How to use an electric oven

Updated February 21, 2017

An electric oven is a kitchen appliance that cooks food. It has heating elements that are powered by electricity and knobs or buttons that regulate the heat. An oven usually is located underneath the range top, but some ovens are mounted in kitchen walls. The oven contains racks upon which you set food for cooking. The exact methods of how to use your oven will vary from one brand and model to another, but generally speaking the steps are the same. Always read your owner's manual before using the oven, and always follow recipe instructions when cooking.

Preheat the oven according to recipe instructions. Turn the temperature knob to the temperature at which you want to cook the food and let the oven heat up for five to 10 minutes. If you have an electrical control panel, press the "Preheat" button and select the preheating time and temperature. The oven will beep when it is ready.

Open the oven door and insert the food item you wish to cook. Set it in the centre of the middle rack if you have more than one rack. Do not wrap the racks in aluminium foil; doing so blocks airflow and increases cook time. Cook your food items in glass or ceramic dishes whenever you have those options. You can decrease the cooking temperature by -3.89 degrees C when using these vessels.

Close the oven door. Set the timer on the control panel, if it has one. If not, set an egg timer so you do not overcook the food. Do not open the oven door during cook time. If you want to check on the progress of the food, turn on the oven's interior light. The switch is either on the door or the control panel.

Open the oven door when the timer goes off. If you are cooking meat, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the cut to make sure it is cooked thoroughly. If you are baking, insert a toothpick into the middle of the baked good. If the toothpick comes out clean, the dish is done.

Remove the food with oven gloves and close the oven door. Turn the temperature control knob to "Off." If your oven has a self-cleaning cycle, run it immediately to take advantage of the already high temperature inside the oven.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass or ceramic dishes
  • Egg timer
  • Meat thermometer
  • Toothpick
  • Oven gloves
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About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.