A convection oven is a kitchen appliance that is worth every penny. Cooking with this type of oven is slightly different than a regular oven, the difference mainly being in saving energy and time.
This type of oven is smaller; on the inside is a fan for equal distribution of heat, also an exhaust system for even better circulation of the heat inside. The main advantage of convection cooking is a well-done meal from every side and angle for a shorter cooking time.
There are even different types of convection ovens. European ovens have a third back element for evenly baking the food; the other type is fan convection ovens with a fan along the bottom part for greater heat distribution.
Convection oven cooking benefits
These ovens were introduced to the mass public in the 1950s showing a different, higher price than a regular oven. However, this price is worth it due to the benefits.
Convection ovens are a better alternative to frying foods in the old-fashioned way. With a convection oven, there is less drying of food and fewer uneven hot-cold spots as you would find in a regular oven or microwave. With convection ovens, time and energy for cooking are saved in the long run, making it the best appliance which uses less heat and time to cook food.
Another time and energy-saving benefit is that this oven fits several pans that would otherwise need to be rotated a few times in a regular oven (requiring more time and energy spent).
Basic guidelines for convection cooking
Practice cooking in convection and you will easily get used to this, once you try out the recipes you already know for baking. At first, remember to adjust the temperature downward by 25° of the original recipe. The food will be done in 30% less time, so do not let the lower temperature confuse you.
For even better results, opt for pans and trays with lower sides to allow the food to be more exposed to the evenly distributed heat. As far as browning and doneness are concerned, use all racks in this oven with as many pans as it can fit—heat circulates evenly in every spot so no need to rotate racks and pans.
Does food in a convection oven cook faster?
Most of the foods is cooked 30% faster than in a regular oven. For example, meats are cooked amazingly well as they retain the juices, flavors and moisture.
This is due to the lower temperatures used in a convection oven. But keep in mind that baked foods in this oven would need their full recommended cooking time for doneness.
Carry-over cooking in convection cooking
Carry-over cooking is food being taken out of the oven which continues to cook for some time. Bigger dishes mean longer carry-over times. For example, if you are cooking meat, take it out of the oven, wait for a while before you cut it to allow the food to rest for 10 minutes to retain flavors and juices.
You can convert the recipes
The conversion process is not complex, but some general simple rules can be followed. Better Homes & Gardens advises 25% less cooking time. Or, you can try to reduce the temperature by 25° total.
It would be better to reduce the oven temperature first and then convert cooking time for recipes. For meals that require lids and covers, both the temperature and time are unchanged, because covered food is not directly exposed to the heat from the convection oven fan.
Convection oven cooking time details
There are three basic ways to make the conversion which a convection oven requires in a regular oven recipe.
First, cooking temperature is reduced by 25° Fahrenheit or 15° Celsius. Second, cooking time is reduced by 25%. Third, both the time and temperature are shorter by 25% each.
The examples that follow simplify your research on main food types.
- A 12-lb. turkey needs 325° F and 3.5 hours in a regular oven. For convection, it is either 325° F for 2.75 hours or 350° F for 3.5 hours (or try 315° F for 3 hours)
- A 6-lb. baked ham needs 350° F for 1.5 hours in a regular oven. For convection, it is either 350° F for 70 minutes, or 325° F for 1.5 hours (or try 340° F for 80 min.)
- A 1.5-lb. meatloaf needs 350° F for 60 minutes in a regular oven. For convection, it is either 350° F for 45 minutes or 325° F for 60 minutes (or try 340° F for 50 minutes)
- A crab quiche needs 375° F for 45 minutes in a regular oven. For convection, it is either 375 F° for 35 minutes or 350° F for 45 minutes (or try 360° F for 40 minutes)
- Potatoes need 400° F for 45 minutes in a regular oven. For convection, it is either 400° F for 35 minutes or 375° F for 45 minutes (or try 385° F for 40 minutes)
- Roasting vegetables need 400° F for 55 minutes in a regular oven. For convection, it is either 400° F for 40 minutes or 375° F for 55 minutes (or try 385° F for 48 minutes)
- Cookies need 350° F for 12 minutes in a regular oven. For convection, it is either 350° F for 9 minutes or 325° F for 12 minutes (or try 340° F for 10 minutes).
- Cheese cake needs 350°F for 45 minutes in a regular oven. For convection, it is either 350° F for 35 minutes or 325° F for 45 minutes (or try 340° F for 40 minutes)
To simplify the main methods, remember the two pillars for convection cooking: lower temperature by 25° for regular recipe time or cut the original cooking time by 25%.
Lastly, keep in mind that you need to check the food more often in convection ovens, or 5-10 minutes before time is up.