REVIEW – Cooking healthy food can be a challenge when life is busy and your cooking skill level isn’t on par with Gordon Ramsay. What if there was a smart countertop cooking device that could lead you step by step in the cooking process to cook your food to perfection? There is and it’s called the Brava. It’s awesome but it’s not without a couple of caveats. Let’s take a look.
What is it?
Brava is a smart cooking device that uses high-powered light bulbs to cook a whole meal on one tray even if they are entirely different types of foods like meat and vegetables. It also has built-in recipes and instructions that will lead you by the hand (spoon?) to bake, cook, air fry, dehydrate, and reheat your leftovers. It can effectively replace your oven, air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, and microwave.
What’s in the box?
- Brava smart oven
- Glass tray
- Ceramic coated aluminum tray
- Ceramic coated aluminum egg tray
- Digital tempsensor
- Getting started guide
Note that you can buy different packages of the Brava which come with different trays. This is the configuration that was sent to me for review which is the Starter Set with an additional Egg Tray.
Dimensions – Height: 11.3 inches (28.8 cm) x Width: 16.4 inches (41.6 cm) x Length: 17.3 inches (44.0 cm)
Weight – 34.4 pounds (15.6 kg)
Heating Element – 270mm crystal bulb, Full power in <1 second
Power – 1,800 Watts, 120 Volts
Processor – Quad-core ARM Cortex A53 processor with Mali T400-MP2 GPU
8GiB eMMC flash storage, 1GiB LPDDR3 RAM
Display – Multi-Touch with IPS technology
5.0-inch (diagonal) TFT-LCD display, 854×480 native resolution with up to 16.7M colors
180° viewing angle
Connectivity – Integrated Wi-Fi supporting IEEE802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4GHz/5GH
Camera – 5 megapixel, ultra wide angle
Design and features
The Brava oven has the footprint of a small microwave and is designed to sit on your kitchen counter and it plugs into a standard 3-prong outlet.
The Brava has a brushed metal case that is available in silver, red, or black. It has a modern style without being too futuristic-looking. It will fit into almost any decor including my kitchen which is a kind of modern farmhouse style.
On the front of the Brava oven, you’ll find the door which has a nice large handle.
The top surface has a black silicone mat that you can use as a hot pad to place the tray when you remove it from the oven.
The mat is removable and washable.
There’s also the touchscreen user interface and the control button along the front edge of the oven but more about them later.
The interior of the Brava oven is all stainless steel and has a lower and upper slot for the included trays.
There are three long halogen light bulbs on the bottom of the oven and three more on the top/roof of the oven. Each light corresponds to the cooking zone so that the oven can cook completely different foods on the same tray.
Brava includes a digital tempsensor that ensures that your foods (proteins) are cooked to your exact preference – rare, medium rare, medium well, well done. You decide and Brave does your bidding!
The tip of the tempsensor has marks that allow it to double as a measuring device so that you can input the thickness of the protein into the cook specs to let Brava figure out how long and how hot to cook the food.
The tempsensor plugs into the slot on the left side of the oven. It looks kind of like a USB plug but it’s not 😉
Here we see the tempsensor plugged in and ready to be used.
You can also see a metal guard/plate above the tempsensor connection slot. This guard protects the tempsensor’s lead from the extreme temps inside the oven.
Depending on the package, the Brava oven comes with different cooking trays or pans. Mine came with a glass tray and two ceramic coated aluminum trays. As you can see above, the glass tray has three sections or as Brava calls them, zones.
The ceramic coated aluminum tray has the same three zones. The zones will make more sense when you start cooking. So let’s do that now!
Enough talking, let’s get cooking!
The first thing you do after you unbox the Brava and plug it in is to follow the onscreen prompts to connect it to the internet. It will then prompt to update the firmware if needed. Once everything is updated, you’ll see the main menu that is shown above. The menu is two pages long and lets you choose from options like cook, sear, toast, bake, reheat, slow cook, warmer, and more. There is also an option to see recent recipes, favorites, and search.
I picked something very easy for my first test of the Brava. Sausage links! So I used the search feature and used the touchscreen to type sausage in the search field. I was presented with quite a few options.
I went with the fresh links option.
Brava tells you exactly what to do step by step. I washed the metal tray…
Opened the package, arranged the links.
It tells me to put the tray on the top shelf…
Which I do.
It then shows me a summary.
If everything looks good, you press the button, and cooking starts! The status LED around the button turns red to let you know that it’s cooking but you’ll also see a live view on the display because…
Brava even has a built-in camera!
How cool is that? But it gets even better because the Brava mobile app also shows you a view from the camera inside the oven.
Being able to see what’s going on in the oven from the app means that you don’t have to be in the kitchen while it’s cooking. You can be in another part of the house and still be able to check in on your food.
The app will also tell you when the cooking session has ended. Let’s go check our sausages!
Perfect links in 9 minutes. Nice!
For my next test, I went easy again with grilled cheese sandwiches.
I used the Toast menu function which lets you choose your preferred toast level.
Brava shows that I’ll have sandwiches in five minutes.
So five minutes later, I have perfectly grilled (toasted) cheese sandwiches and I didn’t even have to flip them!
It was time to get a little bit fancier with egg frittatas!
It lets you choose how many you want to make.
My frittata station included three 3 eggs, leftover sausage links, leftover bacon, cheese, salt, and pepper.
Ready to cook…
This time I didn’t like the length of time the oven had chosen because I could see that the frittatas were getting a little brown on top and I don’t like overcooked eggs so I was able to press the Pause button on the screen to stop the cook.
I could see and do the same thing through the Brava app.
I also used the Brava Oven instead of my microwave to reheat leftovers and I liked how the texture and taste were like freshly prepared food instead of rubbery or hard like can sometimes happen in a microwave.
Next up was my most ambitious test… a combo meal with two completely different types of foods that would require completely different cooking times/heat. But that’s what makes the Brava so great. It can do that with no problem because it can turn the lights off and on individually for each zone.
I decided on pork chops and Brussel sprouts. For this cook, the tempsensor is required. Brava instructs me to tell it how thick the chops are which is easy to do because the sensor has markings on it.
The sensor goes into the fattest part of the meat on the left side.
I halved Brussel sprouts and tossed them with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
The metal tray then goes into the oven on the top shelf and the tempsensor is plugged in with the cable under the protective shield.
The real-time display shows the time left and a live readout of the tempsensor.
Again, you can see the same info through the Brava app if you don’t want to hang out in the kitchen while it’s cooking.
When the meat has reached the desired temperature, the oven will beep to let you know that the cook has completed. The app will notify you too. Wow, how great does that meal look? Looks can be deceiving though…
I’ve cooked a lot of pork chops in my life and it’s not uncommon for them to end up dry. Not this time! I have to say (and I’m not exaggerating) that these pork chops were the juiciest chops and most perfectly cooked chops that I’ve had in decades. I’m serious. They were perfect. AND, the sprouts were perfectly roasted too.
Reheating one of the chops (they were so big Jeanne and I just split one) a couple of days later in the Brava Oven was like it had been freshly cooked. It was still almost as juicy as the other one.
Brava comes with 1000’s of built-in recipes
Brava makes it easy to cook your favorite foods and foods that you don’t even know are your favorites yet with the built-in recipes. Right now, there are over 6000 recipes in their database that you can find through Brava’s website, app, and the Brava search feature on the oven itself. I like using the Brava website the best just because it’s easier to see on my huge monitor hooked to my MacBook Pro! 🙂
I use my laptop to browse the Brava website which allows you to easily drill down to just the recipes you’re interested in. You can even filter by diet type like Keto and by tray type or even if you want recipes that use two trays at the same time.
Once you find a recipe that you want to make, you can then click the little airplane icon and it will be sent to the oven and will be waiting for you right on the screen to start your step-by-step cook.
What if you can’t find a recipe and want to make your own? No problem. You can use the custom cooking option and then save the recipe to use again in the future.
Will the Brava oven still work even if your internet is down?
Yes. Keeping it connected to your WiFi is desirable for firmware updates and weekly updates to the recipes, but it’s not mandatory.
What I like
- Makes cooking fun and easy
- Built-in step-by-step recipes that are constantly updating
- Replaces a microwave, air fryer, dehydrator, and oven
What I’d change
- Additional accessories are pricey
- Add larger models for bigger families
One of the main issues that I see with the Brava oven is its size. It’s small. For my family, it’s fine as there are only two of us to cook for. But for a larger family, you might need to cook in batches. I also think that for the price, that you should receive the additional trays instead of having to buy each one for $50.
I’ve only been using the Brava Oven for a few weeks, but I already find it to be one of my favorite kitchen appliances that I’ve ever reviewed. I realize that it’s an expensive purchase but the fact that it can be used instead of a microwave to reheat leftovers, an oven, an air fryer, slow cooker, and a dehydrator means that it will take up less space in your kitchen than having all of those devices. I think it would be great for someone who has a very small kitchen and who likes step-by-step instructions for cooking.