Woman adjusting electric oven in kitchen
Last updated: June 19, 2020

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Convection ovens are becoming increasingly popular. Both industrial and domestic kitchens have begun to use these ovens due to the advantages they offer. One of these key benefits is their ability to cook food homogeneously. The convection oven has made cooking much easier.

What does convection mean? It is basically a process of heat transfer between two elements, in this case it involves heat transfer between the oven and the food. Convection ovens use fans that circulate hot air in the oven. The food is cooked through this hot air circulation process.

Key Facts

  • Convection ovens are different from common ovens insofar as they use fans for the cooking process.
  • One of the key advantages convection ovens offer is time saving.
  • These ovens are usually larger than traditional ones, which tends to make them more expensive.
  •  Forced convection ovens heat food circulating hot air over and in the process cooking food homogeneously.

The best convection ovens on the Canadian market

There are several options available when buying a convection oven. It is important to consider several aspects before buying a convection oven. The size of the appliance, your kitchen space and the usage level will all influence your choice of model. In the following section, we present the best convection ovens on the Canadian market.

Breville BOV845BSS The Smart Oven Pro Convection Toaster Oven

The Breville Smart Oven is an excellent, compact and well-designed convection toaster oven.  It is not a cheap option, but quality sometimes comes at a price. It includes its signature Element IQ cooking technology, that helps cook food more evenly by modifying the stove’s heating elements. There are 10 different settings to choose from to optimize cooking.

The oven is manufactured with stainless steel. The heating elements are designed with quartz which is more conducive to rapid heat changes.  The inside of the stove includes a non-stick coating that withstands high temperatures and is therefore exceedingly easy to clean up.

BLACK+DECKER 4-Slice Convection Oven, Stainless Steel

The Black and Decker convection oven is a small, efficient and affordable option. The capacity is minimal – it fits  a 9” pizza or four slices of bread.  The toaster oven interior is designed for even toasting. The oven has four cooking functions – convection bake, broil, toast, and keep warm.

Additional features include a 30-minute cooking timer for longer baking and a precise toast timer with shade options. The oven comes with a bake pan and broil rack. This option is especially suited for on-the-go households who need a simple and affordable cooking option.

Cuisinart CSO-300N1C Combo Steam Plus Convection Oven, Silver

The Cuisinart TOB-260N1 Combo Steam Plus Convection Oven is a unique oven that integrates professional steam alongside countertop convection.  Steam heat cuts cooking time up to 40%. You can choose from 9 single and combination functions including: Bread, Bake Convection or Bake Steam, Broil or Broil Steam, Steam or Super Steam, Keep Warm and Viewable Water Reservoir.

This oven lets you steam or poach any type of vegetable, fish, poultry or rice easily. You can also use steam in combination with both Broil or Bake functions to create roasts that are browned on the outside and juicy on the inside. A great option for innovative and experimental cooks.

Oster TSSTTVPZDS-033 Stainless Steel Convection Oven with Pizza Drawer

The Oster Stainless Steel Convection Oven with Pizza Drawer is ideal for hard-core pizza enthusiasts. The pizza door can also be used for other dishes such as bruschetta and quesadillas. The Oster includes top and bottom crumb trays to make cleaning the oven easier.  There is a 60-minute timer to manage cooking when you are busy with many different things.

The upper convection oven’s settings include: warm, toast, bake, broil, and turbo. There are two rack positions with space for meat stews and baked products. The pleasing stainless-steel oven design will compliment your kitchen.

Hamilton Beach 31512C Convection Toaster Oven

The Hamilton Beach 31512C is a simple and solid option. The main advantage of the Hamilton Beach Convection Toaster Over is its affordable price. It features a 30 minute cooking timer with automatic shutoff at the end of cooking time. A Blue power light lets you know when the oven is on.

The oven includes a broil rack and bake pan. The ovens’ capacity fits 6 slices of bread or a large 12-inch pizza. Main settings are: toast, bake & broil. This is an energy efficient option, using less than 71% energy when compared to peer non-convection toaster ovens. Includes a 5-year limited warranty from Hamilton Beach.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about convection ovens

Convection ovens help users save space and time.  They also present a more nutritional method for cooking food and in doing so, help users maintain better health. Still, not all models are the same. It is best to learn about the varied options before deciding on a brand. In the following section we discuss some of the most frequently asked questions to help you with your purchase decision.

Woman putting rack into electric oven

Convection ovens heat food homogeneously by circulating heat with fans.
(Source: serezniy: 115296297/ 123rf.com)

What is a convection oven exactly?

Convection ovens are typified through their use of fans to circulate hot air as part of the cooking process. Convection ovens have made an impact on the food industry. Their larger size allows for greater quantities of food to be cooked, saving both time and money.

What are the advantages of a convection oven?

When compared to microwaves,  convection ovens offer several advantages. Microwave ovens destroy food nutrients in the cooking process. Convection ovens, however, heat your food evenly by using the surrounding heat and maintain foods nutritional structure.

The food industry has increasingly replaced conventional ovens with convection models. In contrast, domestic use of convection ovens, has not yet overtaken regular ovens. Nevertheless, they are expected to do so in the medium term.

Advantages
  • Energy savings
  • Convection ovens cook almost 30% faster than traditional ovens
  • They cook food evenly
  • Microwave ovens often cannot heat the whole food
  • The vitamins and nutrients of foods remain intact
  • It is recommended to subtract 25°C from the indicated temperature when cooking with a convection oven
Disadvantages
  • They are less affordable than conventional ovens. However, they offer greater savings in the long run
  • They are not designed for all types of food. Foods made from flour – such as biscuits – are best prepared in conventional ovens

How should I use my convection oven?

It is important to know how to use your convection oven properly to make the most of your appliance. We’ll now look at two key aspects that you need know in order to cook delicious meals.

The heat distribution system of convection ovens differs great from traditional ovens. Keep this in mind when following cooking instructions. Recipes tend to provide the cooking times and temperatures for conventional ovens only. In order to adapt this data to your convection oven, you’ll need to subtract 15°C and/or shorten the time by 15% to 30%.

If you’re planning on roasting lamb, for example, and your cookbook says to leave it in the oven at 150°C for two hours, you’ll want to set it to 135°C for 84 minutes with a convection oven. This is important, to avoid spoiling the food.

What pots and utensils can I use in my convection oven?

In order for the hot air system to work, you need to prevent interference between the air and your food. For this reason we advise you to choose low-edged dishes.

Figure out which type of edge won’t interfere with the distribution of hot air. Similar to regular ovens, you can use trays without edges if you are cooking biscuits or other fatless foods.

Can I use baking paper in my convection oven?

Due to the hot air distribution system, you are not advised to cover the food. That said, it is fine to use baking paper. Tuck the corners in to avoid the air raising the paper.

Modern electric oven on dark table

Convection ovens can prepare larger amounts of food saving time and money.  (Source: serezniy: 115300575/ 123rf.com)

What happens if I turn off the oven fan?

Turning off the fan switches your convection oven into a regular oven. That said, not all models have this option. Certain convention ovens also offer different air levels: High Air/Low Air. Most will include a guide to help you learn which foods cook best under which option.

Dave AspreyCreator of the Bulletproof Coffee and Author of The Bulletproof Diet

“Convection ovens have heating elements on the top and bottom along with a fan to circulate air, so foods cook faster and more evenly. With this method you can have really good meals cooked in fat that is less damaged.”

What can I cook in my convection oven?

Convection ovens are ideal if you like to make food nice and crunchy.  In the following list, we’ve listed some dishes that are great to cook in your convection oven:

  • Hotpots: Foods that require simmering are great for convection ovens. The hot air circulating within these appliances lets the dish cook evenly. Another advantage is that these ovens let you prepare food faster.
  • Roasts:  Convection ovens help keep meat juicy. The hot air also browns the skin, giving it a crunchy and attractive appearance.
  • Dehydrated food: Your convection oven can also serve as a food dehydrator. This is because its fan and convection cycle speed up the food dehydration process. You’ll get excellent results with fresh vegetables, fruits or nuts.

What shouldn’t I cook in my convection oven?

Breads or biscuits are more suited for conventional ovens; this is due to the fact that moist air is better for these types of foods. Other than that, your convection oven will be perfect for preparing fish or vegetables. Dry air is ideal to obtain dishes with a perfect texture. In addition, you can cook various foods without the smell of one of them infusing the other.

How do I clean my convection oven?

It is important to maintain appliances that come into contact with your food clean. This also applies to the dishes and utensils you use.  When you are finished cooking, wait for your convection oven to cool down and then proceed to clean it. The instruction manual will tell you which products to use. Try and avoid cleaning your oven with water jets or chlorine based substances.

What types of convection ovens are on the market?

There are five types of convection ovens on the Canadian market. While their purpose is similar, each model has its own characteristics. Consider each model carefully to identify the best one for you.

  • Regeneration ovens. These are common in professional kitchens and designed to shift foods from frozen states to room temperature.
  • Steam ovens. These let you to cook at low temperatures. Steam and heat combine to retain the original taste of the food.
  • Vacuum ovens. Vacuum ovens cook at low temperatures. This means that the food maintains flavors and nutritional content intact. Vacuum cooking requires the user to prepare a container with food and insulate it with hermetically-sealed packaging.
  • Combi steamers. These appliances carry out all the functions of the previous types of oven: cook, heat and defrost. Additionally, certain models include the vacuum cooking option. These tend to cost more and are found more frequently in professional kitchens.
  • Convection ovens.  Convection ovens are designed for cooking. Their structure and power allow you to save both time and energy.

What is a forced convection oven?

This type of oven features a function that heats frozen or very cold foods. By dispersing the cold air, the convection oven fan allows the dish to warm up. This cooks foods in an even manner.  This type of oven is most commonly used in the food industry, as they produce heat more easily.

Why are electric convection ovens better than gas ovens?

The heat convection ovens use for cooking is more constant. Their installation also tends to be much easier. Additionally, they also tend to be less expensive with regards to maintenance and spare parts.

Gas appliances offer more limited features. You will also find that it is easier to transport an electric oven than a gas one. Nevertheless, convection ovens do have a disadvantage: the bigger the model is, the more electricity it needs.

Shopping Criteria

It is a good idea to consider several criteria before completing your purchase. These include functionality, capacity, size or even power. We’ve listed these criteria in this section to help you make the right decision:

Functionality

The market offers a wide range of convection ovens, from the simple to professional models. This will influence its final price. Ovens generally feature anywhere between 5 and 12 combined functions of heat, roasting and convection. You need to evaluate which of these functions you will likely use to choose the best oven.

Capacity

Convection ovens let you cook different foods at the same time. If time saving is key for you, you could place even more dishes and cook more options at once. This is why the capacity of the oven is an important factor to think about. Depending on your use, you could choose a model with a capacity ranging from 10 to 40 litres.

Size

There are several sizes of convection ovens available in Canada. Make sure you pick a model that isn’t too large is space is an issue.

Accessories

The majority of convection ovens include accessories that help with cooking. These may be trays or roasters, for example. It is a good idea to verify that the accessories of the model you choose for are relevant to your cooking style.

Power

The power required by the convection oven is also important to keep in mind. An appliance with a higher voltage will shorten the cooking process, but it will use more power.  This will increase your electricity bill.

Summary

Convection ovens enable you to cook in a more health-conducive manner. They also help you to cook faster than traditional ovens. Additionally, they cook food in an even manner, which generally leads to more delicious results.

Keep in mind that certain models are more suited to professional uses. It is best to pick a model that is relevant for your needs and budget. Once you have accounted for these needs, you’ll surely make an excellent purchase.

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(Source of featured image: serezniy: 115296458/ 123rf.com)

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