Cooking Pizza in a Convection Oven: How It’s Done
Pizza. It's equally great for some relaxing self-time or bonding with friends/family over freshly baked slices of home-made deliciousness.
I admit that I can be lazy though. Instead of DIYing my way on top of pizza crust (this one is my top choice), I sometimes grab some good quality frozen pizza.
Maybe you're the same as me, and now you're wondering...Is it actually OK to toss some pizza into a convection oven? Would it turn out alright?
Absolutely. Not only can you make a pizza in a convection oven, but it also tastes and feels just like real pizza should feel.
Here's a quick walkthrough of how to do it.
Note: I'd like to remind you that manufacture matters. Low quality convection ovens would lead to messy (or god forbid - soggy) pizza. There are several brands you can always trust though:
- Oster ovens are the best bang for your buck solution for mid-sized pizza (up to 15'')
- This Cuisinart convection oven is THE premium pizza choice. Keep in mind it will only fit smaller (13'') pizza though.
What Is a Convection Oven?
For those who are unaware of the differences between a conventional oven and a convection oven, you will want to start here.
A convection oven is an electric oven that uses fans to surround the dish you're cooking with hot air.
This makes the dish get to a proper temperature faster and, therefore, be done much quicker than with a conventional oven.
Compared to a conventional oven, it works faster because the heat is distributed more evenly and does not rely on just natural convection to circulate all of the warm air.
Though these are different types of ovens, some conventional units come with convection capabilities. This means you can use that same oven as a convectional one.
When to Use Convection Cooking
When it comes to using recipes, you will likely have to adjust the timing a bit since most are made for conventional ovens.
If you have a conventional oven that comes with convection settings, then you can choose to use those settings whenever you want.
Though, it should be known that certain types of foods are better cooked in convection ovens than others.
Foods like pizzas, pies, cookies, and bread all cook very well with convection settings.
On the other hand, those that are more delicate and need time to slowly rise and stay fluffy and moist are typically not as good to cook in a convection oven.
This is because it could affect the rise of the dough.
Although some pieces of bread are good to cook in this type of oven, like tougher sourdough, softer pieces of bread do not cook as well.
This is for the same reason as the dough needing to rise and stay soft, which will be harder to get right in a convection oven.
Cooking Pizza in a Convection Oven
Got a pizza recipe you want to try? Using a convection oven is a great option for it.
This is because the hot air from a convection oven allows the pizza to be cooked from all sides.
In turn, this melts the cheese and crisps the toppings, as well as browns and crisps the crust and bottom of the pizza.
When you are ready to have a perfectly-cooked pizza, here is what you will have to do.
Time and Temperature
The first thing that you will have to do is change the settings on the oven by lowering the cooking time by 25% or change the temperature by lowering it by 25 degrees.
If you are using the convection settings on a conventional oven, you will want to check with the manual to see if there is an automatic setting change when you switch to the convection oven.
If the oven makes the setting change automatically, you will not want to adjust the temperature or cooking time anymore.
How It’s Done
If you check the owner’s manual, you may find a complete set of instructions that you can follow written by the manufacturer.
However, if you didn't find any or have an automatic oven that changes the settings for you, follow the steps below to ensure that you cook it properly and that it comes out just right.
Step 1: Adjust the Settings
First, you will need to lower the temperature of the oven.
A convection oven heats faster than a conventional oven, so lowering the heat will allow for the best results for your pizza.
As mentioned, you will need to lower the temperature by 25 degrees from whatever the pizza box calls for when cooking with a conventional oven.
Step 2: Place Your Pizza
Once the temperature is set and the oven is heated to the set temperature, you will need to place the pizza on either a pizza stone, screen, or pan.
Some convection ovens will come with one of these options when you make your purchase.
If not, you could place the pizza on a cookie sheet or directly on the oven rack. If you do this, the bottom will become very crispy.
Step 3: Put the Pizza in the Oven
When you have decided on where you will cook your pizza, go ahead and position the pizza on it.
After that's done, put it in the oven on the center rack.
Then, you will want to bake it for about 12 to 18 minutes, depending on what is on the pizza and how thick the crust is.
When you are starting to use the oven, set the timer to the lowest amount of time written in the recipe.
This will let you see if this is the right time, or if you need to put the pizza back into the oven for a few more minutes.
Once you know how the oven works, you will be able to set the time more appropriately for each dish.
Step 4: Crisp the Crust
If you see that the pizza is fully-cooked, but you want to crisp the crust a little bit more, then you could put the pizza in for another minute or two to allow it to brown.
Just make sure that you don’t keep it in too long, or it will dry out or burn.
Step 5: Remove the Pizza
When you see that the pizza has bubbling cheese and a crust that is crisp enough for your liking, that’s the signal you can now take it out of the oven.
Let it cool for about five minutes and then cut it with a pizza slicer into medium-size pizza slices.
You don’t want to cut into the pizza right away, though you might think that would be the best time. This is because doing so will likely tear away some of the cheese.
You want the cheese to stick to each slice, so wait until it is cooled.
Things to Remember
When cooking your pizza, you will want to add some extra time than normal when cooking one that has a lot of toppings.
A pizza with just cheese has less to cook and won't take as long as a loaded one.
If you have meats, multiple kinds of cheese, pineapples, Canadian bacon, onions, garlic, and pepperoni, then the oven has more to cook.
So, add a minute or two more when you have a ton of toppings.
If you don’t have a pizza slicer, you can use a sharp knife to get the job done. Of course, make sure the knife is sharp to cut through the crust without taking all the cheese with it.
Also, don’t use anything that is too serrated because this will drag the cheese with it.
Cooking pizza in a convection oven isn’t complicated, but you do need to make a few adjustments to ensure that it doesn’t burn or dry out.
Since it works differently than a conventional oven, you will need to follow the instructions above to get the best-tasting pizza you can.
Keep these steps and tips in mind, and you will have a perfectly-cooked pizza to serve you and your family.