What You Need To Know To Find the Ultimate Best Convection Oven
Before we jump in and talk about which the best convection oven is, let’s find out what convection is in the first place. Not everybody is lucky enough to have convection ovens, because they are a fairly new piece of technology. That is why a lot of people still don’t know how they differ from other “regular” ovens. With that in mind, the bigger questions are when to use and when not to use convection oven.
First, let’s explain the concept behind convection.
Convection ovens contain their own fan and exhaust mechanism. These are not available in regular ovens. This system allows the convection oven to be more effective in blowing hot air on top of and around the food in the oven, and then pushing it out through the vent. What you get in the end is efficiently hot air that envelops the food, which leads to significantly faster and more even cooking.
To help you understand it even more, Fine Cooking describes convection:
Convection cooking follows this exact principle.
Now that we understand what it does and how it does it, let’s look more into why you should probably invest in a quality convection oven for your own kitchen.
- Saves Time - as we discussed earlier, the hot air that blows directly onto the food(not just around it) can give you 25% quicker results. Now you have more time to enjoy with your family or guests.
- Saves Energy - because you need less time and (in general) lower temperatures to cook your food, you can acquire significant savings in energy consumption.
- Quality Cooking - aside from time and energy, the biggest benefits of convection lies in the output of the food itself.
First of all, you get even cooking. If you use regular ovens, you know that there are certain “hot spots” - depending on the model of the oven, there are areas which are hotter than others. This means that your food is not cooked evenly in all parts. The fan of your convection oven makes sure that the hot air circulates all around the oven to create equal variances in temperature all throughout cook time.
Secondly, you can enjoy better browning. In a regular oven, air often gets “humid” because there is no route for the air to escape. This creates steam, which adheres proper roasting. In a convection oven, on the other hand, you are guaranteed a DRY atmosphere because no steam is created, thanks to the fan and exhaust design. This allows proper caramelization of the sugars and roasting of vegetables and meats. What you end up with is a moist and juicy center and a nicely browned exterior.
When to Use Convection Ovens
So, now that we’ve understood convection - what’s next is to figure out which types of recipes and cooking scenarios will necessitate using it over traditional ovens. You might think, because of the benefits we just talked about, that you can pretty much cook anything and everything in convection. Here’s a pretty helpful guide to give you a clear picture.
Use a convection oven for
Do NOT use a convection oven for
Roasting meats and vegetablesYou’ll get crispier skin and caramelized exteriors cooked faster and evenly.
BreadsConvection MAY dry out the center, creating a lack of moisture for your bread.
CookiesYou can cook more than 1 tray at a time without having to rotate them every few minutes.
Custards, flans, souffles, quickbreads, and cakes
The convection oven uses a fan, which may pose some risk with “delicate” food - especially those that begin with a batter and require to set during cook time. When air is blown onto these during cooking or baking, you may end up with lopsided end products.
Pies and pastriesYou can melt fat properly and steam quickly, creating better “lift” for your doughs.
Toasting and dehydratingYou can remove moisture faster.
Any dish that must be cooked with a lidBraise and casserole are good examples.
How To Use Convection Ovens
So, if you’ve decided to use your savvy convection oven setting, there are a few pointers to remember when cooking.
- Use LOW temperatures. Always follow this. You must reduce the recommended temperature by 25°F. For example, if the recipe states that you should cook at 350°F, adjust it into 325°F.
- Check your food earlier. Remember that food cooks a lot faster on convection heat, so adjust your check time by a little bit. For instance, if you usually check your dish after 1 hour of cooking, this time, do your first check at the 45-minute mark or so.
- Circulation is king! Convection will only work to your advantage is the air inside the oven can effectively circulate over the food. So do NOT cover the shelves in the oven with foil. And as much as possible, use trays and pans that have lower sides so that the hot air can penetrate the food from all angles.
- Experiment and enjoy. New technologies can be intimidating for many. But since you’ve gone out and bought yourself a convection oven, don’t be afraid to embrace its best features. Play with it and try different things - you may surprise yourself with some awesome results.
Our Top Picks for You
Now that we’ve covered everything that you need to know about using a convection oven, it’s time to browse through some of the best brands and models in the market today. Here’s a quick overview of our top picks. (If you need a comprehensive review of the pros and cons of each product, scroll further down to find out more.)
A good deal if you’re looking to replace your old B&D oven, because this tops our list.Cooking is quick and even, and the room inside is big enough for all your favorite dishes.
Considering it’s both a rotisserie and a toaster oven, it’s a pretty great snag from Cuisinart. For its features, the price tag is well justified. We recommend this product.
With a few minor flaws that we can look past - we recommend this oven because it produces even and fast cooking. The quality is good and it can last for years in your kitchen. Plus, it doesn’t cost as much as other models that offer the same quality.
We highly recommend this unit, because it’s well-priced for its functionality and features. Aside from minor flaws, there aren’t bad things to be said about this compact oven.
A good choice if you need to fit in more pieces of food and you don’t mind using a manual dial instead of a digital panel.
Users get great quality for a pretty low price.
A good choice if you are a health buff. You can use it to roast, broil, bake, or steam your food without adding extra oils or fats. Available at an affordable price.
A good choice if you’re looking to find a long-term investment for a convection oven, because this one is the priciest unit on our list. If you’re looking for a top brand, then this is the oven for you.
A pretty decent oven if you’re looking for basic cooking functions or if you’re in a really tight budget.
If you want to have a Black+Decker but you are under budget, then this is a good alternative. While it’s not the most impressive in terms of features, it’s definitely a decent toaster oven. It’s good enough for basic functions and simple recipes.
We’re pretty ambivalent about the NuWave Pro Plus, because on the one hand, it does get the job done for less time and energy, but there are also some concerns that we can’t take for granted. (See full review below)
Our In-Depth Review:
Sitting comfortably at the top of our list is the revolutionary Black+Decker CTO6335S convection oven. With this purchase, you also get a load of accessories such as: a bake pan, toasting rack, and broil rack.
- The convection fan provides you with fast and even baking
- You have full control over the temperature, function, and time that you need to set. Everything you choose will be displayed over the stylish digital screen
- Choose from Bake, Toast, Broil, Pizza, Potatoes, Bagel, Cookies, and Frozen Snacks.
- You get a 2-hour timer that makes sure you get the most precise results. It will automatically turn off as soon as your time counter runs out.
- The Black+Decker oven has expanded to fit in even six slices of bread and 12-inch pizzas. Still, you can fit it on your countertop without taking up much space.
- The removable crumb tray makes it easy for you to clean up.
- Wording on the exterior rubs off easily over some time, which can make it hard to find the right functions you need.
Cuisinart makes the list with this stainless steel convection oven. You can be sure that each toast you make gets even cooking and crispiness, consistently.
- You can input the specific number of toast slices you are cooking (1-6) at a time to guarantee your ideal output. The same goes for pizza slices (up to 12 inches).
- It uses 4 quartz elements to optimize heating settings, and gets rid of the guesswork when using ovens for baking or cooking.
- Whether you’re using its rotisserie function or its other settings (warm, broil, roast, bake, pizza, or leftovers), you can rely on the power of its convection heating for consistently even cooking.
- When you’ve already began the spin of the rotisserie, you can’t stop it midway if you want to do a temperature reading. You’ll have to cancel the entire cycle and then restart the process.
- The manual doesn’t have as much recipes as you’d like.
You’ll get more bang for your buck with this oven that has two major purposes: convection cooking and rotisserie function. Who would have thought that the day will come when you will be able to cook a full rotisserie chicken in your own kitchen counter without taking a lot of space? Hamilton Beach doses a great job at that with this countertop convection oven. Enjoy energy efficiency and compact size while getting the same functions as a regular, full-sized oven.
- It uses 49% less power than conventional ovens while offering the same amount of function.
- You can fit in two 12-inch pizzas, two cake pans, a whole 5-pound chicken, two baking sheets of cookies, or two casseroles at once.
- You can set the dial to control your temperature and cook time. The timer goes up to 2-hours.
- Other settings include: bake, broil, rotisserie, and convection. It will turn off automatically as well as give off a sound alarm when the timer has run out.
- Upon receiving the package, some customers reported that the inside of the oven is quite dirty (possibly from testing or manufacturing). You have to clean the traces of metal powder inside with a damp cloth.
- There is also a temporary bad smell at first. So you’ll have to preheat it for a while before actually using it with food.
- There is a low noise or hum when using the convection function. It’s not too annoying, but we would love it if it was 100% quiet.
- There isn’t a light inside the oven to see back - which would help to check if your food is already done or browned the way you like it.
If you have a tiny home or kitchen, there’s no need to fret. You can still enjoy a full-service convection oven for a fraction of the space.
- Preheat your food quicker and use up less energy than a regular oven.
- Despite its size, you’ll enjoy the full benefits of convection cooking. Roast meats, cook fish, bake pizzas, brownies, quiches, and more.
- The compact oven can accommodate an entire chicken, two 12-inch pizzas, or multiple baking sheets of treats at once.
- A few users reported some “gaps” in the build of the door, although this is a very minor flaw that doesn’t affect its performance.
With this even bigger offering from Black+Decker, you’ll get more space than with any other oven. If option number 1 (see above) doesn’t satisfy your space needs, then THIS is the one for you. It is specially crafted to provide an extra-wide interior. You can fit up to EIGHT SLICES of bread or even an ENTIRE PAN of food (9”x13”)!
- Most standards pans will fit right in - even those with handles. This means that you can serve your food straight from the oven to the table.
- Hot air is evenly circulated throughout the inside of the oven. As a result, you get quick and even cooking.
- The dedicated toast timer gives a predictable shade selection each time you pop in slices of bread.
- The 60-minute timer stays precisely on point for a whole hour, which is useful for dishes that require longer baking time.
- You also get a bake pan, a toasting rack, and a broil rack.
- Black+Decker has exceptionally great customer service according to actual purchasers.
- The timer’s buzzer is too loud for some users.
- The size, while a main PRO, can also be a CON because it’ll take up substantial countertop space. And you can’t put much stuff on top of it because it gets hot during use.
If you’re looking for an oven that suits a healthier lifestyle, then this is the model to watch out for. This convection oven allows you to cook your favorite food using heat that circulates inside the oven. This lets the food cook with its own natural juices. You don’t need to add oils or artificial ingredients to improve the taste of the food. As a result, you get zero added calories and you’re assured of healthy, delicious food. You have options to bake, grill, roast, and broil without having to use multiple appliances. You can do all these things with just one convection oven. Whether you’re in the mood for a full roasted chicken, grilled steak, or baked vegetables, you only this appliance.
- Multiple functions (bake, grill, steam, or roast)
- High Quality tempered, heat-resistant and easy-to-clean glass
- Big volume of food can be cooked at a time
- Full Cooking Control over time and temperature
- Affordable alternative to otherwise expensive turbo ovens
- The instruction manual is pretty lacking in, well, instruction.
- There are only two free recipes included in the booklet.
This 1800-watt convection toaster oven from Breville features the brand’s one-of-a-kind new technology, Element IQ. This tech makes it stand out from the crowd of regular convection ovens. The principle behind it is simple: each different type of food requires a different way of cooking. A lot of the ovens in the market are not able to provide this kind of service, and cannot distribute heat as evenly as they need to suit the kind of food being prepared. This is where Breville comes in and steps up the game.
- It is made from a stainless steel exterior, and inside, it features a warming tray that is made from ribbed plate. The inside can be adjusted into three different positions, depending on your need - this is all nonstick material, too, which makes it a breeze to wash.
- The interiors are spacious enough to accommodate 13-inch pizza slices - or up to SIX slices of bread at a time. Plus, the rack is able to auto-eject when you’re done.
- The oven uses 5 quartz elements that allow you to cook each specific type of food the way it is meant to be cooked.
- Enjoy 9 cooking functions (bake, roast, reheat, broil, pizza, toast, bagel, cookies, and warm).
- You can easily pre-set the temperature and time of cooking thanks to the convenient LCD display.
- The timer can be a problem for some, especially seasoned bakers. It is fine when simply heating up leftover pizzas or frozen meals, but if you are trying to control the baking environment, the countdown feature might be a bit of a hassle.
- It is quite expensive compared to the other models in our list.
This smaller offering from Black+Decker is perfect for individuals or small families. It is a perfect gift for those who don’t need a lot of baking or toasting space. It fits greatly on any countertop with its sleek design.
You can toast up to FOUR slices of bread at a time, and 9-inch pizza slices can fit in with no problem. Its compact size is its biggest selling point, but this is not to undermine its cooking capabilities. It can toast, broil, bake or keep food warm up to 450 degrees.
- EvenToast technology makes sure that every slice of toast is crisped evenly, every time.
- You get all the basic toaster capabilities: bake, broil, toast, and warm.
- The 30-minute timer lets you leave your toaster for half an hour.
- The large viewing glass window is durable and easy to clean. It also comes with a removable crumb tray which is convenient for keeping your oven spick and span.
- This is very affordable, starting at just $25.
- The fonts on the display and dial are too small for some users to read quickly.
- The timer can be a hassle if you need to suddenly shut the toaster off during emergencies.
If you want the same functionalities as the Black+Decker Digital 6-Slice Convection Countertop Toaster (our #1 pick, mentioned above) but want to save a few more bucks, then you can choose this unit instead. It has the same cool features, except the digital controls on the front/outside panel. If you have no issues with using manual dials for your controls, then this should be an affordable alternative for you.
- You are guaranteed that no one side or portion of your food is more cooked than the other.
- Choose from Bake, Toast, Broil, and Keep Warm from the dial.
- You can fit it on your countertop without taking up much space.
- The removable crumb tray makes it easy for you to clean up.
- You can stay precisely on point for a whole hour, which is useful for dishes that require longer baking time.
- The cord length is too short, which can be a problem if you’re planning on placing it on a higher shelf or if your outlet is far.
- You need to preheat for at least 15 minutes if you are cooking at 450 degrees.
- The exterior can get really hot, which poses some safety risk, both for kids and grown ups around.
This oven makes the top ten thanks to its unique Triple Combo Cooking Power. Unlike the rest of our ovens in this list, the NuWave Oven Pro Plus uses conduction heat AND infrared heat in addition to convection heat. What you get is super fast cooking and delicious dishes right off the bat.
- It gives you 50% faster cooking than regular ovens. It also spends 85% less energy.
- You can cook food as big as a 10-pound turkey.
- You can set the temperature at 107˚F - 342˚F and set the cooking to 10 different power levels.
- Users report that you’ll probably need to manually flip over your food on its other side to make sure it cooks all throughout.
- There have also been multiple complaints about its dome cracking because of too much heat.
- There is a lack of instruction as to how you’re supposed to clean the top heating unit. This can be a big issue over the long run.
Enjoy superb cooking quality with any of these ten best convection ovens. Whatever type of cooking you prefer, for whatever budget you have, these’ll certainly brighten up any kitchen and home!