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Convection Oven Vs. Conventional Oven: Which One To Use?

A good oven is the foundation of the kitchen. One of the most important kitchen appliances, one that we rely on. Without a proper oven, your kitchen basically doesn’t exist. That’s what I’ve learned the hard way when my old oven stopped working.

How hard can be the buying of the new oven? Well, it can!

Ovens today have gone upward in development and efficiency, and one of the first and important oven-related questions is: Should I buy convection or conventional oven?

That’s the question which bothered me for a long time until I started to do some research.

There are significant differences between the two types, and today I’m helping you out decide which one is the best for you. The decision is tough, but I am here to help you.

What is the difference?

  • There are two types of the oven: convection and conventional. Although they can look just the same, the main difference between the two is the way they function. Besides the heat source, the convection oven has a fan which circulates the hot air over and around the food.
  • On the other side, the conventional oven has a single heat source (usually on the oven walls) and does not have any fan. The result is that hot air doesn’t circulate around food but just surrounds it. This difference of heat distribution could make an impact on dish quality, time and energy saving, etc.

See also: Barbara's best choice for oven mitts

The Oven Comparison: Which one is better?

Since the fan in convection oven circulates hot air all around the chamber that results in evening out the temperature. On the other side, the conventional oven could have spots of different warmth depending on where the heat source is. This fact might provide uneven cooking and baking.

One effect of this situation could be uneven browning. Of course, you can fix this problem by rotating the food at least once during the cooking or baking, but that requires spending your time next to the oven.

Another problem of uneven cooking emerges with difficulties that arise when you are cooking food on both racks. Hot air goes up so dishes on the bottom rack could be undercooked while dishes on the upper one might be overcooked.

Any of these problems don’t happen when you use a convection oven. Instead of you turning the food, convection oven will rotate the hot air and make temperature even all around. You can just set the desired temperature, time, and go to watch your favorite show.

Furthermore, cooking in a convection oven is faster up to 25% because warm air blows directly onto food. In addition, this fact implies that convection oven also saves energy because the dish is cooked more quickly and generally at a lower temperature.

Therefore, because of its even and faster cooking, the convection oven is ideal for making many kinds of dishes.

  • For example: roasting is a perfect way to use it, because convection oven makes a dry environment which yields crispy exterior. Just think of the crispy chicken skin. Yummy!

Next, convection oven stimulates the lift in pie dough and pastries. When you prepare croissants, this oven is your best friend. If you want to toast or dehydrate some food, the convection oven is once again more efficient. The reason is simple: the goal of dehydrating food is to remove moisture, and convection oven does the job faster.

However, convection cooking is not an absolute winner in this comparison. Some confectioneries are not so convection-friendly.

  • For example: delicate food such as some kinds of cakes, soufflés, and flans might not come out as you want. They can lose their shape because of the hot air, which blows directly onto them. That can cause the outside of the cake to bake and rise faster than the middle, and the top could blow over to one side. Another problem might raise as some cakes could dry out before it's fully risen.

There is also the financial segment in this comparison. I have to stress the fact that the convection oven is much more expensive than conventional one. That could be the problem if you are not able to spend more money than you have planned.

However, there are some good reasons if you are considering investing in it:

  1. First, as we have seen, the convection oven is very economical. It can save energy and time.
  2. Second, dishes that are cooked or baked in it can be incredibly delicious, and it can look very nice. Therefore, in the long run, convection oven could be a payable investment.

Of course, some other reasons are worth considering such as the amount of time you would spend using it or purposes for which you would use it. Hence, it is up to you to decide whether buying convection oven is a good idea.

Do I Need To Have Two Ovens?

In the end, we can say that for one kind of dishes (roasting, pie, croissant, etc.), the convection oven is better. On the other hand, food like cakes and soufflés are better prepared in a conventional oven.

If you are a gastronomical perfectionist and want nice roasting as well as nice cakes, don’t think that you need to have two ovens in the kitchen. There are so-called multifunctional ovens, which have different modes of functioning. However, there are many kinds of multifunctional ovens.

On the one side of the scale, you can find ovens that have five modes of functioning such as normal convection, forced convection, forced semi-convection, radiant heat, and ventilation.

However, it should be stressed that such multifunctional ovens are practical only for professionals that cook many different kinds of food on a daily basis. Also, all that service is not cheap at all: the cost of these ovens is between $3000 and $15000. If you are not a restaurant owner, it would be the best to forget it.

On the other side of the scale, there is the simple conventional oven. Of course, it is certainly cheap, but it has its downsides.

Fortunately, there is always the middle. You can find ovens which have only a few functions. They possess conventional mode which means that it works only by using few heat sources.

Besides that, they possess simple on/off convection system as well. This means that it possess fans which can be turned on or off depending on the particular purpose.

  • For example: if you want nice roasted veggies, you will just turn the convection system on, and the fan will start to circulate hot air as it is explained earlier.

On the other side, if you are making delicious flan, you will need good old conventional oven which you will get just by turning the convection mode off. As simple as that!

The most important thing about this kind of multifunctional oven is its price. You can get one for around $1000 which could be considered as a reasonable price. The convection mode should be used in most cases since it saves more energy.

The conventional mode should be used just in cases where convection mode is not so helpful. Therefore, if you use your multifunctional oven wisely, you will certainly get the most of it.

Further Reading: Convection Oven vs. MicrowaveConvection Oven vs. Toaster Oven


The Verdict

As you can see, there’s a significant difference between the two types of oven, and I hope you’re now much more familiar with them. My personal choice is the convection oven, while I still have the functional conventional one, so I’m able to utilize both. 

What’s your choice & opinion? Let me know in comments below.

Barbara Whitney
 

For the last 20 years, I’ve been cooking, preparing, researching, and gathering recipes, tools, and knowledge about food and the way we prepare it. Raising two lively boys and spoiling one great husband later, it’s safe to say that I’ve optimized my kitchen to deliver the best possible meal, no matter the occasion.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Phyllis

I have had my double oven convectional for many years and never quite figured it out today I made a pork roast with roasted potatoes it was done in an hour and half evenly browned and wonderful

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    Barbara Whitney

    I’m happy for you dear! 🙂

    Reply

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