Convection Oven vs. Regular Oven

Convection Oven vs. Regular Oven

If you are looking for a new oven or home, or if you are lucky enough to have a convection oven in your current home, then you may be wondering, “What is a convection oven and how does it differ from a regular oven?” You are not alone—it turns out a lot of people have heard these two terms, but do not actually understand what they mean. You have probably heard that convection ovens are a bonus in a new home, but even a lot of people who have them have no idea what they are best used for, or how to use them. In fact, most people use a convection oven in the exact same way that they have been using a conventional oven for years, before learning the value that a convection oven can bring to their kitchens! We have broken down the differences between convection and conventional ovens to help you take your cooking and baking to the next level. Keep reading to explore all the secrets of convection ovens, when to use them, and most importantly, how to create the most delicious dishes with them.

They Are Mostly the Same

As far as the actual physical oven itself, it may surprise you to learn that a conventional oven and a convection oven are almost the same. As a matter of fact, convection ovens are almost exactly the same as regular ovens, just with an extra feature. A convection oven contains an additional fan and exhaust system that blows the heated oven air through the entire space evenly while your food is cooking. Whereas a normal oven has one source of heat (these are usually in the bottom of the oven), a convection oven has this one source as well usually, but also has the option to use convection heating, which turns the fan system on and fills the entire oven with the heat. However, you can use this type of oven normally to cook food without ever even turning on the convection setting, so there is a chance you may have a convection oven and not even realize it (if you want to go check right now, we'll wait).

What Does This Mean for My Cooking?

Okay, so now that you are back from checking your oven, let us talk about what this difference in airflow can mean for your cooking processes. A convection oven can be a part of a gas or electric oven, so you can use convection and still get the benefits of cooking with gas over electric or vice versa if you prefer one type of oven for your baking. A convection oven circulates the oven heat throughout the entire oven space, which means that you will get a more even cook or bake on your dish than you would with a conventional oven and its stagnant heat source. The food can typically cook faster because the heat stays more consistent, and there are no cold or hot air pockets like there can be in a conventional oven. You also will not have to deal with the oven heat rising and cooking your food unevenly—typically this shows up as food that is more cooked on the top and less cooked on the bottom. This can be beneficial for recipes where you want to cook your food more evenly, like meats and fish. The exhaust portion of the convection oven features will also help pull moisture out of the oven, which can leave your food more crisp and fresh, which is perfect for veggies or baked chips! So the benefits of convection ovens are numerous—faster cooking, crispier end product, and more even cooking.

What About the Negatives?

Okay, we agree that it cannot be all positives. Like anything in the kitchen, an oven with convection is better for some recipes, while it may not be the best choice for all recipes. With any recipes that require rising, such as cakes, bread or other baked goods, you may have strange results with a convection oven. The convection oven could accidentally cook the outside of the dish before the dough is through rising, which can cause strange textures and lopsided batters (no one likes a bumpy cake!). We definitely recommend using a conventional oven for any recipes that require rising, as you do not want to cook the outside before the inside is finished leavening. The convection can also dry out the inside of these recipes, such as bread, cake, soufflé, flan, or other baked goods so you want to steer clear of that setting if you want your final product to be nice and moist. Overall, the convection oven setting is a great choice if you want a crisp, quick, product, but if you want your dish to maintain moisture or rise before it is finished baking, then stick with the conventional oven.

Energy Use

It turns out that convection ovens are actually more energy efficient than most conventional ovens. This is not to say that the actual oven uses any more or less energy when on the conventional setting. It really just means that because the convection setting causes the food to be ready more quickly, this setting will require less energy than the normal setting. The oven with convection does not need to heat up as much either, so the oven preheating does not require as much energy either. If you are interested in cutting down on your environmental footprint (and energy costs), then convection is a great way to go.

How to Accommodate for Convection

If this all sounds great, and you would like to try out cooking with your newly discovered convection settings, then we can help! You would probably think that you could just pop your dish into the oven on the same settings, flip the convection switch, and get that turkey roasted in half the time! Unfortunately, this is not the case. Because the oven cooks more consistently and more quickly, you need to make some adjustments from your normal settings if you are cooking with convection.

1. Lower the temperate by 25 degrees

First, you will definitely want to lower the oven temperature. Many chefs recommend lowering your temperature around 25 degrees from your conventional settings. Cooking is significantly more efficient with convection, so you do not need to raise the oven temperature as much.

2. Check the food frequently

You also should check in on your dish more often toward the end of cooking. Chances are you will not need to leave it in the oven quite as long, so pay special attention to it to ensure it does not burn. We always recommend checking on your dish via the oven light and not by opening the door, which is especially true with convection as this method relies so heavily on the circulation of air inside the oven. If you open the door, the air will escape, which will disrupt the convection process.

3. Don't crowd the oven

When using the convection setting, you will want to make sure you are not putting too many dishes inside the oven. It may be tempting to crowd everything in at once, but trust us—you will be rewarded for your patience. The convection relies on air circulation, so it will cook much more evenly if there is not much else in the oven. The bonus here is that it will cook more quickly, so you will have time to bake multiple dishes separately instead of shoving them into the oven all at once.

4. Use dishes and pans with low sides

In the same vein, dishes and pans with lower sides will help with the air flow as well and allow your food more breathing (I mean, cooking) room. Think cookie sheets instead of casserole dishes, if your particular dish allows. If you make these slight adjustments to your cooking routine, then you will find that convection cooking is fun and delicious.

Different Settings

Many convection ovens have different settings within the convection feature. The Convection Bake setting will have a lower fan speed, which is good for longer, drier recipes, whereas the Convection Roast setting has a higher fan speed, and is perfect for crisping the outsides of meat or vegetables. You will typically just use whatever setting the recipe calls for, but if you are experimenting, you can use the low-speed Bake for recipes that are lower temperatures for longer, and use the high fan speed Roast setting for recipes that call for temperatures in the high 300s and 400s. You can always play around with different settings to find which one is your favorite!

Whether you have always had a convection oven and did not know it, or knew you had one but had no idea what it meant, this handy guide should help you learn the ins and outs of convection baking vs. conventional baking. We are so excited to see what you create with your convection ovens, so feel free to share your favorite recipes below—and which settings are your favorite to cook with! Leave us a note in the comments section below, and we would be happy to answer any conventional (or convection) questions you may have.

 

Sources:

https://www.thekitchn.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-baking-in-a-convection-oven-226272

https://home.howstuffworks.com/calculating-convection-oven-cooking-times1.htm

http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/?utm_source=foodnetwork.com&utm_medium=domestic


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46 Comments

  1. JJ
    Thank you thank you. I finally understand. You have done a very good job explaining the differences. Mahalo and Aloha
    Reply
  2. Patricia Caldwell
    Patricia Caldwell
    I am in the process of purchasing a new stove and wanted to better understand the differences between conventional and convection stoves. Your article was very helpful. Thank you for the clarification
    Reply
  3. Christina Townsend
    Christina Townsend
    Thank you for this article! You made that simple and painless. I have the convection option on my stove but have never used it because I had no idea how. This really helped. Thank you.
    Reply
  4. Cheryl
    Thank you so much! I could not understand what the difference was until I read your excellent article. Truly appreciated!
    Reply
  5. Nancie Crannell
    Good information. Thank you. We r looking at RV with a convection oven and was wondering if can do Garlic Bread or like a Chicken Pot Pie or Bisquets. ? does it do Broiler type of cooking????
    ??????
    Reply
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      You would have to speak with the manufacturer of the brand you wish to purchase. They all have different functions.
      Reply
  6. SUSAN
    GREAT ARTICLE ! FINALLY THE FACTS NEEDED TO COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE CONVENTIONAL OVEN AND THE CONVECTION OVEN.
    Reply
  7. SUSAN
    GREAT JOB DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN THE CONVENTIONAL OVEN AND THE CONVECTION OVEN. YOU MADE IT SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND.
    Reply
  8. Marie
    very good info. I'm sold on having a convection oven in addition to the conventional type.
    Reply
  9. Carol
    Having researched many sites for info on convection ovens-thank you !!!!!!!
    Reply
  10. Elizabeth
    Thanks, the information is very useful to me
    Reply
  11. […] feature three cooking methods, which are infrared rays, conduction and convection. These cooking, methods get the foods prepared faster than any of the other traditional cooking […]
    Reply
  12. Jayneclaire
    Wow! What a super explanation! Getting ready to purchase a new range and glad to find your answer.
    Reply
  13. Connie Newbury
    Connie Newbury
    I'm just trying to understand the difference between the 2 so this guide was very helpful. Now I'm looking for recipes when using a convection oven to see the difference between the 2 when I'm actually baking/cooking. If you have any to share. I'd appreciate it. Thank you, Connie
    Reply
  14. Nancy
    This was a excellent explanation of the difference between the two types of ovens. I'm actually going out to purchase a new stove this week and considered a convection oven but had no idea what the difference was. Thank you for such an easy to understand article.
    Reply
  15. Bill Baltz
    'f I understand right, (1) reduce suggested heat ~ 25' regardless of high or low convection setting; (2) high setting for meats and veggies with an expectation of a drier finish and low for breads, pastries, etc.; (3) recipes' suggested cook time will remain the same regardless of high/low setting or expected moist/dry results (?).

    Extremely helpful, thanks.

    Bill
    Reply
    1. Rebecca Salgado
      How are the cooking times different from a conventional oven to a convection?
      Reply
    2. Terry
      Whatever happened to ovens, that when put on convection, automatically adjusted the temperature? Why have manufacturers gone backwards by making the consumer set the oven 25 degrees lower? I’m on my 3rd convection....my manual says it adjusts to the correct temp, however the repairman and the retailer say opposite.
      Reply
  16. Judy
    Thanks for the information. We need to buy a new stove and I had no real information the difference. This article was helpful.
    Reply
  17. Launa
    Thanks for such detailed information. It was very helpful and much appreciated.
    Reply
  18. Laura Adib
    Thank you! This has been very helpful!
    Reply
  19. Chris Kay
    I really appreciate your well written article on convection ovens and cooking methods otherwise not well understood by people who are new to convection method. I have had this feature in my oven for may years not really knowing the benefits and now I do and enjoy cooking more than ever. Thank you!
    Reply
  20. Valencia Moorhouse
    Valencia Moorhouse
    Which method is best for pastry?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Valencia, the fan of a convection oven may result in unpredictable results for delicate items like pastry. If your convection oven has the ability to disable the fan the results will be similar to that of a regular oven.
      Reply
  21. Jenna
    Thanks so much for this! Very easy to understand, and answered all of my questions before deciding on an oven with a convection option!
    Reply
  22. Maurina Brown
    Thanks for the great tutorial. Roasting a pork filet, hopefully it will be delicious on my convection roast setting at 25 degrees cooler and watching the end time. Will roast on a baking sheet pan.
    Reply
  23. Rozella E. Johnson
    Rozella E. Johnson
    My convection oven is overheating. I have ruined two pound cakes trying to use the conventional oven. Can you please help me.
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Rozella - Convections ovens can bake faster because of the even air circulation. You may need to lower your oven temperature by about 25° or shorten the bake time. Instead of baking by your recipe directions, instead go by color and internal temperature. Use an instant read thermometer for your cake - the internal temperature of a finish cake should be about 210°F.
      Reply
  24. Jan
    Can I bake using a regular baking setting too? In other words, can I use it in another way? Say I want to use the old fashioned method of baking with my convection oven. I'm looking at the Oster French door convection oven.

    Thank you in advance for your advice.I
    Jan
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Jan - that depends on the oven. I'd recommend checking the specifications of the oven to see if that feature's offered.
      Reply
  25. Claire Roundtree
    Claire Roundtree
    I purchased the Kitchen Aid double oven. It has conventional and convection settings. The convection setting automatically lowers the oven temp by 25 degrees and gives a time to check the baked item. It's just a suggestion, but has proven invaluable to me. I have found that convection bake with the 25 degree lower temperature cooks my baked goods a little faster than the conventional setting. I am still experimenting l, but have loved it and haven't ruined anything yet!! I've not baked bread yet but the ovens have a "proof" setting which I'm excited to try!!
    Reply
  26. Shirl
    I'm a chocolate chip cookie fanatic and I'll bet I've tried a thousand recipes. Never really happy for the perfect cookie until I tried the convection setting on my 15 year old Jenn-aire. Voila! At 325 degrees, bake for 10 minutes. Golden crisp on the outside and chewy in the center. Perfect!!
    Reply
  27. Jerry
    Thank you, just what I thought, convection is not good for bread, however slight . Good to know the problem isn't on my end , it's the convection that is messing with my results.
    Reply
  28. sherri
    THANK YOU. My new house (rental) has an oven with the convection setting and I had no idea what/how to use. Now am excited to find out how to use since I know what it is.
    Reply
  29. Elma Geldenhuis
    Elma Geldenhuis
    Thank you!!! Very helpful...I know chicken pieces come out crispy and ready within half an hour at 150 degrees
    Reply
  30. Patricia Gabarra
    This helped us out a lot! Thank you very much for the explanation, although I don't understand why we adjust temp down instead of keeping it the same but shorter time... our banana nut bread is in the oven and we are taking a leap of faith! ;-) #stayingathome ... and baking! ;-)
    Reply
  31. Angela Johar
    Got a lot information. So convection is a option. When we are baking bread we can skip that option if I’m right? Please help!
    Reply
  32. Ml
    In baking bread using Dutch oven inside electric oven, can using the convection feature help overcome the ovens lack of consistent temps? I’m assuming that with lid on, no temp reduction would be required?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi - I wouldn't anticipate any additional temperature adjustments would be needed, but you can always use an oven thermometer to double check that it's reaching/maintaining the correct temperature.
      Reply
  33. Usman
    Can I use same bakeware for a convection and conventional oven
    Reply
  34. Robin
    Thank you so much for this it is very helpful! I'm new to this type of oven and you've explained why my cookies are fine (with convection bake) but my muffins & cakes haven't been turning out very well at all - overcooked on the outside & raw inside. Also frozen fries didn't turn out very well first undercooked tgen burnt. I can however say that frozen pizza tastes much better using the convection bake feature as the crust turns out nicely. Thanks again & will try the roast feature based on your info.
    Reply
  35. Maria
    Thank you.
    I just purchased a new range. Not sure about the oven yet.
    Reply
  36. James Gitter
    does a convectional oven air vented out somewhere then
    Reply
  37. Hannah Flack
    I enjoy trying new dishes to serve my family. This looks absolutely delicious.
    Reply
  38. Don
    Thank you. This is very helpful information. But I want to ask about something else in the article: what is the brand of the electric stove shone in the photographs?
    Reply
  39. Pat
    Convection oven for baking bread.
    I talked to the owner of a former well, known bakery in the St. Louis area (Heimburger's Bakery). He was in business for about 50 years and others who worked for him and started their own bakeries in the area became successful also (Ahne's Baker in Waterloo, IL). He used electric, commercial, convection ovens.
    I don't know it this makes a difference, but all his COMMERCIAL ovens were electric, CONVECTION ovens. Your article states that baking breads are better in a conventional oven. I don't have a 10-15,000 dollar commercial oven. Maybe there is a difference.
    just FYI....
    Reply

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