Brava Oven Review: Pros, Cons & Final Verdict
Toaster Oven Reviews

Brava Oven Review: Is Infrared Cooking for $995+ Worth It?

Brava Oven Review
The Brava is one of the first ovens to cook with just light.
4.7
Expert Rating
Where to buy it

Some people prefer microwaves like the GE JVM3160RFSS – Editor’s Choice/Best Over the Range Microwave Stainless Steel, but below you can find something more unique.

If you’ve read my best toaster oven piece, then you know that I’m no stranger to them. I spent hours combing through what was on the market, eliminating the fluff, avoiding the “toaster” and focusing on the machines that would provide me (and those alike) the results, or requirements, I was looking for.


What are those results, you ask? Well, for one, I’m not looking to toast bread. A toaster oven, which is really at this point a mini-oven, should be able to roast, broil (or sear), bake and even keep food warm. It needs to be able to fit more than a pizza and its controls must be variable enough that a chef (or an aspiring one) feels as though they have enough control that it allows for creativity within the kitchen.

And that’s why The Brava is such a vexing product to me. And I mean that in the most humbling of ways. Call it a form of flattery through a side serving of negativity. But keep reading and you’ll learn why.

The Brava is No Ordinary Toaster Oven

The Brava is no ordinary oven. If you’re familiar with the June oven, then the Brava might make more sense to you. But this ain’t no June Oven, according to its CEO, his culinary masters and everyone working on the PR team.

The Brava uses completely new technology and is focusing on food curation, and somehow (IMHO) appeals to both noobie cooks and those one-chef-knife-bag away from being designated a professional.

In fact, that’s what’s so confusing or vexing about the Brava to me. I’m no chef, but I like to work my way around the kitchen, testing timing, adding ingredients and experimenting on how to enhance a recipe.

Yes, the Brava still appeals to me. Why? Because it allows me to achieve simplicity if I so choose. Or I can opt for complexity. It’s sort of a choose your own adventure of ovens. Why?

How the Brava Oven Works

This is how the Brava works. It’s an oversimplification but bear with me. The Brava uses super-powered bulbs that achieve infrared cooking (i.e. not conduction or convection cooking which tends to dry out foods by warming the surface or air).

There are 3 bulbs on top and 3 on the bottom. Each bulb (aka heating element) can be controlled individually, unlike all toaster ovens on the market today.

This means that you can have a variety of things (aka varying density) on one tray and cook ingredients to perfection. It’s an entirely new way of thinking about cooking in an oven. But not one that blows one’s mind. It’s more like “but of course, that only makes sense”.

The folks at Brava (their expert chefs), on a single tray, made me a complete meal of salmon, tomatoes, and broccolini. They cooked it all at the SAME TIME and it was virtually perfect.

First off, the team has spent a countless amount of hours testing a variety of ingredients to know what cooks in what amount time. As result, they’ve got a database that you can access directly from the machine’s touchscreen (it also has a smartphone app – duh).

Brava Oven Baking

The Brava can bake as well.

So, in this case, they were able to choose the aforementioned ingredients as a macro and hit the go button.

But that’s not all: they’ve also got a thermometer that has 3 sensors in it. This got stabbed into the salmon and allowed me to select my internal desired temperature of medium rare.

And best of all, because these bulbs produce instant heat and don’t require the air to be warm, there is ZERO preheating. This means less energy usage and less time waiting. Music to my ears.

Note: the Brava can bake. Which means it can heat the air. It does this using a combination of the heating elements, the fan, and the correct tray (there is 1 glass tray and 1 metal tray).

Following that, the Brava oven displays the predicted cooking time – in this case about 14 minutes – and adjusts according to the salmon’s internal temperature.

In my case, it added about 2-3 minutes to the speculated time. This felt somehow calming on account of the fact that I knew what was happening and no guesswork was needed.

And walla, the food was cooked and I was eating. The broccolini still had the right amount of snap, the salmon wasn’t dry and the tomatoes were juicy but not a soggy mess – no easy feat if you ask me.

Cooking with light is the REAL DEAL.

What’s Next For Brava

Inside the Brava is a camera. But unlike the June Oven, they’re not trying to guess what you’ve placed in there…yet. However, as they build up their database and customer feedback – the Brava is connected to WiFi – they will add some machine learning into the mix.

Brava Eggs

The Brava is great at cooking eggs.

And while they don’t plan on identifying the foods you’re putting into the oven – largely because that’s a trivial matter – Brava does say they’ll soon be able to identify when food is burning and turn off or reduce heat.

But snazzy tech aside, you, the expert chef, can still cook like one. And while Brava plans to partner with a food packer who will create prepackaged meals, you can also individually select ingredients from the touchscreen. The oven will then in leverage its thermometer and knowledge-base to get things cooked just right. Which is to say there is no need to account for variable weights, thickness, and sizes.  The Brava can figure it out.

Brava Oven Final Thoughts

The Brava is not cheap. Anything but, especially by comparison to the top end of most toaster ovens; it’s $995 on their website right now, but that’s a preorder price. It will increase to $1295 once the “early bird” pricing is over. When that will be I don’t know. But I think they plan to ship the preorder units in November of this year, 2018.

To be candid, I’ve never used such an advanced oven. There are a few manufacturers that are coming out with competitors, such as Meile’s Dialog oven. However, the Brava is more approachable, since it doesn’t require a professional or permanent install. And yes, the Brava will fit under most if not all counters.

Related Articles:

Performance
Design
Value
Reader Rating213 Votes0.1
What We Liked
Infrared cooking sears foods
Beautiful design
Zero preheating time
What We Didn't
Non-glass door doesn't allow a naked eye view (there is a camera, though)
Pricey ($995+)
4.7
Expert Rating
Bottom Line
The Brava has rethought cooking, there is no doubt about that. But the question is do you (or most people) understand the value of infrared cooking? I can assure you it's the future, despite the high price tag of $995+.
Where to buy it


41 Comments to Brava Oven Review: Is Infrared Cooking for $995+ Worth It?

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  12. Meave Duggan

    Haven’t use my Brava much and I thought I would do something simple like chicken breasts. When I put them in it said too thick to cook so I popped them in the oven. I’m not sure the Brava is very useful.

    • ChefSuzie

      You might want to give it another chance. They’ve done a lot of work on the display’s user interface. It’s so easy to cook anything — we even gave our babysitter a 5 minute briefing and she started cooking great meals for our kids just by typing in available ingredients in the fridge. Chicken has NEVER tasted this good! So moist and juicy every time! (Which never happens in the regular oven)

  13. Nina

    Cleaning this oven! You must have an idea and what happens if the bulbs break? Is that under warranty and how long is the warranty! Why do you need special equipment to use this?

  14. the Truthologist

    Being a health oriented person, I abruptly quit using microwaves when I learned how dangerous they are, both the EMF emitted from it that effects the brain and also very importantly that they completely destroy all the vitamins in the food. One more reason why Americans are so Over-caloried and Under nourished and sooo sick. The original name of the microwave was Radar-Range, but after policemen developed high levels of cancer from using radar guns the oven manufacturers quickly realized they needed to change the name. So I’m curious, with this powerful wavelength heating penetrating the food so quickly, is it any healthier than a microwave? Finding factual info in this age of corporate greed is about impossible anyway, with money always “affecting” the results. If I was sure it wasn’t “Nuking” my food I might try one…?

    • ChefSuzie

      Great question to ask. Just do a quick Google search on Microwave vs Infrared. Infrared is definitely a way safer alternative, and can be even beneficial in many applications.

    • Michele Lucisano

      Microwave dangerous???!!! What???

      • Alec

        Some are thoroughly smitten by conspiracy

  15. Jef

    What I want to know is how long the bulbs last and how much they cost to replace.

  16. werner

    nobody talks about toasting bagels , toast, croissant , bread in general, ,would be nice to have a window to observe the toasting process?
    and how do you clean the messy Brava , is it selfcleaning ?
    Werner

    • For the price they send someone to your house once a month for life to clean it this is one of the things you talk yourself into the after lets say 6 months the thrill is gone and you go back to being lazy and order out AGAIN LOLOLOLOLOL

    • ChefSuzie

      You can simply watch the toasting process in the little display. It’s perfect. You just wipe the interior clean with a damp cloth after each use. And they have a video explains how to easily do a deeper clean it if any buildup occurs.

  17. karen krause
    3.5
    bad experience

    i purchased one it is a nice oven however this is the experience i had
    i was given delivery however due to all the thefts i wanted to be home so i contacted fed x to change date so i could be home this item is to expensive to leave outside so i paid to change date 21.00 then the crap started fedx says they will not guarantee delivery even if you pay so don’t bother next delivery was to be 4-6 never came so i called them they first said out for delivery what a joke they told me they deliver up to 12 midnight i asked them would you open your door at that time to a stranger we’ll never got delivered and i stayed up i asked the driver the next day when it was delivered what happened well they lied they do not deliver that late now got oven works great except you can not make your own choices of what to cook together like potatoes and a vegetable combo
    it burned the items so i put in question and was told not set up for that yet
    then the cook ware you only can get the chef pan if you buy the more expensive package they will let you know when available but remember you can not us other cook ware in this oven so i order the two pieces available again was to be delivered tracking states it was no such luck we don’t know were it went i have a camera and it was not delivered to me now it will take fedx 5 days to figure out also the membership for discount is not worth it 9.99 a month get you discount on cook ware which is ok but for only two pieces available not worth it next the meal packages most are sold out so you can’t even order them and they are very limited the oven is very nice but the support does not get back to you right away so for the price i’m still on the fence so delivery co and support i give a low mark hopefully this will hall someone else so if you want the cookware needed to cook certain items you will have to but the 1295 package very sad there should be a disclosure stating this

    Breakdown
    Performance
    Design
    Value
  18. Brian Glasser

    How long do the bulbs last and how much do replacements cost?

    • Christen Costa

      Brian, unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to this. I think I did ask about the bulbs but they didn’t have an answer at the time. Lmk if you don’t get an answer and I can reach out to the company directly.

  19. Sheila

    “Walla.”

    • Kathleen Struck

      That was my reaction, too. ;)

      BTW, did the reviewer or his company receive any remuneration for the review directly or indirectly, such as in exchange for product? Don’t be offended. Just checking, thanks.

      • Christen Costa

        Hi Kathleen, I never received any compensation in any form. And no problem on asking.

  20. Peter

    I’d be interested to know whether the Brava can be a substitute for a microwave.

    • Christen Costa

      Hmmm. I think given it’s time to heat up (which is virtually nothing), yes, it can be. But keep in mind that it isn’t using the same principal as microwaving. So sadly things like a pasta dish with sauce mixed in, or pasta by itself, probably wouldn’t reheat well. Which is to say, you need to take it on a case by case basis.

  21. D

    noobie – newbie
    walla – voila’

    • G.E. Boroush

      Thank you!

    • Paula Wiegand Litarowich

      Thank you for correcting. It bothered me too that he couldn’t spell it properly.

  22. Jacquie

    “And walla, the food was cooked and I was eating.”
    I think you mean “voila”. As in French for “behold”!

    • Spector

      Amen! It pretty much ruined the whole article for me. Walla…

      Not to mention the fact no explanation on how to clean this thing which I imagine would become a greasy, smelly mess in short order. For +$1,000 buy a GE Advantium or a convection range or if you really want radiant cooking use a Rommertopf clay oven baker, or gasp, invest in an AGA.

      • Stew

        Sheesh! It was a JOKE. For heavens sake, lighten up!

  23. mike yates

    what about cleaning the brava?

    • Christen Costa

      I wasn’t able to get that far with the machine. Expect an update in the coming weeks if not months.

      • Brian Glasser

        Can it “self clean” like an oven?

    • ChefSuzie

      You can simply watch the toasting process in the little display. It’s perfect. You just wipe the interior clean with a damp cloth after each use. And they have a video explains how to easily do a deeper clean it if any buildup occurs.

  24. Chas

    Reporting that I saw initially, asserted this oven could cook a meal using less energy than is requires to warm a conventional oven to cook temperature. As regards climate change, under the heading more efficient use of… if accurate, I think this represents a relevant development in transitional technology!

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