How to Calibrate the Oven Temperature

Have you ever followed a recipe to the letter, but when it came time to take a dish out of the oven, you found that it was significantly overcooked or undercooked? There can be several reasons for this, one of which is that your oven may need to be calibrated. Here’s how to do it on different types of ovens.

Why calibrate an oven?

Over time, the temperature you have set in the oven using the controls may not be in sync with the actual internal temperature. In other words, if you set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, it can get hotter or colder than inside the oven, which will affect the outcome of the dish.

How to Know if Your Oven Needs Calibration

Before you set anything up, do a quick test to make sure your oven really needs to be calibrated. To do this:

  1. Place an oven-safe thermometer in the center of the middle shelf of the oven and close the door.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Once the oven indicates that it has reached 350F, set the timer to 30 minutes (leaving the thermometer in the oven).
  4. If possible, read the thermometer through the oven door. If not, quickly remove it and read it immediately.

Most stoves won’t be exactly on the nose: in fact, anything within 15 degrees of 350F is considered normal. But if your thermometer shows it was 335F or lower, or 365F or higher in your oven, it’s time to calibrate.

How to calibrate an oven

The calibration process will depend on several different factors, including the brand of your oven, whether it is gas or electric, and digital or analog controls.

The easiest way to find out how to calibrate your oven is to check the user manual. If you don’t have one anymore, do a quick web search for your oven brand, brand, and model and you should be able to find a digital version of the manual. The manual will give instructions on how to calibrate, but for now here is a general overview:

Digitally controlled gas or electric oven

The process depends on the brand of oven. For example, if you have a Whirlpool or Frigidaire oven , press and hold the Bake button until California appears. Then use the arrows to adjust the temperature, increasing or decreasing it in 10-degree increments, depending on whether your oven is heating up or cooling down. Thus, if the test showed that when you set the oven to 350F, the inside is actually 370F, you would hit the down arrow twice. Finally, press the “Enter” button.

Electric oven with analog control

Gently pull the knob or dial you are using to adjust the oven temperature from the front of the oven. If you’re having trouble, you can wrap a piece of string or wire around the back of the handle to make it easier to detach.

There should be one or two screws on the back of the dial: turning them regulates the internal temperature of the oven. Turn the screw(s) only 1/8 turn, moving clockwise to decrease the temperature and counterclockwise to increase it (the controls are very sensitive).

Then replace the dial and run the thermometer test again. If there is still no temperature, repeat the procedure.

Gas oven with analog control

Since we are talking about gas, it is better to leave it to the professionals to make sure everything is done safely.


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