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Nov 19, 2011 08:27 AM

Convection or Conventional Oven for Roasting the Turkey

My new stove has a convection oven which I have used to bake cookies with great success but I have never used it for roasting meat. I am thinking that I ought to use it for the turkey on Thanksgiving. Is this a good idea? I do not brine the turkey before roasting. Will using the convection oven, if recommended, decrease the cooking time? The method I use is start at a high (450* or 500*) for 30 minutes then drop down to 325-350 until done.
Thanks in advance.

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  1. All ovens cook through convection. However, those marketed as "Convection ovens" simply add features to distribute the heat more evenly using mechanical assistance. Your turkey may cook slightly faster using the convection approach but, in all other respects, it will cook just as well either way. But I'd lower the temperature to, perhaps, 300 degrees if you're using the convection method. Convection processes tend to cook foods more quickly at a lower temperature.

      1. imo, convection oven works better for everything. works great for getting a good crispy skin too.

        1. If you use the convection you will get better browning and crisping of the skin with out needing the higher temp start.
          It will decrease your cooking time, but the best way to judge doneness is always by internal temperature not time. I have found that a Internal thigh temperature of 165 degrees F gives a great result.

          1. Fiona, I agree with the others. Convection ovens are a wonderful tool to roast your turkey. Cooking time is shortened, meat stays juicy and the skin gets crispy. Use your meat thermometer, but as a rule it decreases cooking time by about 1/4 - 1/3. The Butterball site has some good advice on the topic.

            6 Replies
            1. re: katcancook

              How do you find convection for baking layer cakes?
              I need a new oven and the one I like is only 15 inches deep, from back to front, which means it can't accommodate 3 cake pans on one rack (with traditional radiant baking)... so I would need to bake with the convection setting (to allow for putting 3 layers on 2 racks). I have heard some people say cakes & delicate items are better baked in a traditional oven (without convection). For those who bake a lot, what's your opinion?

              1. re: breeb

                For cakes I do not like the browning that convection causes.

                1. re: breeb

                  in my 30 yr catering co, we did all our baking in convection ovens. loved it and that's all i use at home as well.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    That is very encouraging to hear. My only experience with convection was using the convection setting in a small Krups counter oven... and even with biscuits, it tended to dry out & brown the surface while the centre had a hint of doughiness left... I baked them at 25 degrees less than I used in the radiant (traditional) oven, but perhaps the smaller oven size was the problem?? Or maybe a different approach than I used? Do you have any tricks... rotating cake pans mid-bake, or a different temperature strategy?
                    Thanks, I appreciate your input!

                  2. re: breeb

                    I have a dual fuel convection oven and love it for baking. No more remembering to rotate trays, cakes pans, etc. No more worrying about which rack I put things on since the heat is distributed evenly and all levels bake the same. My oven auto-corrects in the bake mode so that I don't even have to "translate" temperatures. I would turn off the convection mode to bake delicate items such as meringues. I highly recommend convection ovens for bakers.

                    My pet peeve is that I hate the broiler. It always incinerates foods I broil, no matter what setting I use and no matter how carefully I watch the time and doneness. That could simply be my oven, though, and shouldn't be seen as an indictment of all convection ovens.

                    1. re: rockycat

                      So cakes rise fully and are light with the convection bake mode... that is encouraging to hear. The stove I like (an induction range with convection oven) would be a bit small for more than 2 cake pans; if I can use the convection mode successfully to bake cakes, I won't have the same space restriction.

                      Do you find the convection setting gives a browner or drier crust on cake surface... as opposed to the traditional oven?