Once only found in professional kitchens, convection ovens are now a common fixture in our homes. Whether it’s a compact model that can sit atop a counter, or a standard oven with convection capabilities, they are becoming an omnipresent feature of the modern kitchen.
Considering their differences, it’s not hard to understand why there has been this growth in ownership.
What is the difference between conventional and convection ovens?
The key difference between the convection oven and its conventional counterpart is the fan and exhaust system. In a traditional oven, heat is generated from the top and bottom of the oven to cook the food. Convection ovens, instead, have a fan that helps to improve internal air circulation. This reduces those potential cold spots that sometimes develop. The exhaust system removes moisture from the oven so food becomes crispier and develops an even brownness. Faster cooking times and more evenly-cooked food is always going to be a winner.
For those making the switch there can be a period of adjustment. You’ll find that the time and temperatures you are used to need to be altered slightly to get the best results. As a rough rule of thumb, lower the standard temperature by 25° F, or reduce the cooking time by about a 10% to 15%. For large items, like a chicken or loaf of bread, this reduction needs to be increased to about 20%.
Keep those cookies fresh… In the best breadbox.
Oven-baked cookies, convection-style!
The greatest benefit when using a convection oven is that, owing to the dispersion of the heat, you won’t need to rotate or move your cookies as much. The whole oven is heated evenly, so you can make use of all available shelf space. No more situations where the top shelf cookies burn while the middle ones are undercooked! Also, you’ll find that your cookies turn out a little crispier because of the exhaust system removing excess moisture.
As air circulation is all-important, keep this in mind when looking at cookie sheets. Rimless cookie sheets are best here as they don’t block air flow. The side benefit of rimless sheets is that it’s easier to get the cookies off. Try to keep at least a 2-inch clearance on all sides to assist in the air flow.
Don’t try roasting a turkey on a rimless sheet, though! For making gravy, you’re going to want a rimmed baking tray.
This is probably the best material for your cookie sheet. It’s durable, and a good aluminum tray should last the longest with heavy usage. They also tend to heat up consistently and evenly across the sheet.
Check out Reynolds Kitchen Unbleached Parchment Paper at Amazon
With this option, you’ll need some cooking oil or parchment paper to prevent your cookies from sticking to the bottom. Instead of oil, you can also buy reusable silicone and fiberglass baking mats that are easy to wash.
Check out Velesco Silicone Baking Mats at Amazon
Material: Carbon Steel
This is a popular option, but steel is not a great heat conductor. This means that they can be slow to heat up, but also very slow to cool down. This leaves the possibility of scorching the bottom of your cookies even after you take them out of the oven. For convection ovens, the thinner versions work better, as the thermal energy is carried by air.
Non-stick sheets are usually a thin piece of metal that has been coated in Teflon. The benefit is that there’s no need to oil your pan or use parchment paper. Cookies will slide off easily. The downside is that they can sometimes be fragile and prone to warping or scuffs. There’s also some evidence that, when exposed to high temperatures, they can give off gas containing the chemicals that they have been coated in.
Polly wants a cracker, but did you know that Teflon is hazardous to birds? Check out these ceramic alternatives to Teflon kitchenware.
Recommended cookie sheet for convection ovens
Considering all these factors, my top recommendation for a cookie sheet for convection ovens is the T-fal AirBake Natural 2 Pack Cookie Sheet. For $20, this set includes two sheets: a 14 in x 12 in and a 16 in x 14 in sheet. They are rimless, aluminum, and come with a 10-year warranty and a no-rust promise. You can also choose a non-stick option.
See the T-fal AirBake Natural 2 Pack Cookie Sheet Set – Various Sizes – at Amazon
If you’re using the natural aluminum (as opposed to non-stick), use a teaspoon of cooking oil to prevent your cookies sticking. With the non-stick version, make sure to always use plastic utensils to avoid scratching the surface.
You can also find some other size options if you’re looking for something a little smaller or a little bigger.
While the brochure says that they can be used in the dishwasher, this is probably not advisable, especially in the long term.
Also, you don’t want to forget the parchment paper!
Reynolds Kitchen Cookie Baking Sheet Parchment Paper
This comes with 22 non-stick sheets that make your baking experience more enjoyable. This baking sheet can help you ensure your cookies or cakes do not stick, break and are evenly cooked. It can be used in lining cooking sheets and also for rolling out the dough. Their size is perfect for any cooking sheet.
KatBite Heavy Duty Parchment Paper
When you use this nonstick parchment paper, you will not need to regularly grease your baking pans or need to use any other oil. It is economical because you can recycle it for the next baking batch. This parchment paper is perfect for Convection ovens and microwaves. It provides a broad surface and is great for any standard baking sheet.
Gridmann Pro Silicone Baking Mat
It brings two sets of a nonstick half sheet. This sheet is durable and provides an even heat distribution to your cakes or cookies. You will not need butter or grease to oil your pans when you purchase this sheet. You can even reuse the sheet. The need for Parchment will also be eliminated when you get the Gridmann Pro Silicone Baking Mat.
TeamFar Baking and Cookie Sheet
TeamFar is a pure stainless steel baking pan. Very healthy as it doesn’t have a chemical coating and has a mirror finish that makes it hard for cakes or cookies to stick onto its surface. It’s rust free and very durable. Its side is deep full which prevent food or soups from flowing out when in the oven. TeamFar sheet is straightforward to clean because you can wash it in a Dishwasher.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should you get an oven?
An oven is an excellent household appliance that can help you reduce the amount of time you spend on preparing food. An oven can be used for cooking, roasting and even baking.
What features should you look for when shopping for an oven?
Before you purchase an oven, you should determine the available space in your kitchen so that you have an idea of what size to buy. You should also establish the purpose of the oven. If you are the type person that loves baking, I would advise you to buy a convection oven because it can achieve uniform cooking of your cakes or cookies. Also, you need to determine the kind of energy you will be using because you don’t want a scenario where you bring home a gas operated oven and you can only use electricity.
When you want to buy an oven, try to get one that comes with several racks because it makes cooking more comfortable. Finally, get an oven that has advanced safety features that might protect your children from getting burned.
Is there an alternative to cookie sheets?
Yes, there is an alternative to cookie sheets: parchment paper. Parchment paper can be used to line your cake pans and place the food that you want to put in the oven. You can also try out foil to line your cooking pans, as they will also help prevent food from sticking to the pans.
What are the main ingredients for making cookies at home?
If you intend to make cookies at home and you’re looking for the main ingredients, I would recommend you get some flour, baking powder, cream, butter, sugar and some eggs. There are plenty of great recipes online for cookies.
Should I buy or rent a convection oven?
This will depend on a couple of factors. First, do you want to use the convection oven for a one-time event or occasion? Or do you want to buy the oven to be used at home on a regular basis?
Renting a convection oven is cheaper for a one-time event because you will bring it to your home or event, cook or bake what you want, and return it after paying the renting charges. But if you’re going to use it frequently, it’s best to invest in your own.
Do you use the rough or the smooth side of the cookie sheet?
This will depend on your baking or cooking preferences. If you want your cakes or cookies to have some texture, then I recommend using the rough side.
My cookies always come out dry and hard. How can I bake soft cookies?
You will need to check what kind of ingredients you have been using. Baking hard or soft cookies mostly depends on the ingredients you use and how you regulate cooking temperatures. To make softer cookies, use more brown sugar. Brown sugar can retain a lot of moisture, and when you use it in baking cookies, it will make them sweeter. You also add cream cheese to your cookie dough because it will help tenderize the final product.
All your baking needs, right here!
Cookies are such an important staple. They make great treats and gifts for any occasion. As such, we should be prepared with the best cookie-making equipment! Check out this post on the best rolling pin for cookies dough. You might also like my recommendations on ice cream scoops that will have you baking perfect cookies, every time!
And, if you’re sending cookies to a loved one in a care package, see this article on how to pack cookies for shipping.
I don’t just review cookie supplies! Check out this how-to on baking delicious, filled cupcakes, or take a look at the best bench scraper for icing cakes then head here for my write-up of the best saucepans for making your own candy .
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Marc-Anthony M. and Chelsea N.