Last updated on July 25th, 2023 at 08:20 am
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While RV kitchen technology has come a long way in the past few years, we might still need some adjustments when it comes to cooking with an RV oven, compared to cooking in a residential oven. I love baking up tasty treats in my rig, but sometimes it can be harder said than done with temperamental RV ovens!
So, let’s find out how to make an RV oven cook evenly.
Start by making sure your RV is level so 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 in this blog, along with everything you need to know about successfully using your RV’s oven. This will mean you can feel confident and able the create delicious meals for the whole family, even when you’re boondocking!
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 the oven, the style, or even that your RV oven is broken or otherwise malfunctioning. If you have a propane-style oven, you may consider replacing your propane regulator or checking your lines. You may in fact have a leak or other issue regarding the 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 uneven or inadequate cooking ability. If you’re 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 RV owners wouldn’t expect if they’re 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.
Make Sure RV Is Level
One of the biggest rookie mistakes when it comes time to set up anything propane in an RV is not initially taking the time to ensure the 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. It may be helpful to purchase some stabilizers or a jack stand for your rig, to help your RV get level without much fuss at all.
Buy Suitable Pans And Trays
Another easy mistake to make while traveling on the road for the first time and living in an RV is thinking standard cookware will fit properly inside a small-scale RV oven! Purchasing pans, trays, and other cookware adequately sized for your RV oven is one of the best things you can do when it’s time to cook for you and your family.
Having suitable-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’s much larger than the hot plate, it will likely take far longer than expected and lead to an inefficiently heated pot of water. The same applies to your oven, so I recommend purchasing small to reap the rewards.
Scale Down 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 undercook 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.
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 the entire oven has ample time to reach the desired temperature rather than just the spots of the oven closest to the heating elements. You may even consider preheating your oven with a tray inside, or even a pizza stone.
This helps with radiating heat evenly throughout the oven, as well as letting the cooking tray get warm so it’s ready to be used. However, keep in mind it might take longer for your oven to preheat if there’s a tray or stone inside it. Take your time, be patient, and your oven will reach the desired temperature in time, but I still would advise against running the oven while you’re traveling down the highway!
Be Mindful Of Outside Temperature
Did you know the outside temperature of wherever you’re 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’ve specifically purchased a travel trailer made for winter.
Many RVs lack insulation or other methods of maintaining a constant temperature inside. If you’re camping in cold or winter weather conditions, keep in mind your oven may need a few extra minutes to fully reach the desired temperature. Camping in summer will no doubt help your oven preheat faster!
Take RV Oven Temperature
If you’re curious about how your oven is operating and suspect it to be falling behind or malfunctioning, it’s wise to 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’s most likely functioning properly.
However, if you notice 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, I find having a kitchen thermometer for temping the oven helpful, and I can use it to check the temperature of food too!
Use Correct RV Oven Materials
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.
Adjust Wire Racks
Whether you have a propane or electric oven, they are a fantastic addition to any RV kitchen, opening up a world of new cooking possibilities. But it’s easy to forget, the positioning of your wire oven racks matters for even cooking. If you are able, placing your rack in the center is likely your best bet for getting an even brown color on your cookies or baked goods.
However, if your oven seems to over or undercook food 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, so pop something in the oven, and have a little experiment to see what gives you the best outcome!
Remember To Rotate
One of the easiest ways to ensure your food cooks evenly inside your RV oven is to remember to rotate the pan. If you notice one edge of your pizza is getting browner than the other, spin the tray around so 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’s important to note 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 typically be one of the types I’ve listed below.
A propane-style oven is a traditional form of appliance in older RVs. Many vintage rigs even have a compact residential-size oven complete with four-burner propane cooktops above. While this style is less common now, it’s still a valuable type of RV oven to consider. This is primarily a good choice for those 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 12V battery supply. I always think it’s wise to have a quality electrical setup in an RV, after all, we push these vehicles to their limits!
So having a good battery for boondocking can help bring peace of mind and security that you can stay powered up away from the campground – even if you have an electric oven! Propane ovens are the most temperamental of all RV appliances, second only to propane fridges. This is because propane requires your RV to be completely level in order to function properly.
Getting an RV level can be a nightmare, and if you have an unsteady travel trailer that’s rocking or shaking, you’ve likely got your work cut out! However. taking the time to get your rig as level as possible is a game-changer and can really help your RV oven run smoothly and efficiently. Just ensure you’re being safe when using your propane oven, ventilating the RV, and using it in the best way possible.
An electric or convection oven is a more common type of RV oven used nowadays. This is most likely because they are manufactured frequently and are easier to install than a propane oven. Electric and convection ovens tend to be easy to operate and sometimes have additional features and functions such as broiling, roasting, or other settings due to their high-tech nature and ability.
However, these ovens often take a long time to preheat, and they primarily use substantial electricity to rub. This can be a deal-breaker for many RVers given the desire to go camping off-grid or otherwise boondock. Some RV ovens operate on 12V battery power, though this is rare given the amount of electricity usually needed to cook anything. Most RV ovens function on 110V 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, but this can vary between cooking sessions. My biggest piece of advice with electric ovens is to make sure your power supply is stable and steady before you start baking!
RV Oven FAQs
Do you still have questions regarding how to make your RV oven cook evenly? Let’s go over some frequently asked questions now, and hopefully, you’ll 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 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 airflow vents to promote even cooking, as long as they aren’t covered up. It’s also helpful to purchase a pizza stone or other accessory able to promote even heat distribution in your appliance. You can leave this on the bottom shelf of your RV oven and it will retain heat, in turn, promoting even cooking!
From transitional from house to home on wheels, I’ve found I’ve needed to tweak recipes when using an RV stovetop and oven. Cooking times can fluctuate, and large bakes such as loaves of bread or cakes may take a significant amount of time. I see this as all part of the fun of RVing though!
Experimenting in the kitchen is fun, and whipping up meals with the healthy eating plate means the whole family can stay fuelled for all the camping adventures to come!
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 begin to cook any important meals. It’s wise to also take care not to set your oven too high, at least at first, or if it’s your first time using the RV oven.
Always temp your oven lower, initially, to prevent food from burning in your RV oven, which can make food healthier for the whole family. Leaving food while it’s cooking in the oven unattended is also not recommended if you’re worried about food burning. Keep an eye on what you’re cooking so you have the option to remove it from the oven should the oven be too hot.
Cooking using an RV oven is a bit different than traditional ovens in houses, and paired with typically having smaller usable space, it can be a little tricky at first to get into the swing of cooking in an RV.
The below video has some great insightful tips about cooking in an RV, using an RV oven, and some tasty examples of some meals that can be achieved.
Along with watching videos for inspiration, I also find it useful to set a timer on my cell phone to remind me to check on the food in my oven – I get sidetracked and need a helping hand to remember, and this works every time!
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 so you can sit down and enjoy a meal roasted to perfection, with no burnt bits!
Can I Use My RV Oven To Heat My RV?
It’s never recommended by RV oven manufacturers to use your RV oven as a way to heat your camper. Always be sure to test your RV heater before you hit the road, especially if you’re 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 use it for more than a few hours at a time for maximum safety. If you’re having issues with the heating in your RV, it’s best to get it looked at as soon as possible, or if you’re confident, you could even explore the issue yourself. It’s a far better idea to tackle the problem with your RV heating head-on than use your oven to heat the camper, as it really isn’t the safest option.
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 generally prefer propane ovens as opposed to electric ovens. Propane is easy to bring along and doesn’t require any connection to traditional power or electricity, making it a fantastic boondocking option. However, propane ovens are typically more temperamental and potentially more dangerous than electric ovens.
Electric ovens are more flexible, readily available, and can also be more affordable than RV propane ovens. This is because there are various options, such as purchasing more compact and countertop electric oven varieties. But 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’re an avid home chef or baker like me, 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’re struggling with your propane RV oven, you may need to take time to re-park and ensure 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. It’s also wise to purchase 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 your rig remains level throughout your camping trip.
Camping on dirt, grass, sand, or any other non-concrete surface can give you more trouble when it comes time to level your trailer. Consider parking on designated pads only, or know 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.
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, your family has come to expect at your residential home! All it takes is a little time and effort, and you’ll be on the road to cooking up a feast in no time!