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.