Do you love playing chef? Knowing which appliances to use is a must if you adore nothing more than cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Sure, you have your standard hob, oven, and microwave. That's all well and good. But how about we dig deeper? The truth is that there are so many products on the market you may not know where to start.
You might ask yourself, "What is a convection oven?" and "Do I even need one?" Within this guide, we will look at some of the facts. We're here to share what this appliance is all about, why you might want to use it, and how you can get started. As if that weren't enough, we will also look into the alternatives you might want to try here.
What is a convection oven, and how does it work?
First things first, what is a convection oven? The simplest way to describe this appliance is to say it is a fan-assisted oven. The fan is inside the oven's body and moves heat around it. That is good news if you want your food to be cooked evenly throughout.
Using a fan-assisted oven is a smart move. Since the hot air — which cooks your food — is constantly circulating, you can ensure you get the most out of your cooking time. Often enough, these cookers can be more energy efficient than traditional systems. Since we are currently in an actual cost-of-living crisis, looking for ways to cut back is the only way to go. For that reason, it is worth looking into alternative cooking methods.
There are different types of convection ovens you can buy. The ranges that say "true" or "European" tend to have a fan at the back with a heating element at the bottom. As the oven starts warming, you will find that the fan moves the heat around it. Of course, before you buy a convection oven, it's worth looking at how it works. Understanding the ins and outs of it will help you learn whether it is the right move for you.
The main types of convection ovens
Now that you know what a convection oven is, let's look at the different types you can get for your home. As we have already covered, not all convection ovens are created equal. If you are considering investing in one of these for your home, it's worth researching and figuring out which one will suit your individual needs. With that in mind, here are some of the main types of convection ovens you will come across.
What is a standard convection oven?
First, the standard convection oven is what we have already described above. Often these ovens will hold the label "true" or "European." In that case, you will find that the stove has a large fan on the back wall of its inside. It will also have heating elements — you can find in any type of modern oven — that provide the temperature for your food.
What is a steam convection oven?
While convection ovens use hot air for cooking your food, steam convection ovens use… you guessed it… steam. There are many benefits to this type of convection oven. As you will already know, steam is hot water vapour. When you use a steam convection oven, a fan moves this vapour around the inside of the appliance. As a result, you can expect well-cooked but still moist food when you use this type of convection oven. For example, if you are guilty of overcooking chicken from time to time, using a steam-convection oven will deliver results.
What is a convection microwave oven with a grill?
Convection microwave ovens are a hybrid — combining the technology from a typical convection oven and a microwave. These appliances do it all, allowing you to microwave, defrost, cook, bake, and even grill your food. If you have limited space in your kitchen, investing in one of these ovens may be the answer you've been looking for. But, as you might imagine, this convection oven often has a higher price tag. So before you buy one for yourself and your family, you should consider whether it's affordable.
How to use a convection oven: 4 top tips
Whether you already have a convection oven or are thinking of buying one, you need some expert cooking tips. Don't presume that cooking in an oven is the same. This type of cooker is slightly different. That means that you have to adjust your approach. So that you can get the best out of your convection cooker, you need to follow these simple tips:
1. Turn down the heat
One of the great things about a convection cooker is that they cook your food faster than regular ovens. Since the heat is being moved effortlessly around the oven, you get an even distribution. If you want to cook your meal quickly — and be energy efficient — you can afford to turn the temperature down by around 20-25 degrees. Give it a go now.
2. Don't put too much in the oven
Are you cooking for a large family? You might want to resist putting too much in your convection oven. Overcrowding these ovens may mean that they don't work well. As we have covered, the ovens are fan assisted and move air around themselves. However, if there are loads of things in the oven, you might find that the hot air simply can't move freely.
3. Avoid cooking cakes or souffles
While you can use a convection cooker for most meals, you might want to avoid making souffles or cakes. That is because the continuous stream of hot air may not give them the texture and result you expect. Believe it or not, this cooker can mean that they cook unevenly. You may want to use a traditional cooker here for the best results.
4. Check your food regularly
If you're not used to a convection oven, a good rule is to check your food regularly. This is especially important toward the end of the cooking time. You might find that your food cooks much faster than you expected. The last thing you want is to end up burning your food. Make sure that you keep checking it while cooking.
Convection ovens may be helpful if you are looking for ways to cut costs and make cooking more efficient. In this guide, we have covered the main things you need to know when considering getting one of these ovens. Now that you have the inside scoop, you should be able to decide whether you need one of these ovens at home.
Is there something else that you need to know? If we missed something, don't worry. We've got you covered with the answers to the most frequently asked questions here:
What's the difference between an air fryer and a convection oven?
One of the main differences between these two appliances is their size. Convection cookers tend to be larger than air fryers. If you have a small household, you might find it worth getting an air fryer rather than a convection oven. The latter is better for batch-cooking or large families. However, both of these ovens can cook food quickly and may save you money. Figure out which one works for you first!
What is a convection oven best for?
If you want to keep some moisture in your food, using a convection oven is best. For example, if you are cooking roast meats or potatoes, you might find this is the way to go. However, as we have mentioned, these ovens aren't great for baking cakes.
Can a convection oven be used as a regular oven?
Yes! Most of the time, you can turn the fan off in convection ovens. When you do that, you should be able to use the appliance as a regular oven.
Are convection ovens worth it?
That depends on your circumstances. While you have to pay to get a new convection oven, you may find that they save you money in the long run since they cook food faster. When you are considering buying a convection oven, be sure to shop around first.
What's your experience with convection ovens? Let us know in the comments below!