A woman pulling a Dutch oven out of a wall oven surrounded by a variety of baked goods

Convection Bake vs. Bake: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between bake and convection bake is in how heat is distributed. With convection bake, an air circulation system distributes air inside the oven cavity. With a conventional oven, two heating elements heat air inside the cavity without the use of a fan to circulate the hot air.

Depending on the model, some convection ovens utilize a third heating element in addition to the fan called true convection that can help some foods cook faster than traditional thermal bake settings.

If you have a convection oven or wall oven with convection bake settings, like this model by KitchenAid brand, understanding how different baking cycles work and when to use them can help you achieve the ideal cooking environment for different dishes. Read on to compare convection vs. regular bake and learn when to use convection bake for your recipe.

WHAT IS CONVECTION BAKE?

With true convection baking, your oven is able to help maintain optimal temperatures as you cook. The fan used in convection baking helps evenly distribute hot air to help remove excess moisture from the surface of foods and help ensure consistent results across dishes when cooking on multiple racks.

HOW DO CONVECTION OVENS WORK?

Convection ovens work by using a fan and exhaust system to circulate air distributed from the heating element throughout the oven cavity. On most convection oven models, convection settings can be turned on or off, giving you the flexibility to cook with conventional thermal settings when you like.

Some convection ovens, like this True Convection range model from KitchenAid brand, feature a third heating element that can help foods cook faster compared to its traditional thermal-bake cycle. 

Unlike convection bake, regular bake cycles allow the oven to operate like a conventional, thermal oven. Conventional ovens lack the air distribution system used by convection ovens, distributing heat instead via the active one of two heating elements.

WHAT IS CONVECTION BAKE USED FOR?

Convection bake is best used for recipes that could benefit from the even heat distribution of hot air circulated throughout the oven via the fan and exhaust system. This heating method makes convection baking particularly useful for baking multiple batches of cookies or dishes on multiple racks.

When you use convection baking settings, you can elevate your roasted meals by achieving crispy, flavorful skins on meats or delicious caramelization on vegetables.

WHEN SHOULD I USE CONVECTION BAKE VS. BAKE TO COOK?

In addition to even baking, convection bake settings can help you achieve the ideal environment for cooking specific recipes. Convection settings can fulfill most baking needs and can be used to cook a wide range of foods, including meats, vegetables, casseroles, cookies, pies and more.

Use convection bake to achieve light and flaky baked goods or cook through layered casseroles and pasta bakes. You can also use convection baking to provide the dry environment needed to start experimenting with recipes involving dehydrated or toasted ingredients.

Certain baked goods, however, are best cooked using conventional oven settings. Avoid convection baking foods like cakes, quick breads, custards and other delicate desserts and pastries.

DOES A CONVECTION OVEN COOK FASTER?

Because of the radiant heat produced by conventional oven heating elements, dishes may cook faster or slower depending on their location inside the oven. With a convection oven, the circulated air throughout the oven cavity helps deliver consistent heating to dishes regardless of their placement.

Convection baking also reduces the likelihood of hot or cold spots in your dishes. As a result, your food may cook faster without the need to rotate dishes or adjust cook times to accommodate uneven heat distribution of regular bake cycles.

IS CONVECTION BAKE GOOD FOR PIZZA AND OTHER HOMEMADE RECIPES?

The even baking and heat distribution of a convection oven provides the ideal environment for making a variety of dishes, including homemade pizza. With convection baking, hot air is delivered to each area of the pizza for even cooking across the pie.

On most conventional ovens, heat is usually distributed by the bottom heating element, leaving the crust without targeted heat. With convection baking, you may achieve a crispier crust thanks to the circulated hot air inside the oven cavity. Experiment with the many cooking possibilities of convection bake for other homemade recipes like baked desserts or golden, fluffy loaves of sourdough bread.

SHOP KITCHENAID® OVENS

KitchenAid® ranges and wall ovens with Even-Heat True Convection combine powerful convection cooking technology with intuitive design to help you achieve consistently delicious results. Browse the full collection of ranges and wall ovens by KitchenAid brand to discover the appliance that’s right for your kitchen.

LEARN MORE ABOUT KITCHENAID® OVENS