What’s A Convection Oven, And Will I Ever Really Use It?
Posted: March 28, 2022
What is a Convection Oven?
You can think of a convection oven as the same thing as a conventional oven, but which also contains a fan that circulates the hot air. It’s important to note that all convection ovens are capable of cooking the conventional way.
There are two main styles of convection oven European (also known as “true” convection) and American. Both operate with a fan using the same principle of circulating the heat around the chamber of the oven.
An American convection oven uses the standard two heating elements plus a fan in the back. When you use an American convection oven, the broil element on the top of the oven and the bake element on the bottom both heat up while the fan in the back of the oven helps circulate the heat.
European convection ovens feature a third heading element in the back of the chamber behind the fan. This third heating element will help distribute air more evenly than the American-style convection oven.
What Are Some Differences Between A Conventional Oven & A Convection Oven?
We already talked about how a convection oven uses its fan to circulate hot air throughout the chamber, while a conventional oven relies solely on its heating elements radiating enough heat.
Because convection ovens are able to circulate the hot air, they avoid hot and cold spots. This means that food placed on the top rack will cook at the same pace as food placed on the middle or bottom racks.
This efficiency of convection ovens tends to make the food you cook even more delicious. Your roasted chicken will now have a crispier skin and juicier meat. Cookies and casseroles turn out exceptionally well in a convection oven.
The exhaust on the fan is able to pull out old air, and the oven maintains a more steady temperature than with a conventional oven. This makes for food that is cooked more evenly throughout and gives it a crispier crust.
When To Use A Convection Oven
A convection oven can cook almost any dish you’ve made before in a conventional oven. Pie, roasted chicken, casserole, pizza, and cookies all cook better in a convection oven.
In fact, it is recommended that you use the convection setting for most dishes, except for a few exceptions; delicate dishes with a liquid batter, think cakes and souffleés, are best cooked the conventional way. With a convection oven, the circulating air can cause these dishes to dry out on the surface or not rise as well as with a conventional oven.
Adjusting The Recipe
When cooking, if the recipe doesn’t mention that it’s made with a convection oven in mind, it’s best to lower the temperature called for by 25 degrees, and to use the lowest recommended cook time.
Also, many convection ovens have a few different settings, such as a convection bake and a convection roast setting. A convection bake setting may be used for cookies and would use a slower fan speed to avoid drying them out. The convection roast setting would result in crispy roasted vegetables (check out the recipes below!)
When the recipe allows for it, try using baking pans with lower sides, this will help the air circulate around the food the most efficiently. Also, avoid overcrowding the oven as this will also cause the air to have trouble circulating.
What Are Some Good Recipes For Convection Ovens?
Here are a few articles that contain some great recipes to try that are written with a convection oven in mind: