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DIY: How to Calibrate Your Oven Temperature

DIY: How to Calibrate Your Oven Temperature

When a dish has cold spots or isn't fully cooked, it can put a damper on any meal. Every now and then your oven's temperature can be inaccurate, preventing everything from not coming out as intended. If the thermostat is out of calibration, it can throw entire recipes out of whack. Here's how to calibrate your oven's thermostat in just four easy steps.

What You'll Need:

Stainless steel oven with digital thermostat

Step 1. Find an Oven Thermometer & Check the Oven's Interior 

If you think the temperature might be inaccurate, test it against an oven thermometer. If your oven is off, you can often fix this problem yourself. Many ovens can easily be recalibrated +/- 35 degrees, but check the owner's manual to be sure about your model. You also should check for any tears in the oven gasket which might allow heat to escape. 

Step 2. Take the Oven's Temperature

Place the oven thermometer in your oven on the middle rack, and heat your oven to 350°F. Let the heat run for 30-40 minutes or about three on/off cycles. Check the thermometer and read the temperature. If the thermometer does not read 350°F, make a note of what it does say. Keep in mind that the temperature you set on your oven is the average.

The oven will heat a moderately higher temperature than what is set, and then drop to moderately cooler before starting to heat again. The range on electronic ovens is a little closer than gas models. The idea is that the temperature will go a little higher and lower than what is set but the average should be 350°F. You'll want to make several several temperature checks to make sure you are not seeing the high or low cut-off.

Step 3. Calibrate the Oven's Thermostat

If the temperature is way off from what you set, then a technician will need to check the oven sensor and thermostat. If the temperature is off by 35°F or fewer, then you can calibrate the thermostat yourself to make it more accurate.

There are different styles and ways to calibrate the oven thermostat. The older style ovens had a set screw inside the knob. If it needs to be calibrated, pull the knob off of the thermostat and there should be a small set screw in the middle of the shaft. 

Oven thermometer inside oven

Turn it clockwise to decrease and counterclockwise to increase the temperature and while doing this you must keep the shaft from turning. You can use some needle nose pliers to hold the shaft. Just a slight turn on this set screw can make a significant temperature change.

Step 4. Use the Keypad to Calibrate an Electric Model

Most thermostats on electric models are adjusted by using the keypads. Normally, you press and hold two buttons to access the calibration mode, then use the up/down controls to adjust the temperature up or down as needed.

Refer to your owner's manual for calibrating the temperature on an electronic oven. On most ovens the temperatures can be adjusted up or down by 35°F using the up/down arrows.