Convection Ovens: What You Need to Know About These Popular Appliances

Jenny Cazares | Discovery Team | Dean Cabinetry

By: Jenny Cazares

Convection means there are two heating elements and one or two fans, circulating hot air inside the oven cavity.

Does a convection oven deliver better results when cooking and baking?

When using the convection option in an oven, your food will cook 25% faster than in a conventional oven. Convection should also deliver consistent and even results every time you use it.

How does a convection oven deliver consistent results?

The fan(s) inside a convection oven circulates the hot air evenly throughout the interior of the oven. This means that you should get the perfect cookie…never burned on the bottom or too dark on the top! This is great news; no more moving your trays of cookies while they bake.

In a traditional oven, there is usually one heating element at the top of the unit and one at the bottom. This provides an overall temperature in the oven, but it might not be consistent throughout the entire inside of the unit. The upper area might be at a slightly different temperature than the middle or the bottom section of the oven. 

Will my cooking time be less using a convection oven?

When convection fans are circulating the heat, temperatures should be even throughout, and you can expect a shorter cooking time. It is often recommended to use a lower temperature than you would normally use in a conventional oven. It is recommended to reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees. 

If you are new at using a convection oven, it is a good idea to keep an eye on your food until you get accustomed to how it cooks.

With shorter cooking times, your energy bills will also go down; how great is that!

Can I cook multiple items in my convection oven?

Yes, you can. With a convection oven, the heat is constantly circulating throughout. All of your dishes should get a consistent temperature, and therefore should be cooked evenly. This should be true whether you place them in the upper, middle, or lower section of your oven. Again, no need to move the food items from one rack to another in order to assure even cooking.

In a conventional oven, it is often necessary to rotate your dishes. This might be necessary for instance because the dish on the top rack is blocking the heat from circulating to the dishes below. 

We’ve all had one dish browning too quickly up top and the ones below that look like they haven’t even started cooking yet. I call this the “cookie effect”; the top baking sheet of cookies looks great, but the bottom, UGH!

Are there items that won’t cook well in a convection oven?

Unfortunately, there are. 

Convection ovens create drier heat than a standard oven. This is caused by the fans constantly circulating the air. For dishes that require a moist environment, such as rice pudding and flan, you may not get the same results.

The fan can also interfere with baked goods that need to rise…so when you bake your famous soufflé, you may want to use the standard oven option, with no convection.  

Are there different styles of convection ovens?

Convection ovens come in a variety of styles, options, finishes, and costs. They range from very reasonably priced to very expensive, depending on the options you choose. Personally, I prefer an oven where I can choose to turn the convection fan on and off, depending on what I am cooking.  

A few examples of different styles of convection ovens:

Choosing an oven for your new kitchen is a big decision. Research your options and their functions. It’s always a good idea to read the reviews on each.

I would also consider the size of the oven you choose. If in the future, you need to replace it, you’ll want one that is readily available for your cabinet’s oven opening. 

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