Tovala Review: Our 5+ Year Smart Oven Test

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Tovala Smart Oven Review: How long do you think it took to make all of these Tovala Meals? What if we told you each recipe took literally less than 30 seconds of prep and less than 30 seconds of clean up? Don’t believe us? Read on to learn more in our honest Tovala review. We’ve been using the Tovala Smart Oven for over five years! Let’s dive into the good and the bad of the Tovala Smart Oven.

Updated May 2024 to highlight the differences between the Tovala Smart Oven and the Smart Oven Pro.

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Tovala Smart Oven

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Tovala: What’s the big idea?

Like you, you are probably tired of expensive and inconvenient meal delivery services – that take an hour to prep and tons of time to clean up.

You’ll never have to worry about cleaning another dirty pot or pan again. Tovala takes less than 1 minute to prep and less than 10 seconds to clean up. Plus, all of our meals are healthy, delicious, and affordable. Sign up for a free trial today!

We’ve found the perfect solution for you! With Tovala’s WiFi-connected smart oven and fresh, delivered meals, just scan a QR code to enjoy restaurant-quality food.

Best yet, you can get our best deal from Tovala by using our Tovala Promo Code of clicking here.

Tovala Review: What you need to know

The most amazing device we’ve tested. The Smart Oven + meal delivery service is just as good as Hello Fresh, costs roughly the same but is easier and faster and a cinch to clean up.

What Is Tovala?

Tovala is a new kind of smart oven that is changing the way people cook at home. With Tovala, you can simply scan the barcode on the food box and the oven will do the rest. It is literally that simple. Whether you are cooking a chef-inspired recipe or your own favorite meal, Tovala makes it easy to cook it to perfection. Plus, with Tovala you can replace your air fryer, oven, toaster, and more. This oven truly does it all. Keep reading to learn more about why Tovala is the best way to cook at home. 

Technically, the Tovala Oven is 2 different ovens. Let me explain.

Tovala Smart Oven + Tovala Smart Oven Pro

The Smart Oven Pro (left) and the Smart Oven (right).

These look like almost identical ovens, right? Well, there’s a key missing feature in the Smart Oven that the Smart Oven Pro doesn’t have (and it’s not the color): it’s the steam function.

What’s the difference?

Let me share with you the key differences between the Tovala Smart Oven and Tovala Smart Oven Pro.

The Smart Oven

The Tovala Smart Oven is Tovala’s new, affordable model at just $49 (with meals). It’s designed with a two-speed convection fan, which circulates more air throughout the oven faster. This helps you achieve that perfect, crispy air-fry experience we all love. However, it doesn’t include a steam function, but it still delivers fantastic results for everyday cooking.

Tovala Smart Oven Pro

On the other hand, our Tovala Smart Oven Pro at $99, comes with a dedicated steam function and a one-speed convection fan. The steam function makes a significant difference when reheating food or cooking delicate dishes. It keeps your meals perfectly moist and delicious without losing out on their natural flavors.

Between the two, we personally love the Smart Oven Pro. The steam function is a game-changer, and trust us, once you experience its magic, you wouldn’t be able to imagine cooking without it. So, if you’re ready to upgrade your kitchen game, we recommend you give our Smart Oven Pro a try! You won’t be disappointed.

The only reason we’d recommend the Smart Oven over the Smart Oven Pro is if you need to air fry a LOT of stuff.

How Tovala Works

Tovala works by simply scanning the barcode on the food box. Once the barcode is scanned, Tovala takes care of the rest.

The oven will automatically cook the food to perfection. If you are cooking a chef-inspired recipe, there may be a few simple steps for meal prep (like putting seasoning salt on steak or removing plastic wrap) before scanning the QR code on the Tovala meal. But other than that, once you have scanned the barcode, Tovala does all of the work for you. 

What Can Tovala Be Used For?

Tovala can be used for so much more than just to cook Tovala Meals. With Tovala, you can steam, bake, air fry, broil, toast, and reheat your food with ease – regardless if it came from Tovala or one of your own meals.

It can even cook a steak…

Yes, this isn’t the old toaster ovens you’ve seen in the past – this baby can cook a filet mignon to perfection.

This oven really can do it all – making it the perfect addition to any kitchen. Who doesn’t want perfectly cooked food… all the time?

Why You Need Tovala in Your Life 

Tovala isn’t just limited to the Tovala Menu – you can air fry and even scan to cook hundreds of different foods.

If you are looking for a better way to cook at home, then look no further than Tovola. With this smart oven, you can easily make delicious meals with little effort.

So if you are tired of struggling with complex recipes or juggling multiple appliances in your kitchen, then give Tovola a try – you won’t be disappointed!

Who Is Tovala For?

Tovala is for busy people that want to eat great food but don’t have the time to prep, cook and clean up the food.

We started using Tovala when we had our first kiddo and haven’t looked back. If you are looking for a great way to step up your meals without spending more time, Tovala is for you!

Great for limited mobility

Tovala is also for people that have limited function of their hands to prepare food. It can be frustrating to live with something like a stroke that limits your ability to do standard household functions like cooking, and you definitely can’t cook something more complicated like one of the other weekly meal deliveries you may have seen on TV. But more on that in just a second.

Tovala would also be great for any office. No more sad desk lunches from yesterday’s left overs. The fresh meals have reinvented home cooking for us in so many ways older toaster ovens (or even a conventional oven) couldn’t.

Tovala Review – Setting up and Running the Smart Oven

Setting up the Tovala is a breeze. You simply plug in the Tovala Smart Oven, fill the reservoir with water and use the Tovala app to set up the rest (you’ll need to know your wifi name and password). All in all, setup took about 5 minutes, including time to get the Tovala Oven out of the box.

Meal Selection

Much like other food delivery services, you select what meals you would like delivered before they arrive (one small downfall with Tovala, you have to select the meals 2 weeks beforehand – as opposed to other services, where you select the food the week before).

You select meals from many different choices. For example, this week there are 21 choices of meals.

Two weeks later, you get a box with your selected meals.

Inside the Tovala box are the Tovala meals that you selected.

Each Tovala meal has three main parts:

  • The Protein tin (chicken, beef, salmon, meatballs, etc.)
  • The Rice/Veggie tin
  • The prep/finishing ingredients (the photo below).

On the side of the box, you’ll find the instructions for the prep and finishing of each meal. It’s super-simple. There’s no chopping, cutting or mincing. Here’s the example from the meatball dish:

  1. In this Tovala Meatball recipe, simply take off the plastic covers, pour one glaze over the meatballs and lime juice over the broccoli.
  2. Put the two tins in the oven and scan the barcode. That’s it!
  3. No mincing garlic or pickling onions (seemed like every recipe in Hello Fresh or Blue Apron had some ridiculous step in it).
  4. The Tovala Smart Oven gets the information from the barcode about how to cook the recipe.

The Tovala Oven can Bake, Steam, and Broil. This is where the Tovala App is handy. If you want to check on what the Oven is doing, and how long is left in your recipe, just check the app while the food is cooking:

You don’t actually need to use the app to scan a recipe and have the Tovala Oven cook your food. You simply need to scan the barcode on the instructions to start cooking, like so:

Scan the QR code on the meals you get using the meal plan. Brand name grocery products can also be scanned by scanning the barcode.

But the Tovala app does give you a notification when your meal is done.

Awesome! You can receive cooking notifications on your phone (or Apple Watch, if you have the app installed).

It even shows up on your Apple Watch (if you have one).

Here’s the finished product of the Meatballs (before you ask, yes, we made that and yes it’s our photograph – that’s how good the food from Tovala looks!):

Tovala Review: The finished product
We’re not chefs, we just follow instructions really well!

We’re not kidding: this literally took us about 30 seconds to prep and 30 seconds to finish and clean up. The first time we tried a recipe, we thought, “Maybe this is the easiest recipe, others will be more difficult!” Nope – they are all this easy.

It was such a relief to be able to make dinner with just a minute of work. The actual recipe cooks for anywhere from 11 – 20 minutes (depending upon what the recipe/food is).

How much is the Tovala Smart Oven?

Things get a little complicated here, but hold on: it’s worth it!

The oven, bought by itself (which we wouldn’t recommend) is $299. That’s steep – but you can get the Smart Oven for as low as $49 if you pair it with a meal plan. You can get the Smart Oven Pro for as little as $99 with a meal plan, too.

You can also save an additional $50 if you use our Tovala Promo Code.

Right now, you can even get the Tovala Smart Oven for only $49 – that’s a steal. The only catch is that you have to commit to ordering 6 weeks of meals over 6 months. That’s just 1 a month.

There’s no reason to pay full price for the oven. If you are, at all, on the fence, buy the oven with the meal plan for the best offer we’ve ever seen here. Why are we so sure?

The Tovala Oven has a no-questions-asked 100 return policy. We were on the fence, too. But we read all the fine print so you don’t have to.

If you decide, before day 100, you don’t like the Tovala Oven or the Tovala meal delivery service, you can get whatever you paid for the oven back – it doesn’t matter if you spent $199 or $299… or even $49.

How much are the Tovala Meal Plans?

This used to be a little more simple. Today, Tovala has meals starting at $9.99 per serving – which is a bit misleading.

Think about Tovala meals as costing $12.99 each but then showing how much MORE each meal is when selecting your meals. Some meals are literally only $.99 cents more. Some are $9.99 more (2 servings), and other meals like seafood or steak are somewhere between $2.99 and $5 more.

Most meals are $12.99 + Shipping (typically $9 total, per order). You can pay more for premium ingredients, like steak or shrimp.

So the cost of Tovala meals tends to range from $13-$20 depending on what type of meal you select, but most are in the lower-range of $13-$20.

It’s a great deal to get the meals with two serving (AKA two servings, one box), if you like the meal offered.

Bottom line: Tovala Meals have great value and convenience – you can have a delicious home cooked a meal ready in under 30 minutes with minimal prep and clean up time! Plus, with the money-back guarantee if it’s not for you, there’s no reason to not try it out.

Happy Cooking!

What kind of Tovala meals are offered via the meal delivery service?

Let’s take a look at a real, live menu on November 20, 2022. These are for meals set to arrive Thursday, 12/1.

Seriously, what more could you possibly want? From a Bacon Cheddar Melt (either with or without a $4.99 Pineapple Upside Down Cake) to Mie Goreng-Inspired Shrimp & Noodles (an extra $2.99 for the shrimp dish) to Sweet BBQ Pork Chop (or sub a Chicken Breast for no fee) with Mac and Cheese, to Filet Mignon with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Rosemary Parmesan Potato Wedges with Garlic Mayo (and extra $9.99 for the filet) to Four Cheese Frittata with Potato Wedges & Ketchup (an extra $.99 cents for 2 meals instead of one).

You can’t possibly find something you don’t like on this menu. Seriously.

There are a grand total of 21 meals on this page that will fit any palate.

What Don’t We Love About Tovala?

Nothing is perfect. However, Tovala is close! A couple of VERY small things that we would change about Tovala.

Delivery Dates

Want to switch dates or order more meals? That’s easy in the app.

One of the biggest pet peeves we used to have, no being able to pick a delivery day has been solved. We now currently have the option to have meals arrive on Tuesday or Thursday of even given week. Of course, we wish that Monday or Sunday was an option, but that’s not a giant deal.

No pure keto options

Mr. We Tried It would like a full-keto diet-friendly option from Tovala’s meals. They have improved and now offer a “Low Carb/Carb conscious” selection, which they say is under 35 g of carbs – but not net carbs. It would be great if they listed net carbs and kept them low.

That is our only complaint, seriously. More options for special diets, but something they are always improving.

More recipes you can make on your own

This area has also improved, too. You can now find Chef-curated recipes in the app’s library that use the different features perfectly.

It’s not just season items, either. Check out some of the protein recipes it has:

Much more accurate cooking time and more meals than before with more of Tovala’s Recipes. Of course these are free recipes and provide lists for your grocery shopping needs.

It does take some experimentation to make your own recipes. Mr We Tried It attempted to make some melted mozzarella and it took several tries to get the Bake/Broil timing right.

Pre-heating time

Of course you can cook grocery items in the oven. You can also toast everything from bread to pop tarts.

As I mentioned in my Tovala Air Fryer Review, the only downside to using the Tovala Air Fryer is that you need to pre-heat the oven to use the air frying capabilities. At least, that’s what Tovala recommends for the smart oven.

Tovala Review: We Test The Claims

“Good home cooking takes too much effort. That’s where we come in.”

Yes. Yes. And Yes. We’d never probably cook some of the recipes, but the food is amazing!

The Tovala “can also steam, making your proteins juicier and more tender, your veggies tastier, and your cooking more dynamic.”

Big, big yes! In the app, there is a pre-made setting for chicken breast in the oven. The chicken came out perfect the first try. Juicy and well-cooked.

Cook your own ingredients with one touch.

The Tovala has a small handful of recipes built in. However, creating your own recipes takes a lot of trial and error.

Eating a healthy, freshly-cooked meal is as easy as scanning a barcode.

Yes! True. If we hadn’t tried the Tovala Smart Oven on our own, we probably wouldn’t believe it.

The Tovala Smart Oven is an intelligent oven that makes dinnertime easier and healthier without sacrificing flavor or nutrition.

What’s Changed Since Our Original Tovala Review?

Tovala Oven: The Tovala Oven Review
The original, more Sci-Fi version of the oven.

It’s hard to believe that Tovala was one of the first things we reviewed on We Tried It! It’s actually what started this whole journey. We first reviewed Tovala in February of 2018 (Original Youtube Video). A lot has changed (for both Tovala and our family!). Here are some of the highlights of what is new with Tovala

Tovala’s Second Generation Oven

The biggest change to Tovala has been their new, second-generation oven. Take a look at this beauty:

Isn’t that oven beautiful? It looks a little more conventional, more like a toaster oven than the original Tovala (below, which you used to be able to buy on Amazon, but you can get the Gen 2 Oven on Amazon now).

But Tovala constantly evolving from the futuristic smart home device to a staple of our everyday routine is the exact reason we love it.

Tovala Smart Oven

Of course, the new Smart Oven is a less expensive version of the Smart Oven Pro (what the 2nd Generation Tovala is now called). Depending on the promotion Tovala is running, you can typically get the Smart Oven for about $50 less than the Smart Oven Pro.

However, we don’t recommend you buy the Smart Oven or the Smart Oven Pro, unless you do a LOT of air frying. Otherwise, the steam ability is truly a game changer.

Tovala’s new food offerings

One of our biggest complaints with Tovala Meals when it first came out was the food choices. Mr. We Tried It practices Keto and sometimes, he’d just have to throw the side away (many came with potatoes, for example). But now, Tovala has new categories on their website! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Take a look at the new categories on the Tovala website:

The Tovala Menu keeps getting better and the meal plans keep improving! You won’t find this from a regular oven.

Tovala technically labels anything under 35 Carbs (it does not show net carbs in the nutritional information…yet) as Low Carb or Carb Conscious, but it’s a start in the right direction. There is a lot of cauliflower rice and veggies instead of more starchy choices.

It’s not all low-carb options either. They also have Calorie Smart, Vegetarian, Gluten Friendly, Spicy, and Customizable (this means things like swapping out mac and cheese for coleslaw, stuff like that).

Even those wanting to eat Vegan should be encouraged by this: Tovala and Beyond Meat Team Up. That’s right, Beyond Meat, the vegan meat substitute is working with Tovala. Pretty cool!

Tovala’s new Ordering Options

We don’t take advantage of this, yet, but there are now more options to order: how many you get, etc. Tovala now offers a plethora of choices when it comes to how many meals you get a week.

Many have been asking for this to change for a while!

You can now also substitute sides on some dishes (like the one above). For example, you can pick Mac & Cheese OR Crunchy Veggie Salad with BBQ Chicken Breast.

Name-Brand Groceries: Automatic Cooking!

Tovala introduced Scan The Store a couple of years ago, the ability to scan items and have them auto-magically be cooked in the oven. This started to be compatible with ONLY Trader Joe’s frozen items – but has expanded to many other stores that make it easy to scan to cook your own food. See all the brands that currently work with this:

How easy it is?

There are only three steps:

Step 1: Get food from the grocery store.

Step 2: Scan its barcode.

Step 3: Press start to cook.

That really feels like the future.

Tovala + Other Meal Services

Ironically, Factor_75 is a new-ish meal service that is owned by Hello Fresh.

It’s a new take on Hello Fresh, where everything comes to you pre-made. And they have Keto-friendly options: including desserts. YES PLEASE!

An awesome meal delivery service!
Factor Meals

Keto friendly AND cook great in the Tovala Smart Oven Pro.

Save $$$ Now
We might earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

We just love that so many of the instructions say something about putting water in the oven you are re-heating the food in (the food comes fully cooked). But with the Tovala Smart Oven Pro, the re-heating function, for 10 minutes, does a PERFECT job. And we mean a PERFECT job.

To heat Factor_75 Meals in your Tovala, just hit “reheat.” The default setting is 10 minutes and I just let it run with that.

The instructions from Factor will say to add water, but once again, no need to if you are using the Smart Oven Pro. It’s just another great reason to get the Tovala.

If you get the big discount on the oven for agreeing to meals, you can spread it out. But you can also use the oven to cook so much more!

Is Tovala Worth it?

If you LOVE to cook: no.

If you like the IDEA of cooking: yes.

If you like great food without cooking: yes.

If you’ve tried meal deliver services, but hate the prep and clean-up: yes.

If you get pleasure from oil burns: no.

If you want the cheapest way to eat: no.

If you want a simple way to eat great, fresh food: yes.

We think it’s well worth it. We’re trying to get the most from doing the least.

There is no risk in trying it – and we’ve recommended this to everyone that has come over to our house or everyone that has mentioned Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. It’s a much better solution.

A much better meal delivery service than others!

To get $50 off your order, simply use our Tovala Promo Code.

Not just for busy professionals: but great for the elderly, disabled and more

Of course, a busy family is what this product is designed for. However, it’s also an incredible option for those with disabilities, elderly parents or those who simply don’t have the time to cook.

Two recent stories that illustrate this: my grandma and our friend had a stroke.

Our friend lost mobility in one side of their body

A couple of months ago, we had a really good family friend that had a stroke. As a result, he lost control over one side of his body. We reached out to Tovala and asked if we could get him a Smart Oven and we would send him a few meals to make sure he liked it.

Of course, being unable to use one side of your body makes cooking and meal prep incredibly difficult. Can you imagine following the instructions and cooking a HelloFresh meal with the use of only one hand? No way.

Our friend loved the independence the meals gave him. He could finally have healthy food, delivered fresh, with minimum prep time – that he could cook by himself, with one hand.

My Grandma

My grandma is all of a sudden cooking for 1, not 2.

As for my grandma, she has a bit of a different story. She’s recently widowed and, frankly, didn’t know how to cook for a single person. That’s where Tovala’s Smart oven shines, and their meal subscriptions are an even better way to order meals.

While my grandma doesn’t use the meals every day, she loves the ability to scan to cook a single meal for herself and save the rest for later.

Bonus tip: Tovala’s reheat feature is a game-changer over a regular oven or microwave. It’s another killer feature that makes this one special oven.

Tovala as a standalone appliance

If you were considering Tovala as a standalone appliance, we would still recommend it. Why? Because it can replace so many parts of your kitchen from the toaster to air fryer, and frankly do a better job than appliances devoted to being a countertop old toaster oven or the Ninja Air Fryer, to name a few.

It’s not just an oven, it’s the Tovala Smart Oven. Even if saving time on meal prep isn’t your thing, this smart oven can help your make your own perfectly cooked prepared meals exactly right, the first time.

Even consider how much Ninja Air Fryer is – at about $99, it can be more expensive than a Tovala. Why wouldn’t you want more bang for you buck, when the Tovala can typically be found for less?

If you don’t want to bother with another subscription, I get it, so just buy the Tovala on Amazon.

Tovala Smart Oven Review: The Final Verdict

The best smart oven + meal service
Tovala Smart Oven
Why wait? Upgrade your kitchen game today with the Tovala Smart Oven – the ultimate culinary companion.
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The Tovala Smart Oven is a unique appliance that has the ability to not only cook your food, but also prepare them for you. With just three steps, it’s easy to get started and you can enjoy fresh, delicious meals without having to do any of the hard work. We think it’s well worth the price and recommend it to anyone who wants an easier way to eat great food. Plus, there’s no risk in trying it – so why not give it a shot today?

This is one of our few must-haves. It’s changed our dinner routine for the better. Having a little guy run around the house AND cook a full dinner from Hello Fresh or Blue Apron just wasn’t worth the hassle.

If you want a simple solution to get quick, healthy meals – look no further than the Tovala Smart Oven and the Tovala Meal Service.

Buy the Tovala Smart Oven today and get $50 off. Use our special Tovala Promo Code.

FAQs about the oven and meal delivery

How much does Tovala meals cost?

Meals are typically $12.99 each. The website shows all meals that are $12.99 as no additional charge. Other meals will show something like a $2.99 upcharge for Shrimp, for example. Other meals will show $9.99/serving (but be a total of $19.98 total because the meal includes two servings).

Do Tovala meals arrive frozen?

No, however, you can freeze Tovala meals to extend the shelf-life of the meals.

Can you use Tovala without meal plan?

Yes, however, you’ll have to pay full price for the oven – which we don’t recommend because the meal service is great!

What’s the difference: Tovala Oven: First Generation Vs. Second Generation

A couple of key things are different between the first generation Tovala Oven and the newest, second generation Tovala Oven.

The biggest is the size and form factor. The original oven was a hefty 17 inches x 19.75 inches x 14 inches. The new, second-generation oven is smaller: 18.5 inches x 12.32 inches x 11.75 inches. It’s actually slightly wider, but not as tall or deep.

The new oven has actually more controls on it vs. the original oven. The original oven required you to use the app a lot to cook. The new and improved button layout on the second-generation Tovala makes it easier to use without the app.

For example, you couldn’t simply steam with the old controls – you had to use the app to steam.

What’s the difference between the Tovala Smart Oven and Smart Oven Pro?

The main difference between the Tovala Smart Oven and Tovala Smart Oven Pro is that the Smart Oven Pro has a dedicated steam function and a one-speed convection fan while the Smart Oven does not have a steam function but has a more affordable price and a two-speed convection fan (better for air-frying).

9 thoughts on “Tovala Review: Our 5+ Year Smart Oven Test”

  1. I have the 2bd generation oven
    Like it
    I’ve tried 30 meals, some good some not
    I have some difficulty scheduling
    I would like other recipes I could try
    Will continue with their meals for awhile

  2. great review! It helped to push me to take the plunge. The only item I don’t see is if you can cook two meals (presumable the same meals) at the same time? The oven looks too small to be able to cook two at once but I presume there could be a way; I don’t really like the idea of my spouse and I eating 20-25 minutes apart from each other if we want our meals hot out of the oven!

  3. I absolutely love my Tovala Oven and their Meal choices! So far, every meal was a hit! No complaints from my Husband or my son. I’ve been brave and tried meals that I wasn’t sure I would like because of some of the sauces but every single one was delicious!

    It means what it says with 60 seconds of prep and clean up. It couldn’t be easier! Do yourself a favor and order this oven and the meals!


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