What is difference between convection oven and regular oven?

The main difference between convection oven and regular oven is that convection oven has a fan that circulates hot air inside the oven, while regular oven relies on radiant heat from the heating elements. This difference affects how the food is cooked, how fast it cooks, and how it looks and tastes. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of each type of oven, and give you some tips on how to use them effectively.

How Convection Oven Works

A convection oven has a fan at the back or the side of the oven cavity, which blows hot air around the food. This creates a more even temperature distribution and faster heat transfer, resulting in more uniform cooking and browning. Some convection ovens also have an additional heating element near the fan, which boosts the convection effect. A convection oven can cook food about 25% faster than a regular oven, and can also reduce the cooking temperature by 25°F. This can save energy and time, and prevent overcooking and drying out of the food.

How Regular Oven Works

A regular oven, also known as a conventional oven, has two heating elements, one at the bottom and one at the top of the oven cavity. These elements heat up the air inside the oven, which then rises and falls, creating hot and cold spots. The food is cooked by the radiant heat from the elements, and by the hot air that surrounds it. A regular oven can take longer to preheat and cook food, and can also produce uneven results, especially when baking or roasting multiple dishes at the same time. The food may need to be rotated or switched between racks to ensure even cooking and browning.

Pros and Cons of Convection Oven

A convection oven has many advantages over a regular oven, such as:

  • Faster and more even cooking: The hot air circulation reduces the cooking time and ensures that the food is cooked evenly on all sides and throughout. This is especially useful for roasting meats and vegetables, baking cookies and pies, and crisping foods like fries and chicken wings.
  • Better browning and crisping: The moving hot air creates a drier environment in the oven, which helps to caramelize the sugars and fats on the surface of the food, giving it a golden and crispy texture. This is ideal for foods that need a crust or a crunch, such as breads, pastries, and pizzas.
  • Multi-rack cooking: A convection oven can accommodate more dishes at the same time, without compromising the quality of the cooking. The hot air reaches every corner of the oven, and does not get blocked by the pans or racks. This means that you can bake or roast several items at once, without having to rotate or switch them.
See also  How Does the Timer Work in a Toaster? Explained

However, a convection oven also has some drawbacks, such as:

  • Higher cost: A convection oven is more expensive than a regular oven, because it has more components and features, such as the fan and the exhaust system. It may also require more maintenance and cleaning, as the fan can collect grease and dust over time.
  • Recipe adjustment: A convection oven can alter the cooking time and temperature of the recipes that are designed for a regular oven. You may need to lower the temperature by 25°F, and check the food 5 to 10 minutes earlier than the recipe says. Some convection ovens have a conversion feature that automatically adjusts the settings for you, but you still need to monitor the food closely to avoid overcooking or burning.
  • Unsuitable for some foods: A convection oven may not be the best choice for some foods that need a moist or delicate environment, such as cakes, custards, soufflés, and bread puddings. The hot air can dry out or deflate these foods, affecting their texture and appearance. You may also want to avoid using convection for foods that are already cooked, such as casseroles or leftovers, as they may dry out or overcook.

Pros and Cons of Regular Oven

A regular oven has some benefits over a convection oven, such as:

  • Lower cost: A regular oven is cheaper than a convection oven, because it has fewer parts and functions. It may also use less electricity, as it does not have a fan that runs constantly.
  • Easier to use: A regular oven is simpler to operate, as it does not require any special settings or adjustments. You just need to follow the recipe instructions, and set the temperature and time accordingly. You do not need to worry about the fan speed, the convection mode, or the conversion feature.
  • Suitable for some foods: A regular oven is better for some foods that need a moist or gentle environment, such as cakes, custards, soufflés, and bread puddings. The radiant heat from the elements creates a tender and moist interior, while the hot air creates a soft and fluffy exterior. You can also use a regular oven for foods that are already cooked, such as casseroles or leftovers, as they will not dry out or overcook.
See also  Do High Efficiency Washers Take Longer to Wash?

However, a regular oven also has some disadvantages, such as:

  • Slower and less even cooking: The radiant heat from the elements takes longer to heat up and cook the food, and can also create hot and cold spots in the oven. This can result in uneven cooking and browning, especially when baking or roasting multiple dishes at the same time. The food may need to be rotated or switched between racks to ensure even cooking and browning.
  • Poorer browning and crisping: The still air in the oven creates a humid environment, which can prevent the sugars and fats on the surface of the food from caramelizing and crisping. This can affect the texture and flavor of the food, making it soggy or bland. This is not ideal for foods that need a crust or a crunch, such as breads, pastries, and pizzas.
  • Single-rack cooking: A regular oven can only accommodate one or two dishes at the same time, depending on the size and shape of the pans or racks. The radiant heat from the elements can get blocked by the pans or racks, and the hot air can get trapped between them. This means that you cannot bake or roast several items at once, without compromising the quality of the cooking.

Tips for Using Convection Oven and Regular Oven

To make the most of your oven, whether it is convection or regular, here are some tips to follow:

  • Use the right pan: For convection cooking, use a pan with low sides and a light or bright color, such as aluminum or stainless steel. This allows the hot air to circulate around the food, and prevents the bottom of the food from overbrowning. For regular cooking, use a pan with high sides and a dark or dull color, such as glass or ceramic. This traps the heat and moisture inside the pan, and helps the bottom of the food to brown.
  • Use the right rack: For convection cooking, you can place the food on any rack in the oven, as the hot air will reach every corner. However, you may want to avoid placing the food too close to the fan or the heating element, as they may cause uneven browning or burning. For regular cooking, you need to choose the rack according to the type of food and the desired result. For example, use the lower rack for foods that need more heat from the bottom, such as pies and pizzas, and use the upper rack for foods that need more heat from the top, such as cheese and bread.
  • Use the right mode: For convection cooking, you need to select the appropriate mode for the type of food and the desired result. For example, use the convection bake mode for foods that need even and gentle cooking, such as cookies and cakes, and use the convection roast mode for foods that need fast and crisp cooking, such as meats and vegetables. Some convection ovens also have other modes, such as convection broil, convection steam, and convection air fry. For regular cooking, you need to select the appropriate mode for the type of food and the desired result. For example, use the bake mode for foods that need moderate and steady cooking, such as casseroles and breads, and use the broil mode for foods that need intense and direct cooking, such as steaks and burgers.
  • Use the right temperature and time: For convection cooking, you need to adjust the temperature and time according to the recipe and the oven. As a general rule, lower the temperature by 25°F, and check the food 5 to 10 minutes earlier than the recipe says. Some convection ovens have a conversion feature that automatically adjusts the settings for you, but you still need to monitor the food closely to avoid overcooking or burning. For regular cooking, you need to follow the recipe instructions, and set the temperature and time accordingly. You may also need to rotate or switch the food between racks to ensure even cooking and browning.
See also  Can You Sleep in a Herman Miller Aeron?

Conclusion

A convection oven and a regular oven are two types of ovens that use different methods to cook food. A convection oven has a fan that circulates hot air inside the oven, while a regular oven relies on radiant heat from the heating elements. Each type of oven has its pros and cons, and is suitable for different types of foods and results. To use your oven effectively, you need to know the differences between them, and how to adjust the settings and techniques accordingly. By following the tips in this article, you can make the best use of your oven, and enjoy delicious and satisfying meals.