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How to lower oven temperature & lengthen cooking times

Updated July 20, 2017

There are several reasons you might want to lower the oven temperature to lengthen cooking times. You might be scaling a recipe (cooking more or less than the written amount) or want to produce more tender meat dishes. Keep in mind the type of oven you are using, and thus the amount of cooking time the dish will require.

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  1. Use a proven recipe and make alterations. Keep notes as you go along regarding the results you achieve. If the meat turns out underdone, try lengthening the cooking time.

  2. Ellen's Kitchen recommends thoroughly preheating the oven to the desired heat so that the bottom of the baking pan is not scorched by the heat rising from the element below. A stable cooking environment will produce better results.

  3. Slow-cook roasts at 93.3C to achieve a slice that is medium-rare almost to the edge of the meat, according to What's Cooking America. Cooking a roast at 93.3 degrees C about twice as long as you would cook it at 176 degrees C. Measure the temperature at the centre of the roast with a meat thermometer.

  4. To cook a whole chicken for a greater length of time, use a method from Chowhound, which involves placing tinfoil over the whole chicken like a tent. Cook at 149 degrees Cor three hours; remove the foil before the last half-hour of cooking.

  5. Slow-cook pork by using a 275-degree oven for six to eight hours, as recommended in the example on the Food Network website. A medium pork roast will cook to 60 to 62.8 degrees C, and will be well-done when the centre temperature is above 71.1C.

  6. For sweets, bake a double portion of cake batter in a larger, double-sized pan. Lower the oven temperature -9.44 to -3.88 degrees C while increasing the baking time to allow the centre to get done without burning the edges, according to Ellen's Kitchen.

  7. Tip

    Altitude affects cooking times and outcomes. "Low air pressure at high elevations can cause cakes to rise too quickly and then fall," advises All Recipes.com. While this can be corrected by changing the leavening agents, you can also try altering the baking temperature. Conventional vs. convection: your oven type can make a drastic difference in the baking time and temperature. A general guideline used by Gourmet Sleuth: if you have a convection oven, bake for a slightly shorter period of time at a reduced temperature.


    Be sure to heed the FDA recommendations for safety, when you cook meat for long periods of time. Keep your thermometer handy and always check internal temperatures.

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Things You'll Need

  • Meat thermometer
  • Conventional oven
  • Kitchen timer

About the Author

Jessica Newton started writing professionally in 1998 during an internship with the "Yancey Times Journal." Since then she has written essays, short stories and poems, with work published in the "Bryant Literary Review," "Stolen Island Review," and "Appalachian Heritage" magazine. She received her Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

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