Panasonic air fry true convection steam toaster oven review

With the Panasonic Air Fry True Convection Steam Oven, you can do more than just air fry or steam. This multi-function oven is generously sized and built to perfection, with a satisfyingly heavy door that locks in steam so all of your dishes rise and bake to perfection.

What’s in the box of the Panasonic air fry true convection steam oven?

In the box of the Panasonic Air Fry True Convection Steam Oven (model NU-SC180B), you’ll find a counter-top oven with a large 20 litre capacity. It comes with a two-level steam tray (250 and 800 ml), two nonstick baking trays, and two wire racks that are great for lifting items that need to be steamed or air fried.

Panasonic also includes an instruction manual and two recipe books with this stovetop convection oven.

Panasonic Air Fry True Convection Steam Toaster Oven 1

What can this Panasonic convection steam oven do?

The Panasonic Air Fry True Convection Steam Oven has a powerful heating element in the back that’s wrapped around a large fan. This allows this oven to heat up quickly and keep the air in the device moving. It’s a true combination product, with the ability to convection bake on two levels, steam on high (maximum of 30 minutes) or medium (maximum of 60 minutes), and stew. It also air fries foods on its Healthy Fry setting, and has a temperature range of 30-40˚C for fermenting foods and 100-230˚C for baking, steaming, and more.

There are 18 auto cook settings on this Panasonic True Convection Oven, and its easy-to-fill water tank holds up to 800ml. (The water tank fills through a hole or a lid, and can be rinsed out using either the hole or the larger, silicone-sealed lid, which makes cleanup a breeze.)

Panasonic Air Fry True Convection Steam Toaster Oven bake

What makes this Panasonic steam oven perfect for Chinese dishes?

One of the first things that I noticed about this Panasonic Air Fry & Steam Oven is that it comes with two recipe books. One is published in English and French. It comes with a quick control panel guide and recipes for items like lemon poppy seed loaf and nachos. The other is published in English, French, and Mandarin. It has recipes for dishes like steamed fish head with diced hot red peppers, beef brisket and radish soup, and snow pear soup.

I loved seeing so many authentic Chinese recipes curated for a North American product. It was nice to see them separated into a different section, though I would have preferred them to be integrated with Panasonic’s many other delicious, authentic recipes for dishes from all over the world, from German cakes to Malaysian curries. Top-tier chefs like David Chang regularly speak out against “ethnic” groceries being segregated in the grocery store, and I feel the same when it comes to recipe books. Indeed, this combination steam oven is perfect for making Chinese steamed dishes without adding a dedicated food steamer to your kitchen, but keep in mind that the process of cooking these items is no different from how you’d steam a beautiful loaf or quiche.

Panasonic Air Fry True Convection Steam Toaster Oven tray

Why is steaming so special? 

Steaming is a great way to produce soft, moist dishes while preserving the integrity of each item within the dish. A great way to look at the steam difference is to look at basic vegetables. On a convection bake, veggies will slowly roast and caramelize. On an air fry setting, they’ll crisp up quickly. But on a steam setting, you can quickly achieve tender results, maintaining a crisp bite inside only if desired.

Similarly, you want to opt for steaming for dishes that rise as they cook. This steam oven is perfect for cooking bao and mantou, two types of Chinese steamed buns. It’s also perfect for warming up dim sum dishes. Panasonic recommends steaming on “Steam-High” for red meat, root vegetables, and fish, and using “Steam” for buns, shrimp, and chicken breast. The steam function fills the oven with steam for up to three minutes, creating fluffier items that rise.

Air frying (or “Healthy Frying”) is a great way to cut down on the amount of oil your family eats. It uses significantly less oil than traditional deep frying, but achieves a similar result. I grew up, however, on steamed foods. I love that steaming emphasizes the flavour of each ingredient, and the fact that you can steam with no oil (especially in Panasonic’s great, non-stick, dishwasher-safe baking trays) is both handy and healthy.

Panasonic True Convection cookies

My experience with the Panasonic air fry convection oven

I mostly air fry and bake when I’m in the kitchen, so I tested this oven in two phases. In the first phase, I made some of my standard items: things like chocolate chip cookies and roasted stuffed red peppers. Then, in the second phase, I took things to another level… And asked my mother for help.

There’s no one better to test a steam oven than a Chinese mom. My mom cooks a lot more traditional Chinese food than I do, so I knew I could trust her to finish my product testing with me. While I found this oven to be a little slow (I had to add two minutes to my cookie recipe when compared to a non-convection oven, which was really surprising; I think this oven’s design just needs to compensate slightly more for preheating time when it isn’t steaming anything), she steamed a few items in it that were enormous.

My mom makes traditional mantou at home. When we were kids, we would knead the yeasty, sticky dough with her. Now, she makes her dough in a bread maker, then lets it rise and steams it on the stovetop.

With the Panasonic Air Fry True Convection Steam Oven, my mother set her buns to steam to perfection in the oven instead—and the oven did a great job. Each bun came out deliciously fluffy and moist, and they were significantly larger than usual.

Our one caveat was that, while effective and easy to clean, this oven has a tiny LED screen. I found it easy to navigate, but with cataracts and bifocals, my mom struggled with it a little!

Panasonic Air Fry True Convection Steam Toaster Oven wipe down interior

Cleaning the Panasonic air fry & steam oven

One final note to make about this Panasonic Air Fry True Convection Steam Oven is that it truly is a breeze to clean. It comes with not one, not two, and not even three—but four automatic cleaning programs. The included trays are all dishwasher-safe, and the oven itself is smooth inside. It’s easy to wipe down to a sparkling finish after every use.

The four cleaning programs include draining water out of the steam pipes, cleaning the entire system with a citric acid solution, deodorizing the oven, and removing fat or grease from the oven cavity. This oven can also be used for cleaning. Its item cleaning programs allow you to clean and deodorize items like bottles and tableware using the oven’s high-temperature steam.

Whether you’re using this oven to steam buns, deodorize baby bottles, or bake a tray of cookies, there are a ton of different functions that this combination oven from Panasonic is great for.

Shop the Panasonic Air Fry True Convection Steam Oven (NU-SC180B) online at Best Buy.