A convection oven is a kitchen appliance that quickly pays for itself. Convection ovens cook more efficiently than conventional ovens, saving you time and energy in the long run.
Convection ovens tend to run smaller than other ovens. They’re also built differently; they have a specialized fan that distributes heat equally throughout the oven, resulting in a crisper, even cook.
Another additional feature found only in convection ovens if their exhaust system, which aids in circulating the heat inside. This fan and exhaust system means that your meals cook more evenly more quickly every time.
However, this can be a problem for cooks who are inexperienced with convection ovens. Because they cook more efficiently, you’ll have to make some adjustments to the recipes that you typically use for a conventional oven.
Does food in a convection oven cook faster?
Yes, most of the food cooked in a convection oven cooks 30% faster than in a regular oven. This is because conventional ovens don’t have a specialized fan or exhaust system, so they cook foods at a lower temperature than a convection oven.
Never fear, you can convert your favorite recipes!
Because food cooks faster in a convection oven, you’ll need to make some conversions to your recipes. While this may sound complicated, there are some general rules you can follow to make it easier.
Converting conventional recipes for a convection oven typically boils down to three different factors: you can either reduce the cooking time, the temperature, or both.
- If you choose to reduce the cooking time, Better Homes & Gardens advises 25% less cooking time.
- If you decide to change the temperature, a common practice is to reduce the temperature by 25° from the original recipe.
- Want to change both? Reduce the temperature and cooking time by 25% each!
Check out the video below for more tips on converting conventional recipes:
Convection oven cooking time details
See, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?
Now that you’ve got an idea on the basics of converting conventional recipes to convection, let’s take a look at how some common recipes convert from a conventional oven to a convection oven.
The examples below will help give you an idea of how to convert recipes for main food types:
- A 12-lb. turkey needs 325° F and 3.5 hours in a regular oven. For convection, you can cook it at 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, you can cook it at 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, you can cook it at 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, you can cook it at 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, you can cook it at 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, you can cook it at 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, you can cook it at either 350° F for 9 minutes or 325° F for 12 minutes (or try 340° F for 10 minutes).
- Cheesecake needs 350°F for 45 minutes in a regular oven. For convection, you can cook it at either 350° F for 35 minutes or 325° F for 45 minutes (or try 340° F for 40 minutes)
As you can see, there’s more than one way to skin a cat! Take the time to try out different methods and see what works best for you.
Feeling good about convection cooking
As you can see, there’s not much to it! As with learning any new style of cooking, there is a learning curve to baking with a convection oven, but after a bit of practice, you’ll be able to get into the swing of things.
For more information about cooking with convection ovens, check out our article “How to Preheat a Convection Oven“.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need any special equipment to convert recipes?
If you plan on converting recipes, we always recommend having a pen and paper handy to write down your calculations and final recipe conversion. It makes it a lot easier to keep your conversions straight when they’re written down.
A few other things that can help with converting recipes are:
- A calculator: If you’re not good at math, having a calculator to do conversions and figure out percentages with can help a lot.
- A timer: Having a timer is a must have for any cook, especially if you’re baking. By keeping a timer nearby, you don’t have to worry about constantly checking the clock. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve forgotten about that roast in the oven!
- A conversion calculator: If you’re having difficulty converting your recipes, there are websites that will do it for you. The convection calculator lets you plug in your conventional recipe and then converts the time and temperature for you.
Are there any basic guidelines I should follow when cooking with a convection oven?
Cooking with a convection oven can seem difficult and confusing after cooking with a conventional oven for so long. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few simple guidelines you can follow to make sure your food comes out delicious:
- Adjust the temperature down by 25° of the original recipe.
- Check on your food 5-10 minutes before the recipe’s end time.
- Food cooked in a convection oven will be done in 30% less time, so adjust your recipe accordingly.
- Use pans and trays with lower sides to allow the food to be more exposed more evenly to the heat.
- Because heat circulates evenly in convection ovens, you don’t have to worry about switching racks or moving pans. Everything will cook evenly regardless of where it’s placed.
What are the benefits of cooking with a convection oven?
Convection ovens are a better alternative to conventionally frying or baking food. With a convection oven, food retains moisture and cooks more evenly than it would with a fryer or conventional oven.
Convection ovens also save you time and energy. We just went over how how to convert conventional recipes for a convection oven–this is because convection ovens cook at a higher temperature and distribute this heat equally, resulting in a quicker, more even cooking process. Convection ovens will cut your cooking time down by 25-30% and also save energy by using power more efficiently.
If convection ovens cook food more thoroughly, do I still need to give my food time to rest?
Letting food rest (also known as carry-over cooking) is an important part of the cooking process, regardless of whether you are using a conventional or convection oven.
Letting food rest is the process of taking food out of the oven so that it can continue to cook at a lowering temperature for a certain amount of time. This allows food to retain and cook in its own juice, resulting in a more flavorful, juicy dish.
Even though convection ovens cook at a higher temperature more quickly, it’s important to still give food time to rest. Keep in mind that larger dishes will need to rest longer than smaller dishes, so plan accordingly.
What will happen if I don’t convert my recipes?
If you try to use a conventional oven recipe with a convection oven, chances are you’re going to end up with a burnt mess. Because convection ovens cook at a higher temperature, cooking with a conventional recipe will result in your food either being cooked for too long or at too high of a temperature.
Not only will this ruin your food, but it can also result in damage to your oven, kitchen, or even your house! Leaving food in an oven for too long can result in food burning or even catching on fire, which can be potentially hazardous.
In order to prevent oven fires, always take the time to either:
- Lower your oven by 25◦ of the original recipe’s temperature.
- Reduce cook time by 25%.
- Check on your food 5-10 minutes before the recipe’s end time.