Convection oven 101
The oven is undoubtedly the bright star of the holiday meal. But when it comes to using aconvectionOven, what makes this way of preparing turkey preferable to other cooking styles? Don’t be intimidated by the unusual! We’re breaking it down so you can get the most out of your convection oven this Thanksgiving (or any time of the year, really).
What is the difference between a convection oven and a conventional oven?
A convection oven has a fan and exhaust system that circulates heat around the oven while food is cooking and is regularly ventilated to prevent moisture. A regular oven has a single heating unit, meaning the heat is uneven and only flows from one direction.
What are the advantages of using a convection oven?
Using a convection oven results in more efficient cooking. Because dry hot air is blown directly onto the food, your dishes will cook about 25 percent faster in a convection oven. Additionally, the circulating convection heat eliminates “hot spots” in the oven, making the entire oven cavity perfect for cooking the turkeyandattachments at once.
What temperature setting should I use when cooking a whole bird/holiday meal?
The preferred method is to roast the turkey on the center of the bottom rack or oven rack so the top of the turkey is centered in the oven. If two racks must be used, place the turkey on the lowest or middle rack. When cooking with two roasting pans, position the pans in opposite corners of the oven. Arrange the pans so that one is not directly on top of the other.
How long do I cook a turkey in a convection oven?
Depending on the size of your turkey, follow the chart for convection cooking or until you reach the right temperature. Use a meat thermometer to test the temperature at the thickest part of the leg without touching the bone. If your turkey is stuffed, also make sure the temperature of the stuffing has reached 165°F.
- 12-15 pounds, 1.5-2 hours
- 15-20 pounds, 2-2.5 hours
- 20-25 pounds, 2.5-3 hours
Other signs that the turkey is done are when the legs move loosely and the juice runs clear. Check the internal temperature in several places – the thickest parts of the chest, thighs and wings – to be sure.
Depending on your oven brand, reducing the traditional turkey baking time by 10-40 percent is recommended.
Are there any tricks to ensure my turkey stays tender and juicy in a convection oven?
- Start with a fully thawed turkey. Check out the USDA’s tips for safely defrosting your turkey.
- Basting the turkey is not necessary when using a convection oven as the blistering heat will quickly sear the turkey, locking in the juice. If using a special sauce or marinade, baste the turkey during the last hour of cooking.
- There is also no need to cover the turkey with foil as you want the turkey to sear and turn golden brown. However, if the legs or wings are getting too brown, cover those areas with foil.
Recipe for traditional roast turkey in the convection oven
- Fresh or frozen turkey – the size is up to you depending on how many you feed!
- ½ cup oil, olive oil or vegetable
- rosemary, to taste
- thyme, to taste
1. Set the oven rack to the lowest setting to ensure you have enough room for your turkey.
2. Preheat your convection oven to 350°F.
3. If your turkey has neck and giblets, remove them and save for other uses if desired.
4. Use a low-sided pan with a wire rack. If using a roasting pan with higher sides, make sure you use a rack that raises the turkey off the bottom of the pan to allow air to circulate all around the turkey. In a convection oven, you want the air to circulate around the turkey as much as possible. Place the turkey on the rack in the pan.
5. Do not tie or tie the turkey. This allows the warm heat from the convection oven to touch as many surfaces of the turkey as possible.
6. Tuck the wings under the turkey.
7. Detach the skin at the edge of the breast.
8. Put some oil in a small bowl and use a brush or your hands to brush oil all over the turkey and under the skin of the breast.
9. Sprinkle the turkey with rosemary and thyme.
10. Use a metal skewer to insert the skewer between the two legs to help balance the turkey on the grate.
11. Wash hands and thoroughly disinfect surfaces after handling raw meat.
12. Place turkey in preheated oven and roast for recommended time on convection oven chart or until meat thermometer reads 165°F.