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Nov 9, 2012 06:54 AM

Veggies won't brown in steamy oven

I recently moved to a new house and am trying to learn my new oven. With my last oven, I never had to give roasting vegetables a second thought—they always came out nice and brown. With my new oven, I cannot get any browning. Veggies get mushy, and oven fries never brown. I believe the problem is steam in the oven. The air inside is really wet—so much so that, when I open the oven door, I have to stand back a few seconds, otherwise I get a gust of hot steam in my face. This never happened with my old oven.

So what’s going on? Anyone else have a steamy oven? Don’t know if it matters, but my last oven was gas and the new one is electric.

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  1. It vents differently or not as well secondary to electric vs. gas. You could try keeping the door cracked open a little and maybe bumping up the heat to compensate. Or open the door to vent every few minutes. And use a higher temp in general, at least at the outset. That will dry the outsides of stuff more quickly, and then you can reduce the heat to finish the cooking.
    Also, be extra sure you're not crowding stuff on the pans.
    On the bright side, this is to your benefit if you're baking bread! I have seen folks go to great lengths to plug the vents on their ovens to hold in steam.

    1 Reply
    1. re: splatgirl

      Don't know if this is at all related, but I recently baked brownies for the first time since moving, and they were the best (moistest) brownies I've ever made.

      Thanks for your tips.

    2. I keep tiles in the bottom of my oven for bread/pizza and leave them to regulate temperature when I open the oven. I also put the roasting tray directly on it and the heat gets the, nice and crispy.

      4 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        I actually have some tiles but hadn't thought of using them to roast veggies. I'll definitely give it a try.

        1. re: chowser

          I leave the pizza stone in my oven. Try blanching the veggies first then when half cooked through dry the veggies well with p.towel and put them under your broiler if you have to. Gently by hand coat the veggies with olive oil and a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar before going into the oven. Crank up the temp may also help. The balsamic really add sweetness and tanginess.

          1. re: Puffin3

            The reason I remove my tiles is that I was afraid that, if I made a casserole or something, the bottom would become too browned or burnt. But I guess you haven't had any problems with that?

            1. re: glacier206

              I don't put casseroles on the tiles. I have the rack on the bottom with the tiles on it. If I do casseroles, etc., they go on the rack just above. I never take out the tiles.

        2. This makes no sense. A gas oven introduces water vapor as a byproduct of combustion.

          I'm guessing the temperature is not accurate.

          2 Replies
          1. re: GraydonCarter

            A gas oven also has to intake and exhaust to maintain combustion. An electric oven does not and thus moves less air/humidity.

            1. re: GraydonCarter

              It doesn't make sense to me, either, which is why I need help figuring it out. I tested the temperature with an oven thermometer and it is accurate.

            2. I think you should find out where the vent is and make sure it is not blocked. My electric oven vents on the "ledge" atop the control panel backsplash. I didn't think about that at first, and placed one in my line-up of mugs atop the vent, which interfered with baking.