Convection ovens are still really popular. If you’re setting up a kitchen at home for the first time, you might wonder what is a convection oven and what is convection cooking all about. What difference does it really make to your food, and if you are a wannabe baker, which ovens are best for baking?
Many people invest in convection ovens for kitchens of all shapes and sizes. In this quick guide, we’re going to look at what a convection oven actually does, and why using the convection setting really makes a difference to your meals.
What is a Convection Oven?
A convection oven circulates hot air inside your cavity, while a regular oven’s heat just rises up.
You may wonder why that’s so important. Of course, many of us still use regular ovens, and will continue to do so for years to come!
What’s the difference between a convection oven and a regular oven?
Convection ovens give our food a better all-over cook. This means that hot air circulating inside your oven is likely to be more consistent than, say, inside a static heated oven cavity.
Again, you might wonder why this is so important. Think about it this way. Have you ever followed a recipe or meal prep plans that tell you to flip meat, or to spin trays around halfway through the cook That’s because you can’t get an even cook in a static, regular oven. It’s just going to heat from the bottom up. With a convection oven, you get a thorough, even cook.
A great example of how convection oven’s work is shown below by Nuwave Oven Pro:
What should I use a convection oven for?
- You should use a convection oven if you want great quality food in a super quick time.
- Convection oven models are popular not just because they give an even all-around cook, but because they get your food piping hot in a fraction of the time of regular ovens.
- If you’re sick of waiting for your food to cook, then use the convection setting on your oven. You’ll know if you have a convection oven by default, as the option is pretty easy to spot.
- You should also use a convection oven for everyday cooking if you want to save money, and energy. Energy expenditure with a convection oven is bound to be lower than what you’d expect from a regular system. It’s all thanks to how the hot air circulates!
- If you want great tasting, well-cooked food in a fraction of the time? Use the convection setting – it’s your best friend and ally.
4 Reasons to Use Your Convection Setting
1. Faster Cooking
With the convection setting your food will cook on average 25% quicker, this is due to the hot air circulating around your food.
2. To use Less Energy
When you use the convection setting you will be cooking at a slightly lower temperature making the cooking process more energy efficient.
3. For greater Browning Results
Convection means less humidity in the oven, the convection setting produces a dryer atmosphere in the oven’s cavity which in turn has an effect on caramelisation. For example, if you are roasting a joint it will brown the meat on the outside and leave it moist in the centre
4. Even Cooking
Convection cooking removes hot spots which can be found in regular ovens. The convection setting will aid even cooking temperatures throughout the oven’s cavity
What is a Convection Oven Best Used For?
Casseroles and Stews
When you put a lid on your dish you do so to retain moisture. With the convection setting as outlined above moisture remains in your food not drying it out and will save time on the slow cooking process.
When You Are Cooking on Two Shelves
If you love to cook biscuits you will often find that you are using both shelves in your oven. Because the convection setting improves the hot airflow for even cooking, you won’t need to swap the trays around halfway, both layers will cook evenly at the same time.
Enjoy caramelised meat on the outside and moist on the inside, the same can be said for roasting vegetables. Plus you have the added benefit of your food cooking faster.
When aren’t convection ovens so great?
- Convection ovens don’t tend to be as hardy as traditional oven systems. This is because the average convection oven will have more inner pieces and parts than the regular cavity. You’ll have a fan, for example, which will help to blow hot air around the space.
- More parts mean more chances for your oven to break down. A convection oven will take more maintenance and care than, say, a standard cooker.
- You’ll also find that plenty of recipes and cooking instructions assume you have a basic oven to cook food in. This isn’t always the case, however, as more and more food packaging offers ‘fan assisted’ cooking times. These are points that you should pay attention to when it comes to convection.
Convection oven vs microwave – What works best?
The biggest difference between a convection oven and a microwave is that convection gives a better overall cook on the outside.
Microwaves really do serve their purposes. They tend to be ideal if you want to quickly defrost meat or vegetables, for example. However, they are not always top for grilling or getting your food to cook evenly.
Our advice would be to look for a microwave that has a convection setting, such as the Sharp R959SLMAA 40 litre combination microwave as these systems will give you the best of both worlds.
Convection oven systems are ideal if you are struggling to get your food cooking through from outside to inside. Without that air circulating freely in the cavity, you are only really going to be giving your food so much heat and attention.
In our collective opinion, it’s a really good idea to get an oven with convection features as well as a microwave. You really can’t go wrong with more than a few cooking facilities in your arsenal.
Convection cooking is something we highly recommend. Why not take a look at your own oven settings or invest in a convection model of your own?