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Test Kitchen tips: Convection and conventional oven conversions

August 7, 2011 |  6:00 am

Beachhousemariahtauger

Unlike conventional home ovens that radiate heat from a "still" source (generally the bottom and/or top of the chamber), convection ovens are equipped with fans to move hot air evenly around the oven chamber. The constant air circulation works to keep the temperature more consistent throughout the oven, eliminating hot spots, and can actually speed the overall cooking time for a recipe.

Because of this, recipes that call for a convection oven often need to be converted to work in a conventional oven, and vice versa. Here are a couple of basic conversion tips:

  • Adjust the temperature by 25 degrees. Reduce the oven temperature of a standard recipe by 25 degrees if using a convection oven. If a recipe calls for baking at 350 degrees in a still oven, reduce the temperature to 325 if baking in a convection oven. Similarly, if a recipe calls for 350 degrees in a convection oven, increase the temperature to 375 degrees to work in a still oven.
  • Watch the cooking time. Because convection ovens can speed the overall cooking time, check whatever you are cooking/roasting/baking throughout the cooking process, assuming it might be done early (we check for this in the Test Kitchen even when we adjust the temperature). Some sources say food cooked in a convection oven can cook 25% more quickly than food cooked in a still oven, though this can vary from oven to oven.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or e-mail me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

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-- Noelle Carter
Twitter/noellecarter

Photo credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

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