Enlighten me about convection cooking

I have an oven and toaster oven with a convection setting but never use it. I understand the principle of convection but never know when to use it. Any tips?

I use it for everything. Foods cook slightly faster and more evenly, with better browning. Sometimes you can set the temp. 25F lower than normal and get the same results.

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I have a wolf countertop convection oven
I only turn the convection on when I am using multiple racks or using a bigger pan.
The theory is that heat circulates evenly in this mode, because of uniform air movement
The heat also cycles on and off to maintain the temperature resulting in evenly browned food but the temp has to be lowered by 25 degrees and the cooking time shortened by 10-20 min.

Hope this helps

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I agree–browning is a definite plus. Some convection ovens (like mine) automatically adjust the temperature setting by 25 degrees, too.

Almost everything gets the convection setting at our house, except on occasion when I don’t want a dish to brown.

The drawback of convection for me: the inside of my oven window needs more frequent cleaning because a fan essentially blows across the food. I am getting used to it, though.

A lot of baking recipes tell you to turn the tray/baking sheet around after half the baking time. With convection that is unnecessary. I use convection for almost everything. The only time I don’t use it is if I want to broil or gratinée something. As others have already mentioned, with convection you should reduce the temperature by 25 degrees F / 15 degrees C.

As others have said - lower cooking temp by 25°, and you can often shorten your total cooking time a bit as well.

I find convection best for baked potatoes (crispy skin, fluffy insides), and roasting things like chicken. I only have a DeLonghi toaster oven with convection, and if I ever replace my current oven/electric coil stove top, I hope to have convection in the main oven as well.

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Roast chicken! That’s what I forgot about. Above all else, that’s the dish where I think our electric convection oven (came with the house) produces a superior result to the standard gas oven I’m accustomed to. Excellent browning and crispy skin.

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Thanks! I think I’ll be experimenting. It doesn’t seem
I cook anything that wouldn’t benefit. I tried it with a scotch eggs and potato wedges this weekend. Both same time as usual but definitely more browning and crispier potatoes though need to rotate it seems as the ones to the back were near too crispy. They got this lovely effect I love with oven fries, crispy surface with a small air pocket before soft inside.

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Funnily enough I find the opposite. I use convection generally only for baking now, although when I first got the oven I used it for just about everything.

I find with roast meats the fan function tends to circulate the fat and not only does it dirty* the oven it produces quite a lot of smoke as the fat gets on the elements.

I tend to find the conventional top and bottom heating tends to work best for roast meat especially if I use multiple shelves and actually want the top one to be hotter for roast potatoes or Yorkshire puddings.

  • Its a pyrolytic shelf cleaning oven so that isn’t an effort - I just find if roast residue builds up it affects/flavours cakes etc as it smokes.

Thanks for mentioning this drawback, which could be significant depending on which dishes are in the regular rotation. Most of the time veggies are what I roast in convection mode. Roast chicken or fish occasionally. A nice Sunday roast sort of thing – once in a blue moon. Even so, I do find that convection causes the oven (electric, convection) to get dirtier faster than the gas workhorse we had at our previous house.

I didn’t choose the oven here though I appreciate what it does well. Would I choose a convection oven if the choice had been mine? I am still not sure one way or the other. Could be all those years of cooking with the most basic of gas stoves. :wink:

I have to say I think I may have the best of both worlds. A gas oven with convection, and auto clean. If I auto clean once a month I never get any smoke, even when at high temps. If I go a few months without cleaning, them I get some smoke from a light layer of grease buildup on the ovens walls.

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What model oven (if that’s not too personal a question)?

I have similar features and have a GE profile double gas convection though I don’t use auto clean, scared myself reading too many horror stories

Any of the problems I have heard about auto clean / self cleaning ovens is either with electric elements which may burn out, or not doing it as recommended and waiting until the oven is filthy. By the way, in a gas oven you actually clean at a lower temp. than electric.

I have a kitchen exhaust and also a full house exhaust fan. I auto clean during the morning, never at night, and with the kitchen exhaust running, or a kitchen window open. Once, when the oven hadn’t been cleaned in too long I had to turn on the house exhaust since there was a bit of smoke fumes, but nothing terrible. I have CO detectors in several places in the house and they never even once showed raised levels.

I have no idea about exact model. It was a top of the line Frigidaire Gallery Series, 15-20 years ago. Five burners with one a simmer, and one a super burner, plus convection oven. I got it on sale half price when a local appliance store went out of business. Actually really out of business due to a brutal partner breakup, as opposed to their annual “Going Out of Business Sale.”

The things I’ve read were about blowing out the electric panel. I’ve never waited long enough for it to get too smoky but the electric issues concerned me.

Actually I don’t know what blowing out a panel means. You trip a circuit breaker, or in older homes, blow a fuse, not “blow a panel.” (The following is based on old memories, see a professional first.) Now if you had kitchen wiring that was say really thin at 14 gauge rated 15 amps, or 12 gauge rated 20 amps, instead of 10 gauge rated 30 amps , and a 30 amp breaker on the line, you could get an electrical fire between the outlet and the panel, but not “blow out a panel.” But only an idiot or incompetent would put a higher amp circuit breaker or fuse in a panel than the gauge wiring demands.

This wouldn’t be the ovens issue, but a home wiring or incompetency issue.

If you get smoke from a auto clean oven, it means it’s dirty and needed cleaning badly. But stopping at the sign of smoke defeats the purpose, and it will never get clean. SO if you never or rarely clean the oven, expect smoke the first time. Even if you completely cleaned it by hand first.

My understanding is it’s the actual electric panel in the oven. I had a rental oven and the panel actually cracked from the heat. I can’t confirm it’s a real risk to the electrical wiring of the panel as it hasn’t happened to me but I’ve read it happen enough times.

Oh, I see what you are saying.

Yes, the elements in the top and bottom panels of some electric ovens, used for the cleaning cycle, are behind steel panels, and have had issues with over heating. That’s why I mentioned gas cleans at a lower temp. I should have been more precise, but it was 6am when I wrote that, and I had just woken up.

Good to know! I have a gas oven. It’s relatively new (1 year) and haven’t made anything messy and regularly clean so haven’t used the cleaning function yet but used it all the time in my old apartment.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold