Convection Baking or Regular Baking?

Is convection cooking really better―or is that just hot air?

  • Kristin Appenbrink

If you’ve purchased a new oven in the past 20 years, chances are you have a convection setting―and chances are you’ve never used it. After all, convection is rarely mentioned in recipes, although it can cook many dishes more evenly and 10 to 20 percent faster than a regular oven while using lower temperatures. 

The convection setting uses a fan in the oven to circulate the hot air around the food, which makes it good for cooking meats, fish, vegetables, and other relatively firm dishes. It’s not a great option, however, for things that can easily shift or splatter, like quick breads and other bakery items. The air from the convection fan can blow around a moist batter, leaving a messy oven and a lopsided loaf. Use the regular setting for these goodies.

If your recipe doesn’t give instructions for convection baking, the general rule is to drop the temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and to start checking the dish when three-quarters of the normal cooking time has passed.

Try it a few times. You just might become a fan.