What is the difference between convection and conventional ovens? This is a very common question; it’s also a very good question.
A conventional oven is a very basic piece of kitchen equipment; inside there is an exposed heating element mounted to the top and bottom of the cavity. The heating element heats the cavity to a desired temperature. However, the temperature is often uneven throughout the cavity which can cause uneven baking with cakes and breads, and dry roasts and poultry. Not to mention that the heating element on the bottom makes it more difficult to clean.
In a convection oven the heating elements are normally hidden behind the oven cavity floor and ceiling, leaving them smooth and easy to clean. Again, the elements heat the cavity to a desired temperature. But with convection there is the added benefit of a fan mounted in the rear of the oven that circulates the air inside the cavity. This makes the internal temperatures very consistent throughout. There is also the option of European/True convection which places a heating element behind the convection fan to help maintain very precise temperatures and cook at quicker speeds.
Those are the most basic differences in how the two types of ovens work. Now let’s talk about why they work.
When you put something on the oven, let’s say, a turkey. You take the turkey out of the refrigerator then you season it. When it goes into the oven it is still very cold which works like a blanket of cold that the stagnant heat of a conventional oven struggles to overcome. With a convection oven that blanket of cold is stripped away by the movement of hot air within the cavity of the oven. Because of this effect the cooking time and temperature can be reduced which means that turkey will be much more moist. Convection ovens also allow you to bake multiple sheets of cookies at the same time. That’s because there is air movement that prevents stratifying of air temperatures between the oven racks and preventing the top rack from over-cooking.