Cast iron cookware is one of the most popular types in the market right now. Many people love it because it can be used on a stovetop, in an oven, or even over a campfire! But can you use cast iron pans and pots in a convection oven? The answer is yes, but with some precautions. Keep reading to find out what those are.
Can You Use Cast Iron In A Convection Oven?
Cast iron cookware can be used in a convection oven, but there is some debate about whether it’s the best choice. Convection ovens are designed to circulate heat evenly around the food, which promotes faster cooking and browning. But cast iron cookware isn’t known for being good at distributing heat evenly. So while you can use your cast-iron pot or pan in a convection oven, you might not get as nice of results as if you were using an aluminum or glass pan.
Why Cast Iron Isn’t The Best Choice For Convection Ovens?
Convection ovens have a fan and an exhaust system that circulates hot air evenly around food. This process cooks food more evenly and gives food a crisp result (similar to an air fryer) because there is less moisture inside the oven.
Even airflow is essential for the heating, cooking, and baking of foods. That’s why it’s vital to use the correct pan made for this type of cooking.
Unfortunately, cast iron cookware is not best for this type of cooking because it is terrible at heating evenly. Aluminum and glass cookware are much better options for conventional cooking.
How Cast Iron Cookware Works
If you’ve ever used cast iron on a stovetop, then you know it’s prone to hot spots, meaning it quickly develops hot spots especially, if you use it on a tiny burner. This is why it’s such popular cookware for using over open flames while camping.
When the center is heated, it takes a long time for the rest of the pan to heat up, resulting in an unevenly heated pan. It is a poor heat conductor, unlike other materials like aluminum and copper.
Cast iron has a higher heat capacity and thermal energy than copper or aluminum. Meaning, it takes longer to heat up and retains heat longer, so it takes longer to cool.
Many people love using cast iron because it’s tough, rugged, and doesn’t warp like other materials.
Types of Cast Iron Cookware
There are many different types of cast iron cookware available on the market: skillet, fluted cake pans, dutch ovens, wok, loaf, muffin pan, etc.
All cast iron cookware is a workhorse and will work great for cooking on a convection oven or over an open flame while camping.
Cast iron cookware is not the best choice for convection oven cooking. As mentioned above, they do not distribute heat evenly, but many convection ovens are smaller than a conventional oven. Therefore, most cast iron cookware will not fit in the convection oven.
Can You Season Cast Iron In A Convection Oven?
No, to season a cast iron grill, you’ll need to coat it with flax oil and then place it in the oven at a high temperature of 500°F/260°C. Leave it in the oven for an hour. This allows the cast iron to get a good seasoning. You can repeat the process up to 6 times for an impeccable product with non-stick-like qualities.
Most convection ovens only have a high temperature of 450°F, and in order for the cast iron to be seasoned properly, it needs to extremely hot throughout, not just in certain spots. Unfortunately, this is not possible in the convection oven, and therefore, you’ll want to season it using the conventional oven.
Be careful when taking the cast iron out of the oven, as it will be scorching. If you’ve never seasoned your cast iron cookware before or are trying to restore it to its full glory, I recommend watching the video below.
Is It Safe To Use Cast Iron In A Convection Oven?
For most convection ovens, it’s completely safe to use cast iron cookware. However, ensure the cookware is not too big and doesn’t come into contact with the heating elements. Otherwise, it could result in fire or personal injury.
It’s essential to read the instruction manual that comes with the appliance. The manufacturer will state safety precautions and what type of cookware is best to use and avoid.
What Types Of Pans Can You Use In A Convection Oven?
The best cookware to use is aluminum, glass, stone, or ceramic in a convection oven. Material that is too thick will be less effective and take too long to cook.
If you decide to use cast iron cookware in the convection oven, make sure you use the bottom heating element to heat your pan more quickly and provide more even cooking.
You don’t need to purchase any special bakeware to use in the convection oven. Most of what you currently own or used in your conventional oven will work fine, as long as it is small enough.
That said, you may have to flip and rotate the pans to fit inside the smaller oven. For example, you may have to rotate the pan halfway through the cooking period. This will ensure the air flows evenly around the pan instead of just one side.
Cast iron cookware is great for cooking on a stovetop, but it’s not the best choice for convection ovens. Most convection ovens have a smaller cooking area, making it harder to find cast iron that fits.
Plus, cast iron doesn’t heat evenly. Therefore, it will take longer for food to cook. While it is possible to use cast iron in a convection oven, it may require more hands-on from you, such as turning, flipping, or rotating the pan to ensure the food is cooked evenly.
There are much better cookware options for cooking in a convection oven. I’d recommend choosing from glass, stone, or ceramic. Otherwise, you may not realize the convenience of using a convection oven over a standard conventional oven.
Dave Arnold, February 16, 2010, Heavy Metal: The Science of Cast Iron Cooking, Cooking Issues, Cooking Issues