Ever wondered what the convection setting on your oven does? Understanding the pros and cons of convection vs. conventional ovens can help you get better results in the kitchen.
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The type of oven you have — convection or conventional — is probably something you’ve ignored until now. Still, it’s information that can help you avoid a kitchen mishap or simply become a better home cook. Since most conventional ovens have a convection setting and many convection ovens have a standard conventional setting, it helps to know when each setting is most appropriate. Let’s get into the facts.
What’s the difference?
- Convection ovens heat food by circulating hot air from a fan in the back of the oven.
- Conventional ovens, on the other hand, heat food from the bottom. The air is static and often hotter at one end than the other.
Conventional ovens (pros & cons)
Pros: While you can use both types of ovens for cooking anything, a conventional oven is better for baking than a convection oven because the even heat of a convection oven may cause baked goods to rise and cook too quickly. Conventional ovens also have a simplicity factor going for them. When a recipe says to cook for 20-minutes at 350-degrees, that’s exactly what you do (convection ovens involve tinkering with cook times and temperature).
Cons: Conventional ovens don’t cook as evenly as convection ovens, resulting in more heat on one side than the other and cooler air pockets. You can still get the job done; you may just have to open the oven halfway through to rotate the sheet pan or baking dish to result in more even cooking.
Convection ovens (pros & cons)
Pros: Convection ovens cook food faster and evenly; that means no need to rotate the pan. Convection ovens are especially great when you want your dish to come out crispy (i.e. when roasting potatoes or other vegetables). They’re also better for browning meat due to the drier environment they create. Finally, convection ovens are also more energy-efficient since they cook food faster and require lower temperatures.
Cons: Believe it or not, convection ovens may be too efficient for baked goods, causing them to heat too quickly. Another downside? The cooking times on recipes aren’t written based on convection cooking unless explicitly stated. You have to adjust the temperature 25-degrees lower than what the recipe recommends or cook for at least 10-minutes less. You also have to check the food frequently toward the end to avoid overcooking.
Are both settings available on standard ovens?
Some conventional ovens have a convection setting. So, you can opt-in with the press of a button when you need to roast something but opt-out when baking pineapple upside cake or white bread. But not all conventional ovens have this setting. Read the fine print. Some convection ovens also have standard settings when you need to revert for baking.
Do gas and electric ovens have both settings?
Conventional ovens and convection ovens work with either electric or gas heat.
What’s a conventional oven good for?
What’s a convection oven good for?
Roasting vegetables to achieve a good crisp. They’re also great for cooking meat evenly. You may want to check the oven often to make sure you don’t overcook your food, as convection ovens will heat food quicker.
How do you accommodate for a convection oven?
Set the oven for 25-degrees cooler than your recipe recommends or check the progress 10 to 15-minutes sooner than the typical cook duration. It’s also wise to use baking dishes with low sides (sheet pans versus casserole dishes) to get the full benefits of a convection oven’s airflow.