When Do You Really Need to Preheat the Oven? (and How to Do It Faster)

Most recipes that use an oven require preheating to a certain temperature, which can take a while. If you, like me, are a rather absent-minded chef, there will inevitably come a moment when you finish preparing the dish and go to put it in the oven, only to realize that you forgot to heat it up beforehand.

When this happens, can the food be put in the oven right away? Or do you need extra time to allow the oven to warm up beforehand?

It turns out that it depends: for some dishes you need the oven to be fully preheated, while for others this is not so important. The answer depends on the properties of what you are baking. Some foods need to be heated up to full power immediately to solidify properly, while others just need to heat up slowly and slowly.

For these dishes, you need to preheat the oven.

If your food contains flour and / or eggs, chances are good that it needs a fully preheated oven . Simply put, if it’s a dish with a baking powder like yeast, baking powder, baking soda, or eggs, then it will need a lot of heat to solidify properly. Otherwise, the dish will collapse, leaving you with an even dense texture.

Examples of foods to cook in a fully preheated oven include breads, cakes, quick bread, muffins, pies, souffl├ęs, and meringues.

For these other dishes, you don’t need to worry so much about preheating.

If you have a food that does not need to be lifted, but instead requires a gentle, slow heating , then preheating the oven is not a necessary step. This includes many dishes with wet ingredients that need to be baked long enough to be fully cooked and the aroma has enough time and warmth to emerge. You can put such dishes in the oven, turn on the fire and come back later when everything is ready. If you forget to turn on the oven before starting it, don’t worry, everything will be fine.

Examples of dishes that don’t require a preheated oven include casseroles, lasagna, stir-fry, mac and cheese, and toasted nuts.

If you forget to preheat the oven, you can speed it up.

If you are cooking a dish that requires a preheated oven and you forgot to turn it on before you start, you can speed up the process. To do this, turn on the frypot for 3-5 minutes to warm up the oven quickly. Then, when the oven has a few minutes to warm up, turn off the frypot and set the oven to the desired temperature. This will significantly shorten the preheat time and help you place the food in the oven faster.


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