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Tag: oven thermometer

How to Adapt When Oven Temperature Fluctuates

Reader question: My stove varies 18 degrees C before it kicks back on after reaching temperature.  Will the recipes still work with this much variation? ~ Kim C.,  Dade City, FloridaGlorious One-Pot Meals cover

Great question, Kim! I wish I had a better answer for you than “I don’t know”.

The goal is to have the oven at exactly 450 degrees F before putting the full pot inside. Perhaps if you boosted the temperature to 460F 5 minutes after putting the pot inside to get the oven back up to temp that might equal 450F?

I wonder if you played around with your oven and an oven thermometer a little bit you could figure out how to make it work.

Let me know if you figure it out!


Using a Convection Oven for Glorious One-Pot Meals

Reader question: What adjustments should be made for a convection oven? Do I adjust the time or the temperature? My copy of the cookbook should arrive today – I heard you on Martha Stewart Radio. I am looking forward to making wonderful meals this weekend. – Janelle F., Montgomery, Alabama

[ad#Right align in post]Great question, Janelle! To answer it well, we first need to understand how convection ovens work. In a convection oven, several fans circulate the air as it is heated. The effect is to make the baking or roasting of uncovered foods, like cookies, roasts, cakes, etc. happen more quickly. Convection ovens routinely drop the desired temperature by 15 degrees F to compensate for the increased exposure of the food to the heat so that the food doesn’t become overdone.

Glorious One-Pot Meals remain lidded the entire time they are in the oven; as such, they do not get any additional benefit from the circulating hot air. Moreover, they do not cook properly at 435° F; For Glorious One-Pot Meal success, your oven must be at 450° F before placing the loaded and covered pot inside.

Many ovens offer the choice between convection and conventional settings. I always choose conventional when possible as it uses less energy. If using a convection oven, however, just be sure to compensate for the automatic temperature drop. Your best bet is to place a stand-alone oven thermometer in the oven to ensure you have the correct temp before inserting your Dutch oven.

Thanks for listening to the interview and happy cooking!


Have you checked your oven temperature?

If you’re not getting the results you want with your Glorious One-Pot Meals (or your cookies, or roasts, etc.), your oven temperature is probably off.

Over the last ten years of working with fans and readers to prepare quick, easy, and delicious one-pot meals, I’ve found that more than half of the ovens in this country have thermostats that are not set correctly. That’s why I always encourage home cooks to pick up a stand-alone oven thermometer and use it to verify their oven’s temp every time before putting food inside.

I love the large numbers on this oven thermometer! Very easy to read.
I love the large numbers on this oven thermometer! Very easy to read without opening the oven door.

I would have counseled Cookie B., a recent reviewer of my cookbook on Amazon, that her results tell me her oven temp is way, way off, had she bothered to write me before posting this scathing review:

Mediocre at Best

I’m an experienced and somewhat adventurous cook, but often short of time. I thought this would be a nice alternative for those nights when I don’t feel like spending an hour or more on dinner. What a disappointment — what a waste of good food. I tried three recipes, and tossed the book.

The cookbook states that vegetables retain their crispness, rice and grains come out fluffy, etc — not so. In all three recipes I tried, the vegetables were overcooked and unappetizing, rice fails to cook properly, squash has the texture of baby food. My husband’s comment was that “everything tastes the same”, and he’s right. The foods do not retain any flavor of their own and everything is rather bland. I certainly wouldn’t serve this to company. And the meal looks as dull as it tastes (meats come out gray). These meals have no character.

Do yourself a favor — skip this book. It’s possible (and really not difficult) to cook healthy meals that are flavorful and interesting. This isn’t the way.

Sigh. Cookie, Cookie, Cookie. Is it possible that it’s your oven, not the cookbook? Me thinks so.

I have found it quite simple to recalibrate most ovens in just seconds when verifying the temperature with a separate oven thermometer. Check your oven’s manual to learn how.

While I love that Amazon allows people to post reviews and share their thoughts about a book, I wish there was a way I could respond more directly to criticisms, particularly if I can fix the problems before they are shared with the world. I am always available for questions and troubleshooting via the Contact link on any of my websites, and I try to be as timely as I can manage with my responses.

Luckily, this blog gives me a place to address those unhappy customers I can’t reach directly so that I can stop fretting about them and move on!  🙂