Taking The Mystery Out Of Convection Cooking Times

The General Rule

Most convection oven baking requires a 25°F reduction in temperature over a traditional recipe bake temperature. This will not apply if you are using a halogen and/or infrared oven as these technologies do not cook food the same way as a pure convection bake setting.

When convection baking, items will generally have shorter cooking times and since the TEMPERATURE is lowered for convection baking, the baked items will need the full recommended amount of time to cook correctly.

For example, if you have a sheet pan of chocolate chip cookies, you would normally bake them at 350°F for about 12 minutes.

In convection baking the chocolate chip cookies would have a convection bake time of the same 12 minutes only at 325°F. The even heat distribution provided by the convection cooking technology provides you the benefit of baking more sheets of chocolate chip cookies at one time and in that 12 minutes than what you would have been able to bake using a traditional oven.

Convection roasting on the other hand does not require a reduction in temperature but will cook and brown your foods faster thereby reducing your cooking time by up to 30%. In convection roasting, follow the recommended traditional oven setting but reduce your overall cook time by 30%.

So to summarize, convection bake at a 25°F lower TEMPERATURE, convection roast at a 30% lower COOK TIME. Again, this does not apply to microwave, infrared or halogen cooking because these technologies are for speed cooking. You should always check your food for doneness at the least recommended cook time to ensure proper internal food temperatures.

Tips for Convection Thawing and Baking

When thawing frozen uncooked or previously cooked food, a good practice is to allow about 5 minutes of thaw time for each pound of frozen food. Let say you are thawing a 3 pound chicken and at 5 minutes per pound, your convection thaw would be 15 minutes for the chicken.

Don’t use plastic containers straight from the freezer to convection thaw. Only defrost long enough to remove the frozen food and place it in an oven-safe or microwave-safe dish.

Using margarine will affect your convection bake performance. Traditional recipes for baking include high fat products like butter which is about 80% fat. When you decrease the amount of fat in a recipe, it may not give you the same results because fat cooks faster.

You have the potential to ruin a recipe for cakes, pastries, cookies or pies if you use low-fat spreads. The lower the fat content, the more noticeable the convection bake outcome.

Federal standards require products labeled as margarine to contain at least 80% fat by weight. Many of the “heart healthy” or low-fat spreads have less fat and more water. When you have higher moisture content, the texture and flavor of your baked goods will be impacted.