Getting myself a convection oven for baking was the best decision I have made in terms of convenience in the kitchen.
As someone who is something of a baking hobbyist, I can’t help but immediately acquire any appliance that eases the process. Over the years, my tendency to buy kitchen appliances in excess has led me to gift a number of my family members with the best convection oven for baking.
These appliances are useful to just about any home cook, irrespective of what they like to cook, due to the sheer range of uses they can be put to. You can just as effectively roast a chicken or a turkey in these ovens as you can whip up an exquisitely baked batch of cookies. These appliances are increasingly becoming the preferred choice of professionals as well as home cooking aficionados.
Their rising popularity can be largely attributed to the even cooking of any item cooked using these ovens. This is due to a specific mechanism that makes up the appliance and results in faster cook times and evenness. In this article, we will look at the various other features that differentiate the field and further discuss some of the top-rated convection ovens that can be a potential addition to your kitchen.
Top Four Convection Ovens for Baking
As a home cook, my experience with convection ovens has been mostly limited to the countertop models. As such, in this section, I will discuss the four best countertop ovens that I have used and found to be the most satisfactory. Read on to find out about their features along with the pros and cons of using them.
This countertop model from Breville is an 1800-Watt smart oven with Element IQ. This enables the oven to remember the right power and time setting once it is adjusted according to your particular taste. The appliance then adjusts the temperature and time automatically to deliver food perfectly cooked to the degree and taste you entered.
The oven has an LCD display that is backlit and easily readable. Additionally, to increase the convenience of the cook, this display switches colors from red to blue when food is cooking within. The convenience factor further increases because of the many settings available in the oven. The functions preset into the system are wide-ranging and include Toast, Bagel, Bake, Roast, Reheat, Warm, etc.
Weighing a reasonable 22 pounds, the oven measures at 18.5×15.75×11 inches on the exterior. As such, there needs to be a distance of 4 inches worth of cleared space on both sides of the oven due to how hot it can get. Ensuring the adequate countertop space for this oven is necessary for smooth functioning.
- Bakes cookies, pies, cakes, etc, evenly
- The oven is quite durable
- The smart function makes cooking easy
- The price is on the higher side
- The pans tend to crack after a while of regular use
This 23-liter capacity oven from Elite Cuisine is a sleekly designed appliance in all black. The oven comes with 8 Multi-functions integrated into its systems including rotisserie, baking, warming, toasting, broiling, etc. Additionally, the oven is equipped with a domed lid in the style of a griddle or steamer. The oven is also fitted with a timer-controlled knob that automatically switches off and has a signal bell for when the food is cooked.
- Even distribution of airflow results in evenly cooked food
- The larger capacity allows for better convection effect
- Faster cook time ensures fuel efficiency
- The numbers on the display come off with repeated cleaning
- The rotisserie function may not work well for all
This is one of the larger sized countertop ovens for people who can afford more space in their kitchen. The pre-entered functions include Toast, Bake, Pizza, Roast, Bagel, Broil, Cookies, and Reheat, an extensive list that makes cooking and baking with this convection oven considerably easier. You can simply press any of these settings for the oven to deliver the particular temperature for optimal taste in your preferred baked goodies.
The oven also comes with a number of accessories that make cooking more convenient. These include 2 wire racks to bake more batches of cookies in one go, as well as a crumb tray. Baking with this oven is very convenient due to the addition of a baking tray with a handle for easier handling, and a rotisserie with a fork and handle.
- Even cooking effect
- Multipurpose due to many preset features
- Large size allows more food to cook at once
- The door may not close properly when you use the wire rack
- The temperature listings on the instruction manual are not accurate
This Cuisinart model comes in a stylish stainless-steel body capable of accommodating a 13-inch pizza inside it. Measuring at 20.87×16.93×11.42 inches, the oven is big enough to be multipurpose and is even able to bake some bigger sized cakes. The controls on the oven are digital and the display is backlit by bright LED readings.
This oven has fifteen functions preset into its system which allow for innovative qualities such as dual cooking and faster cooking enabled by speed convection. The oven also allows users control of the degree of toasting and browning they want, resulting in consistently toasted bread.
- Evenly cooked food
- Perfect size for larger and smaller food items
- The oven comes in a durable body
- The labels on the display settings may wear off with use
Convection Ovens Vs Conventional Ovens
Convection ovens differ from a regular electric countertop oven in one key aspect, which is the circulation of heat. In a conventional oven, the heat rises to the top due to hot air being lighter. This leads to food items placed on the top racks inside the oven cooking faster than ones left on the bottom racks. So, if you are planning to bake multiple batches of muffins and need to use all the available racks, getting them out within the same time frame may not be feasible.
Convection ovens, on the other hand, solve this quandary by installing a fan inside the oven. This fan serves to distribute the heated air inside the oven evenly throughout the interior of the appliance. This simple addition to the mechanism of the oven makes a huge difference in the food cooked in them. The uniform distribution of hot air within the convection oven ensures that your cake or pie rises evenly, for example.
With these contraptions, you will no longer have to worry about the tips of your baked goodies getting overcooked while having an undercooked base. This even cooking effect is especially apparent when you attempt to roast an entire chicken in the oven and the result is a perfectly browned chicken that is uniformly cooked throughout.
These ovens are also on an average about 25-degree F hotter than regular ovens which, combined with convection heating, makes for faster cook times.
Compared to conventional ovens, using convection ovens also results in juicier food as faster cooking ensures that your food does not get dried out with prolonged exposure to heat. Apart from tastier food, an additional benefit of the shorter cook time afforded by convection ovens is energy efficiency. According to data from the US Department of Energy, baking with a convection oven, be it an electric or gas run appliance, saves energy by about 25%.
Countertop Oven for Baking
The conventional convection oven used for commercial purposes tends to be built-in wall ovens or slide-in ovens, which are huge. While many hardcore home cooks are known to upgrade their ovens to such contraptions to obtain the many benefits of a true convection oven, there is a perfectly viable alternative that takes up less space. Most widely used convection ovens today are a different style of countertop baking oven that vary on the basis of size or the particular kind of fuel they consume.
Most of the good quality countertop ovens come equipped with heating elements attached to their fans. The size of the convection oven you choose will depend upon how much countertop space you can afford your oven. This is due to the fact that these contraptions get quite hot and need at least a few inches worth of breathing room.
A large countertop convection oven is more convenient for weekend parties or other family gatherings. On the other hand, a convection oven that is a small oven for baking can come in handy for those with limited space. After all, if you are in the habit of baking for yourself more so than for entertaining guests, you can just as easily make do with a smaller sized tabletop convection oven. But overall, larger sizes do tend to yield better results in terms of the convection effect.
A buyer’s guide to Convection ovens
If you are planning on buying a new convection oven, there are a few things you should keep in mind. These ovens are quite easy to handle and often come with an accompanying booklet that provides detailed instructions on how to go about using it. But even without having to worry about the intricacies of these appliances, there are still enough to take into consideration before settling on a particular model.
Space and Size
The amount of space you can afford your oven will determine the size of the model you will eventually settle on. Wall or floor model convection ovens are usually more effective and, consequently, highly sought after for restaurants or other commercial ventures.
Floor models are available in full size and half size, with the latter size produced essentially for people with less space. These appliances come in deep depth models which allow for pans to be loaded from both sides, thus increasing their usability.
But most home cooks tend to opt for the portable convection oven for baking because it is more or less as effective as their larger counterparts while taking up much less space. These models are used also used at convenience stores or at quick-serve restaurants that don’t have the floor space for big ovens. So if you are doubtful about how well the smaller countertop variants fare, you can rest assured that these are just as effective.
Most convection ovens either run on gas or on electric, and both types come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. You should keep in mind that even if you acquire a gas run convection oven, you will still need to connect it to an electric port in order to power the fan installed within. While the food in such an oven cooks on gas, the fan that regulates air flow inside the oven runs on electricity.
Furthermore, the heating elements in gas run convection ovens are situated in such a manner that they necessitate the placement of one or more clear passages around every pan. This serves to ensure the adequate flow of air throughout the oven.
Before buying a convection oven, you may need to check if your kitchen has the required hood or fire suppression system that is compatible with the system of the oven you choose. This is an important step to acquiring the best convection oven, as an appliance that is not compatible with your kitchen can become useless.
Furthermore, investing in one may come with an excess of expenses if you attempt to upgrade your kitchen to fit with the oven you have acquired. One way to mitigate this is to check with local codes and the installation requirements they mandate. Matching these with the model of convection oven you are eyeing at the store can prevent a lot of hassle later on.
Compatibility with Food Items
There are a few baked items that are not compatible with convection ovens and their unique system of hot air flow facilitated by a fan. Such confections include delicately baked soufflés, angel food cake, quick breads, and custards. The constant airflow may result in the uneven rising of the soufflé or cake, causing it to droop to one side and can even lead to a dried-out crust on top of your custard. The best-baked goodies compatible with these ovens include cookies and pies.
Convection ovens have a few advantages over regular ovens that set them apart and make them a must-have for baking as well as cooking chicken and vegetables. All the countertop models reviewed in this article are high quality and capable of cooking up some of the tastiest baked goods. Make a note of all the pros and cons to pick the best convection oven for baking listed here, as suits your particular needs.