Have you just gotten a convection oven? Welcome to the club! We are going to take a good long look at your convection oven and how to use it, starting with the basics and covering everything you have ever wanted to know!
In this guide you will learn more about how your convection oven works, and have many questions you may be wondering about answered.
Convection Oven: How to Use It
If you are here for how to use your convection oven, we can start with that.
There are a couple different ways you can use a convection oven:
Take any regular recipe, and reduce the cooking temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit when you set your oven to convection. Cook it for the same amount of time.
Cook your food or baked good at the same temperature with convection, but reduce the cooking time by several minutes. I like to start with reducing by 5 minutes and checking every few minutes after, depending on what it is I am making, and how long I am cooking it.
Of course, you still need to preheat your oven before putting the food in, you may find your convection oven preheats faster than your regular oven. You are going to lean why soon.
Now that you know how to use your convection oven, let's take a closer look at what it is and what it does.
What Does Convection Oven Mean?
Let's start by looking at the definition of convection from Dictionary.com:
the transfer of heat by the circulation or movement of the heated parts of a liquid or gas
A convection oven has a large fan in the back of it. This fan turns on and circulates the hot air throughout your oven, causing the air to circulate around your food instead of just sitting there.
This is what allows your food to cook faster, the circulating air. Instead of your food just sitting there, the air is kept moving around it.
Besides cooking faster, it also cooks more evenly, and you will find a convection oven does not have the hot or cold spots a traditional oven does.
Convection Oven vs Conventional Oven Cooking Times
Let's talk about cooking times a little bit more. Because the air is circulating around the food, keeping it at a consistent temperature, it does tend to cook faster.
Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to convection oven vs conventional oven cooking times.
When it comes to things that are cooked quickly, like cakes and baked goods that cook for around 30 minutes or less, I like to start checking them 5 minutes before the recipe says they are done.
I also keep an eye on them the first time I make them with the convection setting to make sure they are not browning excessively.
The longer something is supposed to cook in an oven, the more time reduction you will see when you use convection.
When you talk about things like roasted beef, chicken, turkey, or other meats, that is where you will see the major time reduction with convection, the things you would usually need to keep in the oven for several hours.
In these cases you will likely see a 25% time reduction, so be sure to check your food for doneness with a thermometer.
Convection Bake vs Regular Bake
Any convection oven as a convection bake and a regular bake setting. The question is which one to use?
When it comes to convection bake vs regular bake, I almost always use convection. Why? It makes food cook faster, and things brown faster.
There is one exception. Sometimes I do not use convection for really dense cakes because then they brown too fast and are not cooked through!
Another way to solve this problem is to simply cover your food item with aluminum foil if it is browning too fast. This doesn't work with everything, like things where the water evaporates out when cooking like cakes.
If you are taking about roasted meats, then you can either place the aluminum foil on top to reduce browning at the beginning, middle, or end of cooking.
Convection vs Toaster Oven
Convection ovens do come in the small size of a toaster oven, but not every toaster oven is a convection oven!
A toaster oven is a small countertop oven that is very useful for toasting, reheating food, and cooking smaller portions.
It has heating elements on the top and bottom to cook the food.
If it has a fan in the back, it can be a convection toaster oven.
If it is not, then it is a regular toaster oven.
In fact, an air fryer is really just a small convection oven with a very high powered fan.
What Can You Cook in a Convection Oven?
The answer is absolutely anything, especially things you want to be nice and brown.
One of my favorite things to do in my convection oven is roasting a chicken. It cooks faster than it would in a traditional oven, and is a nice even golden brown color all over.
You can pretty much make anything you would like in a convection oven, just make sure you pay close attention to how fast it is cooking and browning when you are first getting used to your convection oven.
Did you know you can even bake pancakes?
Is Convection Oven Better for Baking?
The answer is yes, a convection oven is better for baking for most things.
There is one thing to pay attention to, very dense cakes. Your cake may brown before it is cooked in this case.
Think things like pound cake and carrot cake.
No worries, since most convection ovens come allow you to use regular bake or convection bake when you are starting them.