A correctly preheated oven will result in better food. In some cases, like with macarons or souffles, it’ll be the difference between success and failure. Although most recipes provide the required temperature for cooking the food, advice on preheating your oven isn’t common.
So how long does it take to preheat an oven? We did the research by reviewing all the major oven manufacturer manuals to work out the best answer.
How long do I need to preheat an oven?
Most ovens should be preheated for 10-15 minutes to allow them time to reach the right temperature. Older model ovens may take up to 20 minutes to preheat. These times are based on the inside of your oven reaching 350° F (180° C) and it assumes you don’t open the door until its ready. Preheating to 450° F (230° C) will require an additional 5 minutes.
To preheat an oven to 350°F
|Type of oven||Required preheating time|
|Electrical (fast preheat) oven||5-10|
Is preheating an oven necessary?
Getting the inside of the oven to the correct temperature provides insurance against temperature drops when the oven door is opened.
To preheat an oven effectively, the internal air and the metal walls that are inside the oven need to reach the required temperature.
This is known as a heat sink.
Even when the oven door is opened and hot air escapes, the walls radiate heat towards the center of the oven, stabilizing the oven temperature.
Another important reason to preheat an oven is to stay true to the recipe you’re following. There’s no point in cooking baked goods for 20 minutes if the oven is too cool. Instead, you’ll have to extend the cooking time. While this won’t be a problem in every recipe, there are some recipes that will flop if you don’t cook with pinpoint precision.
Are oven thermometers accurate?
Most ovens have a light that flicks off once the desired temperature is reached. However, these often tend to be inaccurate. To get a true understanding of the time required to heat an oven, place an oven thermometer on a rack that’s on the middle rung. Set the oven to 350° F and start a stopwatch timer so that you can get a more accurate time.
A good quality thermometer is the Taylor Classic Series Oven Thermometer that will ensure your food is cooked to perfection every time. The face is extra-large making it simple to read the temp, even with the door shut. Also, it can be hung from a wire rack so that it doesn’t use up any space in the oven.
How to speed up the preheating time
- Use a counter top oven - you can check out my Breville Smart Oven review here.
- Remove unwanted oven racks and cookware from the oven.
- Set the oven racks to the desired level before getting started.
- Avoid opening the oven during preheating.
- A higher room temperature will assist preheating.
- Invest in a quality oven with better seals and preheat functions.
Factors that affect preheating times
What about the voltage?
An oven that is manufactured for 220-240 volts will take longer to heat up if the home power supply is less. For example, many US homes receive a 208 volt supply which will potentially add 5-10 minutes to the preheating of an oven.
What is the age of your oven?
If you’re lucky enough to own a good quality, modern oven then it’s a good idea to start preheating early. Modern ovens have excellent insulation and hold their temperature extremely well. So even if your oven is preheated before the dish is ready to bake, it won’t consume a lot of extra power.
If possible, do all your baking in one session rather than at different times of the day or week. Preheating the oven requires most of the power consumption so queuing up your meals is a good idea.
What dish are you cooking?
Adding an extra-large turkey that’s barely defrosted will place more stress on the internal temperature than a batch of cookies. Preheating is much more important for cooking food like large poultry than smaller, room-temperature dishes.
Why should I preheat the oven?
You've probably heard the saying "never open an oven door when baking a cake as it'll go flat". However, by preheating an oven, the internal temperature will only drop for a short time before returning to full temperature.
Most cakes will endure a door being opened if the oven has been properly preheated. Make sure the door isn't left open too long though, as this will impact your food.
Are you looking at baking bread, Christmas turkey, baked potatoes, or a chewy batch of chocolate chip cookies? Whatever you decide to cook, an oven that's given sufficient time to heat will ensure you have the best shot at making good food.
Are you wondering how long does it take to preheat an oven? You should allow 10-15 minutes for most ovens, and an extra five minutes for older models. Although we have provided some general guidelines, each oven will vary depending on its age, brand, voltage, and features.
As mentioned earlier, the Taylor Classic Series Oven Thermometer is an excellent kitchen tool to add to your weaponry. It will provide you with more accurate temperature readings than the thermostat does that’s built into the oven. For the price of a couple of coffees, this is a gadget you should consider investing in if you’re serious about baking.
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