If you are renovating your kitchen, the typical option to choose from is either a conventional oven or a convection oven. You've probably heard these vocabularies somewhere while browsing online kitchen supply stores, but what really is the difference between the two? After reading this article, you will be able to decide whether you should get a regular oven or a convection.
What Is a Convection Oven?
A convection oven’s additional fan and exhaust system, both of which a normal oven does not have, circulate the heated air throughout the oven while food is being cooked. This provides consistent heat distribution in every corner of the oven.
Convection cooking is also a more energy-efficient cooking process compared to a traditional oven, which also means that it is more cost-efficient to use a convection oven in a long term. The air circulation makes it possible to cook at a lower temperature and reduces cooking times. In addition, the oven will not take as long to preheat as a regular oven.
A convection oven typically has a convection setting that turns the fan on, letting you use the oven as a traditional oven. When baking items like flan or quick breads, it’s recommended that you avoid the convection setting as the airflow leads to a dry surface.
What is a Conventional Oven?
A conventional oven (so-called a regular oven, normal oven, or traditional oven) is common in household kitchens which also often come with a cooking range. The heating element, or heat source, is normally located at the bottom of the oven, with the broiler found on top. The lack of moving air within the oven cavity can create hotspots. Food placed closest to the heating source will cook more quickly than food located farther away.
If you have a traditional oven and want the benefits of convection cooking, like faster cooking times, without having to buy a new oven, consider purchasing a smaller countertop toaster oven combination appliance. Some offer a convection setting or an adjustable fan speed.
Convection Oven & Conventional Oven Key Differences
Convection ovens and conventional ovens both cook food using a heating element that raises the temperature to a set degree. The biggest difference between the two ovens is how they circulate the hot air within the oven’s cavity. Here are additional differences between the two cooking methods:
- Energy efficiency: Food cooked in a convection oven will cook about 25 percent faster than when you cook it in a conventional oven, thanks to the constant hot airflow. A traditional oven also takes longer to preheat.
- Heating element: A convection oven has a heating element that cooks food at a set oven temperature and also includes a large fan. A conventional oven has a fixed heating source that enables you to adjust the temperature.
- Heat distribution: The convection fan that circulates hot air ensures food cooks more evenly than in a traditional oven. Every corner of the dish receives the same amount of heat at all times. Convection baking prevents a situation in which one side of your food ends up burned while the other is underdone. To achieve even heat distribution in a traditional oven, you’ll need to turn the pan three to four times during the cooking process since a traditional oven has a single heating element that slowly radiates heat from the bottom of the oven.
- Moisture: The moving air in a convection oven creates a drier atmosphere within the oven, helping to create crispy coatings on everything from French fries to roast chicken. In a conventional oven, you can increase browning by applying more fat (like olive oil or butter) or turning the pan a few times during cooking.
- Oven capacity: The airflow of a convection oven makes it possible to place items on both oven racks. For example, when baking cookies, you can put multiple baking sheets in the oven at once. The air circulation ensures they cook evenly without you needing to rotate them. In a traditional oven, you will need to switch the sheet pans midway through cooking; otherwise, the bottom pan will receive more heat than the top one.
The benefits of a convection oven
- More even baking
- Less rotating
- Improved browning, crisping and roasting
- Faster baking and roasting
The benefits of a conventional oven
- More familiar functionality
- Most recipes are written for these models
Tips - How to use a convection oven
Step 1: Convert Recipes For Convection Ovens
- If you’re cooking with a convection oven, check the recipe to see if you need to adjust the time/temperature. While most recipes are written for conventional ovens, some recipes provide recommended times and temperatures for convection cooking and baking.
Step 2: Adjust Temperature
- A good rule of thumb for fan convection is to simply subtract 25°F from the temperature listed. Time and temperature adjustments can vary by oven cavity, but if your favorite brownie recipe tells you to preheat to 325°F, adjust to 300°F.
Step 3: Adjust Time
- For true convection, multiply the listed time by 0.75.2 For example, if your brownie recipe calls for 40 minutes, adjust to 30 minutes. Make sure to check your owner’s manual for exact instructions regarding time and temperature adjustments. Ovens can vary, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what’s cooking.
Step 4: Preheat
- Preheat your oven to the adjusted temperature. An added bonus – convection ovens preheat quickly.
Step 5: Cook, Roast or Bake
- Set your timer for the adjusted time and place your dishes on the oven racks for consistent heat and even cooking. Use the convection roast setting for a brown, crispy outer layer on meats.
You have the right knowledge to buy your oven now and all you have to do is to consult with your kitchen size to see what oven fits in the space available. Shop our selection of convection ovens and compare between manufacturers, specs, and dimensions. Whether you want a small countertop equipment or a heavy-duty double deck convection oven, we are ready to equip your kitchen with right tools!