If you’re following your favorite recipes to the letter, and your baked dishes are consistently coming out raw or over cooked, it might not be your baking skills that are to blame. Your oven may be in need of calibration. Little-considered but sometimes sorely needed, oven calibration ensures your oven cooks at the temperature you set it to. The longer you’ve had your oven, the greater chance that its calibration is off. But you don’t need some gadget-laden appliance pro to get your oven back on target. Here’s how to calibrate your oven back to baking perfection.
Determine the oven’s current accuracy (thermometer method)
- Purchase an oven safe thermometer if you don’t already have one.
- Place the thermometer or its sensor in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If the thermometer shows 350 when the oven is preheated, then your oven does not need to be calibrated.
Determine the oven’s current accuracy (sugar method)
- Preheat the oven to 356 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fold two small cups out of aluminum foil and deposit a spoonful of sugar into each.
- When the oven is preheated, put one packet of sugar in for 15 minutes, and then remove it.
- Increase the oven temperature to 374 degrees.
- When the oven has reached 374 degrees, place the second packet of sugar in the oven for 15 minutes, and then remove it.
- If the first sample stays white and the second melts and turns brown, your oven is properly calibrated. If both samples remain white, your oven is running too cool. If both are brown, then the oven is getting too hot.
Calibrate your oven if needed
- Consult your ovens manual if you are unfamiliar with its calibration process. Whirlpool and Frigidaire’s digital models typically require you to hold the “Bake” button until “Cal” appears, then adjust the temperature up or down by 10 degrees using the arrow buttons (i.e. turn it up if your oven is running cold and down if it is running hot), then press “Enter”. On non-digital ovens, the temperature knob can typically be pulled off to reveal an adjuster on the back that can be tweaked by turning screws.
- Once you’ve made your changes, test the oven again using one of the processes above to see if you’ve hit the mark, calibrating and testing again if necessary until your oven is on point.
With your oven properly tuned, you can rest assured of your appliance’s honesty – you just may have one fewer excuse to use for any cooking missteps!