Breville Joule Oven Review: Why It’s Worth Every Penny

I’ve been a fan of ChefSteps nerds for over half a decade. Their Joule Sous Vide Circulator is one of the most reliable and efficient kitchen electronics I have ever used. And the cheeky app that controls the Immersion Circulator is actually a blast to tap and scroll through (something I’m not sure I’ve ever written about on any other app). So I was excited to try out the Joule Oven, ChefSteps’ first new piece of hardware since it was acquired by Breville in 2019. It didn’t disappoint.

Breville Joule Four Air Fryer Pro

The Joule Oven is part of a growing segment of 2010s laser printer sized kitchen appliances that are often called multiple ovens, but I like to call them Big Ol’ Boxes (BOB!). Their manufacturers claim that they can replace almost any heat-producing appliance in the kitchen. Need a toaster? BOB. Oven for baking cakes and cookies? BOB. Air fryer? slow cooker? Dehydrator? BOB. And while the Joule Oven is very much in that mold (physically it’s a dead ringer for Breville’s Smart Oven Pro), it does more than most BOBs and does it better.

The Joule Oven performed the simple tasks — making golden toasted bagels, crispy tater tots, or well-baked cookies — that would be a given to even consider giving up that amount of counter space. But what really sets the Joule apart from other countertop ovens I’ve tried is its autopilot feature. This feature manages not only how much heat is projected onto whatever you’re cooking, but also where that heat is coming from. My two favorite Autopilot features are the “rotisserie” chicken and the special oven settings for a cheat croissant recipe that ChefSteps calls “croissant-style” baking. In the former, the oven remained at a medium roasting temperature while the top heating element cycled on and off in bursts of high heat designed to mimic the rotation of a rotisserie. The result was the kind of super clear skin that I struggle to achieve in my oven. In the latter, the temperature remains low during proofing, then rises to cooking temperature for 10 minutes before switching to activate only the lower heating element, which ensures that the undersides of the rolls are perfectly cooked. If you bake a lot of bread, the Proof-to-Bake feature alone might make this your new favorite kitchen BOB.

The Joule Oven app, like the Joule Sous Vide app before it, is a joy to use. It’s actually improved from the original in a very big way. At each step, the ingredients and their quantities are listed in a clearer and more readable way. This means no more switching between ingredients and recipe steps. This is especially important, for example, in a baking recipe that involves many additions of separate ingredients.

The only thing that didn’t work was the smart home integration. No matter how many times I shouted “Hey, Google”, I couldn’t connect my Google Home to the oven at all. But honestly, I find a perk like voice control to be more of a distraction than a help – and I’d probably never use it even if it worked.

Like most Breville products, this one isn’t cheap – it costs $500 at the time of writing. But really smart features like Proof-and-Bake and Autopilot, and more basic features like a warm-up that takes less than five minutes to reach 400°F, make the new Joule the only appliance I’ve tried recently that actually made my cooking easier (not perfect, notice my bun, while tasty, had a cracked top, and my attempt at air frying had quite a few droopy potatoes). Something to make all the other BOBs jealous.

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