Last updated on March 9th, 2023 at 11:12 am
All of our reviews are based on exhaustive research, industry experience and whenever possible, hands-on testing. When you make a purchase using one of our chosen links we’ll a small percentage of the proceeds. This supports the site and keeps Jeffsetter running. You can read more here.
While RV kitchen technology has come a long way in the past few years, we might still need some adjustments when it comes time to cook in an RV oven compared to cooking in a residential oven.
How to make an RV oven cook evenly, even after you’ve tried many times to do so?
Start by making sure your RV is level so that food doesn’t shift to one side. You should experiment with the position of your wire racks and the type of cookware you use (cast iron usually works best). Scaling down your recipes and making smaller batches can also really help.
Those are some of the big tips but we’ll cover a lot more along with everything else you need to know about successfully using your RV’s oven.
Read on for all of our tips and tricks!
Why Does My RV Oven Cook Food Unevenly?
Your RV oven may cook food unevenly for many reasons. It could be because of the age of your oven, the style of oven you have, or that your RV oven is broken or otherwise malfunctioning
If you have a propane style of oven, you may consider replacing your propane regulator or checking your lines. You may in fact have a leak, or another inefficient malfunction happening regarding your fuel source.
Many RV ovens cook food unevenly due to the interior design of the oven itself. There are certain holes in your RV propane oven that need to remain uncovered in order for the heat to circulate properly.
Many electric RV ovens are simply built with energy saving in mind, and this may lead to an uneven or inadequate cooking ability. If you are using a simple countertop toaster oven, these may not be designed with efficient cooking in mind.
However, many RV ovens cook food unevenly due to reasons that RV owners wouldn’t expect if they are new to RVing. This includes the fact that RV ovens operate inefficiently if your RV is rocking or not level. The size of your RV oven also leads to uneven cooking from time to time.
So how might you fix this common issue? And what are the different types of RV ovens that may cook more evenly than others? Read on to learn more!
How Can I Make My RV Oven Cook Evenly?
If you have a propane or electric oven set up in your RV and it seems to struggle to cook things evenly, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s go over some of the most helpful tips and tricks for making your RV oven cook evenly.
1. Make Sure Your RV is Level
One of the biggest rookie mistakes when it comes time to set up anything propane in your RV is that you have not taken the time to make sure your RV is almost entirely level. Why does this matter, especially with your propane oven?
Propane is a delicate gas that can struggle to see all your appliances if you are not at a completely level angle. Propane can also over-supply your appliances, leading to potentially dangerous cooking situations.
I recommend taking the time to completely level your RV, both for the efficiency of your appliances as well as your own comfort while sleeping on the road. Consider purchasing some stabilizers or a new jack stand, and check out our list here.
2. Buy Pans and Trays that Fit Right
Another rookie mistake while traveling on the road for the first time and living in an RV, is that you think your standard cookware will fit properly inside of your smaller scale RV oven.
Purchasing pans, trays, and other cookware that is adequately sized for your RV oven is one of the best things you can do when it comes time to cook for you and your family. Having the proper sized cookware matters much more than you think!
This also applies to your RV cooktop or stove. If you try to boil water in a pot that is much larger than the hot plate is, it will take far longer than you expect and lead to an inefficiently heated pot of water. The same applies to your oven: purchase small, and reap the rewards.
3. Scale Down Your Recipes
Even if you are traveling with your family of five, it is important to scale down your recipes and everything that you are cooking so that it fits properly in your RV oven. This may sound annoying or complicated, but it may be necessary to ensure that your oven cooks evenly.
Consider halving your recipes or distributing them into multiple trays. You could also choose to cook in shifts so that each smaller pan cooks evenly and that you don’t burn or under cook anything.
This may take more time than you want it to, especially if you have a busy and hungry family to feed. However, it will ensure even cooking as well as a delicious home meal. You could also consider purchasing an outdoor RV propane grill to split up the cooking process.
4. Allow Time to Preheat
Allowing your propane or convection oven ample time to preheat is key to any cooking or baking process with an oven. Even though most propane ovens won’t tell you when they are fully preheated, allow at least 15 minutes of preheating time for these.
This is key to cooking anything evenly because it means that the entire oven has had ample time to reach the desired temperature rather than the spots of the oven that are closest to the heating elements.
You may even consider preheating your oven with a tray inside, or even a pizza stone. This will help with radiating heat evenly throughout the oven, as well as allows your cooking tray to be warm and ready for you to cook with.
However, keep in mind that it might take longer for your oven to preheat if there is a tray or stone inside of it. Take your time, be patient, and your oven will reach the desired temperature in time.
5. Outside Temperature Matters
Did you know that the outside temperature of wherever you are camping may affect the temperature of your oven? Most RV ovens are installed against the outside wall of your rig, which means they are directly affected by the temperature outside.
Most RVs are not best operated in cold temperatures. Unless you have specifically purchased a travel trailer made for winter, many RVs lack insulation or other methods of maintaining a constant temperature inside.
If you are camping in the cold or winter weather conditions, keep in mind that your oven may need a few extra minutes to fully come to the temperature you want it to be at. Camping in summer however will no doubt help your oven preheat faster!
6. Temp Your Oven as it Preheats
If you are curious how your oven is operating and suspected to be falling behind or malfunctioning, you should take the time to temp your oven as it preheats. This essentially means taking your oven’s temperature with a cooking thermometer.
If your oven seems to be preheating at a steady level, it is most likely functioning properly. However, if you notice that it remains at a lower temperature for a long period of time, you may have issues with your oven or fuel source.
Just like owning a multimeter is an important tool for many RVers to have it in stock, you may want to consider purchasing a reliable kitchen thermometer for temping both your oven and your various cooking products such as meat.
7. Materials Matter Too
Just like the size of your baking tray matters, the material of your baking tray matters too. You should consider higher quality cookware that promotes even heating and baking, especially if you plan on using your oven often.
Cast iron cookware can be valuable for baking as it radiates heat evenly throughout the pan itself. There are many other options to consider as well, especially if you read reviews from avid home chefs or bakers.
8. Adjust Your Wire Racks
The positioning of your wire oven racks matters for even cooking. If you are able, placing your rack in the center may be your best bet for getting an even brown color on your cookies or baked goods.
However, if your oven seems to over or undercook your things every time, you may consider adjusting your wire rack appropriately. Putting it on the top shelf or bottom shelf instead may lead to better results.
9. Remember to Rotate
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your food cooks evenly inside of your RV oven is to remember to rotate the pan. If you notice that one edge of your pizza is getting more brown than the other, spin the tray around so that the other side can brown as well.
This is a common solution for many bakers or chefs, even those with traditional residential kitchens. Ovens often cook things unevenly, especially ones that are of a lesser quality than others.
Types of RV Ovens (And How To Make Them Cook Evenly)
There are a few different types of RV ovens, though it is important to note that not all RVs these days come equipped with ovens at all. Microwave ovens are far more common unless you are looking to purchase a luxury travel trailer.
If you have an RV oven already installed in your rig, it will be one of these types. Let’s learn about them now.
A propane style of oven is a traditional form of appliance in older RVs. Vintage rigs even had a compact residential size oven complete with four burner propane cooktops above. While this style is more Uncommon now, it is still a valuable type of RV oven to consider.
This is primarily a good choice for those of you planning on dry camping or boondocking away from electricity. Propane ovens only need propane to work, though some may require electricity for an oven light or LED display or dial.
However, this amount of electricity is usually negligible and capable of being powered by your 12 volt battery supply. If you haven’t already looked for a battery that is perfect for boondocking, check out our list by clicking here.
Propane ovens however are the most temperamental of all RV appliances, second only to propane fridges. This is because propane supplies require that your travel trailer or motorhome be completely level in order to function properly.
This may be something that many new RVers are unaware of, so you may think that your propane oven is not functioning properly or is otherwise broken. This is often not the case, but it can be a pain to have to re-park or level your trailer over and over.
I recommend working on getting your travel trailer level and checking out our helpful article regarding travel trailers shaking by clicking here.
An electric or convection oven is the more common type of RV oven used nowadays. This is most likely due to the fact that they are manufactured frequently, and are easier to install than a propane oven.
Electric and convection ovens are usually easy to operate, and sometimes have additional features and functions such as broiling, roasting, or other settings due to their ability to be more high-tech than propane ovens.
However, these ovens often take a long time to preheat, and they primarily use up a lot of electricity. This can be a deal-breaker for many RVers given the desire to go camping off-grid or otherwise boondock.
Some RV ovens operate off of 12 volt battery power, though this is rare given the amount of electricity that is usually needed to cook anything. Most RV ovens function off of 110 volt power, or a standard outlet.
You can purchase many countertop toaster ovens or newer appliance combinations that may suit your lifestyle. These simply plugin and are ready to go, so long as you have enough dedicated power for them.
Given the need of many RVers to be away from so much shore power, electric or convection ovens may not suit what you are hoping for. Keeping an eye out for a propane oven may be a better idea for you in the long run. Depending on the quality of your power source, some electric ovens may cook unevenly and it can vary between cooking sessions.
Make sure your power supply is stable and steady before you start baking!
FAQs for How to Make RV Oven Cook Evenly
Still have questions regarding how to make your RV oven cook evenly? Let’s go over some frequently asked questions as well as the answers to these questions, and hopefully you will feel confident the next time you go to cook in your RV oven!
How Do You Distribute Heat in an RV Oven?
An RV oven is naturally designed to distribute heat evenly, but there are ways to promote this process. you can choose to purchase RV appropriate cookware, meaning the smaller pans and cooking items.
You should also pay special attention to the way your RV oven is designed. For example, propane ovens, when installed in an RV, have many holes and air flow vents that promote even cooking so long as they are not covered up.
You should also consider purchasing a pizza stone or other accessory that promotes even heat distribution in your appliance. You can leave this on the bottom shelf of your RV oven and it will retain heat, that’s promoting even cooking.
How Do You Keep Food From Burning in an RV Oven?
You can keep food from burning in an RV oven by using various heat distribution tips and techniques, as well as testing your RV oven’s abilities before you are set to cook a very important meal.
You should also take care to not set your oven to high, at least at first or if it is your first time using your RV oven. Always temp your oven lower than it should be initially, just to prevent food from burning in your RV oven.
Leaving food while it is cooking in the oven unattended is also not recommended if you are worried about your food burning. Keep an eye on what you are cooking so that you have the option to remove it from the oven should the oven be too hot.
Finally, purchasing high quality cookware and appropriately sized pans for your RV oven may help you cook your food better in the long run. Using sturdy and efficient pans can prevent your food from burning!
Can I Use My RV Oven to Heat my RV?
It is never recommended by RV oven manufacturers to use your RV oven as a way to heat your RV. Always be sure to test your RV heater before you hit the road, especially if you are planning on camping in winter conditions.
Using your RV oven to heat your RV is not only inefficient, but it can be dangerous given that RV ovens are not designed for this purpose. You should never leave your RV oven on and unattended, or on for more than a few hours at a time.
What is the Best Type of RV Oven?
The best type of RV oven depends on your personal tastes and preferences. For example, many RVers hoping to boondock or camp off the grid definitely prefer propane ovens as opposed to electric ovens.
This is because propane is easy to bring with you and doesn’t require any connection to traditional power or electricity. However, propane ovens are usually more temperamental and potentially more dangerous than electric ovens.
Electric ovens are more flexible, readily available, and can be more affordable and RV propane ovens. This is because you have the option to purchase more compact and countertop electric oven varieties.
However, these countertop ovens are often smaller and may not allow you to cook full-sized meals like you want. On the flip side though, these ovens often come equipped with far more ability than propane ovens.
For example, convection countertop ovens are often equipped with air frying, rotisserie, or broiling abilities. If you are an avid home chef or baker, one of these electric ovens may be the perfect choice for your RV.
How Can I Make My RV Level for My Propane RV Oven?
If you are struggling with your propane RV oven, you may need to take the time to re-park and ensure that your RV is level in order for it to work. Propane can struggle, even with the slightest incline shift or adjustment.
There are many steps you can take in order to make your RV level for your propane RV oven. For example, taking the time to scope out your campsite may be a good idea before you get all set up. You may be able to tell just with your eyes that the ground isn’t level.
You should also consider purchasing RV stabilizers or a new jack stand. Some of these stands are even automatic and can level your rig without you needing to do a thing. Stabilizers are key in ensuring that your rig remains level throughout your camping trip.
Camping on dirt, grass, sand, or any other non concrete surface they also give you more trouble when it comes time to level your trailer. Consider parking on designated pads only, or know that this may be an issue for you if you are boondocking remotely.
Purchasing a bubble level or other method of measuring the levelness of your trailer should be a necessity for any RV owner. If you have a travel trailer or towable trailer, you should always ensure that your travel trailer is level before you hit the road!
Getting your RV oven to cook evenly isn’t impossible. While it may take some time, you should be able to accomplish the same level of cooking in your RV that your family has come to expect at your residential home!