4 ways to make toast if you don't have a toaster -- easy on a boat, RV or camping!

Toast without a Toaster

I just plain like toast for breakfast, whether it’s homemade bread, bagels, English muffins or even Bimbo.  But we didn’t want a toaster aboard our boat, both for space and electricity considerations.  No problem — there are at least 4 ways to make toast without a toaster!

All of these methods produce good results IF you pay constant attention to the toast.  Unlike using a toaster, you just can’t pop the toast in and do other stuff while waiting for it to be ready.  The key to good toast (golden and crunchy on the outside and still soft and moist on the inside) is high heat, and that means the bread can go from white to burnt in just seconds.

Method 1 – Stove Top Toaster:

This is my favorite method, and the one I now use every day. I use the GSI Stove Top Toaster, which does a much better job than the 4-slice ones you may have seen in the past. You have to pay attention and flip the piece of bread at the right time, but since the bread is horizontal over the flame there is no problem with one edge being burnt while the other edge isn’t even starting to toast.

Read more about the GSI Stove Top Toaster here. Buy it here on Amazon.

4 ways to make toast if you don't have a toaster -- easy on a boat, RV or camping!


Method 2 – Broiler:

Of course, for this to work, you have to have a broiler, which some boat ovens don’t.

  1. Move oven rack to top position.  Preheat broiler until it is red hot.
  2. Slide the rack out, place bread slices on it, then slide it back in.
  3. Keep the oven door cracked and watch for the bread to become golden – the exact time will depend on the heat of your broiler, distance to the rack and moisture in the bread.  It generally takes somewhere between 30 and 60 seconds.
  4. Slide the rack out, quickly flip the bread and slide it back it in.  (Don’t try to reach into the oven to flip the bread – it’s too easy to burn yourself!)
  5. Watch for the second side to turn golden.  It will take less time than the first side did.
  6. Remove and serve.

Method 3 – Dry in a Skillet:

I’ve used this method on occasion, but I don’t like it as well as it can blacken the pan.

  1. Heat skillet over high heat.  Skillet must be hot before you put the bread in it.
  2. Place bread in skillet without oil.
  3. Turn bread over when bottom is golden.
  4. When second side is toasted, remove and serve.

Method 4 – Grilled Bread:

This is a great way to make garlic toast to accompany a meal.  Just sprinkle the butter with a little garlic powder, or mix finely minced garlic or garlic paste into the butter.  Other good flavorings are cinnamon, onion or dill.

  1. Heat skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Lightly butter one side of a slice of bread, like you would do for a grilled cheese sandwich.  When the skillet is hot, put the bread in the pan, buttered side down.
  3. While the first side is cooking, lightly butter the second side.
  4. Flip with a spatula when the first side is golden.
  5. When second side is also golden, remove from the pan and serve.

Read more about this in Grilled Garlic Bread.

Just remember, no matter what technique you choose, you have to watch the toast constantly!

4 easy ways to make great toast if you don't have a toaster -- easy on a boat, RV or camping!

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  • Dave Skolnick on Auspicious
    Posted at 22 August 2011 Reply

    I used a camping toaster for a while but even toasting was a challenge. The broiler is fine but generates a lot of heat. I ended up toasting in a dry skillet – I haven’t had the blackening problem you mention above. I have used both a Swiss Diamond skillet and a small Teflon pan.

  • Candy Ann Williams on Facebook
    Posted at 30 December 2011 Reply

    Sinful , horrible for you, but really good tasting variation is to put a dab of bacon grease on your griddle/skillet then put your bread in that to toast-very good but not very healthy-LOL- I gain a pound just smelling my husband’s (as I eat my dry toast!). Hope you have a happy New Year. 🙂

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 30 December 2011 Reply

    Yum! Maybe for a special treat?

  • Eniko Ilyes DeMarco on Facebook
    Posted at 24 May 2012 Reply

    I use the Coleman camp toaster and a propane stove which gets very hot very quickly. Works great and makes the boat smell so good.

  • Gloria Rooney
    Posted at 24 May 2012 Reply

    For many years I used the empty pan method on the boat, but just bought a fold flat camping version (not the one that stands up and has four sides). The jury is still out, but I will try it.

    • Lyn Hewson
      Posted at 21 November 2013 Reply

      I bought the flat / one piece version at the Annapolis Boat Show for $10.00. Such an exciting purchase. It’s perfect for two of us. I still get excited when I use it.

      • Carolyn Shearlock
        Posted at 21 November 2013 Reply

        Good! It’s nice when little things bring so much happiness 🙂

  • Julie Birbeck on Facebook
    Posted at 05 January 2013 Reply

    We have a keelboat, A Farr 1020, luckily it has a grill in the oven which is great.
    On our Trailer Sailer, we only have a metho stove so I use the dry pan method which is nowhere near as good.

  • Janice Fleischmann
    Posted at 05 January 2013 Reply

    Been using the dry pan method for years for toast, english muffins and bagels.

  • Claudia Davis Reshetiloff on Facebook
    Posted at 05 January 2013 Reply

    we make it stovetop in a dry frying pan…

  • LaDonna Bubak on Facebook
    Posted at 05 January 2013 Reply

    Butter each side, put in pan, brown, eat. Slurp!

  • Rick
    Posted at 20 August 2013 Reply

    We use GSI outdoors toaster. All stainless and folds flat. Only makes on slice at a time but makes it quickly. Available at Amazon for about $14.

  • Jan Alexander
    Posted at 25 August 2013 Reply

    Dry skillet toasting does not harm your cast iron skillet. I would never toast in Teflon. Only downside is that our 10″ skillet only fits a couple slices. It helps if you rotate and flip frequently. ( your toast, not yourself 🙂 )

  • Georgina Moon
    Posted at 26 August 2013 Reply

    Buy a toaster that fits over the gas burner! Easy!

  • Michael Henning
    Posted at 29 November 2014 Reply

    I own an original gas stove toaster that now on its last legs .Bought by my parents to use in a caravan in RSA in early sixties ..its a 4 slice by not S.S. so its finally rusting away . I use it still in my home .I havent seen these for sale anywhere locally and thought of having one made. Haha you cant walk away and get distracted.. result burnt toast . I host many guests off couchsurfing and they all fascinated by this toaster.. thanks for your article

  • Sarnia Stenning
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

    Seriously? I’m thinking that if one needs a recipe for how to cook toast, then one shouldn’t be in control of any vehicle, including a boat!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

      Many newbies have never used anything but an electric toaster in their shore life. They’ want to know how you can do it otherwise. Please respect their learning curve.

    • Cindy Crowson
      Posted at 29 January 2016 Reply


  • Rod Shehan
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

    I agree

  • Albert J K III
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

    Why am I having an image of Elwood J. Blues (Dan Aykroyd) from the film “The Blues Brothers”?
    …..If you have seen it you’d understand. 😉

  • Darlene Burnett Price
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

    Toast on the boat tastes better than toast at home. We use method 4.

  • Kimberly Lancashire
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

    Loved my GSI stainless, stovetop toaster so much, I bought a 2nd one. Now I can really crank it out!

  • David Lake
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply


  • Larry Lockwood
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

    I have a very small George Foreman grill which I use for everything, including, believe it or not, making toast. Works like a charmp.

  • Sally Stearns
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

    Carolyn do you have a good method to clean your boats oven?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

      I mostly scrape and use ammonia. Once in a very great while I may use oven cleaner (keep it away from the burners) but when I do, I make sure to wipe it all out, first with old dry rags and then damp, and all those go in the trash — in other words, absolutely no oven cleaner goes down the drain and into the water.

  • Carolyn Brown Fuller
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

    I have a GSI but rarely use it as we’re plugged into shore power so using toaster. Anxious to try the skillet method You. Thanks for the post!

  • Jennifer Dean Neumann
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

    I’ve done 1 but was not happy with the result. Was not the GSI model though, sounds like that works better. 4 sounds yummy for garlic bread, I may try that. I have a toaster on my boat. 🙂 (power boat with electric galley.)
    Thanks for the tops!

  • Helen Bell
    Posted at 28 January 2016 Reply

    Other ways taste ok but we need our toaster 😉 lol

  • Rout'Deau Bénéteau
    Posted at 29 January 2016 Reply

    We use a round cast iron wood stove plate on the propane stove top. Our toast taste like “the old time toast” done on a wood stove. Delicious !

  • Karissa Coffey
    Posted at 29 January 2016 Reply

    My favorite is the cast iron dry skillet!

  • Barbara Nau Bryant
    Posted at 29 January 2016 Reply

    We use method 3. Even when we lived shoreside we didn’t use a toaster.

  • Debbi Cesari
    Posted at 23 May 2016 Reply

    Been using pan method but LOVE real toaster taste and texture

  • David Lake
    Posted at 04 December 2016 Reply

    I have a torch

  • Dave Skolnick
    Posted at 04 December 2016 Reply

    I use a dry skillet and don’t have the blackening problem you describe. Fast, easy, clean.

  • Hazel Peterson
    Posted at 04 December 2016 Reply

    As campers, we use the mini bbq for toasting for a crowd. If it is just the two old fogies we put the bread straight on the propane cooking stove. Either way it is easy to get burnt toast (which I love),

  • Celia Hitchins
    Posted at 05 December 2016 Reply

    These toaster tongs are also great for flipping and retrueving toast out of an oven

  • Joyce Johnson
    Posted at 05 December 2016 Reply

    I use method #4. Everyone loves it.

  • Nemo
    Posted at 21 July 2017 Reply

    Why would you wan’t to burn well made bread ~ The baker made sure it did not burn and now you lot want to burn it anyway! Crazy World lol just joking! Thanks for the tips . Truck driver and I love my toast now I can make it on the road. 😊

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