If yours is a modern kitchen without a powerful oven, it’s incomplete. You need to invest in an oven for fast and efficient cooking results.
And speaking of ovens, you better consider a convection model.
A convection oven provides specialized settings that heat the unit differently than regular ovens. These settings not only reduce the cooking times but also help you achieve even cooking results.
So, what are the different settings of a convection oven? When should you use convection settings? Is a convection oven worth it?
To help you answer these questions, we’ve gathered helpful information in this article. Read through to learn more.
What is a Convection Oven, and How Does it Work?
A convection oven features a built-in fan and an exhaust system that a conventional oven does not. The fan blows hot air over and around your food so that it quicks more quickly and evenly.
The unit’s exhaust system helps pull moisture out of the appliance, helping dry your foods faster than in regular ovens.
Different Convection Oven Settings
1. Convection Bake Setting
The convection bake setting makes it possible for you to bake cookies, brownies, and bread in the oven. The built-in fan in these models blows hot air throughout the unit’s cavity for consistent results.
This air moves (circulates) in a way that makes baked foods lighter, flakier and crispier. And you won’t have to rotate them for excellent results.
2. Convection Roast Setting
The roast setting makes it possible for you to prepare creamy yet crispy turkey, chicken, potatoes, and other types of meat.
The setting helps render fats faster, resulting in a more uniform-looking surface. It also helps caramelize the natural sugars in vegetables and fruits quickly.
3. Convection Toast Setting
This convection setting speeds up the drying process of your food and ensures that it is uniformly toasted. It helps toast/dry nuts, jerky, or fruits.
4. Convection Crisp Setting
If you’re heating or warming food that you want to remain crunchy, this setting comes in handy. It works because the oven moves the hot air around your food and removes moisture, crisping your food.
This setting is the best for reheating fried chicken or making crispy French fries.
Convection Oven Vs. Conventional Oven
Convection and conventional ovens work effectively to ensure that you get well-cooked or baked foods. However, they differ in the way that they heat food.
While conventional ovens heat food by surrounding it with hot air, convection units circulate hot air for even cooking.
A conventional oven boasts 2 heating elements that heat the air in the unit’s cavity to cook your food. The first element is located on the bottom and is best for cooking and baking.
The second heating element is found on the top and is mainly used for broiling.
And because conventional ovens don’t circulate the air evenly like convection models, your food might have hotter parts than the others.
To prevent uneven cooking, you’ll have to rotate the baking pan from time to time.
Convection Oven Vs. Air Fryer
An air fryer is a small countertop convection oven that circulates hot air around your food until it is cooked through and crispy. It actually works in the same way as a convection oven.
The main difference between the two is that the air fryer is tiny, has a small cooking area hence heats faster than a convection oven.
Therefore, cooking food in an air fryer takes less time in a convection oven.
But then, the fact that air fryers are tiny means that you can’t cook food in large quantities in these appliances. So, if cooking for a large family, using a convection oven makes a lot of sense.
Convection Oven Cooking Tips
Convection oven settings are slightly different from regular oven settings. Therefore, if you think that all you need to get your meals ready in this appliance is flipping the start switch, you’re entirely wrong.
When cooking with a convection oven, you need to:
- Lower the standard temperature by 25 degrees– When using the convection settings, you need to lower the temperature for the food you are cooking by 25 degrees. Remember, convection settings promote stronger heat. Lowering the temperature ensures that you won’t overcook or burn your food.
- Check on your food frequently– When convection cooking, you need to check on your food frequently or earlier than the set cooking time. Doing so will help you ensure that your food doesn’t burn. Remember to check on your food through the oven light and not by opening the unit’s door. Opening the oven’s door might interrupt the cooking process.
- Avoid crowding the oven– Don’t put a lot of dishes in your oven if you want your food to cook quickly and more evenly. You need to remember that convection solely relies on air circulation for excellent cooking results. Crowding your dishes will make them take longer to heat.
- Use pans with low sides– Using pans with low sides ensures that air flows properly through the oven. It also allows your food more cooking room. Avoid covering your oven shelves with foil as well.
Benefits of Convection Ovens
- Cook faster– With convection settings, air blows directly around and over your food. As a result, food cooks faster – 25% faster than in a conventional oven.
- Cook more evenly– The built-in fan in convection ovens circulates hot air throughout the oven’s cavity resulting in evenly cooked food. With regular ovens, getting hot spots depends on where the heating element is located.
- Saves energy– Because food cooks quickly and at a lower temperature in convection ovens, these units tend to be more energy-efficient than conventional models.
- Better at browning– Convection ovens create a dry atmosphere that makes foods like meat, vegetables, and potatoes browner with a moist interior. This isn’t the case with regular models since the air in these units can get a little humid as moisture doesn’t escape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the settings on a convection oven?
The settings on a convection oven include roast, bake, toast/dry, and crisp.
Q: What’s the difference between convection bake and convection roast setting?
Convection bake setting boasts a lower fan speed perfect for longer and drier recipes, while convection roast setting uses a higher fan speed perfect for crisping meat and vegetables.
Q: What temperature is 350 degrees in a convection oven?
350 degrees in a convection oven is 325 degrees. The temperature in a convection oven is usually 25 degrees less than the actual temperature.
Q: When should you not use a convection oven?
Do not use a convection oven for cooking anything with delicate batter that sets while cooking. Remember, convection ovens have fans that blow air throughout the unit. This air can create lopsided results in these foods.
The foods include cakes, quickbreads, souffle’s, custards, flans, and bread.
Q: Do you preheat a convection oven?
It would help if you preheated a convection oven because you must always start your cooking with a hot pan or oven. It gives you better control over the heat.
Q: How long does it take to preheat a convection oven?
Preheating a convection oven should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Q: Can you cook pizza in a convection oven?
A convection oven is the best appliance for cooking pizza. The hot air in the oven cooks the pizza from all sides. It also melts the cheese toppings, crisps the toppings, and browns the crust as well as the bottom of the pizza.
Q: Can you bake a cake in a convection oven?
Although you can bake a cake in a convection oven, it’s much trickier than baking in a regular oven. Cake batters are light, and the hot air that circulates in a convection oven can flatten air bubbles in your cake and result in a short, flat, and dense cake.
Q: What are the disadvantages of a convection oven?
Convection ovens are expensive than conventional ovens. They can be louder and blow a foil or parchment paper and interfere with your cooking.
Food is also more susceptible to burning if not regularly checked when cooking or if the temperature is not adjusted.
Q: Is a convection oven worth it?
Convection ovens are worth investing in. They cook faster and evenly, are energy-efficient, and give crispier end products.
Convection ovens have different settings, some that are better for drier recipes, others for crisping vegetables, etc. Just use whatever setting your recipe calls for to get the best cooking results.
Just remember to check on your food before the set cooking time, avoid crowding your food, cook at a lower temperature, and you will get the expected results.