Person removing pan of food from oven.

How to calibrate an oven

Everyone enjoys perfectly baked cookies, cakes and pies but getting to that outcome can sometimes be a challenge. Following the recipe definitely helps, but a properly calibrated oven can be the key for consistent results. Oven calibration is a process where you adjust your oven’s temperature settings to ensure accuracy. This simple process is a great way to make sure you get the most out of your oven when baking or roasting family favorites.

Sometimes different types of ovens are "designed" to run slightly cooler or hotter than their specified temperatures to improve performance. If your oven produces the results you are looking for, then no additional adjustment is necessary. However, if your previous oven ran “hot” or “cool” or you are not satisfied with the baking quality and times your current oven is delivering, you may want to calibrate your oven to achieve your desired cooking experience.

How to calibrate an electric oven

Calibrating your electric oven temp is a relatively simple process whether you have analog or digital temperature control. All you need is an oven thermometer with good accuracy – and a Phillips head screwdriver, if your oven has analog controls.

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven cavity and center your thermometer on the rack and close the door.

  2. Set the temperature to 350℉. Keep the thermometer in the oven during preheating and do not open the door – this could cause inaccurate readings.

  3. Wait for the oven preheat tone to sound, indicating it has come to full temperature. Check the thermometer’s reading through the oven door. If your oven door does not have a window, open the door and quickly check the temperature.

  4. If the oven thermometer shows a reading that is above or below 350℉ by 15 degrees or more, you will need to calibrate your oven.

Person preheating white oven to 400℉.

Calibrating electric ovens with analog controls

  1. Remove the oven temperature knob and turn it over. There should be one or two screws on the back of the knob.

  2. If your oven is running hot, turn the screw(s) clockwise. If the oven is running cold, turn the screw(s) counterclockwise. Go slowly and gradually, an eighth of a turn at a time – even a slight turn can result in a large temperature change.

  3. Retest your oven to ensure it reaches the right temperature after calibration. Repeat as necessary.

Person selecting "Keep Warm" setting on oven display screen.

Calibrating electric ovens with digital controls

  1. Check your owner’s manual to determine how to access your oven’s calibration settings. 

  2. Use the instructions to increase or decrease the temperature as necessary. Some models use arrows to adjust the temperature, while others may use menu prompts.

  3. Save the calibration setting by pressing Start or following the directions in your owner’s manual.

Person pulling out oven rack with lasagna dish on top.

How to calibrate a gas oven

Can you calibrate your gas oven if it is running hot or cold? If it has digital controls, it should be able to apply a calibration adjustment in the same way an electric oven does. If it does not, then your gas oven will require a more complicated calibration. Contact a certified service technician for assistance. If you have a Whirlpool® gas oven, you can visit the Whirlpool Customer Care page to schedule maintenance. Keep reading to learn more about checking your oven’s temperature and what to do when it’s inaccurate.

Rotisserie chicken in oven with meat thermometer inside.

How to check if your oven’s temperature is accurate

An oven thermometer is the most reliable way to find out if your oven’s temperature matches its settings. To test its temperature, center an oven rack then hang an oven thermometer from the middle-front of the rack. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and wait for your oven to signal that preheating is finished.

Most oven thermometers hang vertically from the upper rack so you can simply peek through the glass for an accurate reading. If you can’t see clearly, open the door quickly to get a reading and determine if your oven is under or overheating.

Pizza inside oven on rack.

How to check your oven’s temperature without a thermometer

The browning of the foods you bake can help tell the story of your oven’s true temperature. To gauge temperature accuracy without a thermometer, bake a tube of refrigerated biscuits on a shiny cookie sheet. Be sure to follow the packaging instructions carefully, including where to place the oven rack. If you’ve baked the biscuits for the instructed amount of time and they aren’t finished or evenly browned, your oven may be in need of a temperature calibration.

What to do when your oven’s temperature is off?

It does not happen often, but sometimes an oven’s temperature can be off by 100 degrees or more. If that is the case for your oven, do not try to calibrate it yourself. Instead, reach out to a certified technician, explain the issue and schedule appliance service right away. If your oven is no longer up to the task of caring for your family, shop the ranges and ovens from Whirlpool brand below to find a better fit.

Shop Whirlpool® ranges and ovens

Ranges and ovens from Whirlpool brand come in a variety of configurations with features that make meal time easier. Choose from single or double oven ranges—slide-in or freestanding—with gas or electric stovetops. Or, discover built-in single or double wall ovens that seamlessly integrate with your kitchen.

Learn more about Whirlpool® ranges

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