How to Convert Your Favorite Recipes When Cooking in a Convection Oven
We're sharing two simple techniques you can use for both baking and cooking recipes.
If you have a convection oven or are planning to get one, you are probably wondering how it will work with all your favorite recipes. Convection ovens offer faster browning and crispiness while keeping the inside of your food moist; you'll find dishes prepared in a convection oven also have a faster overall cook time. What does that mean for the recipes you've been making for years? Can you still follow your favorite recipes for cakes and cookies and expect the same—or better—results? Here, we explain how a convection oven works and how to adapt cooking and baking recipes to work for convection cooking.
Convection ovens can be gas or electric, and they have fans that circulate hot air throughout the oven to create a dry atmosphere that enables food to cook faster and more evenly than with regular ovens. This even cooking is especially useful for baked goods. Because the air circulates efficiently, more of the oven space can be used. Convection ovens are available as an option in stoves, wall ovens, and in countertop ovens.
There are two simple ways to adapt any recipe written for a regular oven to work for a convection oven: either reduce the temperature by about 25 degrees, or cut the cooking time by 25 percent, says our assistant food editor Riley Wofford. Both tactics are possible because of the appliance's super-charged efficiency and speed. Riley prefers the former option for baking and the latter for dishes that take an hour or more to cook, like a pot roast or whole chicken, since the amount of time saved is that much greater.
Always check the manufacturer's handbook or website for information on the convection oven you are using. Breville's North American test kitchen manager Shaari Ward explains that their countertop ovens with convection settings have an auto-adjust built in, so that when you change the convection level the temperature automatically increases or decreases.
For other convection ovens, use our tactics as guidelines and remember that when baked in a convection oven food may gain a golden brown color quickly but it may not be thoroughly done. Whichever convection oven conversion approach you choose, be sure to follow the specific doneness test given in the original recipe.