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Jan 19, 2010 01:49 PM

Convection Oven----Yes or no?

We're in the process of replacing our ancient built-in double oven. I've never used a convection oven. We have the option of having convection in one of the ovens. Of course, it costs considerably more. Question for those of you out there who have one. How much do you like it? What does it do better? Need the straight scoop. Thanks.

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  1. This will get moved to the cookware board, I'm fairly certain.

    Yes, if you are a serious cook, you'll wonder how you got along without it. Convection roasting of almost anything dramatically improves browning. On things like cookies, it gives you far more even baking.

    I wouldn't buy another oven without it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dmd_kc

      Agree with dmd.

      One thing; there are various ways to introduce the heat into the oven chamber, and IMO it does matter. I believe it is best if the heat element is in the fan assembly itself, or at least somewhere other than the floor of the oven. That way you can use really high heat for roasting, and the fat coming out of the meat can fall to the bottom but not smoke so much. If you can use high heat you will get the most advantage from the convection property of the oven, but obviously if you are going to create clouds of smoke you will have to moderate your temperature. I used to have a cheap counter top Farberware convection oven, and would roast chicken in it at 450-500 degrees---best chicken you would ever want to have, and really fast. The heat was in the fan, so the bottom stayed cooler--the fat drained down there and didn't cause problems. My current wall unit has heat at the bottom and I am forced to moderate the temperature, so don't get the same results. I don't know if you can find one like I'm suggesting, but I think it would be worth it to try. At the very least the heat elements should not be exposed, as they are in the cheaper ovens.

    2. I have an older built in convection oven which I think I have used sucessfully for over ten years. I like it very much. I bakes and roasts well. It has a convection broil which I really like for chops and fish. You set it up differently than normal. The regular broil is not good, though. So I feel you give up that function. However on a regular electric oven often the broil function does not work all that well, if memory serves.

      Functionally, it will give you good results for baking and roasting. But, find out whether it needs to be vented to the outside (like a range hood). The fan noise and the venting of hot air into the kitchen was a big surprise to me, and I was not happy. A repair person told me that the oven should have been vented outside, but who knows if what he told me was true?

      I suspect that newer ovens are quieter. But I would certainly ask about those two issues.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        I do not know of any oven then vents outside - I'm not saying they don't exist, just I've never owned one. But in terms of venting hot air to the kitchen, that is a function of all modern ovens. You have an inside oven 'shell'. Outside that is insulation, then another shell. Then there is an air gap and the final outer shell. There is a fan (not the convection fan) which blows air through the air gap to keep the outer layer from getting too hot and damaging any adjacent cupboards. This is normally thermostatically controlled so it will continue to run after the oven is switched off, whether or not you are baking conventionally or by convection.

        My advice is go for the convection. The circulating (convection) air reduces hot spots so you don't have to rotate your cookie pans half way through. They can increase evaporation from open dishes, but as they cook quicker then that is compensated for.

        My rule of thumb is to drop the temperature by 25F from the recommended one for any temperature above 275.

        1. re: Paulustrious

          I would check on the venting, because that is information you might want to have. I don't reduce the temps on my oven though. Sometimes things are done faster, sometimes not. Baking is better in general. Roasting is good too. Even though I find I do rotate cookie sheets, the product is better and I don't get burnt bottoms. I am supposed to be able to bake 3 or 4 cookie sheets at a time, but I only own 2 cookie sheets, so I've never tested that out. I also want to mention that I own a convection toaster oven, and I like the convection cooking in that appliance too. I would go for the convection.

      2. I have a convection oven but I've never used the option. I've never really been aware of the benefits and thus haven't been inclined to change as I am so accustomed to the normal settings.

        1. Thanks to all of you responders. OP here. Anyone else have an opinion?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Plano Rose

            Just got a convection oven a year ago in a kitchen remodel. I use it a lot, and like it particularly for cookies-- you don't have to rotate pans and they really do cook more evenly. Also really good for roasting. And in reply to sueatmo, mine isn't vented to the outside; I don't notice much significan heat escaping, and it also is reasonably quiet. I mean, I hear the fan, but it's not annoying.

          2. Dmd said it well.

            If you are serious about cooking you will never EVER own anything but a convection oven. If on the other hand you use your oven once a week for the occasional frozen pizza – don’t bother.

            What does it do better – just about everything – NOTE the JUST. There are items I don’t cook with convection and there are items I use convection for only part of the cooking. It is a tool and you need to LEARN how to use it. There are no hard and fast rules, for example my wife’s super secret chocolate chip cookie recipe comes out better without convection. Yet other cookies come out better with.

            Cooking with convection provides even heat and will cook foods much quicker than a regular oven; you often hear cut temps down by 25-50 degrees and cut cooking time in ½ when using convection.

            Would I get it yes, do I recommend it yes, would I go in debt over it – no.

            2 Replies
            1. re: RetiredChef

              Thanks, Chef. I won't be baking any frozen pizzas. That's what pizzarias are for. I do cook almost everything else, however. Been doing it for some sixty years. How steep is the learning curve? Sure don't want to buy it and not use it.

              1. re: Plano Rose


                Gives some very sage advice and writes better than I do. The learning curve for you and your experience will be minimal. The big mistake people do is to think the same temp and cooking times apply, they don't. After just a couple of weeks you will get the hang of it and LOVE it.

                Example of learning curve for hypothetical cookies

                Currently you cook cookies at 375, 1 pan at a time, middle rack double panned, rotate it at 10 minutes done in 7 more.

                You have it down to a science - like most accomplished cooks.

                New convection oven:

                3 Pans at a time, 340 degrees, bottom one double panned with bottom pan staying in the oven, no rotation cook for 8 -9 minutes.

                It will take a few times to figure out the optimal way to use the oven. Some people get exasperated and want their OLD oven back, but if you take that time your results will be better.

                Good Luck.