3 Ways to Preheat an Oven

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3 Ways to Preheat an Oven
3 Ways to Preheat an Oven

Before putting something to bake, the oven needs to be heated to a suitable temperature. Even if it only takes a few seconds to turn it on, it takes a few minutes to reach the desired temperature. The act of turning on the oven and letting it heat to the right temperature is called “preheating”. As ovens take time to heat up, most recipes recommend turning them on before starting to bake. This article will show you how to preheat electric and gas ovens.


Method 1 of 3: Preheating an Electric Oven

Preheat an Oven Step 1

Step 1. Preheat the oven before starting to prepare the recipe

Electric ovens take 10 to 15 minutes to reach the desired temperature. That's enough time to prepare the recipe; if you need more than 15 minutes to cook the food, call before starting the process.

Preheat an Oven Step 2

Step 2. Open the oven to make sure it is empty

If you tend to store things in the oven, such as baking sheets, take them out first.

Preheat an Oven Step 3

Step 3. Level the grids if necessary

Most grills are in the middle of the oven, but sometimes the recipe you're making has to be closer or farther away from the fire. Look in the recipe and arrange the grill if necessary. There will be some narrow brackets on the inner walls to support the grill.

  • Recipes that need to be browned and crispy on top, such as roasts and lasagna, are usually prepared on top of the oven.
  • Recipes like cakes, cookies, and cupcakes are on the middle grill, unless the recipe calls for something different.
  • Recipes that need to be browned and crunchy underneath, such as flat breads and pizzas, are placed at the bottom of the oven.
Preheat an Oven Step 4

Step 4. Turn on the oven and adjust the temperature

To find the right temperature, look in the recipe. The information is usually at the very beginning of the recipe. Simply grab the knob, press and turn until the dial reaches the temperature you want.

Some ovens have indications such as “grill”, “gratin” or “heat” to near temperatures. Choose the most suitable one

Preheat an Oven Step 5

Step 5. Wait until the oven reaches the desired temperature

Some modern ovens have a display that shows the current temperature inside the oven or make noise when they reach the desired temperature. Some ovens have a light that turns on when it reaches the chosen temperature. This light is usually next to the button.

  • Most ovens take 10 to 15 minutes to reach the desired temperature.
  • If the oven is old, it may not have a knob with various temperatures written on it; maybe it just has a button to turn it on and off. If this is the case, simply turn on the oven and wait 10 to 15 minutes before putting the food to roast.
  • Use an oven thermometer. Sometimes the temperature inside the oven is not accurate and is not the same as what appears on the knob. The thermometer, which is placed inside the oven, will show the correct temperature. Follow the thermometer instead of waiting for the light to come on or the oven to make a warning noise.
Preheat an Oven Step 6

Step 6. Place the food in the oven and let it bake according to what the recipe says

Close the door securely, unless the recipe dictates something else and doesn't keep opening it to look. Opening and closing the door during cooking releases internal heat, which increases cooking time.

If you are going to use the oven to make multiple recipes, arrange the molds so they are not exactly on top of each other. This allows the hot air inside the oven to circulate through the food and distribute the heat more evenly

Method 2 of 3: Preheating a Gas Oven

Preheat an Oven Step 7

Step 1. Leave the room well ventilated

Gas ovens are powered by gas and therefore emit much more pollutants than electric ones. Leave a window open for air to circulate well.

Preheat an Oven Step 8

Step 2. Open the oven to see if there is nothing inside

If you usually keep baking sheets there, you'll have to take them out to use the oven.

Step 3. Adjust grids if necessary

Some recipes ask you to adjust the height of the grill to ensure more even cooking. Look in the recipe and arrange the grills as requested. Simply pull them out and put them back in the oven. On the inner wall, there will be supports to position the grids.

  • Recipes like baked goods and lasagna need to be browned and crispy on top. They are usually placed on top of the oven.
  • Cakes, cookies and cupcakes need to be evenly baked and are usually in the middle of the oven unless the recipe calls for something else.
  • Recipes such as flatbreads and pizzas need to be browned and crispy underneath, so they are placed under the oven.

Step 4. Find out if the oven ignites with a pilot flame or by electrical induction

This will determine how to turn it on and how to adjust the temperature. Most old ovens use pilot flames, while newer ones use electricity. Here's how to find out what's the case for your oven:

  • If the oven is pilot-ignited, you will see a constant flame that increases or decreases depending on the temperature.
  • If the oven has an electric ignition, you will not see any flames until you turn it on and adjust the temperature.

Step 5. If the oven uses a pilot flame, turn it on and adjust the temperature

It may be necessary to press the button slightly before turning.

  • If the oven has gas marks instead of temperatures expressed in Celsius or Fahrenheit, you will need to convert the mark. Log into an internet search engine and look for an online converter.
  • Sometimes the pilot light goes out or needs to be turned on before each use. If this happens, leave the temperature switch “off” and locate the pilot light. Light a match and place it near the pilot flame hole. If the light turns on, take the match off. If it doesn't turn on, raise the temperature a little.
Preheat an Oven Step 12

Step 6. If the oven is digital, press some setting such as “roast” or “grill” on the keypad and adjust the temperature

Use the up and down arrow keys to adjust. Once you reach the right number, press “Call”. The numbers on the screen will change - this is the current temperature inside the oven. Wait for it to heat up until you reach the right number.

Preheat an Oven Step 13

Step 7. Once the oven has reached the correct temperature, place the food inside

Gas ovens heat up much faster than electric ones, so expect it to reach the desired value in five to 10 minutes.

  • Keep the oven door closed unless the recipe dictates otherwise. Do not open the door to look as this releases internal heat and increases preparation time.
  • If you are going to bake several dishes and are going to use both racks, do not put too many pans on the underside. This can prevent heat from reaching the top pan.
Preheat an Oven Step 14

Step 8. Be alert if you smell gas

If you smell gas while cooking something in the oven, it may have a gas leak. Turn off fire immediately. Not use no electrical appliance as this may cause an explosion. Open a window and exit the house. Call the fire department using a cell phone or a neighbor's phone. Do not use your cell phone inside the house.

Method 3 of 3: Preheating an Oven in a High-Altitude Area

Preheat an Oven Step 15

Step 1. Remember the altitude

High altitudes will impact cooking time, temperature and even ingredients. Most recipes are not made with high altitudes in mind and will need adjustment. If you are 915 meters or more above sea level, you will need to adjust the recipe.

Step 2. Increase oven temperature

When turning on the oven, you will need to set a temperature higher than what the recipe calls for. If you are 915 meters or more above sea level, you will have to increase the temperature from 9 °C to 14 °C.

  • If it is between 2, 130 to 2, 745 meters, the best thing to do is to increase the oven time only.
  • If you are at an altitude of 2,745 meters or more, increase the requested temperature by 14 °C. Then, as soon as you put the food in the oven, lower it back down to what is asked for in the recipe.

Step 3. Decrease cooking time

Since you are raising the temperature, the food will be ready before the recipe indicates. For every six minutes of oven time described in the recipe, decrease it by one minute.

For example, if the recipe has to stay in the oven for 30 minutes, leave only 25

Preheat an Oven Step 18

Step 4. Place the food closer to the fire

Most ovens are hotter at the bottom, and this is where you should put food to ensure it cooks properly.


  • Remember that the ovens are different from each other and it may be necessary to cook longer than the recipe indicates. Likewise, food may be ready sooner than expected.
  • Use an oven thermometer if you have an electric oven. The temperature inside it is not always accurate. Place the thermometer inside and guide yourself by the temperature shown on it instead of waiting for the oven to make noise or turn on the indicator light.
  • If using multiple racks, distribute the pans instead of one on top of the other. This allows the hot air to circulate more evenly.
  • Close the oven door securely. Do not open it if the food is still baking. You lose all the heat every time you open the door, which increases your preparation time.


  • Allowing the oven to preheat (or heat to the right temperature) is important. Failure to do so results in undercooked food or longer oven time. The dish can also be baked in some parts and raw in others.
  • Some recipes do not need preheating and can be placed in the oven while it heats up. Check the recipe.
  • If you're using a gas oven and smell it, it could be a gas leak. Turn off the oven immediately and not use any electrical appliance. Doing so could cause an explosion. Open the nearest window, leave the house, and use your cell phone or a neighbor's phone to call the fire department. Do not use cell phones indoors.

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