Which convection oven is best?
Convection ovens may look very similar to regular ovens; however, they utilize a fan to blow hot air over and around your food, resulting in food cooking quicker and more evenly. They’re great for roasting meats and vegetables, as the dry air helps with the browning and caramelization process. Additionally, they’re effective for broiling, steaming, air frying and dehydrating.
Convection ovens come in various sizes and with many features. A popular choice is the Breville The Smart Oven Pro Toaster Oven, which has 10 cooking functions and five heating elements. As a compact model, it’s designed to sit on a countertop. Alternatively, there are many other options for different cooking styles and family sizes.
What to know before you buy a convection oven
Since heat rises, regular ovens tend to be hot at the top and cooler at the bottom. Convection ovens cook around 25-30% faster than a regular oven because they circulate the hot air around the food. As such, you can reduce the heat or cook food for less time, both of which save energy and money.
Just like regular ovens, convection ovens are available in various sizes, from small countertop toaster ovens to larger multi-shelved options for commercial use. An oven with two shelves and a 25- to 30-liter capacity is ideal for a family of four.
If you haven’t used a convection oven before, it’s a good idea to check on your food more regularly to ensure it doesn’t burn. Don’t crowd the oven with too much food at once, and try to use shallow roasting pans and trays. This allows the air to circulate and cook the food evenly.
What to look for in a quality convection oven
The way convection ovens are controlled can vary between models. Some ovens have simple dials that select the temperature and cooking time, whereas others have digital touchscreens or LCDs to navigate through the functions. Look for a model with a backlit screen to avoid difficulties with reading the display.
Convection ovens are fueled by gas or electricity. Gas ovens have a single heat source at the bottom of the oven, whereas electric models can have up to five heating elements. This allows heat to be focused when and where it’s needed for consistent results. An oven with a variable speed fan provides more control over the heat for different cooking styles.
Many convection ovens are multifunctional. They may include additional settings for toasting, broiling, air frying or steaming. A model with a timer can delay the start time, so dinner can be prepared in advance. A rotisserie setting is a useful addition for cooking poultry and cuts of meat. It rotates the food, allowing it to cook evenly in its own juices.
How much you can expect to spend on a convection oven
There are plenty of budget ovens available for under $75, though they’re usually quite small and don’t have a full range of functions. For a decent-sized oven from a reputable manufacturer, expect to pay $150-$300.
Convection oven FAQ
Are convection ovens safe?
A. As with any appliance that gets hot, you should take care when using a convection oven. Wear oven mitts when transferring food to and from the oven, and keep children at a safe distance. If the oven is electric, ensure it has a correctly rated circuit breaker in case of malfunction.
Can a convection oven be used to defrost food?
A. Some foods may be defrosted in an oven. However, this isn’t recommended, as it can dry the food out or cause it to cook unevenly. An oven with a dedicated defrost setting ensures the food is heated at the right temperature and fully thawed before the cooking process begins.
Can I bake in a convection oven?
A. Convection ovens are perfect for baking some items, as the heat melts fats faster, helping dough and pastry to rise. Things like cakes and souffles shouldn’t be cooked in a convection oven unless the recipe calls for it, as the hot air will dry them out.
What’s the best convection oven to buy?
Top convection oven
Breville The Smart Oven Pro Toaster Oven
What you need to know: This countertop oven has five independent heating elements and ten preset cooking functions.
What you’ll love: It can be used to bake, broil, roast and slow cook. It has a backlit LCD with intuitive controls.
What you should consider: The exterior shell gets quite hot to the touch.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top convection oven for the money
Toshiba 6-Slice Convection Toaster Oven
What you need to know: This compact oven has a 1,500-watt heating element on the top and bottom and an adjustable convection fan.
What you’ll love: Its dial controls are easy to use and it has a built-in timer to switch it off after cooking.
What you should consider: The door doesn’t lay totally flat when fully open.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
F.Blümlein Countertop Convection Steam Oven
What you need to know: This oven has a 32-liter capacity and 25 preset recipes, making it a good choice for larger families.
What you’ll love: It has plenty of additional cooking modes including grill, broil, steam and defrost. Its built-in safety lock stops children from opening the door.
What you should consider: Water collects in the bottom of the oven when using the steam setting.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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