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Convection vs. conventional ovens: what’s the difference?

Conventional ovens feature heating elements on the top and bottom of the oven cavity. Convection ovens have these elements in addition to a fan that helps circulate hot air throughout the oven cavity. This can help dishes placed on different racks bake at a similar rate. Some models also integrate a third heating element at the back of the cavity.

Although convection and conventional ovens look similar on the outside, it’s easy to see the difference between the two when you look inside. Use this guide to learn more about convection and conventional ovens to find the right one for your family’s needs.

A Whirlpool® Convection Oven in a modern kitchen. A Whirlpool® Convection Oven in a modern kitchen.

What is a convection oven?

A convection oven has a fan and exhaust system that helps circulate hot air around the cavity of the oven, helping to reduce hot and cool spots and for more even results with multi-rack cooking. Convection ovens can also have a third heating element, called True Convection, to help foods cook faster by distributing hot air around the top, bottom and sides of your meal. They are ideal for roasting meats, baking and may eliminate the need to rotate your dishes in the oven.

While cooking with a convection oven, be mindful that recipe times and temperatures may need to be adjusted. Select Whirlpool® gas and electric convection ovens are equipped with a Convection Conversion feature that does the math for you and automatically adjusts the cooking time and temperature for your next meal.

What’s a conventional oven?

A conventional oven has two heating elements that heat air inside the oven. The bottom heating element is the primary source of heat and is ideal for roasting large cuts of meat, like turkey or whole chickens. The upper heating element delivers intense top-down heat and works best for broiling and browning casseroles. The middle rack may be considered the “default” position for casseroles and baked goods.

Conventional ovens do not have a fan to circulate hot air, like convection ovens, so your oven rack placement is key for quality results, and dishes may need to be rotated.

Whirlpool brand offers a wide variety of conventional gas and electric ranges, as well as wall ovens, to complement a separate cooktop.

A sheet of chocolate chip cookies baking in an oven. A sheet of chocolate chip cookies baking in an oven.

What are the benefits of a convection oven vs. a conventional oven?

Depending on your family’s needs, both convection and conventional ovens can provide benefits that help keep dinner prep running smoothly and allow you to spend more time enjoying meals, rather than making them. Learn more about the advantages of a convection oven below:

  1. Ideal for multi-rack cooking; may eliminate the need to rotate dishes between oven racks
  2. Promotes browning, crisping and roasting
  3. Intense heat may help cook food faster, depending on the recipe
  4. Quick preheating
  5. Run long baking cycles without drying out foods

Explore the ranges and wall ovens from Whirlpool brand with True Convection Cooking to find the model with features you need.

A  Whirlpool® Wall Oven with a casserole baking inside. A  Whirlpool® Wall Oven with a casserole baking inside.

When to use convection baking

Use the convection setting on your convection oven for most cooking, roasting and baking needs, including meats, vegetables, casseroles, cookies and pies. Convection ovens can also be used for air frying, though not for deep frying.

With convection roasting, meats like chicken and turkey can get a delicious crispy outer layer, while staying juicy on the inside. Cookies and brownies may also bake better without the need to rotate or change racks throughout the cooking cycle. For optimal results, leverage multi-rack cooking by centering your baking dishes on multiple racks within the oven cavity.

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Shop Whirlpool® convection ovens and ranges

Whirlpool® convection ovens and ranges are equipped with a variety of features to help you simplify dinnertime, like True Convection Cooking that is ideal for multi-rack cooking, or Frozen Bake Technology that lets you skip preheating to cook frozen favorites quicker. If you are considering a convection oven, measure the cutout dimensions for wall ovens or stoves to ensure a proper fit in your kitchen. Make sure to consult the manufacturer’s recommended cut-out dimensions before you buy.

A wall oven surrounded by white cabinetry. A wall oven surrounded by white cabinetry.

What are the benefits of a regular oven vs. a convection oven

A conventional oven is likely what most people are familiar with using for baking, roasting and broiling. Many convection ovens even have a setting to allow you to use it as a regular oven as well. Whirlpool brand offers a wide variety of gas and electric conventional ovens with benefits such as:

  1. More familiar functionality
  2. Most recipes are designed for these models
  3. Achieve different results based on oven rack placement
  4. Electric ovens tend to have drier heat; ideal for browning foods, like biscuits
  5. Gas ovens tend to be more humid; ideal for keeping cakes and bread moist

When to use conventional oven baking

The environment of electric and gas conventional ovens are ideal for baking a variety of desserts, such as:

  • Cakes

  • Breads

  • Custards

  • Pastries

A turkey, muffins and vegetables cooking in an oven. A turkey, muffins and vegetables cooking in an oven.

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Explore Whirlpool® conventional ovens and ranges

Whirlpool brand offers a wide selection of conventional ovens and ranges with features designed to help you keep dinnertime moving, like EZ-2-Lift Hinged Grates for easy access and quick cleanup. Find the model that helps you have meal time on your time.

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Learn more about cooking in convection or regular ovens

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