There's nothing like a slice of homemade pie on a summer day, but baking pie in the oven in the summer is anything but pleasant. Keeping your home cooler while cooking is just one of the many reasons it can be handy to have a convection oven, the biggest advantage being that using a convection oven can cut down on cooking time too.
Unfortunately, there are far fewer convection oven recipes out there than those made for traditional ovens, so it's important to know a basic rule for convection oven time conversion if you want to cook most recipes you find online.
Regular Oven to Convection Conversion
There are three generally accepted options when it comes to performing a regular oven to convection conversion. The first option involves reducing the temperature by 25 degrees. In other words, if you are cooking a pie that needs to be baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes in a traditional oven, cook it instead at 325 degrees.
The second involves reducing the cooking time by 25 percent. So, if you're converting the same recipe above, you'll want to cook the pie for 30 minutes. If you have a hard time with math, you can always look up a convection oven cooking time chart online.
The third, which is the most widely accepted method, is also the hardest to perfect because it involves reducing the temperature and cooking time by about half of what you would have done through each of the first methods. When doing this method, try to reduce the cooking temperature by around 12.5 degrees Fahrenheit and reduce the cooking time by around 12.5 percent (half of 25 percent).
For example, you would cook the pie at 337.5 degrees for 35 minutes. If your convection oven doesn't let you set such exact temperatures (most don't), then just set it for 10 degrees lower, as this is usually close enough to get the right results.
Tips for Converting Oven Times
While you don't want to open the convection oven too many times while cooking, you should always check your food shortly before it is done. For items that take under 30 minutes, check about 5 minutes early. For foods that take 30 to 60 minutes, check on them about 10 minutes before the timer goes off. If your food takes more than an hour, you'll want to check at least 15 minutes before it is set to be done.
Always use a food thermometer to check the temperature of foods with raw eggs or meat before serving. Never serve foods that have not reached a safe inner temperature according to basic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Convection ovens are better when it comes to browning and crisping foods, so you generally do not need to cover the dishes as they cook. If you do decide to cook something covered, you will usually need the same temperature and time as you would using a traditional oven recipe. If the dish takes over an hour, though, you may still reduce the cooking time by 25 degrees.
General Convection Oven Tips
Generally speaking, convection ovens heat up fast enough to not need preheating. This means that you need to position your oven racks before turning on the oven because they heat up very quickly. It also means you can put your food in the convection oven and position it appropriately in the center of the rack before turning on the oven. Always check your owner's manual and review the company's preheating instructions before use.