You may have noticed many new RVs are coming equipped with microwave convection ovens. In fact, many RV manufacturers are ditching the standard propane-powered ovens altogether!
An RV microwave convection oven is a great tool that allows RVers to create delicious meals right from their camper, however, many people are still hesitant to give this appliance a try. I know we were!
Like any new appliance you might try, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but with these tips, you’ll be able to make the most of your RV microwave convection oven.
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What is a microwave convection oven?
It’s possible you have a microwave convection oven in your RV and don’t even know it! From the outside, microwave convection ovens look like regular microwaves. But, take a peek inside and you’ll notice some differences.
Just like a regular microwave, microwave convection ovens will come with a turntable and mirrored sides. The difference is all about how the food gets heated and the end results.
RV microwave convection ovens are two-in-one appliances. You can use either the microwave setting to reheat food or select the convection setting and the appliance works just like a regular kitchen oven.
How do RV convection ovens work?
The difference between a convection oven and a standard oven is how the heat gets distributed. Instead of blasting heat straight into the oven, a convection oven has fans that take that heat and circulate it resulting in a quicker cook time and more evenly cooked food.
Convection cooking is great for roasting and even baking your favorite treats in your RV. We use ours to roast veggies, bake potatoes, cook sheet pan dinners, and bake cookies and bread! We’re even able to fit a full-size pizza in our convection oven! Once you start using your RV convection oven, you might be surprised at how versatile and efficient this appliance truly is.
How to use a convection oven
Cooking in an RV microwave convection oven is actually very simple! I highly recommend taking a look through the instruction manual that came with your unit to get started. This might seem really obvious, but it was a great starting place when I was learning how to use the convection oven in our RV!
These instructions may vary depending on your unit, but using your RV convection oven should be a similar process.
- Press the CONV. button.
- Press the temperature key for the temperature you want to cook at. (On many units in RVs these are on the number buttons 0-9 and usually range from 100 degrees to 425 degrees).
- Press the START/+30 SEC button to begin preheating.
- Once the oven is preheated, place food inside (on the provided rack) and use numbers to set the cooking time.
- Press the START/+30 SEC button to start cooking. Many convection ovens will turn off automatically once the cooking time is up.
Again, check out your instruction manual! The High Pointe Convection Microwave that came in our RV followed the steps above to use the convection oven, however, the control panels on our new KitchenAid unit are quite different.
Tips For Using RV Microwave Convection Ovens
Use the racks that come with the unit
It’s important to always use the racks that came with the unit. These are needed to lift your food up off the bottom of the oven, allowing the air and heat to circulate around it correctly. If you leave your dish on the microwave turntable it will likely not heat correctly if you’re using the convection function.
Use bakeware with lower sides
Using pans and bakeware with lower sides allows the air to circulate more effectively. As a result, your food will cook more quickly and evenly. We love these pans and often use them for roasting vegetables and easy sheet pan meals.
Reduce cooking times and temperatures
Because convection ovens are much more efficient, food tends to cook faster in an RV convection oven. The more you use it, the easier it’ll be for you to determine how much you need to adjust cooking times and temperatures.
A good rule of thumb is to reduce the cooking temperature by 25 degrees. I typically set my timer for the same length of time as the recipe calls for, but check it 5-10 minutes before it’s supposed to be done.
Another option for adapting recipes for a convection oven is adjusting the cooking time. Instead of reducing the temperature, you’ll keep the temperature the same as the recipe calls for, but cut the cooking time by 25% instead. This is especially useful for recipes that take an hour or more to cook!
The key is to check on your food. You can always cook it for longer but once it’s burned, it’s burned haha! With a little practice, you’ll be a convection oven pro in no time.
Use it like you would a regular oven
When using the convection setting, you can treat it like a regular oven. There’s a common misconception that you have to use special bakeware and many people get confused about whether there are any particular rules to follow when cooking in a convection oven.
This means you can use cookie sheets, oven-safe glass, aluminum, and even silicone baking pans and molds like these! I’m a huge fan of Pyrex glass containers. They’re oven and microwave safe + they’re great for storing food too!
*An important note to make is that you can use the bakeware mentioned above when in convection mode but when using the regular microwave, you’ll want to stick to microwave-safe containers or paper plates to reheat your food. You’ll also want to avoid using paper or wood products when in convection mode!
While the RV microwave convection ovens are typically thought of as a two-in-one appliance, there is a third setting on many units that combines both microwaving and convection cooking simultaneously.
You may have a button on your microwave pad that says COMBI. This function is the combination or fast bake feature. The microwave energy cooks foods faster than convection alone, while convection browns and crisps food in a way that microwaving alone wouldn’t be able to do.
This function is perfect for casseroles, meats, and other foods that generally take a long time to cook. Keep in mind since this setting does use the microwave function, metal bakeware should not be used! Use glass or microwave-safe baking dishes only.
Pros and Cons of RV Microwave Convection Ovens
Saves time and space
Convection ovens are smaller than standard ovens. They take up less space overall since they’re the size of a regular microwave. We use our convection oven over the propane-powered oven in our fifth wheel so, we use our propane oven for extra food storage (pictured below) for items like chips, bread, and tortillas.
Convection ovens also are more efficient than standard ovens because of how the heat circulates. This will help you get dinner on the table quickly with no fuss.
If you’re buying a new RV this might not matter, but if you’re renovating an RV and trying to stick to a budget, the cost of appliances is a big deal! A quick search shows RV oven ranges at a $650 – $900 price point while RV microwave ovens cost around $300 – $500. Remember, you’re getting two appliances in one with the convection microwave!
Many RV convection ovens come with an awesome safety feature, the auto shut-off function. This automatically turns off the heating element when the temperature gets too high. Additionally, some automatically turn off once the timer goes off. This is great (if you’re anything like me) and sometimes forget to turn off the oven when you’re done cooking.
The space inside a convection microwave is smaller than a standard oven. If you frequently have multiple pans in your oven at the same time, a convection microwave might not be for you.
More expensive than a regular microwave
While convection microwaves are more affordable than standard ovens, they are definitely more expensive than standard microwaves because of the extra features. A regular microwave might be the way to go if you don’t think you’ll use the convection feature.
Not ideal for boondocking/dry camping
Depending on your unit, RV microwave convection ovens can use quite a bit of electricity. If you plan to do lots of boondocking, dry camping, or being without RV hookups, you may not want to rely on a microwave convection oven for a lot of your cooking.
A propane-powered oven (pictured below) may be the better option if you’ll frequently be off-grid.
Time to get cooking with your RV microwave convection oven!
When you’re traveling or living in your RV camper it’s important to be able to cook your favorite meals from anywhere! Cooking in your home on wheels doesn’t have to be hard. Using an RV microwave and convection oven gives you the best of both worlds and gets dinner on the table quickly without fuss.