The Best Oven Temperature For Every Cooking Scenario

Whether you're baking a cake or roasting a chicken, you'll never have to guess how hot to heat the oven.

Wondering why cookies often bake at 350 F, and veggies roast at 425 F? Getting creative in the kitchen doesn't mean you must decipher what needs to bake at what temperature. We've created a comprehensive guide that explains which temperature is best for every cooking or baking application.

Roasting Squash
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325-350 F: This is probably the range you use most often—and there's a reason for that. Temperatures over 300F are where you begin to experience caramelization (browning of sugars) and the Maillard reaction (browning of proteins). Use this range for anything that's going to be cooking for a while, such as slow roasts or braises. Cakes are also typically baked at 350 F since they have a fair amount of sugar. If baked at a higher temp, the exterior of the cake would burn before it was fully cooked in the center.

375-400 F: Shorter term baking or roasting favors a slightly higher temperature to ensure crisp edges to cookies or bubbling golden cheese. This is also the perfect roasting temperature for chicken to ensure golden, crispy skin. As the heat gets higher, so does the risk of burning, so you have to keep an eye on whatever is in the oven.

425-450 F: If you want perfect golden roasted vegetables, this is the temperature for you. This is where you'll want to do any short-term baking or roasting, because you get a quick burst of high heat to ensure a golden color without having to stay in the oven for too long. For example, this is the ideal temperature if you're working with puff pastry, since you want the oven to be over 400F to ensure the steam releases and puffs up the pastry.

475-500 F: Things are starting to get hot in here. If you're cranking the heat to the highest your oven can go, you're likely making pizza or breads. A super high temperature will cause the bread or pizza dough to rise and cook before the gluten has a chance to set (this is a good thing).

RELATED: How to Tell If Your Pumpkin Pie is Done (Without Cutting It)

Now that you're confident with oven temperatures, find out when to use parchment paper or foil and make your clean-up a breeze.

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