I have never looked more forward to a cozy Thanksgiving here at home near Tyler, Texas.

I have a feeling many of us are sincerely looking forward to getting together with family and friends. NOTHING can stop my level of excitement about this year's Thanksgiving holiday.

One of the things I was most looking forward to after my remodel, was getting my "fancy" new oven. Well, it's fancy to me. I love it. One of the selling points was that it has two ovens--one of which, offers a convection setting.

The idea of this flexibility is appealing, but I confess, I've never fully understood what makes it different or the best times to use it. Since we are now rolling into the months of copious amounts of holiday baking, I felt compelled to dig in and learn more about it.

92.9 The Lake logo
Get our free mobile app

What makes the convection setting so darn helpful?


One of my favorite resources for just about anything is Consumer Reports. I appreciate their unbiased expertise all many of the products and appliances we use on a daily basis.

One of CR's test engineers, Tara Casaregola, shares her insight on the subject. In the tests she has run, she's found that although sometimes the convection setting can be helpful, it can be a bit hit-or-miss.

Manufacturers often claim that "the convection setting can heat and brown food more evenly, and can reduce the overall cooking time."

It's supposed to work because while your food bakes or roasts, "one or more fans inside the oven cavity circulate hot air." Casaregola recommends reading your model's owner's manual to get clarification. (If you still have it, that is. If not, thanks to the internet, you can often find it online.)

Another website I enjoy for all things related to cooking is thekitchn.com. If you're wondering why on earth you should even bother worrying about or using the convection setting on your oven, here are a few reasons they give:

Tara Holley
Tara Holley
  1. It cooks faster: Because hot air is blowing directly onto food instead of just surrounding it, food cooks about 25 percent faster in a convection oven.
  2. It cooks more evenly: Regular ovens can have hot spots, depending on where the heating element is, but the fan in a convection oven will circulate the air to help even out the temperature variances.
  3. It’s better at browning: Air in a regular oven can become a bit humid, as moisture can’t escape. Convection creates a dry atmosphere that caramelizes the sugars faster when roasting, so foods like meats and vegetables get browner, but the interiors stay moist.
  4. It saves energy: Because food cooks faster in a convection oven, and generally at a lower temperature, it’s a bit more energy efficient than a regular oven.

What about specific types of cooking methods and/or foods that may be optimized using the convection setting?

  • Any time you’re roasting: Foods that are roasted, like meats and vegetables, really benefit from convection cooking. They cook faster, more evenly, and the drier environment yields crispy skin and caramelizes exteriors much better.
  • When baking pies and pastries: Convection heat melts fat and creates steam faster, which helps create more lift in pie doughs and pastries like croissants.
  • When making lots of cookies: Convection allows you to bake more than one tray of cookies at a time evenly without the need to rotate them partway through baking.
  • Any time you’re making something that’s cooked with a cover: If you’re covering up the food with a lid, like a braise, or covering a casserole dish with foil, moisture loss is not an issue, so you might as well cook on convection since it’ll cook faster.
  • When you’re toasting or dehydrating: When you toast or dehydrate food, the goal is to remove moisture as quickly as possible, so convection is more efficient than regular.

When should you stick to the traditional oven setting, though?

There are some situations where you may want to stick to your traditional oven setting. For example, when you're cooking or baking cakes or bread, soufflés, custards, or any food that is delicate and may be negatively affected by the circulating hot air.

I will be counting on my convection oven for Thanksgiving. Goodness knows I'll feel pressed for time as it is. Anything that helps us save a bit of it so we can spend more time with family is worth a go. Good luck!

LOOK: 20 of the Tyler, Texas area restaurants ready to come to your Thanksgiving dinner aid!

Whether you want to order just the turkey or the ENTIRE Thanksgiving spread, there are quite a few great restaurants that will help you with that!

The Best Movies To Watch With Your Family Over Thanksgiving on Netflix

Home for the holidays? Need something to watch? Here are our Turkey Day recommendations for the whole family.

20 Reasons You Should NOT Move to East Texas

There are a few good things about living in East Texas but here are 20 reasons why you shouldn't move here.

More From 92.9 The Lake