Fotile ChefCubii Countertop Oven review: it steams, roasts, bakes – and more
The Fotile ChefCubii Countertop Oven may not have as many functions as some countertop ovens, but it has one major feature that most competitors lack
The Fotile ChefCubii has a steamer function that makes this countertop oven stand out from competitors, but the hard-to-open door is a serious drawback.
Portable water tank
40 preset recipes
Oven door hard to open
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Before I had the opportunity to test the Fotile ChefCubii Countertop Oven, I wasn't so familiar with the Fotile Brand, most known for their hood ranges, and had no idea what to expect.
I’ve been fortunate enough to test some of the very best toaster ovens, and I’m accustomed to models that have a laundry list of cooking functions. The ChefCubii only has four – but that’s really not a shortcoming for two reasons. First, one of those four functions is a steamer, which is a pretty neat feature rarely found on a countertop oven. Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook food since it doesn’t require any oil - only water. Steaming also helps lock in the flavor and texture of food - while also maintaining nutrients.
Also, combined with the other three functions – bake, air fry, and dehydrate – the ChefCubii can actually perform a total of 10 functions: convection oven, steam oven, steam-bake mode, air fry, dehydrate, grill, reheat, toast, proof, and rice cooker.
Perhaps the best part is that I didn’t have to figure out how to get the oven to do all of these functions, because it has 40 presets. So, I merely needed to turn the dial to select the corresponding number for the desired meal.
Keep reading to discover what I liked – and didn’t like – about the ChefCubii.
Terri hates cooking – but loves testing kitchen appliances. She’s tested over a dozen countertop ovens, and has written buying guides on countertop ovens and other kitchen appliances and home goods for several popular websites.
Terri has had the Fotile ChefCubii Countertop Oven for almost a year, so she’s been able to test it long-term, and will work it back into rotation to provide updates on the appliance’s performance.
Fotile ChefCubii Countertop Oven specs
- Model Number: HYZK26-E1
- Capacity: 1 cubic foot
- Cooking modes: Convection Oven, Steam Oven, Steam-Bake, Air Fry, Dehydrate, Grill, Reheat, Toast, Proof, and Rice Cooker
- Temperature Range: 86°F- 446°F
- Size: 17 13/16" W x 18 7/8: D x 14" H
- Weight: 35.28 pounds
- Power: 1550W
- Accessories: Wire Rack, Baking Rack, Perforated Steaming Tray, Glove, Humidity-controlled Chip (for dehydration)
- Warranty: 1 year
I’ve had the ChefCubii since October 2021, so I don’t have the original box and packing materials (it’s easier to store items on the wire shelving in my garage without the extra bulk). However, I remember that it arrived in pristine condition, and the accessories were carefully wrapped and stored in the oven. Those accessories include an oven mitt, grill rack, bake tray, steam tray, manual, and humidity-controlled chip to use with the dehydration function.
The ChefCubii also has a unique and modern design. The interior is made of stainless steel, and the control knobs are made of aluminum. The exterior has a white finish and a black glass front. The door is made of 2 layers of tempered glass and 1 layer of low E glass. I appreciate that the door needs to be tightly sealed, but for some reason, I found it hard to open. In fact, I needed to hold the top of the oven with one hand (when the oven is on, I hold the sides for safety reasons), and pull open the door with the other hand. This is not an issue that I’ve ever encountered with other ovens, so I reached out to the company to ensure that I did not have a defective unit. I received the following response:
- “There are 4 rubber suction footers at the bottom of the oven, it can suck onto the granite or marble countertop to offer strength of balance when you open up the door. This may make the door a bit tougher to open, but it’s for safety reasons to keep the oven steadily in place.
- The door may be difficult to open because the ChefCubii is designed with a damping setup on the door (in the corners, metal hinges) for added compression and to make sure the unit is seamlessly closed up.
- As with any oven, FOTILE recommends wearing an oven mitt when opening/closing the oven when it is on and in use., If extra support is needed when opening, it’s recommended to hold onto the side of the unit (with oven mitts on) vs. the top of the unit to avoid direct contact with heat releasing.”
Anyway, that was the only problem I encountered with the oven, but it bothered me enough to deduct half of a point from an otherwise 5-star review.
Cooking in the Fotile ChefCubii Countertop Oven
The 1550W oven has a temperature range of 86 degrees to 446 degrees. The ChefCubii has a steam function (which I love), and also a large portable water tank/drip tray that slides into the bottom of the oven. The water tank also has a rubber lid to keep water from spilling out while transporting it. When the tank gets low on water, the “water” sign will flash to indicate that it needs to be refilled.
In addition, the ChefCubii has a generous see-through window for monitoring the food, along with an easy-to-read LCD screen and two control knobs on the front. It’s incredibly easy to operate the oven. The dial on the left is used to turn the oven on and off and also select functions, and the dial on the right is used to adjust the temperature and time. There’s also a “light” icon, to turn the interior light on and off.
But what I like most (next to the steam function) is the oven’s 40 presets, and they make it even easier to operate the oven. On the inside of the oven is a cheat sheet with numbered recipes. So, for example, if I want to bake cookies, I turn the left dial to select “presets” and then turn the second dial to select 16 – which is the preset for cookies – and then press start. If I want to steam rice, I select 08 – which is the corresponding preset number for this function.
Some of the other 40 presets are for steaming scallops, buns, rice, chicken, corn and broccoli; as well as combi steam/convection for roasting a whole chicken and baking tilapia filet; as also presets for baking pizza and salmon, and air frying chicken wings.
I love the preset feature since I don’t have to worry about setting the temperature or time (although both can be adjusted if desired).
Cooking Pork Chops in the Fotile ChefCubii
My first test was to cook pork chops in the countertop oven. I seasoned the pork chops and put them in the oven. Then I turned the power dial to the pre-set menu and chose “P21 Roast Pork Chops,” and the countdown clock started.
Another advantage of using presets is that I didn’t have to worry about preheating food. I just selected the desired preset, put the food in the oven, and it does the rest. The oven beeps once to let me know that the pre-heating segment is over, and then beeps several times when the food is done.
The pork chops cooked evenly, and were well done when the timer started beeping. After tasting them, the chops were also juicy and tender.
Baking Cookies in the Fotile ChefCubii
I love fresh-baked cookies, but only bake them when I’m testing countertop ovens, so I was excited to have a reason to bake a batch. For the next test, I made Nestle chocolate chip cookies to see how well the baking feature worked. I turned the dial to preset P16 Cookies, and then placed the cookies in the oven. The timer sounded when the cookies were done. They baked evenly and browned consistently. The cookies were crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside.
Steaming Shrimp and Shrimp Scampi
The next test took place over the course of two days. I was eager to try out the steam function, and on the first day, I steamed some shrimp. I put the items in a glass bowl, placed them in the oven, and then selected preset 05 Steam Shrimp. After a few minutes, the timer sounded, and I took the steamed shrimp out of the oven. They were tender and juicy.
The next day, I used the steam function to make some shrimp scampi, since I had some leftover cooked angel hair pasta. I chose the preset for steam shrimp and watched it carefully to see if I would need to adjust the time or temperature. However, I didn’t need to make any adjustments, and the meal turned out fine. I’ll admit that I was concerned that maybe it would be sticky or lumpy, but the combination meal was actually delicious.
Cleaning the Fotile ChefCubii Countertop Oven
The oven is easy to maintain and clean. I used a soft, soapy sponge (rung almost dry) to clean the exterior, door, handle, control panel, and door sealing rings. The racks were washed in the sink in soapy water. The interior of the oven was cleaned by selecting the steam clean mode (which lasts around 10 minutes). This was followed by the “dry-up” mode, which runs for about 20 minutes to remove water from the oven.
After 50 hours of use with the steam function, the descale icon will flash to indicate that the oven needs to be descaled. This is accomplished by filling the water tray with vinegar and water and selecting the descaling function, which runs for almost 30 minutes. The buzzer sounds when it is complete.
How does it compare?
I’ve tested over a dozen countertop ovens, including June, Wolf Gourmet, Breville, Tovala, De’Longhi Livenza, Ninja, and Calphalon. The Fotile ChefCubii is unique in that it has a steam feature – which provides a definite advantage if you like to steam your food (and steaming is certainly a healthier way to cook). The Tovala Gen 2 Smart Oven is the only other countertop oven I’ve tested with a steam function, and I like it, but it’s a much smaller (albeit less expensive) appliance.
The 40 presets are another feature that makes this oven stand out. The June Oven is the closest competitor, but it’s more advanced since it actually walks you through the cooking steps and makes recommendations. June is also a smart oven that uses a camera – and costs several hundred dollars more.
In terms of quality, the Fotile ChefCubii is definitely on par with other high-end countertop ovens, and does a great job of using a variety of cooking methods. My only complaint is that the door was hard to open.
Should you buy the Fotile ChefCubii Countertop Oven?
If you like steamed food, this is definitely a countertop oven that should be on your list. And here’s something else to consider: I love, love, love stainless steel/brushed stainless steel appliances, but I realize that not everyone else does. If you’re looking for something unique, the Fotile ChefCubii’s modern, white design is definitely a beautiful appliance and provides a change of pace for people who are over the stainless-steel trend. And aside from its killer looks, the countertop oven is versatile and is easy to both use and clean.
Terri Williams is a journalist with real estate, home improvement, and product review bylines at Architectural Digest, Real Simple, Realtor.com, Bob Vila, Yahoo, MSN, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Houston Chronicle, and Apartment Therapy. She also covers business topics, with bylines at USA Today, The Economist, US New & World Report, Verizon, and several other brands that you’ve probably heard of. Follow her adventures on Twitter.
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