KitchenAid KCO253BM Compact Convection Countertop Oven Review

KitchenAid KCO253BM Compact Convection Countertop Oven Review

The KitchenAid KCO253FM twelve inch countertop convection oven offers several interesting features that make it one of the best convection ovens on the market. At almost fifteen inches deep, and eighteen inches wide, it should fit well on most countertops, and you’ll still have plenty of room inside the oven to accommodate a large pizza. 

This isn’t a convection oven that’s packed with a ton of fancy features, instead, what it offers is a wide variety of simple cooking cycles and presets that work to make your life in the kitchen a little easier. You can quickly cook or heat up your favorite dishes using the different cooking presets, or cook a medium size roast with all the trimmings in this highly versatile, compact machine, in less than an hour, using the convection setting. 

KitchenAid Countertop Convection Oven Rundown and Features 

This model comes with a number of accessories including a nonstick multipurpose pan, oven rack, and broiling rack. The oven rack also works as a cooling rack, so you can set it on top of the oven and use it as a cooling surface as you bake large batches of your favorite brownies or cookies. Unfortunately, the racks and pan are not dishwasher safe and must be washed by hand. 

You’ll find a large, bright, LCD display screen that shows the temperature and time, in addition to a number of buttons and knobs that control the cooking settings such as frozen and convection. If you want better crisping or browning, choose the convection option, which turns on a fan designed to circulate the air inside the oven for more even and faster cooking. The frozen option adds more time to a cooking cycle, allowing the food to thaw first, but this feature can’t be used for all cooking modes. 

Choosing from one of the nine cooking modes is simple. Turn the knob to select, toast, bagel, cookie, reheat, keep warm, broil, roast, or bake. Whichever mode you choose, this oven will rely on its even heat system to provide consistent results. This heating system will cycle different bottom and top heating elements, switching them on and off. It also uses certain elements for only part of a cook cycle. 

The Asado roast mode is an interesting feature. This setting uses two cooking stages for larger items such as pork roasts or whole chickens. During the first stage, the convection fan is switched on to crisp the outer layer of a chicken or roast. The second phase is the roasting stage, so the fan is switched off and the temperature is reduced, allowing the heat to evenly, and slowly reach the center of the roast without burning the exterior.

Because it offers such innovative cooking modes, this model comes with a higher price tag. The even heat system offers a consistent, effective performance, allowing you to enjoy a perfectly cooked roast or chicken, each and every time. 

Compact Convection Oven Pros and Cons 

KCO253BM Compact Convection Countertop OvenPros: Many people, especially those with smaller families, feel that a built-in oven is just too big. Built-in models also take a long time to heat up and they often cook food unevenly or end up burning the top of cakes, cookies, and roasts, leaving the interior undercooked. 

If you simply want to heat up a frozen pizza, or bake a meal for two, then your standard built-in oven is using up too much energy for such a small job. That’s where this KitchenAid model will come in handy. This sleek, modern device can heat up faster, due to its compact size and convection power, working to cook food fast and evenly as its built-in fan works to uniformly distribute air inside the oven. Now, you can cook smaller portions of food faster, in less time than it takes your large oven to preheat. This model can also be a true lifesaver during the holiday season when you need some extra oven space for baked good and side dishes. 

Aside from its ability to bake like a champ, this model can also toast, broil and roast better than any other model in this price range. 

The oven is easy to use, thanks to the simple four dial-in knob design. While you’ll find dedicated knobs for setting the function of the device, such as toast, bake, or broil, and the time and temperature, there’s another knob that adjusts the toasting setting ranging from light to dark. 

And this oven is built tough, featuring a solid design and thick front glass door complete with springs. The reversible metal racks are also well-built and slide in and out of the oven effortlessly. The racks also offer the flexibility of six placement options, allowing you to cook anything from multiple sheets of brownies to an entire chicken. 

This model also comes equipped with an impressive four-hour stay on feature for slow roasting or warming. It also automatically shuts off once the cycle is finished. And last, but not least, this model offers easy cleaning and maintenance thanks to the non-stick interior that only needs to be wiped down with a wet cloth after each cooking cycle, but if you are still looking for an oven that’s easier to clean, Cuisinart Steam and Convection Oven might be the one for you.

Overall, this model functions just like a standard sized convection oven, yet it’s small enough to be placed right on your counter. 

Cons: While compact, it’s much bigger than a standard size toaster oven. 

KitchenAid Convection Oven Conclusion and Rating 

For the price, this countertop convection oven is truly a steal. While it doesn’t offer as many fancy bells and whistles that you’ll find on higher priced models, it does perform well, offering consistently great tasting food that’s cooked in a fraction of the time it takes a traditional oven. You’ll love how simple this oven is to use, clean, and maintain, and you’ll definitely come to rely on it to cook smaller meals, or handle some of the cooking and baking overflow that always happens during the holidays or family gatherings. Consumers who purchased KitchenAid KCO253BM Compact Convection Countertop Oven gave it a perfect score of five out of five stars for ease of use, overall quality, and affordable pricing.


Cuisinart Steam & Convection Oven Review

Cuisinart Steam & Convection Oven Review

The Cuisinart steam and convection oven can transform your standard convection oven into a multifunctioning cooking machine. This model is also about as well-built and attractive as kitchen appliances get. The vivid, large blue LCD screen, illuminated dial, and brushed stainless steel exterior give this oven a high-end, techy look that no competitor can match. On looks alone, this was our favorite model. 

But the oven also has a quality feel to it. There’s no creaking or ratting when you shut the oven door. The dial offers reassuring, smooth clicks as you adjust it from option to option. The plastic water reservoir doesn’t feel think or cheap and easily slides out of place for a refill. Given the cost, for most consumers, this will be a luxury purchase of sorts, but given the oven’s overall usability, it’s sure to add plenty of convenience and functionality to your kitchen. 

Cuisinart Convection Oven Assessment and Features 

Cuisinart now offers a convection oven combo that you won’t find anywhere else, which is one of the reasons this model stood out to us. But many people fail to realize that a steam function can be used for so much more than just steaming veggies or rice. Also, this feature can be used in combination with other cooking modes such as bake or broil, to infuse some flavor into your favorite dishes. 

Using this model is almost effortless. The knob controls nine cooking modes, each of which have their own default settings and icon. This machine is surprisingly intuitive given its expansive functionality. It’s also much easier to work with than a model with a multiple knob and button setup. The oven is even able to detect how warm the oven is automatically and adjust the cooking time based on the temperature. 

The built-in timer works for every mode, automatically shutting off heat as soon as the time is up. The timer can be set for up to two hours, but if you need to cook for longer than that, simply restart the timer. 

Obviously the steam function is a huge selling point for this model. This oven can cook things that no other model can, such as fresh doughnuts, rice, and tender cuts of fish. It also comes with a recipe book that features recipes for dishes such as steamed pork buns, soft pretzels and clams. The machine’s versatility is what makes it so popular with consumers. 

The steam cooking modes work perfectly. Just pull out the water tank, fill it up and return it to its base and you’re ready to steam. This function offers four different steam modes, each of which can be customized and adjusted, offering plenty of functionality to play with. The steam baking mode is perfect for roasted chicken. The steam broil option allows you to expertly cook foods such as veggies and meat at a higher temperature without the worry of the food drying out. The basic steam mode is perfect for lower temperature steaming, while the super steam mode is what you’ll use if you want to steam rice. We found that this model will cook a great pot of rice. The included instructions recommend cooking the rice for twenty-five minutes, but we found that thirty-five minutes of cooking time offered the best results. 

For more complicated dishes you can also add some wine or any other type of liquid into the baking pan, as the machine steams the flavor directly into your food. 

Convection Oven and Steamer Pros and Cons 

Steam & Convection Oven by CuisinartPros: The steam settings can also be used for reheating leftovers, especially dishes with sauce. When it comes to making toast, this model offers a total of seven toasting settings.

Because you can also bake and broil with this oven, you can enjoy dishes such as pizza, roasted chicken, casseroles, fresh biscuits, and a wide range of other baked goods including cookies. 

When it comes to maintenance, you’ll need to decalcify the machine once a year in order to remove harmful calcium deposits. Fortunately, this doesn’t take much work, just run the sixty minute steam cycle using vinegar. If you use this oven more than four times a week you may need to decalcify it on a more regular basis. 

Oven cleanup is rather easy. The tray located at the bottom of the oven is designed to catch crumbs and drips and slides out for easy cleanup. For bigger messes, you can run a thirty minute steam cycle to loosen up any baked on mess, then wipe the interior using a damp sponge or cloth. 

This oven also comes with a generous three year limited warranty from defects in workmanship and materials. Typically, most ovens in this price range only come with a one year warranty, so this was definitely a strong point for this model. 

This model comes with instructions for decalcification, maintenance, and cleaning, as well as a brief section dedicated to troubleshooting. 

Cons: There were a few reports that the glass in the oven door shattered during use, without slamming the door or any other outside cause. Most users felt that it was due to the oven heating up so quickly. It’s disappointing that the manufacturer failed to use the appropriate type of oven glass to prevent this issue from happening. Because Cuisinart doesn’t send out replacement parts, the oven will need to be shipped back to the manufacturer for repairs. Consumers will also be expected to pay the shipping cost. 

Cuisinart Convection Oven Conclusion and Rating 

Overall, Cuisinart Steam & Convection Oven was one of the most impressive ovens we tested, although we wouldn’t say it dominated the competition, however, it is able to keep up with it. While it does come with a higher price tag than a standard countertop convection oven, the steaming feature makes it worth the higher price tag. With this type of versatility, you’ll find yourself using this oven frequently for large family meals. Consumers who purchased this model gave it a rating of five out of five stars for the steam feature, easy to use steam cleaning maintenance, overall quality, and ease of use, that makes it one of the best convection ovens of 2017.



Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven Review

Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven Review

Over the past several years, countertop convection ovens seem to have exploded in popularity. With sleeker designs and continued innovation, these countertop models have become one of the most popular appliances in kitchens all over the country. 

They’re easy to use, small, and convenient. The Breville BOV450XL mini smart convection oven is the perfect choice for anyone with an active lifestyle. 

Breville Mini Convection Oven Rundown and Features 

Branded as a mini smart convection oven, this model comes equipped with 1800 watts of power and eight cooking presets including bake, broil, roast, cookies, reheat, pizza, bagel, and toast. These presets are commonly found on many convection ovens, but this model by Breville includes a higher than average amount of functions. Depending on what you enjoy cooking, these preset functions can prove really useful since you no longer have to experiment to find the best cooking setting for a certain dish. With the included presets, you can change the default settings in order to better suit your cooking needs. This type of versatility is actually very unique for convection ovens, especially in this price range. Once set to your preference, the new settings can be stored until the machine is unplugged or you decide to change them. 

Located under the cooking dial you’ll find a large LCD display, which features the temperature and up and down buttons. These buttons will give you a simple way to adjust the temperature in order to accommodate a specific recipe. The LCD display changes color based on what the oven is doing. When the unit is powered on, the display will turn orange. Once the cooking cycle is completed, the display will light up blue. 

Inside the oven, you’ll find heating elements made of quartz located on the bottom and top. Quartz is actually very heat sensitive, which means that it’s better at heating. Using the Element IQ technology, this oven offers even heat distribution. The heat is channeled evenly throughout the oven in order to efficiently cook food at a much faster rate. 

Located under the LCD display you’ll find the “A Bit More” button. This is one unique feature that you’ll find yourself using often. This button will allow you to add a small amount of time to the cooking cycle. So you won’t have to reset the cooking time or completely stop the unit. 

By this button, you’ll also find a small snowflake symbol. When pressed, this button will tell the oven that the meal you’re cooking is frozen. The oven will then utilize the popular Element IQ feature in order to adjust the heating cycle and cook that specific food to perfection. 

Breville Convection Oven Pros and Cons 

BOV450XL Mini Smart OvenPros: This model features adjustable racks for ultimate dish versatility. This mini oven is large enough to accommodate four slices of bread or an eleven-inch pizza. When placed at the lowest rack height, you’ll easily be able to bake a small chicken. This model also comes with a removable crumb tray for easier cleaning and a baking pan. 

If you’re not sure how to use a convection oven, then don’t worry! This oven is very easy to use and it heats up impressively fast. It’s definitely an intuitive oven and it’s perfect if you’re looking for a space saving model that can still prepare enough food for two people. 

The high number of cooking presets were a huge bonus for consumers. While you may not end up using all of them regularly, it’s great to know you have that option, in addition to the ability to adjust the default settings. 

The size of the oven makes it small enough to easily fit on cramped counters, yet it’s still big enough to cook a large meal. 

Most importantly, it’s also very easy to clean. The non-stick interior allows you to simply wipe away any crumbs or spills after each use, while the crumb tray can be popped out and wiped down. 

Cons: Some consumers felt that this model was a little on the pricey side compared to other models with similar features. That being said, the Element IQ feature makes it worth the higher price tag. We felt that the timer was a bit loud, and unfortunately, there’s no way to adjust the volume. The interior rack doesn’t slide out for easier cleaning. While this isn’t exactly a deal-breaker by any means, not having that simple functionality is kind of a letdown and makes us wonder how the manufacturer could overlook such a basic feature. 

Smart Oven Conclusion and Rating 

There’s really no doubt that this is a great smart oven and one that can take your cooking to the next level. Don’t have time to cook dinner after work? No problem. Just choose your main course, select the appropriate setting and sit back and relax as this Breville oven takes care of dinner for you. Truly, this is a great oven that will add a ton of convenience to your daily life, especially if you eat clean and spend quite a bit of time cooking. This powerful oven offers a wide variety of cooking settings, doesn’t take up too much counter space, is easy to clean and nice to look at. While it does lack some basic functions, such as a rack that can fully slide out, it’s obvious that the manufacturer has put plenty of thought into this model’s design. 

The non-stick coating interior will seriously cut back on cleaning time, and the stainless steel exterior offers a modern look that’s sure to complement any kitchen. With the Breville BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven, you’re sure to get innovation and quality from a brand that offers high-quality products at a price that’s affordable. While it’s not perfect, we think the manufacturer achieved what they set out to do, which is to produce an easy to use and clean, energy efficient model that offers some serious cooking power. Consumers who purchased this model gave it a high rating of four and a half out of five stars for ease of use, preset selection, and overall quality.


Convection Oven Cooking Times for Perfectly Cooked Food

Convection Oven Cooking Times for Perfectly Cooked Food

Shopping for a new oven can be overwhelming. It used to be a simple choice of electric or gas. But these days, now you have to option of convection or conventional. But many consumers are unsure whether or not a convection oven is right for them, simply because they’ve read about the complicated convection oven cooking times and recipe conversions that are required. 

When you’re shopping, sales people will go on and on about the energy saving and time-saving advantages of convection ovens and how you can cook several batches of cookies at once. 

Here’s the deal. A convection oven is an insulated box, just like a standard oven. But the convection oven has a fan located in the back. Some models also have an additional heating element as well. The fan pushes the heat around inside the oven, allowing for evenly cooked food and faster cooking times. 

It’s Easier to Cook with Convection 

Easier to Cook with Convection

Learning how to use the oven and how adjust recipes is a frequent complication for new convection oven owners because most recipes are designed for traditional ovens. 

But it’s actually pretty simple to convert any recipe and make it convection oven friendly. So, here’s how you do it: reduce the oven’s temperature by twenty-five degrees. Be sure to check your food about ten minutes earlier than the recipe calls for. You can always bake the dish longer if you discover it still needs more cooking time, but you can’t do much once a dish is overcooked. 

Some convection ovens will do the time and temperature adjustments for you, which can be confusing for some cooks. You can set the temp at three hundred and fifty degrees, and if you hit the convection setting, it will automatically preheat the oven to three hundred and twenty-five degrees. Our advice when shopping for a convection oven is to consider the types of recipes you use often. Take a look at the oven’s controls and see if it’s a model that’s intuitive and user-friendly. Will it work well for the type of food you enjoy cooking? Look at the spec sheet. Does it have an automatic conversion setting? For some, this automatic setting can be either a plus or a drawback. Just keep this in mind before you decide on a model to go with. 

An oven that features both a regular and convection oven setting can provide you with the best of both worlds. The first thing you need to know is that any oven with a traditional and convection oven settings will allow you to switch off the convection fan.

Most convection models feature the following settings: 

•    Broil

•    Bake

•    Convection bake

•    Convection roast 

Some models also have a convection broil setting as well, even though broiling is a radiant heat method and the fan is of little use. 

The convection bake feature is pretty nice. It bakes at a lower temperature which is perfect for dehydrating fruits and veggies. The convection roast feature that you’ll find on higher priced models is perfect for any kind of chunk of meat or poultry where you’ll like a crispier outside. This setting is also great for pizza crusts. 

Here’s a quick list of the best foods to cook with convection:

•    Artisan breads

•    Roast chicken

•    Pizza

•    Roasted root veggies

•    Drying veggies and fruits

•    Drying meringues

•    Scones

•    Biscuits

•    When making several batches of cookies at once

Tips for Convection Cooking 

Tips for Convection CookingMake sure you follow manufacturer recommendations. An oven will always come with a user guide. Be sure to take the time to familiarize yourself with the oven’s specs. If you don’t have a user manual, contact the manufacturer to obtain a copy. You can also usually find a printable copy online. 

Air circulation is very important. Allow for one to two inches of clearance around pans. For multi-rack baking, you’ll want this type of clearance above and below as well. 

For max, browning use rimless baking sheets and pans with low sides. Many models come with special cooking racks and baking pans that will lift a roast so that the air can easily flow around it. If possible, make sure you place the longest sides of the pan parallel to the door. 

Roasting Poultry and Meats 

When roasting poultry and meats preheating the oven isn’t necessary. Place the meat in a roasting pan on a rack for better browning. Roasting time can take thirty percent less than in a traditional oven if the temperature isn’t lowered. Some models offer a patented roasting mode that will offer the option of bottom or top browning, or an initial surge in heat. These roasting modes will make it easier to get optimal results in a short amount of time. 

If you’re cooking a smaller roast, don’t reduce the oven temperatures. For dense, larger roasts, you may need to reduce the oven temp by twenty-five or thirty degrees during part or all of the cooking process. When you decrease the temperature, the meat may shrink less, but it’ll take longer to cook. 

Cooking With Convection Summary 

To sum it up, here are the three commonly accepted methods used to convert any recipe and make it convection oven friendly: 

•    Bake at the same standard oven temp but for a shorter period of time.

•    Bake for the same length of time as you would with a standard oven, just reduce the temperature by twenty-five degrees.

•    Bake for a slightly shorter period of time and reduce the temp. This method seems to be the most successful option. 

Remember, foods that are cooked in a convection oven can cook about twenty-five to thirty percent faster, depending on what you’re cooking. 

One of the most important factors when it comes to determining which type of cooking method is the right one to use for your food is the type of cookware you’re using. If the cooking container blocks airflow around the food, then there’s no point in using the convection feature. 

Use the convection setting if you’re cooking something on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan. If you’re cooking something in a covered dish or deep roasting pan use the conventional oven setting.

How to Use a Convection Oven for the Best Cooking Results

How to Use a Convection Oven for the Best Cooking Results

With a convection oven, you can cook just about anything, and while most people are totally clueless in the beginning when it comes to how to use a convection oven, learning how to use one really isn’t a big deal. But the results you’ll get, such as well-browned meats, crisp pastries, and evenly cooked cookies, are. 

In order to get comfortable with convection oven cooking, you simply have to dive in a start using it. The best and easiest way to do this is to do a little experimenting with some of your favorite recipes, cooking them at a lower temp for a shorter period of time than you would with a conventional oven. But before you begin, read on to learn how to correctly use these ovens, what can kind of results you can expect and how different models vary. 

Using your New Convection Oven 

Unlike a traditional oven, a convection oven features a fan that continuously circulates air throughout the oven. Opposed to hot air simply blowing around the food, the hot air in a convection oven will blow directly on the food, cooking the food more quickly. This rush of heat works to speed up the different chemical reactions that occur during the cooking process. The skin of a roasting turkey renders its fats, browning at a faster rate, while the butter in a croissant or pie crust releases steam quickly, creating crisp, flaky layers. Overall, food cooked in this type of oven is often done twenty-five percent faster than it is in a standard oven. 

Cooking Guidelines in a Convection Oven 

When you’re following a recipe that’s designed for a traditional oven, make sure you heat the convection oven twenty-five degrees lower than what the recipe suggests. 

You can expect the food to be done much faster than it would be in a traditional oven, even at a lower temperature. 

Make sure you use baking pans with lower sides in order to get the full benefits of the oven. You can fill every rack in the oven, but you should still keep an eye on browning. 

Depending on the model you have, you may need to rotate pans to ensure each dish is cooked evenly. 

Many models will allow you to turn off the convection feature. Make sure you play around with it. If you want a roast that’s nicely browned and slowly cooked, switch the convection on at the end or the start, but leave it off during most of the cooking process. 

Because the convection’s fan can blow foil or parchment paper around, place a metal utensil on the tray to hold the foil or paper down and prevent air from becoming trapped. 

Why You’ll Love Convection Cooking 

Why You'll love convection cookingAnother benefit of using a convection oven is evenly cooked food. Baking a few racks at the same time in a convection oven can save you a lot of time and energy. But doing this in a traditional oven is just asking for trouble. 

With convection ovens, all of the hot air moving throughout the oven works to eliminate cool and hot spots, resulting in evenly cooked food. This even heating feature provides a major boost to roasts as well. As an example, if you roast a chicken in this type of oven, it will brown all over, instead of just on top. 

When to Use the Convection Setting 

Since there are countless benefits that come with using a convection oven, you’re probably wondering why most models also come with a regular oven setting option. Depending on what you’re making, there are some instances when you’ll want to switch to regular oven cooking and others that you’ll need to stick with the convection setting for the best results. 

Foods that are roasted, such as veggies and meats will definitely benefit from convection cooking. These foods will cook more evenly and much faster. The drier environment also caramelizes exteriors and yields a crispier skin. 

Whenever making pastries and pies you should always use the convection oven. The convection heat creates steam and melts fat faster, which helps to create more lift in pastries and pie doughs. 

Baking cookies with a convection oven will allow you to bake two to four trays of food at the same time and the food will still turn out evenly cooked. 

Cooking a dish covered? Might as well use the convection setting since it will cook the food faster. 

When you dehydrate or toast food the goal will be to remove any moisture as fast as possible, so convection cooking is a much better option. 

When to Switch to the Traditional Oven Setting 

When to Switch to The Tradition Oven SettingAt times, the fan in a convection oven can become a liability, especially when it comes to cooking delicate foods. Blowing air on certain dishes can end up creating lopsided results. Here is a list of foods you should not cook on the convection setting:

•    Quick breads

•    Cakes

•    Souffles

•    Flan

•    Custards

Using the Convection Setting 

If you’ve decided to use the convection setting, here are some things to keep in mind: 

Since foods will cook faster in a convection oven, make sure you check on your dish about 2/3s of the way through the recommended cooking time and make any necessary adjustments. 

Cooking with a convection oven is only effective if the air is able to circulate well. Use baking pans, roasting pans, and trays that feature low sides. Don’t cover the oven racks with any foil. 

Final Thoughts on Convection Cooking 

Don’t be afraid to use your new convection oven. Play around with it and you’ll be impressed and amazed by the results. These ovens have been a long mainstay in most professional kitchens all over the world, and they continue to gain in popularity with home cooks, many of whom either purchase an oven with a convection setting or opt for a countertop model. The allure of evenly cooked foods and faster cooking times, not to mention improved energy efficiency is what makes these ovens worth the higher price tag. They also have a reputation for being highly durable and don’t require the same type of heavy maintenance that a traditional oven does.