Living without an oven, regardless of the situation, truly hinders the kind of food you can cook. While you can prepare quite a lot in a crockpot (even lasagna), you can’t use it to make toast or broil meats and fishes. Enter the DéLonghi Livenza mini convection oven. It has the power of a standard oven, heats up quickly, and occupies about as much space on a counter as a mid-size microwave.
Whether you’re looking for a compact oven for an efficiency apartment or going through a kitchen re-model and don’t want to make everything in a microwave, the De’Longhi Livenza will have you cooking delicious meals with ease. At just under $300, the oven is a bit on the spendy side, but it really is an impressive performer.
The Swiss-Army Knife of Countertop Ovens
The De’Longhi Livenza looks more like an oversized toaster than an oven, and that’s not a bad thing. There’s a bit of playfulness in the oven’s design, with its large blue display and three knobs for adjusting a variety of settings, yet the stainless steel finish adds a splash of sophistication. Essentially, the De’Longhi Livenza looks fun to use and it lives up to its appearance.
De’Longhi Livenza looks fun to use and it lives up to its appearance.
Measuring 12 × 17.5 × 19 (HLW) inches and weighing just 11.5 pounds, the oven is fairly compact and extremely easy to move. While the manual says it shouldn’t be flush against the wall, De’Longhi says its “advanced thermal insulation” allows it to be used under cabinets.
Setting up the oven couldn’t be easier, as you might imagine. Simply take it out of the box, insert the crumb tray, and plug it in. it takes a couple of minutes at most. Don’t plan to cook anything in it immediately, however. You’ll want to run the oven empty for 30 minutes in convection mode at 450 degrees to remove any residual “protective substances.” Intriguing, eh?
The DéLonghi comes with a 13-inch pizza pan, two wire racks, and a bake pan. There are also four grooves inside both sides of the oven so that you can slide the trays into a variety of configurations. The oven is still fairly small, however, so don’t expect all of your cookware to fit inside or to cook a 14-pound turkey in it.
Turn on the oven and you’ll immediately see all that it does. There are eight functions: toast, bake, convection, broil/grill, defrost, pizza, cookies, and keep warm. Turn the bottom knob to choose a function. Select the temperature setting with the middle knob. Finally, use the top knob to set the timer and start the cooking process. After using the oven a few times, setting the cooking function, temperature, and time become second nature.
Performance: A Fine Cooking Companion
We spent over a month testing the De’Longhi Livenza oven and it continually turned out evenly cooked food. We used a variety of settings (convection, pizza, bake, grill) to make everything from chicken to pizza to meatloaf to fish and were consistently pleased with the results. A whole fish took no time at all to prepare; we placed the seasoned fish on the bake pan, slid it into the third shelf closest to the top, selected broil, and presto change-o — we had a beautifully cooked fish.
We placed the seasoned fish on the bake pan, selected broil, and presto change-o — we had a beautifully cooked fish.
The oven’s manual also includes quite a few recipes for everything from roasted pork shank to jam tart. If you don’t find a recipe you like in there, you can always download the De’Longhi Recipe Book app. We followed the pizza recipe when testing that program and it turned out pretty good. One of the highlights of this oven is the timer. When you set the timer (or a time is set based on an existing setting) and it rings, the oven turns off. This feature provides some piece of mind, reassuring you that the oven won’t accidentally get left on and that your food won’t get burned.
In our testing, we made a chicken, pizza, and cookies. We prepared the whole chicken using our own recipe and followed the manual guidelines for cooking it. After placing the chicken in the oven, we set it to convection, adjusted the temperature to 375 degrees, and the timer to 90 minutes. When the chicken was finished it had an internal temperature of 180 degrees and tasted delicious — juicy, not dry.
Next up was the pizza test. As noted, we followed the recipe except for one minor detail: We bought dough from a local pizza joint. (Who has the time to make their own dough?) We particularly loved the included pizza tray and appreciated the extra room provided inside the oven to fit its circular shape. We set the oven to the pizza program, the time to 13 minutes, and after a built in 5-minute cool-down, the pie was ready.
The only issue we encountered was a missing signal. According to the recipe, “At six minutes from the end, the oven will beep. Add the cubed mozzarella and continue cooking.” We didn’t hear the beep, so about four minutes from the end we added the cheese. Still, it came out delicious.
For dessert, we prepared cookies (we use store-bought cookie dough when testing baking features). The nice thing about the De’Longhi Livenza is that it comes with a baking tray and two wire racks, so you can use one of the racks to cook an additional tray of cookies. The cookie setting even asks how many trays (one or two) and sets the time/temperature accordingly. Unfortunately, the little oven the could just couldn’t master baking cookies. Our cookies were done a good four minutes before the oven thought they were, and if we hadn’t kept a close eye on them, they’d have burnt to a crisp. That said, we suspected this poor performance was the result of poor internal calibration and made another batch. This time we bypassed the cookie setting and set the oven to bake, following the time and temperature requirements on the cookie-dough wrapping. Wouldn’t you know it? The cookies came out perfect.
This De’Longhi Livenza mini convection oven comes with a one-year warranty that covers repairs made by an Authorized De’Longhi Service Representative. During the warranty period, the company will also replace the product at no charge if found to be defective due to a manufacturing fault.
Is there a better alternative?
The range of products available for the modern kitchen has expanded greatly in recent years, especially countertop ovens. If you’re considering one, think about Breville’s Smart Oven Air as well, a product that offers more cooking options (like slow cooking and a dehydration feature) but is a bit more expensive. Most appliances makers offer competing products as well, essentially toaster ovens on steroids, such as Frigidaire’s Professional 6-Slice Convection Toaster Oven. Toaster ovens are handy, but not often more of the former and less of the latter. Want to bake a whole chicken? You’re better off in an oven than a toaster oven.
How long will it last?
The Livenza feels well built and sturdy. With routine use, it should provide a solid life decade of cooking.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The De’Longhi Livenza mini convection oven is a great choice for you kitchen countertop. You can cook everything from pizza to chicken to fish with ease, and the built-in timer settings mean you’ll have be hard-pressed to overcook anything. It comes with everything you need to make the most of the oven including two grill racks, a cookie sheet, a pizza pan, as well as an incredibly useful guide for cooking common items.
And if that’s not enough, it also makes a lovely piece of toast.