Recipe Adjustments For Convection Ovens

convection oven

General Convection Oven Recipe Conversion Guidelines

There are three commonly accepted methods of converting recipes from conventional oven baking to convection oven baking. 

  1. Bake at the same conventional oven temperature but for a shorter period of time.
  2. Bake for the same length of time as you would using a conventional oven but reduce the temperature by 25 degrees.
  3. Bake for a slightly shorter period of time and a reduced temperature.  This tends to be the most successful method for most ovens.

When Should Convection Cooking Be Used Rather Than Conventional Cooking

Foods cooked in a convection oven cook about 25% - 30% faster than a conventional oven as the hot air is forced around the food.  Foods tend to have less moisture loss and fewer nutrients are destroyed in the cooking process.

One of the most important factors when determining which cooking method is most appropriate for your food is the type of dish or pan you are cooking in.   If the cooking container blocks the flow of air around the food then there is no use in using convection cooking. 

Convection Cooking Is Good For

  • Cookie sheets
  • Shallow pans

Conventional Cooking Is Good For

  • Covered casseroles, pans or dishes
  • Deep roasting pans

More Convection Cooking Tips

Manufacturer Guidelines
Follow the recommendations from the manufacturer of the oven. Your oven typically shipped with a user guide. It is a good idea to familiarized yourself with the specifics for your own oven. If you don't have a user manual then try contacting the manufacture to obtain a copy. Many provide printable copies online.

Air Circulation
Air circulation is important. Don't cover racks with foil. Allow 1 to 1 1/2 inches around pans (also above and below pans for multi-rack baking).

Use Proper Pans
For maximum browning, use pans with low sides, and rimless cookie sheets. Many ovens come with special pans and racks that lift roasts so air flows all around. If possible, place the long sides of the pan parallel to the oven door.

Roasting Guidelines

Roast meats and poultry
Preheating is not necessary. Place meats on a rack in the roasting pan for better browning. Roasting time may be 20 to 30 percent less than in a conventional oven if temperatures aren't reduced. Some ovens offer a special roasting mode that provides top and/or bottom browning or an initial surge in heat in addition to the fan. These modes make it easy to get optimum results in a shorter time.

Small Roasts or Unstuffed Poultry
Do not reduce oven temperatures for small pieces, skinny roasts, or unstuffed poultry. In our tests, we roasted a 3 1/2-pound chicken at 375 |degrees~. In about an hour, about 20 percent less time than for conventional cooking, it was beautifully browned, with succulent flesh.

Dense Roasts & Stuffed Turkeys
For large, dense roasts and big stuffed turkeys, you may need to reduce the temperature 25 |degrees~ during part or all of the roasting time. When you lower the temperature, the meat may be juicier and shrink less, but it will take longer to cook.

Convection Oven Conversion Charts

Method 1: Reduce temp by 25 to 30 degrees and bake per conventional recipe time

Conventional Oven Temp Convection Less 25F Convection Less 30F
225 200 195
250 225 220
275 250 245
300 275 270
325 300 295
350 325 320
375 350 345
400 375 370
425 400 395
450 425 420
475 450 445
500 475 470
525 500 495
550 525 520

Method 2: Bake at conventional oven temperature but reduce cooking time by 25%-30% less

Conventional Baking Time In minutes 25% Less Time 30% Less Time
10 8 7
15 11 10.5
20 15 14
25 19 17.5
30 23 21
35 26 24.5
40 30 28
45 34 31.5
50 38 35
55 41 38.5
60 45 42
65 49 45.5
70 53 49
75 56 52.5
80 60 56
85 64 59.5
90 68 63
95 71 66.5
100 75 70
105 79 73.5
110 83 77
115 86 80.5
120 90 84
125 94 87.5
130 98 91
135 101 94.5
140 105 98
145 109 101.5
150 113 105

Tips For Cakes And Baking

Cakes, cookies, muffins, quick breads, yeast breads
A convection oven produces more even browning, slightly greater volume, and, sometimes, a lighter texture.

Reduce oven temperature 25 |degrees~ from conventional recipes. Preheat oven. Cooking time may be the same or 10 to 25 percent less than in conventional baking.

For most baked goods, temperature adjustment is critical to the texture: the moving hot air cooks the outside first and could solidify the structure before it has a chance to rise, producing a heavy, dense result.

Convection ovens are great for baking multiple pans of cookies at one time. A standard oven requires switching pans midway to achieve consistent browning and cooking time but because the convection oven provides circulating hot air; cookies bake evenly without changing pan positions, and in a slightly shorter time. Depending on your oven you may be able to fit four or five pans at one time.

Cakes
If your cake is very dense or large then you may need to reduce the temperature slightly more. At lower baking temperatures, you may not save any time; in fact, it may take longer than in a regular oven. With loaf-size cakes and quick breads, especially, there is little time saved. Yeast breads may bake faster.

Cake Baking Trouble Shooting
If the surface is well browned but hard and dry, and rising is uneven, reduce the oven temperature slightly more, and check earlier for doneness.

For pale color and low volume, increase temperature slightly. Check the manual; some ovens provide a setting that gives extra top or bottom browning suitable for some baked goods.

Convection Toaster Oven Adjustments

These small convection / toaster oven combination ovens are getting more popular and they do a good job for a small countertop oven.  I have the Breville Smart Oven Pro with Light (and I love, love the light).

Typically I don't make any adjustments when baking or roasting with this oven except for the Pizza setting for "frozen" pizzas.  I typically have to adjust the setting down by 10-15 degrees to keep very thin crusts from burning.  This also is the case with frozen pastries; an adjustment to the time is necessary or edges will get burned.

I love to roast vegetables but because I cook for two I don't want to heat up my large oven just for roasting a batch of Brussels sprouts.  I do find that vegetables roast faster in my small oven than they do in the large oven so I set my timer to at least 5 minutes short of my usual roasting time.

Why You Should Buy An Oven Thermometer

I learned this lesson after having my 2nd convection oven. I was having difficulty tweaking recipes to get them to not over or under bake. I finally went to the hardware store and purchased a basic oven thermometer, which set me back less than $10.00.  I heated the oven without convection to 350F and checked the oven temperature, and it registered precisely 350. Next, I engaged the convection feature and set it to 350, and it actually registered 375F.  Lesson learned.  It's a good idea to check your oven temperature to determine precisely what's going on when you engage the convection feature.

You can buy an oven thermometer in most any kitchen store, Target store or Walmart.  You can also purchase one online at Amazon.com: ProcAccurate Oven Thermometer

author

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.