Are Convection Ovens Safe?

Professional chefs and bakers love convection ovens for their improved cooking speed and consistent temperatures. But with those improvements, many people wonder are convection ovens safe?

Here’s what I know from working with them:

Convection ovens are completely safe as long as they are used properly and in good working condition. Their enhanced speed and efficiency is simply the result of a fan inside the oven and they work much the same as an air fryer in that regard.

But that’s just a quick snapshot of the question.

After all, there are countertop convection ovens as well as full-sized convection ovens. There are also combo microwave/convection ovens too.

So in this article, we’ll explore all aspects of convection ovens and safety, including the 1 thing most convection oven owners fail to get right.

Let’s get going.

Do convection ovens have radiation?

No. Unless it’s a combo microwave and convection oven, radiation will not be used to cook your food. Convection ovens are just like regular ovens except they use a fan to circulate warm air around the food.

This is an understandable question considering some small appliances, like microwave ovens, are known for their use of radiation to cook food quickly.

Both are very useful small kitchen appliances, both of which I recommend for your first kitchen, as you can read about in a recent article.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Typically, because of the way a convection oven cooks and its heat source, you don’t really need to worry about radiation.

Convection (and conventional) ovens cook food from the outside in. Meaning it takes time for the heat to penetrate all the way through things like meat and completely cook them. This is because the heat is directly applied to the outside.

Microwave ovens, on the other hand, use radiation for cooking food. The electromagnetic waves penetrate quickly, cooking food from the inside out. 

Radiation can be a scary word. It is often associated with cancer and nuclear weapons.

However, the type of radiation you find in your kitchen appliances isn’t something to be afraid of. The electromagnetic waves are a different type of radiation than those found in nuclear weapons and are very much controlled in these appliances.

However, some people still choose not to use microwave ovens in their homes because they don’t want to take a chance with any sort of radiation.

If you are one of these people, you don’t need to worry about any risks with a convection oven.

What are the cons of a convection oven?

The main complaint about convection ovens is noise. Because they use a fan to circulate warm air around the food as it cooks, you can expect convection ovens to be noisier than conventional ovens.

But everything has its downside(s) to consider before making a purchase decision. 

Aside from noise, delicate baked goods, particularly anything that needs to rise, don’t do well in a convection oven. Because of how the heat moves in the oven, it can cause your cakes to rise unevenly.

If you are baking something with custard, you may also find that your oven causes a bit of a crust around the edges.

But don’t take my word for it. Chef Leslie Bilderback, CMB (Certified Master Baker), only recommends buying a convection oven where you have the option of turning off the fan.

She notes “The fan makes it hotter, which is useful when you want to cook something faster. . .  (but) Larger items will brown on the outside, and look done before they are done on the inside. This is terrible for large loaves of bread, pound cakes, white meringues, or anything that’s delicate, like custards.”

Lastly, in the list of cons, if cost is a determining factor for you, you may not want to look at a wall-mounted convection oven. They can be very expensive.

Before making a purchase, consider the size of the oven you will need and the overall cost. It may be better to stick to a wall-mounted conventional oven and a countertop convection oven.

What does a true convection oven mean?

A “true” convection oven, sometimes called a European convection oven, features a heating element behind the fan to heat the air as it comes out from the fan as opposed to simply moving the warm air around from the oven’s heating elements at the top or bottom. 

When looking at a convection oven, you are looking at one that has two heat sources – one at the top and one at the bottom – as well as a fan that helps distribute that heat evenly while cooking.

The fan not only allows for even heat distribution but also results in a lower overall temperature compared to a conventional oven. Of course, this does depend on the amount or density of the food you are trying to cook.

A “true” convection oven not only includes the fan, but it also features a heating element behind the fan as an additional heat source. It distributes heated air directly rather than just circulating the heat produced by the other elements.

What is better: convection or conventional oven?

A convection oven is better for things like cookies, muffins, or biscuits. But a conventional oven will be better for things that need to rise or that are delicate, like a souffle. The ideal oven would be a convection oven that allows the fan to be switched on or off.

Are you planning to do a lot of delicate baking in your oven, or want a broiling option?

In this case, a conventional oven is probably best. Your cakes will rise just the way they should, and you can get that perfectly melted cheese or crusted salmon under the broiler.

Do you want to crisp and cook your pizza crust evenly or make a delightful batch of cookies? 

A convection oven is an excellent choice for these things – though a conventional oven can do this as well, albeit not perfectly every time. The even distribution of heat in the oven browns your cookies, pizza crust, and even chicken evenly—no need to worry about “hot spots” in the oven. Thanks to the fan.

What is the best countertop convection oven to buy?

The best countertop convection oven is the Mueller Austria toaster oven. The interior is large enough for a 9″ pizza, but it also features 1100 Watts of Power, a stainless steel finish, and has excellent reviews on Amazon.

CLICK HERE to check it out on Amazon.

This little guy does more than just toast as the name may imply. It has a temperature range of 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for just about any type of small dish you are looking to cook.
It comes programmed with the ability to not only toast but also bake and broil, as well as keep food warm.

It may look small from the outside, but it is actually pretty spacious.

There is enough room to toast four pieces of bread at once and even fit a 9″ pizza. You can either place your food directly on the rack, which has two height levels you can adjust to, or you can place your food on the included tray.
The built-in timer helps you track your cooking time with ease.

Like most other toaster ovens, you set the timer by turning the dial, and the oven turns off once the timer goes off—no need to worry about accidentally burning or overcooking your food.

This convection oven also saves you time when cooking.

You don’t need to wait for the conventional oven to preheat just to heat up a little personal pizza. With a toaster oven, you could be looking at a perfectly cooked dish in 30 minutes or less.

Conclusion

I hope this article answers all of your questions regarding the safety of convection ovens. As long as you know how to adjust the temperature properly, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything unfortunate happening in your home.

Convection ovens are a great choice for anyone who is looking to cut down on their cooking time and produce some perfectly baked cookies or pizza.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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