Convection cooking is an oven feature that uses radiant heat with a fan to circulate hot air throughout the oven. Ovens with the convection feature bake food more evenly and more quickly than conventional ovens do. Some ovens are solely convection, while others offer both conventional cooking and an additional convection cooking setting.
There are two types of convection ovens: true, or European, convection ovens and fan-assisted convection ovens. True convection ovens use electric radiant heat with a third heating element in the back of the oven. Fan-assisted convection ovens add a fan at the back of the oven without the addition of the third heating element. While fan-assisted models can help cook food evenly, true convection ovens will cook food even more quickly and evenly due to their third heating element.
Because convection cooking is different from traditional oven cooking, you'll need to understand how to convert cook time and temperatures. Compared to traditional oven cooking, you can lower the cooking temperature, shorten the time or combine a lower temperature with a shorter cook time when using the convection cooking feature. Some convection ovens will even have an automatic convection conversion feature to save you the hassle of calculating the conversion rate.
When cooking with convection ovens, it's beneficial to use a shallow pan so that the air can more easily circulate throughout the oven. Uncovered pans will evenly brown food as the air heats and crisps the outer layer of roasts, casseroles and more.