This holiday season is just around the corner which means a lot of holiday cooking and baking. Below is a step-by-step guide on How to Calibrate your Oven! An oven that isn’t true to temperature is the main reason for uncooked, overcooked, and disappointing recipe results.
How to Calibrate your Oven
Calibrating your electric oven temp is a relatively simple process whether you have analog or digital temperature control.
When the temperature is off by 40 to 50 degrees what the temperature is showing can have a huge negative impact on the result of your recipe. Accuracy in temperature is crucial if you want to cook successfully.
I’ve had many comments on my Pound Cake Recipes of cakes that don’t turn out as mine did. The first thing I ask is ‘have you calibrated your oven?’
How to Calibrate your Electric Oven
- First, you need an oven thermometer with good accuracy. It doesn’t have to be an expensive thermometer. I suggest one like this oven thermometer. (Pro tip: Professional bakers recommend replacing your oven thermometer every year to assure accuracy.)
- You’ll also need a Phillips head screwdriver if your oven has analog controls
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and place your thermometer in the center of the rack. Close the door. Most ovens have hot spots. These are caused by the position of the elements (heating coils) and temperature cycles in the oven. The temperature is calculated where the oven’s internal thermometer is. All ovens have an internal thermometer.
- Now, turn the oven to 350° F. Keep the thermometer in the oven during preheating, and don’t open the door.
- Once the oven beeps indicating it has reached full temperature, check the temperature through the oven window. (If your oven doesn’t have a window open the door quickly and check the temp.
- If the oven thermometer shows a reading that is above or below 350℉ by 15 degrees or more, you will need to calibrate your oven.
Finally, if the temperature is outside that range it needs to be adjusted. Every brand and model is different in the process to calibrate. Review your owner’s manual or look brand and model online to get the correct steps for your particular oven. If this fails you may want to call in an expert to calibrate it for you. You will be happy you did.
Calibrating electric ovens with analog controls
- First, remove the oven temperature knob and turn it over. There should be either one or two screws on the back of it.
- If your oven is running hot, turn the screw clockwise.
- If the oven is running cold, turn the screw counterclockwise.
- Turn them slowly about an eighth of a turn at a time. The smallest turn may result in a large temperature change.
- Now, retest your oven to ensure it reaches the right temperature after calibration. Repeat as necessary to get the target temperature. Calibrating electric ovens with digital controls
A Dirty Oven
Additionally, I want to mention how a dirty oven affects food and flavor.
A dirty oven will have an effect on food, particularly baking. The continuous burning of grime creates carbon-based fumes, which will alter the taste of bread, cakes, or anything in the oven for that matter. As well, it will leave your cakes, bread, and other baked goods tasting smoky and scorched.
Furthermore, the grease will also reduce the efficiency of an oven, meaning it will take longer to cook food while also wasting energy. Complex recipes (baking) often call for accurate cooking times. If you use a dirty, oven you constantly run the risk of your food not cooking properly. If your oven door isn’t clean, you can’t peer in and check the food. As well, you’ll lose valuable heat if you constantly open your oven door. That being said, heat has to pass through extra layers of grease, grime, and burnt food in a dirty oven, so your food might not even cook evenly in the first place.
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Wonda Heard says
I feel so blessed to have found your site. pound cakes are so simple and very good, can’t wait to try them all. I am waiting on my new double oven Kitchenaid hope the oven is right on it. Thank you for all the tips they are very helpful.
Someone that loves to bake!
Thank you so much for commenting! I’m so envious of your double oven! I need two so badly!
Hi there! I just made your Sour cream Pound cake recipe which i s different from mines and it was beautiful. My only issue was that my oven had not been calibrated so my cake burned on the sides. I use a Fats Daddio tube pan which i really like. But your recipe is a Great one ! I even shared it with my Friend amd she will be making it very soon. Ill keep you posted 😊😊Happy Baking! Thanks for the calibration info doing! it as i type.
Loretta jasper says
I just found your incredible site and the recipes for your pound cakes are awesome…I am going to make one this morning…(The Best 5 Flavor Pound Cake with the 5 Flavor Butter Glaze)….Thanks so much for sharing…I’m looking forward to checking out all your recipes…My neighbors already think I’m a fantastic cook/baker…..
Thanks also for the info on calibrating the oven….now everyone will think I’m smarter than the average bear LOL
😅 So happy to have you here!! Let me know how the cake turned out!
Belva Barnhardt says
I just found you! After printing 8 of your recipes – some versions of which I have already – I realized I’m using up all of my black ink cartridges! MUST stop and print only what I plan to cook WHEN I am going to make it! It isn’t like you’re posts are going away anytime soon! Such a delight to find this page!
Lol, nope, they’re not going anywhere! I’m so happy you found my site and like so many recipes! Bookmark it or sign up for my emails, that way you won’t miss any of my new recipes. Thank you so much for visiting!!
Hi Paula. We are building a new house, and it comes with a gas stove. I am excited about that, but also nervous because I have never cooked with a gas oven. Would you calibrate gas in the same way as electric?
I’ve never used a gas oven either, my stove is gas but oven is electric. If it has digital controls you calibrate it the same way. If it doesn’t, try to research the brand online and see if they offer suggestions.
When I make pound cake I use a loaf pan and when it’s all done baking the top-middle is high compaired to the sides ir still taste good but looks not so pretty also over time the top gets soggy. I need some baking lessons but open to suggestions.Thank you!
I never have great success baking pound cakes in a loaf pan but here’s all my knowledge on baking them. https://www.callmepmc.com/bake-the-perfect-pound-cake/
Derek McDoogle says
I found it interesting when you said that professional bakers recommend replacing your oven thermometer every year to assure accuracy. My mom has a conventional oven where she bakes delicious deserts and she says that lately the oven isn’t heating as it used to. I will recommend her to look for a professional to calibrate it.
Elmarie Celatka says
My new stove takes longer for the oven to heat up than what my other one did. Preheating to 450 takes 13 minutes. Also heating racks are positioned the same way but foods baked in the same pans burn on the bottom in my new stove. How do I remedy this?
When it says 450 on the oven, is it actually 450 on the inside? Have you tested that?
What if the oven door is opaque? Not from grease and dirt, but simply from being made that way?
Open it and peek at temp as quickly as you can
Lisa g. says
What number gets divided by 4 after you record the temperature every 20 minutes? Thank you!
When you check the temperature every twenty minutes, four times, add those four readings together then divide that total by four to get the average.
I am so glad I looked at your site and seen this because I’ve been waiting to do this and haven’t because I wasn’t for sure actually how to do it Thank You I will do this am and then make the pound cake.Because it sounds delicious.Thanks for sharing everything. Colleen
Rebecca H Potts says
I read How to Calibrate… Either I overlooked or it wasn’ t mentioned that a dirty oven will also effect cooking. I have found this to be true so I try my best to keep a clean oven but it is something that I overlook till I look at my oven and want to cry. Did I mention that I dislike cleaning my oven. 🙂
Thank you, Rebecca! I wasn’t aware that a dirty oven affects cooking time. It makes sense though.
I assume you take 4 readings 20 minutes apart?
Thank you for sharing this. Also, I want to tell you that I am delighted the share of Pound Cake on Pinterest. I’ve never seen that many great cakes together, I’ve made several of them and can’t wait to bake the rest
Kathleen R. Mitchell says
Thank you so much! This was very helpful. Solve my problem.
Paula, I need to do this. I think using the oven as often as I do makes a difference in the accuracy. Thanks for the reminder. BTW I adore your pound cake recipes.
Wishes for tasty dishes,