Preheating the oven is one of those things that we would all love to skip doing, purely to get our dinner (or muffins) ready even quicker! But it’s actually one of the most vital first steps of oven cooking or baking anything, and if you’re being slack with preheating your dear ol’ oven, chances are you’re not enjoying the tastiest results.
From whether you actually need to, to how long it takes to preheat an oven, here’s what you need to know. For more information on the best integrated ovens around (many of which include fast preheat features), and even smart ovens (they exist and they are amazing) you can visit our appliances hub.
Do I really need to preheat the oven?
In short, yes. The reason being that if you don’t bring your oven to the right temperature, whatever you’re cooking will not be actually ‘cooking’ in that first and pretty vital 5–15 minutes. The results will be shoddy, especially for things like pastry, (don’t even get us started on soufflé) as it will be a little as if you were opening and closing the oven door, the whole time – not cool.
Some things you can probably get away with, like stew, where you may not need a high and consistent heat for a short amount of time. But as you’re likely to be cooking that in your slow cooker anyway, we simply fully recommend that you take the time you need to preheat your oven completely and to the desired temperature.
How long does it take to preheat an oven?
This, of course, depends on your oven and on the desired temperature. We mentioned that there are many impressive ovens around at the moment which are complete with fast preheat features and even self-cleaning functionalities, so it’s worth checking out what you can afford. Generally speaking however:
- Gas and electric ovens: 15–20 minutes
- Electric ovens with fast preheat features: can take as little as 7–10 minutes
- Smart ovens: this depends on the model but you can start it up before you get home. More than ideal.