Can You Air Fry With a Convection Oven: Convection Cooking 101
"Can you air fry with a convection oven?" is often asked by most homemakers.
The reason being, some home kitchens only have convection ovens.
But what is convection cooking, and is it the same as air frying?
Air Frying vs. Convection Cooking
There has been a lot of debate about these two cooking methods, so we'll discuss each in detail.
That way, you'll determine if it's necessary to buy an air fryer or just use the convection oven.
What Is Air Frying?
Air frying is a new frying method that aims to produce healthier foods with the same taste and texture as those cooked using the traditional way.
In recent years, the consumer’s demands for low-fat and healthy food increased.
They wanted to home-cook their food, hoping to control the amount of fat that goes into it.
Hence, kitchen appliance manufacturers innovated air fryers: a piece of equipment that can fry food without using oil.
In air-frying, the hot moving air inside the cooking chamber covers all sides of the food, for fast and even cooking.
A powerful fan forces the hot air to circulate inside the small space of an air fryer.
What Is Convection Cooking?
Convection cooking is also known as fan-assisted cooking since it utilizes a fan inside the oven to spread hot air from the heating element evenly and forcibly.
The increased moving air circulating the food provides even heat, speeding up the cooking process.
It also uses a lower temperature setting to prevent overcooking the food’s exterior while the inside is undercooked.
Technically, it uses the same process as air frying but in a larger cooking capacity.
Can You Air Fry With a Convection Oven?
Yes, you can air fry with a convection oven.
That is simply because both air frying and convection cooking use a fan to distribute hot air forcibly during the process.
Thus, you will get an almost similar result with food cooked in an air fryer or convection oven.
These two cooking methods don’t need oil or only use a small amount when cooking the food.
The hot air is locked inside the cooking chamber as it envelops and browns the food and produces a crisp exterior.
They also maintain a constant hot temperature to produce evenly cooked ingredients.
An air fryer or a convection oven can be standalone appliances, or an already existing equipment may include the convection settings.
What Are the Benefits of Convection Cooking
We now have an idea about what air frying and convection cooking are and how they function.
What is so good about it, you might ask. Below are some benefits that you will get from utilizing the convection settings in your appliance.
The hot air from the heating elements of your oven is directly reaching every part of the food.
That process lessens your cooking time by at least 25 percent, giving you extra time to focus on other things.
It uses continuous and even distribution of hot air, which results in even and rapid cooking of your food.
Using a regular oven may create hot spots on what you are cooking if the heating element is directly above or below the food.
Whereas, in convection cooking, you can be sure that there’s an even distribution of heat through the help of the fan.
A regular oven tends to become humid since there is no way for the moisture to come out.
Convection cooking, on the other hand, dries out the air inside your cooking chamber.
The dry atmosphere inside the oven helps to caramelize the sugar in your ingredients.
As the rotating heat produces an even brown color to the exterior of the food, it gradually cooks the inside, keeping it soft and moist.
The length of time needed to cook the food becomes shorter when using the convection setting.
Since the heat is evenly distributed in convection cooking, you only need a low temperature setting to cook up a meal.
When Should You Use a Convection Oven?
You may be asking, if convection cooking offers a lot of benefits, why do we still need a regular oven setting for this appliance?
There will be times when the convection setting is not needed depending on what you are cooking.
You can use convection setting when:
Roasting meats and vegetables will yield a positive result using a convection oven.
The flowing hot air will not only speed up the process but also create even food cooking.
The dry environment in the oven creates caramelized exterior and crispy skin.
Baking Pastries and Pies
The convection heat can melt the fat faster and create steam at the same time.
These changes during pie and pastry baking help expand the pie dough and give a flaky texture in pastries.
If you love pizza, it would be best to cook it in a convection oven for excellent results.
You can use a convection oven if you want your cookies to be chewy inside but firm and crisp on the outside.
It is also perfect for multi-rack baking, allowing you to bake several batches of cookies at the same time.
If your pot is well-covered as you are braising or cooking a casserole, better use the convection setting to speed up the cooking time.
Toasting or Dehydrating
Toasting is technically a dehydration process since it removes the moisture from the food.
The quickest way to achieve that is to use the convection setting of your oven.
Baking Standard Cakes, Cupcakes, and Artisan Bread
These selections are a bit controversial, especially the bread.
That is the reason why we specifically mentioned artisan bread.
Some bread types do not respond well to the powerful fan of a convection oven.
The standard cake mixture fairs well when baked using the convection setting.
Those are some of the best times when you can use a convection oven.
When Should You Not Use a Convection Oven?
Some food items will not respond well to the powerful fan of a convection oven.
As a guide, do not use the convection setting when baking the following food:
Custards and Flans
Cooking custards and flans using the convection setting in the oven will create a hard and awful exterior.
Souffles, Wet Cakes, and Cupcakes
The fan of your convection oven will blow the souffle and damage cakes with wetter batter like angel food cake.
Quickbread, Sweet Bread, and Sandwiches
These food types are not suitable for convection cooking since convection settings may produce uncooked insides but with a hard and crusty exterior.
Getting to Know Convection Oven Settings
If you decide to use the convection settings in your equipment, you will be turning on a fan and also an exhaust system.
The fan will allow the hot air to move around the oven to complete the cooking process while the exhaust system removes the moisture inside.
This combined mechanism dries food faster. That is why familiarizing yourself with the convection setting will allow you to use it accordingly.
When using the convection settings for traditional recipes, remember to lower the oven’s temperature by 25 degrees.
Lower temperature settings will prevent overcooking of the exterior while the insides still need time to cook thoroughly.
Your cooking time should also be shortened by 25 percent from the one indicated in the recipe.
The shortened cooking time will eliminate the risk of burning or drying out the food.
Use Low-Sided Cookware
Remember to use low-sided cookwares to help cook the dish evenly and with a crispier texture.
Depending on what you are cooking, using rimless cookware is more beneficial than other types.
Add Extra Liquid
If you want a moist dish, try adding extra liquid to what you are cooking.
There is an exhaust system running in the background every time you use the convection settings.
This mechanism functions to vent the moisture out of the oven, which can dry out your supposed moist food.
Check Food Often
If you are not yet familiar with convection cooking, it is advisable to continually check on the food since it tends to cook faster in this setting.
Trust what your eyes and nose tell you when checking on the food.
Do Not Overload the Oven
Avoid overcrowding of dishes in the oven to minimize cooking time.
The hot air will have a difficult time circulating correctly, rendering the convection setting useless.
Secure the Pan’s Cover
If you use aluminum foil or parchment paper to cover your pan, make sure that it is securely tight because the moving air may accidentally flip it.
Air Frying in a Convection Oven
Undoubtedly, the answer to the question "Can you air fry with a convection oven?" is a resounding yes.
So, now that we know air frying and convection cooking are somewhat similar, you can start experimenting with those saved air fryer recipes by using our tips above.
If in case you want to upgrade your conventional oven to one with convection settings, try checking out some of the best countertop convection ovens around.