How To Use Your Oven
For many people, the oven is just a place to bake sweet treats or a quick casserole. However, there’s more to this kitchen appliance than meets the eye. If you’re confused about oven basics or just want to learn how to use your oven’s broiler, this guide can help. You’ll discover tips on how to use your oven settings for more than just cookies.
Oven basics – racks, settings and more
As with any appliance, it’s important to learn the basics about your oven before you start cooking. Following these tips can help you get the most out of your favorite recipes:
- Racks: You probably know that your oven racks are moveable, but do you know why? Moving your racks can help you make the most of your oven settings. If you want to cook something low and slow – like a beef roast or Thanksgiving turkey – arrange your racks so it’s closer to the bottom of the oven. For baked goods, a rack in the middle of the oven will help maintain a constant, even heat. Roasted veggies or baked potato chips are better near the top of the oven – since heat rises, this will help them cook more crisply.
- Settings: Opening the oven causes it to lose heat – which can cause it to overcompensate once you close the door. While it can be tempting to check on your food while it cooks, try to avoid opening the oven door unless it’s necessary. You may also want to invest in an oven thermometer and test your oven settings before and after opening the door. Wide temperature fluctuations can affect baked goods and other foods, so it’s good to know how your oven reacts.
- Prepping: Before beginning a recipe, make sure you have everything you need to succeed. Only use cookware that is labeled as oven safe, and make sure you have the right pan, dish or baking sheet for the job. Above all, don’t forget your oven mitts!
Pro Tip: If you’re roasting vegetables, potatoes or other moist foods, make sure it has room to breathe. Crowding too much food into a pan or sheet can cause uneven cooking – and no one likes soggy French fries.
Discover how to use your oven broiler
In addition to the standard settings, most ovens also come with a broiler function. Think of your broiler as an indoor grill – it’s meant to cook food quickly at a high temperature, so it’s best for thin-cut meats and vegetables that are suitable for grilling. Use the tips below to make the most of this function.
- Location: Before you turn on your broiler, it’s important to know where it is. Use your oven guide to find the broiler – it’s usually at the top of your oven, though some ovens feature a separate broiling compartment underneath the main oven area.
- Orientation: It’s also important to understand your broiler’s orientation, as this can affect the way your food cooks. Before starting your broiler, determine how the heating element is laid out (front to back, side to side, etc.) and arrange your food to take advantage of this.
- Pre-heating: Just like your main oven, your broiler will cook your food more easily if it has time to heat up. Preheat your broiler for a few minutes before putting your food inside.
- Timing: Keep in mind that broilers are meant to cook food fast, so don’t walk away! If you’re making a large meal, cook broiled foods closer to meal time and stay by the stove so you can pull it out on time. You may be in for some dry meat or burned vegetables otherwise.
Pro Tip: Once you’re comfortable using your broiler, experiment with different cooking techniques. For example, you can swap out your broiling pan for cast iron the next time you make steak.
Get cooking with hhgregg
Whether you’re planning the ultimate bake sale or want to try new cooking techniques, you’ll need a range oven that’s up to the task. At hhgregg, we offer a wide variety of ovens – electrical, gas, double, stainless steel – that fit your lifestyle and budget. Stop by your local hhgregg today and find the perfect oven for your kitchen. And, don’t forget to check out our other kitchen appliances and furniture while you’re at it. We carry everything from kitchen tables and chairs to cooktops, microwaves and garbage disposal units.