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How Do I Calculate Convection Oven times?

By Andy Hill
Updated May 16, 2024
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Convection ovens differ from conventional ovens due to the manner in which heat is dispersed throughout the unit. A convection oven works by ensuring an even spread of heat throughout the compartment, allowing all areas of the oven to cook foods at a constant temperature. This is achieved through the use of fans built in to the oven housing, which blow hot air over the surface of the foods. This technique has given rise to these types of ovens known as fan ovens. By utilizing this method of even dispersal, there are no high or low temperature areas as found in conventional ovens, and as a result, cooking times can be reduced, or the overall oven cooking temperature can be lowered, with both operations providing energy usage reduction.

With the fan-assisted hot air movement provided by convection ovens giving a more even heat dispersal, convection oven times are generally less than those cooking times required for conventional ovens. The convection of hot air is only a small part of the cooking technique used in a conventional oven, with the majority of heat being distributed through oven compartment wall radiation. This means that food will cook faster or more slowly depending on its position in the oven. As the heat is evenly spread throughout the oven when using convection techniques, the food will cook more evenly regardless of the position within the oven.

When calculating convection oven times, there is no precise factor that can be applied as the type of food being cooked can alter the time required. As a general rule, when considering a reduction for convection oven times, lowering the conventional oven cooking time by 25 percent will provide a good indication of the timing required for a convection oven. Similarly, when looking to reduce the temperature when using a convection oven, a 25 percent reduction in the specified temperature for a conventional oven will provide an indication of required heat level.

The use of a reduction in convection oven times and temperatures when compared to conventional ovens is usually best taken as a combination of the two reduction factors. That is to say that reducing both the conventional oven cooking time and temperature to establish new convection oven times and temperatures will provide the best overall results. When reducing both temperature and time, the 25 percent factor will still apply but as an overall adjustment. As an example, when reducing convection oven times by 10 percent, the cooking temperature should be reduced by 15 percent.

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Discussion Comments
By cardsfan27 — On Aug 19, 2011

We just remodeled our kitchen, and decided to go with a convection oven. There are several residential models available, but they certainly aren't as popular as conventional ovens at this point.

I was skeptical of the cooking improvement at first, but food definitely takes less time to cook, and I haven't noticed any cold spots yet. There is a significant learning curve, though. Expect to have some overdone food the first few times you use the oven.

If you look online, you can usually find convenient convection oven conversion charts that will help give you some guidelines as to how long and at what temperature you should cook food relative to a conventional oven.

By JimmyT — On Aug 18, 2011

@matthewc23 - With convection oven recipes, it can be difficult to figure out the right temperature at high altitudes. I believe the general rule for baking at high altitudes is to raise the temperature by about 25 percent. Conveniently enough, with a convection oven, this would mean you could go with whatever the recommended baking temperature is.

If you're making a cake from scratch and you aren't sure about the time and temperature, I would just be sure to keep a close eye on it. You could even make a practice cake if you have the resources.

By matthewc23 — On Aug 18, 2011

@stl156 - I think that convection ovens are much more common in the restaurant industry. I'm sure they exist for the home, but I think most people settle with having a conventional oven. That way you don't have to go through the calculations and guesswork of when the food is done. In a restaurant, once you figure out how long a dish needs to be cooked, you can repeat the process every time.

On that note, I actually do work in a restaurant that uses a convection oven, and I am looking for convection oven tips for baking at high altitudes. The restaurant is in Colorado. We normally don't make things like cakes, but we've had a special request. I know when you make cakes at home there are special instructions regarding high altitudes. I'm wondering if the same rules apply for convection ovens. Please help.

By stl156 — On Aug 17, 2011

Aren't convection ovens often synonymous with toaster ovens? When I was younger, every house had a toaster oven, but I don't see them much anymore. I have never seen or heard of someone having a convection oven combined with their stove unit. Do these exist?

If you wanted to buy a convection oven, how much more would it cost? You may be able to lower temperatures and cooking times, but would it save any money in the long run?

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