Why use a convection oven? It works more efficiently than a gas oven and uses a shorter amount of cooking time. Cutting waiting time and energy costs is on every family’s list, so a convection oven can be a useful appliance to have around the kitchen.

With the time and energy you could be saving, there is no time to lose in learning how to properly cook with a convection oven. Convection ovens use a system of hot air circulated by a fan to cook food thoroughly. A standard oven uses radiated heat, which cooks less efficiently than circulated heat. The difference in cooking techniques does not make any noticeable change in the taste of the food; the flavor will be as succulent from a convection oven as it would a traditional oven. A convection oven does cook food more evenly, and the food is cooked more quickly. Less cooking time also means less energy use, which means your energy costs can go down with the routine use of a convection oven.

Steps to Properly Using a Convection Oven

1. Food must be prepared for cooking in a convection oven. The hot air travels best over baking dishes that are shallow. Deep baking dishes may not produce the same results as shallow baking dishes. The dishes must be able to fit comfortably in the convection oven; a convection oven is smaller than a standard oven. A dish that fits comfortably in a convection oven will leave about two inches of space between the sides of the dish and the walls of the oven. Dishes that are dark in color will allow food to cook faster and become crisper; light colored dishes allow for lighter baking. Glass dishes are neutral.

2. Before even touching the dials, place the necessary racks in the oven with at least two inches of open space between the racks. The racks in the oven make cooking more than one food at a time possible, so if you have more food to cook, you may place multiple racks in the oven. If not, place the single rack in the center of the stove.

3. The recipe of the food will dictate a certain preheating temperature. By either consulting the oven’s manual or reading the dials on the outside of the oven, set the temperature to the setting dictated by the recipe.

4. When the oven is finished preheating, carefully place each dish on a rack by using a pot holder or oven mitt. Each dish should remain uncovered because a covering only restricts the hot air from reaching the food and cooking it thoroughly.

5. The recipe will indicate that the food must be cooked for a certain amount of time. With a convection oven, the food should be cooked for 75 percent of that time. The correct cooking time can be found by multiplying the recipe’s time by 0.75. For instance, a cookie recipe that calls for 8 minutes of baking time will only take 6 minutes to bake with a convection oven. Set a timer to ensure the proper amount of cooking time ensues.

6. When the timer goes off, make sure the food is cooked thoroughly. Meat thermometers are perfect for making sure meats have been cooked all the way through. If the meat is not completely cooked, adjust the time as necessary.

When cooking with a convection oven, it may be beneficial to also reduce the temperature to 25 percent less than the recipe calls for. Certain foods are just not meant to be cooked in a convection oven. Cakes, souffles, and basically any foods with light batters do not bake well in a convection oven. More tips for cooking with a convection oven can be found in the following video: