Different ovens require different time periods to preheat, ready to put your raw or frozen food in, so that it can be cooked.
You can get gas ovens, electric ovens, hybrid ovens (a mixture of electric and gas), as well as convection ovens, fan ovens, fan assisted ovens, combination ovens (microwave plus oven), and others.
As well as different ovens requiring different preheating times, different temperatures will require different preheating times too.
It will take a little longer to preheat a fan oven to 200 degrees Celsius than it will to preheat it to 150 degrees, for example.
Modern ovens, such as fan ovens, do not always require preheating at all, however. There are times when this step is required, but with certain dishes, it is not always required to preheat a fan oven. In fact, in doing so, you could inadvertently burn your food.
How Long Do You Need to Preheat a Fan Oven For?
Some fan ovens, depending on type and model, will require barely one or two minutes to reach the desired temperature.
This means that you don’t really need to preheat it like you would a conventional (or non-fan) oven.
When the heat is produced by the oven, a fan then ensures that is moves around inside evenly.
This means that the desired temperature is reached quicker, there are no hot and cold spots within the oven, and food cooks better and more evenly.
Essentially, you may not need to preheat your fan oven at all.
If you do need to preheat your fan oven, you will likely only need to give it a few minutes (up to 5 minutes) to preheat.
How Long Do You Need to Preheat a Gas Oven For?
With conventional or gas ovens, preheating time can be as much as 15 or 20 minutes, depending on efficiency.
By using a fan oven and not preheating, you will be saving money on your energy bills, and reducing cooking time
Why Is Preheating the Oven Important?
Preheating certain oven types is necessary for a few reasons:
1. Cooking guidelines are based on using a preheated oven
If you don’t preheat your oven, your food will take longer to cook, so you would need to factor in how long it takes for the oven to reach the right temperature to cook it.
If a breaded chicken breast requires 30 minutes according to the packaging, it will likely take 45 to 60 minutes (and sometimes more) by the time the oven has warmed up enough to actually cook if you haven’t preheated the oven.
2. Temperature changes during cooking can negatively affect foods
The change in temperature can negatively affect some foods. This is especially the case for frozen food.
If you’re cooking something from frozen, it should be cooked (placed in a hot oven) from frozen.
When you add it to a cold oven, the warming-up process will essentially thaw the food before cooking it. This can result in extra moisture and lots of sogginess, especially with pastry dishes.
3. A steady temperature helps the food to cook evenly
When you put meat products in a cold oven, you’re running the risk of it not cooking all the way through, or being barely cooked in the middle and almost burned on the outside. This does depend on the food type itself, of course.
Kim is a writer with more than a decade of experience, and a food enthusiast. When she’s not spending her time writing about her favourite dishes, you can find her in the cake aisle of her local supermarket, or making a mess in the kitchen.