How to Calibrate Your Oven Temperature

turkey in ovenby Barb Hopkins

During the holiday season, your oven gets a big workout. Baking, cooking and more baking often are the norm in many homes. An oven that doesn’t heat evenly or maintain a true temperature creates baking and cooking disasters.

To calibrate oven temperature, begin by checking the oven’s actual heated temperature. This requires an oven thermometer—not the same as food thermometers. Sears offers several brands of oven thermometers that either sit on or attach with a hook to the oven’s wire rack.

Determining oven temperature

Center the oven thermometer so you see it through the window. Then:

  • Using the preheat feature, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When the oven signals, it should be at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Check the thermometer’s temperature, writing it down.
  • Wait 15 minutes and note the temperature again.
  • Fine Cooking recommends taking four temperature readings before adding the four numbers and dividing the sum by four. The final number is the oven’s average temperature.

If the average temperature falls outside of the range 325 degrees to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, the oven needs to be calibrated.

Calibrate an oven: models with knobs

Always refer to your oven owner’s manual for exact directions. If you don’t have a manual, you may be able to access a copy online. However, you may be able to calibrate the oven temperature following these basic instructions:

  • Locate the Oven Temp knob.
  • Remove the Oven Temp knob by pulling it off the shaft.
  • Turn the knob over, note its current setting and write down that temperature or setting.
  • Loosen the small screws on the back of the knob.
  • Referring to the average temperature determined during the thermometer test, decide if an increase or decrease to the oven’s temperature is needed.
  • Turn the indicator on the back of the knob to Hotter or Cooler as needed. According to GE, each notch should adjust the temperature by 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Tighten the screws, and replace the knob.

Calibrate an oven: models with digital touch pads

Depending on the oven model, the sequence of buttons needed to be pressed may vary. Some may require pressing just the Bake button, while others follow directions similar to ones below. Refer to the oven owner’s manual for exact sequence.

  • Locate the Bake and Broil buttons.
  • Hold both Bake and Broil down simultaneously for two to three seconds until the digital display reads SF. Release the buttons.
  • Press Bake. You should see a number or a zero.
  • Adjust this number to read higher or lower, calibrating the oven hotter or cooler.
  • On a numbered touch pad, key in the temperature adjustment needed. For a 10-degree increase, key in a one and a zero. With arrow keys, press the up arrow to increase the temperature as needed.
  • Press Start. The clock/digital display should show the current time, and the oven is now calibrated.

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  1. Delt with oven issues for 40 years and found almost all oven owner manuals instruct customers do not use oven thermometers. Instead they are told to go by cooking results. Have found best way to check that is buy off the self cake mix and follow instructions as close as possible.Recalibrate following manual instructions

  2. As an appliance technician who calibrates ovens all the time I can tell you from experience that most ovens will never be at 350 when the oven preheat signal goes off. Some ovens have a preset timed preheat cycle that will go off regardless of actual temperature. Best way to get the actual average temperature is wait 15 minutes after the preheat signal goes off, THEN start taking temperature readings every 15 minutes and average them. Then when you are doing any baking, for best results wait an extra 15 minutes after the preheat signal goes off before you open the door to put your food in. This allows the interior oven cavity, the racks, the door liner and door glass to thoroughly heat and results in a more stable baking temperature and less temperature loss when you open the oven door. Air heats faster than metal and glass and most modern ovens use electronic sensors that are basically reading the air temperature inside the oven which results in a faster, though incomplete preheat. The best habit to get into is turn the oven on about 30 minutes before your food will be ready to go in. Proper planning like this will give you much better baking results.
    I hope I am not jeopardizing my job security by giving you this advice. Most of the service calls I get for ovens not heating properly with no failed parts result in the explanation I have given above. However I would much rather spend my time fixing real product failures than instructing on product use.

    If you do call for service on your oven, bake some cookies for me when I get there. But don't forget to wait 30 minutes before you put them in!
    Merry Christmas.

  3. With all the crazy holiday cooking going on this time of year having a properly working range is a must. Great info!

  4. This is something I think is a great idea to do...I love Sears advice on how to do stuff..nice idea.


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