What Your Oven Isn’t Telling You

122 comments

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According to a test by Cook’s Illustrated in 2011, different ovens set to the same temperature can vary by as much as 90 degrees.

Yes….90 degrees.

If you are an avid baker or cook (or even just an occasional one), this news should be a bit concerning. Or maybe this news is relief; you now have a valid excuse for why your sweet potato fries always burn! Or at least I do…

When we moved in, one of the first things I did was check the oven’s true temperature. It’s an older oven (edited to add: I don’t mean super old by the way. The oven in our last house was 30 yrs old and I doubt this one is more than 10 yrs, so technically, it’s newer to me) and I was concerned about switching to a new-to-me oven without checking things out first. It’s especially important to me because I post my recipes for all of you and I have to be as accurate as possible.

For some reason, I had a bad feeling about this oven, even though it’s quite nice on the eyes.

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I set my oven to 350F and placed my oven thermometer (from Kitchen Stuff Plus) in the center of the oven on the middle rack. This would be the first of several tests I would end up doing.

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[But it’s called a “TRUE TEMP”…what could possibly go wrong???]

The oven beeps when it has supposedly finished preheating, so I eagerly walked over to the oven when it alerted me. I didn’t want to impact the temperature by opening the door, so I quickly turned on the oven light and bent down to look at the temperature.

The oven temperature read about 290F or so. I can’t quite remember it exactly, but it wasn’t even close! I gave the oven the benefit of the doubt, assuming that it just took longer to preheat.

And I waited some more. The temperature climbed slowly and after a good 15 minutes, I decided it wasn’t moving anymore. I waited an extra 30 minutes just to be sure.

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I squinted my eyes really hard (am I getting old or are those things just really tiny?)

To me, it looks about 315-320F:

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This is about a 30-35 degree difference. I also tested various places in the oven (on the side and in the back), but they were all around that temperature give or take 5 degrees. I even left it in for a full hour just to be sure. Nada.

Every good researcher knows that it’s to never advisable to rely on a single study, right? So, I headed out and bought another brand of oven thermometer (this time from Canadian Tire) and tested it once again.

Replicate.

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Wouldn’t you know it, the temperature was the exact same. Approximately 320 degrees Fahrenheit when it should have been 350. At least the thermometers are accurate. ;)

I Googled if there was any way to fix my wonky oven temperature and it turns out that it’s fairly easy to calibrate many kinds of ovens, depending on the severity.

Always start with the manual first. I looked for the owner’s manual, but wasn’t able to locate one (not surprising being in a rental and all). Eric suggested that we find the model number of our oven and see if we could find instructions online. He wasn’t able to find the manual online for this oven.

Eric finally ended up finding directions on Appliance 411- "How do I adjust the oven temperature on my range?".

Following these directions, he was able to set the oven temperature higher (35F was as high as he could go), however it’s still not a perfect calibration. Now, when I set the oven to 350F, it heats to about 340F, so it’s still about 10 degrees too low. To attain 350F, I have to set the oven to 360F and also wait about 5-10 minutes after the oven tells me it’s preheated. This isn’t a huge deal, as long as I’m careful and I keep my oven thermometer in the oven when using.

The oven thermometer is probably the best solution we have right now, aside from actually paying someone to repair it (or asking the landlord), which I probably wouldn’t bother with unless it got worse.

Our first adventure in oven calibration is now complete.

One thing I love about this oven? The stove top heats up much faster than our old oven back at home. You win some, you lose some! I’ve burned a few veggie burgers so far, but I’ll get used to it eventually.

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Have you ever measured your oven’s true temperature or calibrated your oven? I bet you sure are curious now…

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{ 122 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Earthy Nicole April 5, 2012

Hmm… now I am wondering about my oven! I’m almost certain it’s off… but we live in a rental as well and will hopefully be moving soon so I won’t worry about this one. But, the next place, you can be sure I’ll be checking it out! xx

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2 Madhuja April 5, 2012

Hey Angela!
Love your blog! Your recipes inspire me to try and become vegan (umm… at least vegetarian one day)!

About your oven woes – Dorie Greenspan recently posted about it on her blog. Have you read this? http://doriegreenspan.com/2012/03/ive-always-had-an-inkling.html

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3 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

I hadn’t seen her article but I just read it. Great read, thanks for sharing. I’ve heard similar things about oven temps going up and down. It’s a bit scary to think about how much ovens vary by brand and models.
I also love her reminder about why we give visual cues in recipes…very true.

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4 Kait April 5, 2012

I had actually read similar when I was trying to find a reason for why my baked goods NEVER came out right…surely it must be the oven’s fault, right?

Now I always let it pre-heat 20-30 min and have to turn it to just under 350 to actually get it there!

Good luck Angela.

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5 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 6, 2012

it’s always the oven’s fault. Words to live by. ;)

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6 Misty April 5, 2012

huh. No, but I am currently house hunting and yup! Sounds like a project I will give my boyfriend once we find the right house!

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7 Erica April 5, 2012

Thanks, very useful info! In our old, dumpy apartment the oven was almost 100 degrees higher than what you set it at. But I invent my own recipes anyways, so I wasn’t even aware of this until we moved to our new house with a new oven. I started UNDERCOOKING everything. It’s kind of ironic because I was actually selling my baking out of my apartment to people I knew and never had any problems…I just figured healthier baked goods bake a lot faster. It was actually more challenging to adapt to our current oven that is the correct temperature.

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8 Carolina April 5, 2012

You are a true researcher Angela! Making sure to perform multiple tests to assure the validity (or is reliability??) of the experiment.
…lol I’m a psycholog student too :p

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9 kaila @ healthyhelper April 5, 2012

Never thought of checking this before! Thanks for the tip! This could definitely explain why some people have trouble when making other peoples recipes…the wrong temp could definitely throw everything off!

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10 Jessica @ Chockohlawtay April 5, 2012

Um, I better go calibrate the oven now… I hope I didn’t post a recipe with a false temperature!

D:

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11 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

I know it messes with your mind, right? lol

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12 Jessica @ Chockohlawtay April 5, 2012

Thank you so much, this is a great post… I never would have thought of this

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13 Fiona April 5, 2012

That was really fascinating and useful! I have always wanted to test my oven temperature but was never sure how – now I feel comfortable! Thank you! Great post idea btw!

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14 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

Glad you enjoyed it Fiona!

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15 Shannon April 5, 2012

Wow that is helpful! I remember in my last apartment, the oven seemed to take twice as long to cook things.

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16 Brittany April 5, 2012

Very interesting! I may have to find out what my oven isn’t telling me too!!

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17 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 5, 2012

Wow, that’s crazy! I usually only use my oven on 3 temps – 350, 375 and 400 and my decision is made based on how hungry I am and how fast I want the food to be ready. Probably explains why I don’t do well when it comes to baking! :P

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18 Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) April 5, 2012

Ha! Thank you for this post. When we moved into our current house we inherited a beautiful stove with both a conventional and a convection oven. Lucky, right? Well, I found at first that my stuff wasn’t baking as expected even in the conventional oven… a pumpkin bread that I’d been making every year for YEARS was coming out like charcoal on the outside and not fully cooked on the inside. ARRRGH. Anyway, I figured out a bandaid solution – cook things at about 75 degrees less than called for, and for about 15 minutes less. Then they’d come out right. But now that I’ve read this, I’m thinking that maybe we can actually FIX the issue. That’d be fantastic! :)

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19 The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh April 5, 2012

WOW! I never thought about that! That’s kind of scary. You can bet I’m going to check my oven now! Thanks so much Angela!

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20 Kale Crusaders April 5, 2012

A friend who often lives in rentals in foreign countries for months at a time considers her oven thermometer a kitchen must-have when she decides what to pack. She definitely has her priorities straight!

Sigh. Time to buy oven thermometer.

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21 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 5, 2012

I did this when I become convinced that my oven runs hot. But… the thermometer said it’s spit on! I still think the back left corner is hotter though. I’ve started rotating pans half way through baking when possible to account for the hot spot.

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22 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

yea I think hot patches in ovens are very common from what I read

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23 Vicki April 5, 2012

OMG!!! If we can’t even trust our oven anymore… ;)

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24 Ileana April 5, 2012

So diligent! I know this is something I should do, but I haven’t. Haven’t really had problems with the oven, but my stove top heats up very quickly, and we sometimes need to adjust. Anyway, thanks for the reminder!

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25 Alex April 5, 2012

Man, all I could think when reading this was “That oven is OLD?!” I suspect the oven in my house was the one here when it was built.

In the 1950s.

I’ve never tested the temperature, but I’m sure it’s outrageously off. I’m curious now, even though I don’t use it, really.

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26 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

Old is relative, I guess. :) I didn’t mean super old. The one in our last house was 30 years old and I doubt this one is more than 10.

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27 Adriane April 5, 2012

Love it! Very informative!

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28 Jesse (OutToLunchCreations) April 5, 2012

I have never measured my oven’s true temperature because its brand new…. but now I’m curious!

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29 Amber K April 5, 2012

I never even thought about this before. I had no idea they could be so far off!

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30 Kathryn April 5, 2012

I notice the new apartment oven seems much hotter. I’m also going from gas to electric. I miss my gas burners, but I like the electric oven. I’ve got to get myself a new thermometer (or 2) so see what is going on in there though!

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31 Averie @ Averie Cooks April 5, 2012

Wow this is SO informative. I need to test my oven like this. I’ve done tests to see where there are hot patches: lay white bread on a cookie sheet, like 8 slices and put it in at like 350F. My oven toasts the left half of the bread on the cookie sheet far more quickly and more intensity than on the right hand side. I could literally burn a pan of brownies on one side of the pan and keep them raw on the other, if I don’t rotate halfway thru. SUCH a pain….and this is a “nice” oven, that’s about 3 year old. Renting, don’t own, so I’m at the mercy.

I love this experiment you did and I will be doing my own now, too! Because if my 350F isn’t everyone else’s and vice versa, that is a huuuuuuge variable. Far more so than I’d say mis-measuring flour by 1/2 cup so to speak.

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32 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

That is another great test (about the bread slices) I will have to try that one out sometime.

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33 Destini April 5, 2012

I never even thought about this! I have actually gotten some emails from readers that have done a recipe of mine…and it was over cooked. I will be doing this asap!

Thanks for the great reminder!

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34 Stephanie @ Legally Blinde April 5, 2012

I’ve wondered about my oven temperature, but haven’t checked it myself. I have a gas stove so I’m not sure if I would be able to calibrate it, but I definitely want to get a thermometer so I can check it out! Thanks for the info!

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35 Joelle April 5, 2012

Yes, after way too long using it and wondering why it took SO long for things to cook in it! It’s about 10degrees too cool. It’s gas and I don’t have the manual so I just set it ten degrees warmer and wait a few more minutes after it tells me it’s come to temp. It seems to take a 3-5 more minutes to actually get there. It’s amazing what a difference just those 10degrees has made!

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36 Cath April 5, 2012

So funny! I did this recently. Ever since we moved into our rental, I knew that the oven was hotter than it says it was. I burned tray after tray of cookies, leaving the insides raw. I estimated that it was about 50 degrees hotter than indicated. Finally, after getting so frustrated when trying to bake, I went out an bought an oven thermometer. Turns out my oven is approximately 75-80 degrees hotter than it says!!! I was appalled, but relieved to know that it wasn’t my cooking skills. Wish I could say I went the extra step to try to fix the oven, but I’m lazy and just turn the oven to about 260 now when I need to bake.

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37 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

hah well that works too!

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38 Vegyogini April 5, 2012

My oven is only about 4 1/2 years old and I use an oven thermometer every time. The only frustration I have is that my oven thermometer seems incredibly slow and my oven beeps about 15 minutes before my thermometer measures the desired temp. That could either mean that the oven is beeping prematurely or that the thermometer is slow to register.

I had the gas company come out to calibrate the oven a couple years ago and he said it was right on, but really it runs about 5* cool.

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39 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

That’s a great point about the thermometer maybe being slow…it’s something we thought might be possible too!

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40 Jennifer April 5, 2012

Our first oven in this apartment was really, really old. It had a metal handle that got about as hot as the inside of the oven and a knob to set the temperature. Of course, all of the markings were rubbed off of the knob, so I had to get an oven thermometer and spend a LOT of time figuring out the oven temperature and where to mark the knob. Of course, the oven door didn’t have glass so I had do keep opening the oven door, thus giving poor readings. Our new oven is much nicer, but it didn’t take too many batches of dry muffins and burnt sweet potato fries to find that its fancy digital thermometer was a dirty dirty liar. I didn’t do quite as impressive or well-designed of a research project as you though – I just set the oven 15 degrees lower and it hasn’t failed me yet.

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41 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

lol @ dirty dirty liar.

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42 Carrie @shrinkingcarrie April 5, 2012

That is so funny that you posted this today! We just moved about a week ago and so I am getting use to a new oven at higher altitude. I made a new to me dairy/egg free french toast this morning and had my burner in between medium and low and it totally burned! I have to cook everything on low now! Blargh!
I better try your test out on my oven before I make your pizza recipe tonight!

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43 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

I’ve had vegan french toast burn on me too

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44 Meg April 5, 2012

Ah that is so annoying! I remember having serious oven troubles when we had an electric stove and convection oven. We recently switched over to a gas stove and convection over and luckily the newer version is working much better!

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45 Meredith @ DareYouTo April 5, 2012

I’m so impressed that you took the time and effort to do this (and made it look easy!). I’ve suspected for some time that my oven–very old, not even digital!–lies to me. It never crossed my mind to take a thermometer and verify, but now i’ll definitely be checking into the situation…

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46 Cait's Plate April 5, 2012

Oooh interesting. I never knew that was the case!

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47 Ashley April 5, 2012

Lol I LOVE that you replicated your experiment by going out to buy another thermometer. I’ve never checked my oven before but I know I should. I think mine gets too hot.

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48 anne April 5, 2012

Great experiment! I need to test my oven now.

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49 Grace @ Healthy Dreaming April 5, 2012

You did the test so scientifically even with TWO thermometers! Now I’m wondering how my oven reads..

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50 Lena April 5, 2012

My oven actually IS super-old. The oven thermometer is my only way of knowing what temperature I have set it to. The dial doesn’t even have marks! It may have at some point, but as far as we can tell, the kitchen was built in the 1920s, and the oven came in maybe as late as the 1950s, probably earlier. So any marks that may have once existed have been rubbed into oblivion. It’s adorable, but it took some getting used to.

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51 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

I bet it did! It must have a ton of character though..would be cool to look at if anything.

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52 Erika April 5, 2012

After moving into our rental from a house with a brand new oven to a house that is far more dated, I bought an oven thermometer to see what the temperature was reading since this oven has a dial and is hard to tell what you are really setting it at. Ends up I have to wait an extra 10 minutes after it says the oven is preheated to get the correct temp…no big deal, just helpful to know :) Smart to do from time to time. I actually keep my thermometer in the oven and always place it at the same level of whatever it is I’m baking to ensure that it is at the right temp….

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53 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

yea that’s exactly what I’ve been doing too. Peace of mind :)

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54 Nicole April 5, 2012

Wow – that is some serious kitchen commitment! I’d never thought to test the oven!
I do feel like my b-f’s gas oven is much better for baking than my electric oven. I love cooking with gas!

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55 Katy April 5, 2012

Wow this is good to know! I was never a cook but I’m starting to cook and bake a lot more now so I should check my oven too..

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56 Sarah April 5, 2012

That is so smart! Thanks for the tip!

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57 hihorosie April 5, 2012

Amazing the variance but it’s good to know these things! We have done the same thing and still have our trusty oven thermometer, although, a second tester is a good idea.

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58 Jolene (Homespun Heritage) April 5, 2012

I’ll be honest…I am a gas snob. I cannot go back to electric after cooking for so long with gas! Oh my, it is so nice! Our beloved oven went on the blink and my husband fixed it the first time and the second problem required a repairman, who happened to be an absolute peach.

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59 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

hah I hear that from so many people! Can’t wait to try them out some day.

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60 Kat April 5, 2012

Yes, ever since we moved the times I’ve had in my recipes were off by 5 to 10 min. With my first oven it was about 30 minutes off! Ah, the joys of renting with old appliances. After a few attempts I usually develop a feel for it (having a glass door with a light helps too)! I don’t know why I haven’t tried the thermometer.

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61 Amy April 5, 2012

Hahaa! My oven has been off by 150+ degrees for at least a year. We had our landlord fix it once (he put in a new thermostat), but it just goes back to its old habit after a while! My oven isn’t fancy or digital, so I have to use the old style dial to adjust the temperature. It’s frustrating!! I keep hoping the entire oven will die so we can have it replaced.

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62 PoochesForPeace (Anna H) April 5, 2012

Oh my gosh I want to test our oven now!

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63 Celine April 5, 2012

Hi, I did the same tests, but for my “counter oven”… Why? Because I do polymer clay jewelry and the temperature needs to be to a tee (so it does not break after)… I even got another thermometer, like you, because I thought the first one was not working!! I’m sure many ovens have, to some extent, a temp variation… Maybe I should look into oven calibration too (didn’t know you could!). Thanks for the info (and making me laugh as it remninded my of all the tests I did too!).

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64 Jon April 5, 2012

You should really consider getting a bulb thermometer, rather than a spring thermometer (which is what you bought). There is a big difference in the range at which they are accurate. I noticed a big difference when I switched.

Because a spring thermometer relying on the expansion and contraction of two metals, and the metal springs can only expand and contract so much, the thermometer is only reliable within a range of degrees, which is not as large as the range at which your oven will run. A bulb thermometer relies on the physics of expanding liquid, which is not limited to the physical constraints that metals are, so it is much more accurate over a much wider range of temperatures.

If you have a probe thermometer, you can use that to calibrate your oven too, although it requires much more time and attention. I simply recorded the highest and lowest tempuratures of my oven (according to the probe thermometer) over a period of 30 minutes. I took the average tempurature, and adjusted my oven accordingly. The process also taught me that my oven cycles run about 10 minutes.

-Jon

loganskitchen.com

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65 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2012

Thanks Jon, I’ll look into it!

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66 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 5, 2012

Interesting! I’ve never measured my oven temperature, but I feel like I should – I know it’s wayyyy off from what it should be. It drove me crazy when I was still adjusting to it because I burnt so many things! :P

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67 Dominique April 5, 2012

My parents got a new oven a couple years back and while I was living there, it was awesome! I’d bake all kinds of cakes, cookies and cupcakes and they turned out perfectly. Now that I’m in a rental condo, it’s a whole different story. First of all, I can’t convection bake anything, which is a HUGE bummer and I’m pretty sure our oven is heating up to a temp lower than is actually says, similar to yours. I have yet to get an oven thermometer to check but now that your post has reminded me, I think I will–especially with wedding season coming up and cupcakes on the horizon.

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68 Nicole April 5, 2012

Wow, good experiment! My oven at my place is totally wacky and sometimes will take WAY longer to cook things than it’s supposed to. The temp is probably way off on it, but at least I know I’m not just imagining it now!

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69 Willow April 5, 2012

Baking in different ovens is insane – I now! I used to housesit a lot (I mean, a lot) and always had to adapt to cooking in different kitchens. I always use an oven thermometer, even now – and it would seem that slow preheating is a common problem! I always wait far past the time it says it’s ready.

Also, a tip: never leave your oven thermometer in the oven when using the ‘clean’ cycle. I did this once and opened the oven to find my thermometer completely dead – it literally was pale like a ghost, and it failed to work at all. Poor thermometer! RIP

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70 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 6, 2012

ah that is a great tip and probably easy to overlook. Now I just need to clean this beast…that will be the next project.

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71 Heidi April 5, 2012

Teaching my 9 year old to use the oven, he often looks at me like I’m nuts when I tell him, “see the recipe says 350 so I want you to preheat the oven to 365.” He’s starting to believe me when I show him the oven thermometer inside that is RIGHT ON once the preheat is done. Go Mom. Way to have cred.

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72 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 6, 2012

love that. He’s probably like…how does she always know everything? heh

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73 Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) April 5, 2012

Hmmm, very interesting. This makes me want to check my oven, as I am sure it is off.

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74 Sarah F April 5, 2012

Oh my gosh!
So true, I never thought I could calibrate my oven!!
Similarly, I moved into a rental that as a VERY wonky oven and have had many frustrating expereinces with it taking a long time to cook something or over cooking it totally.

I am deffinately going to have to do some experimenting!!
Great tip!

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75 jess white April 6, 2012

ahhh but the problem with electric stove tops is the amount of time they take to cool down! i often found in my old flat that you couldn’t just turn off the heat and leave the pan on the top, because it would just carry on cookin! interesting post!

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76 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 6, 2012

yea that is true…gotta be careful with them. Im constantly burning things

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77 Maria @ All Things Luxurious April 6, 2012

I have never done this before, but you are right — I am SO curious now! :-) Thinking I will be doing this on Saturday!

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78 Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com April 6, 2012

Such a beautiful research! Thank you!

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79 Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit April 6, 2012

I did this last year but of course never thought to blog about it! I found that mine was 20 or so degrees lower than what it should be and did the fancy preset you mentioned to get it up to a higher temp. Great post, Angela!

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80 Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 6, 2012

I remember my mom having a really old oven and it’s always a lot hotter than the temperature she sets it too. She ends up just adjusting all her recipes, but that’s such a great idea to adjust it… I didn’t even know that was possible!

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81 LizAshlee April 6, 2012

Wow, that is so interesting..thanks for sharing! I have been using our small convection oven a lot lately and I like how it evenly cooks things better than our traditional oven…have an awesome day!!

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82 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers April 6, 2012

Wow, thats something I never thought of checking! Great post!

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83 Susan April 6, 2012

Gotta get me one of these. I am quite sure my oven temp is off. The other challenge I have is that the oven doesn’t seem to hold a constant temp – the heating element goes on continuously even if I let it warm up for 30 plus minutes- so I have to watch closely to ensure the bottom doesn’t burn. Makes bakIng that much more adventurous :)

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84 Michaela@pilgrimageofhealth April 6, 2012

I honestly didn’t assume that it wouldn’t be correct. Woops!

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85 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 6, 2012

I know, it’s one of those things that I never thought about either.

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86 Anna April 6, 2012

My oven is woefully off. After we moved in, trying to find the right temperature was an enormous pain…until we got a thermometer.
Everything comes out so much better when you actually bake at the right temperature!
Glad that things are working out for you!

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87 Isabelle April 6, 2012

Thank you, very interesting to read. I think Canadian Tire will soon have a shortage of over thermometer now you have posted this LOL.
I will have to check mine as I’m not always happy about things turn out, especially cakes.
Isa

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88 Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes April 6, 2012

It is soo smart to test your oven!! I still haven’t done mine, thanks for the reminder!! And your kitchen looks beautiful! :)

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89 Andrea G April 6, 2012

Thank you for sharing this! We just moved into a new house a few months ago and I cannot tell you how many recipes I have botched with the new oven. It is gas, which is new to me, and it heats up much higher than the temperatures I set it to. I am going out right now to buy an oven thermo!

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90 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 7, 2012

goodluck!!

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91 Kathy April 6, 2012

That is so interesting. I would never have thought to even check on something like that, because when the oven says 350 – you assume it’s 350. I’ve been married 33 years and NEVER checked my oven temp before. I will have to do that as soon as I buy a thermometer. Great blog.

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92 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 7, 2012

Don’t worry I hadn’t checked my previous ovens either…it’s not something that comes to mind often or at all!

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93 Ruth April 6, 2012

I’m really glad you did this experiment. Our oven growing up was always about 50F off (even when brand new), so we’d always just change where we set it. I have always used an oven thermometer to check my oven, but I kind of always wondered if my oven thermometer was trust-worthy – I’m glad to see that with 2 different ones you got accurate measurements. I also never realized that an oven could be calibrated. Huh! Will definitely look into that and consult my oven’s manual (the original owners of our house kept a binder with literally EVERY owner’s manual for everything in the house (including the smoke detectors and the blinds…??), so we even have it after 22 years!)

Also…I’m happy you pointed out that waiting some extra time and not trusting that “I’m ready!” ding is also a part of the “fudge factor” with ovens. Very helpful!

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94 Moni Meals April 6, 2012

Yes, darling I am no SO very curious! I know I have this one certain cookie recipe that sure is different at my house than from my friends/families houses. I can bet you mine is way off!

Thanks Angela. :)
Have a great Friday.

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95 Anna @ The Guiltless Life April 6, 2012

It’s SO true! We move a lot so I have had a lot of experience cooking in different ovens and the differences in results and cooking times just astounds me every time! Thanks for the post as I never knew how to calibrate it.

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96 Anne April 7, 2012

Ugh! This explains so much. Thank you, Angela! Your blog is inspiring…still thinking about making those peanut butter cups :)

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97 Ellie@Fit for the Soul April 7, 2012

haha!! from now on, any baked treats that don’t come out right will be blamed on my new oven…teeehee. How interesting about 90 deg.! that IS a huge difference. And omygoodness Angela, I love your kitchen!! So gorgeous and bright. :D

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98 Krista April 7, 2012

when I was a kid, my parents bought a new custom-built home. of course, new appliances were in the kitchen. and the first meal my mom made us in that oven was burned to a crisp. if i remember correctly we had to order out for pizza because it was just not edible. my dad tried to fix it, to no avail. they had a repair man come out and he got it down to an acceptable level – we had to adjust baking time on *everything* though, even with the repair. Mom cooked/baked/roasted with that oven for well over 20 years, and just got a new oven a couple of years ago. she was so used to that dang over-heated oven that she thought something was wrong with the new one, when in fact, it was just normal!

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99 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 7, 2012

hah great story :) funny how you get used to things over time right?

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100 Angie April 7, 2012

We noticed that at different settings it would even be further off. At 350 it was 380. But at 450 it was 500. Ours was awful!

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101 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 8, 2012

I think mine was doing that too when I tried it at 425…just realized last night that it cooks stuff much quicker in the back then the front. Half my granola was burnt and half was perfect. lol

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102 Qi Ting @ A Dessert Diet April 8, 2012

I’m pretty sure my oven’s off, have always been but am just too lazy to get a thermometer. Your post reminded me. I think I’ll just stick with increasing or decreasing the temperature as needed. The calibration thing sounds difficult!

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103 Eva April 9, 2012

Thanks so much for posting this. Never thought to test out an oven with an oven thermometer. So glad you posted this!!

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104 AGS April 9, 2012

I have used a wide variety of ovens with all my moves over the years, and I’ve found that many ovens that are 25+ years old perform better than those that are around 5-10 years. Maybe because people really used their ovens back in the day. It seems that you have to either really work at the newer models, or just shell out a lot of cash to get something decent at this point (I mean, when we moved into our 1950’s house a year or so ago, I was amazed that the huge 6 burner stove from the late 60’s was still performing superbly. . . or course, then an element died, and I couldn’t find a replacement. . .!”

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105 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 9, 2012

you know what they say…they dont make em like they used to!!

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106 JessE @ LoveLifeFromScratch April 9, 2012

Another aspect to think about is the heating and cooling cycle of the oven. As the heating coil turns on and off the temp fluctuates. My gem of an oven fluctuates +-50 degrees!

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107 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 9, 2012

yea I have realized mine fluctuates too…made muffins the other day and it went from 330 to 360 I think

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108 ashley rebekah April 12, 2012

because of all the somewhat-shady-yet-beautifully-artsy apartments i’ve managed to dwell in, i consider my oven thermometer my go-to kitchen tool! each apartment got lovelier and lovelier, while each oven got scarier and scarier (and older).

i’ve actually ever had an oven that was spot on with what the dial said, so i always spend the first few days in my new place figuring out just how ‘off’ the oven is, then making a little index card of the proper temps for the oven and slapping i up on the stove or wall directly above the stove. works like a charm ;)

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109 Elizabeth April 12, 2012

I should definitely get an oven thermometer!

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110 Ian the Barbarian April 13, 2012

I agree – you have to get to know your oven. Apart from the temperature settings, there are hot & cold spots in most ovens.

If you think that’s bad, check out your measuring jugs.
It’s easiest in grammes/litres – one litre of water weighs 1000 grammes.

Measure out a litre and weigh it – I guarantee it will be way out!

Think of the mess it makes of your recipes!

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111 Dave April 15, 2012

I had an oven that was far off and had a repairman come in. He found that the oven temp prob had caked/baked on food and when he cleaned it off it worked perfectly.

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112 MJI January 16, 2013

I recently moved into an apartment. The stove is from like the 1970’s. As soon as I started using the oven I noticed something odd. No matter what temp I set it at, it always got hot and smoky inside. The light near the dial would even turn off as if it had hit a max temperature and tripped a safety shut off. I tried to bake something at 250 and saw my oven temp go out of my thermometer range. I guess 400 is it’s max it records. I didn’t know how to fix the oven, so I went ahead and called to have it repaired. I’m waiting for a replacement part.

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113 Sarah January 25, 2013

You’re lucky! I’ve got a Belling and the oven temperature is all over the place. I’ve been told that 20 degrees out either way is acceptable. Today I was told 30 degrees out is fine and to buy a proper thermometer to use. It measures different temperatures in all parts of the oven and today was only close to what it should be in the top back right-hand corner. Basically if set to 180 degrees there’s no way of knowing whether it’s cooking at 180 or 200 or 160, or anywhere in between. Following the manufacturer’s instructions to reduce the temperature as it’s a fan oven means potentially expecting something to cook while the oven is only 140 degrees. Seems there’s nothing I can do to improve things and any cooking will be pure luck if it comes out cooked properly.

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114 Katie Randall February 10, 2013

OMG I was just telling my husband that my oven is off by more than 50 degrees and he said no way that I had to be wrong…thank you so much for this, I am def getting a thermometer today no more burned stuff for this house!!

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115 Angelica July 15, 2013

I just recently moved out on my own for the first time. I’m not exactly an expert at baking, but I like to do it here and there as a hobby. Today I burnt my first batch of cookies ever. (At the same time they were horribly undercooked on top.) I did the same thing, and got a thermometer and checked things out. Turns out when I set the dial to 350 it actually went up to 450-460 inside the oven. I tired again and set it at 250 instead, but strangely it still went up to about 400. Hrm. Contacted the manager and landlord about this oven for the 3rd time. The first time we only had one working burner and the second time the oven didn’t even lite.

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116 Mollie September 25, 2013

I just moved into a new apartment and testing my oven temp was the first thing I did. It’s an older oven so I knew it may be off. After preheating to 350, I checked the oven thermometer and “bam!” It was closer to 450! My oven reads almost 100 degrees over! I did this test a few times, using a few different thermometers with the same sad results. I bake and cook a lot so this is a huge disappointment :(
I’d recommend everyone invest in an oven thermometer. Since I’ve been using it, everything taste so much better. No lie, it’s one of the best (kitchen) investments I’ve ever made. What a difference! Thanks for the post about this issue. It’s more important than people think!

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117 Tenessa April 19, 2014

Thank you so much for this blog. I use my oven all the time when preparing dinner for my family. We just moved and I soon as I was cooking my first meal I realized my oven wasn’t working like my previous oven. It took so much longer to cook. A meal that normally took 30 minutes ended up taking 50 minutes in this oven. I put up with in for about a 2 month now, but now that I’m trying some new recipes for Easter I figured I better attempt to find a fix so that I don’t under or over cook anything or end up spending more time cooking then necessary. This was a huge help. I went out and purchase a thermometer and sure enough my oven was off by 15F I was only getting to 335 when I set it to 350. I made the adjustments and now my oven is heating up to the correct degrees. Thank you again!!!

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118 Jenny November 30, 2014

The oven in our new house is no more than 2 yrs old.
I felt it was very hot but thought it was because it was a fan oven
And set it lower temperature. But I think that it’s waay too hot still.
A sandwich cake turned out like very laarge biscuits.
The idea of baking white bread slices is very good and I must get an
Oven thermometer!

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119 Luis May 24, 2015

I was curious too. My thermostat says 270, but my over is set to 300! also, the oven is new. Bummer.

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120 Gloria October 20, 2015

How do u calibrate ur oven temperature?

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121 Jerry Wides October 28, 2015

Digital readout on a GE gas oven, doesn’t go any higher than 290. It is a dial thermostat.

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122 jan November 23, 2015

Thank you for this information! I just got a new Whirlpool range and after several experiences of undercooked frozen dinners, I decided to test it at various temperatures, preheating from 20 minutes to an hour. It’s always at least 50-75 degrees lower than it should be. Had the repairman out today and he said nothing’s wrong with it, tests ok, and that the oven thermometers don’t work with the newer ovens. Give me a break. I can guarantee you nothing’s wrong with the oven thermometer. Looking forward to calibrating the oven with your instructions and see if I can get it much closer to the temperature I’ve selected.

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