to the Joule’s versatility and power is that I didn’t turn my oven on once in the three months of testing, and I cook three to four times a week. I was able to prepare everything in the Joule oven. For those who don’t want to turn on an oven during the summer, consider this model as an alternate cooking solution. I did try a lot of the recipes in the app, cooked some frozen meals, baked croissants, toasted a bevy of breads, air-fried tasty tempura treats and potatoes, dehydrated zucchini, reheated leftovers, used the broil mode to grill prosciutto-wrapped halloumi, and kept a side dish warm while I finished another part of the meal on the stove. For the most part, it all turned out just about perfectly.
The only real issue I had, and it was all user error, came when roasting a turkey breast. Now, to be clear, I’ve never roasted anything before using a roast setting … I never had the option. There wasn’t a turkey breast roasting recipe in the app. I decided to wing it, what could go wrong? Well, roast and bake mode (especially in a convection oven) are two entirely different things. I put the turkey in the oven (it fit perfectly in the included roasting pan), selected 350, and Roast for 2.5 hours. After the first hour, the top of the turkey breast was beautiful — like something you’d see on the glossy pages of a food magazine. After the second hour, I sensed I probably should have taken it out sooner. Still beautiful, I cut into the turkey, to find the driest piece of meat I’ve ever seen — it basically shriveled up on itself. This little experiment made me come to rely on the Joule Oven app, as it really knows what it’s doing.
My only quibble was with the bagel function, which is supposed to crisp the inside of the bagel while keeping the outside lightly toasted. I could never get the bagel function to work properly — the inside of the bagel had an odd texture that wasn’t crisp or soft. Using the toasting function on a bagel did do the trick. I’ve seen quite a few smart ovens with this feature and I’m not sure what the appeal is.
The Breville Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro comes with a limited two-year warranty and costs about $400. At that price, it’s more expensive than other smart ovens like the Ninja Foodi Dual Heat Air Fry Oven, but the Breville’s cooking/baking functions are more in line with how people cook. Combine that functionality with an app full of recipes that also facilitates taking care of the time-sensitive details (let’s face it, can take a meal from magic to tragic), and the Breville, even though more expensive, is a better choice for people who like to cook.
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