How to Use Oven for Baking

New to the world of baking? First of all, welcome aboard! Baking is a whole lot of fun, and it all starts with the right recipe, ingredients, and an oven. If you’re wondering how to operate an oven for baking, you’ve come to the right place. Trust me; it’s easier than you think!

Hey, new bakers! My name is Michelle, and I have been baking for an impressive ten-plus years. I love baking all types of treats, from delicious and moist chocolate birthday cakes to lovely confetti cupcakes. I love baking regular sandwich bread and savory muffins, too!

Baking with an oven is a cinch, especially if you’re using a traditional conventional oven. Below, you will find the steps for how to use an oven for baking. Seriously, it’s so easy; you won’t want to stop baking! (And eventually end up like me, spending hours daily mixing and baking).

Who’s ready to bake?

How to Use Oven for Baking

Before we get started, I will say this: it’s best to follow the instructions of the baking recipe you’re using, as they are all different. A cake might bake for 30 minutes at 350F, while brownies bake for 20 at 375. Follow the recipe to a tee for the best results.

Also Read: Best Ovens for Cake Baking

Now, let’s dive into the “general” basics of using an oven for baking. 

Get to Know Your Oven 

The first thing to do is to understand the type of oven you’re dealing with. Is it a conventional or convection oven? This is important because each type requires different baking times and temperatures.

Trying to bake something in a convection oven at the same temperature and time frame will end in disaster. So, find out which oven type you’re working with.

Understand the Racks

Next, understand the proper placement for your baked treat. Ovens typically have anywhere from three to seven racks inside. If you’re dealing with three racks, your baked goods are best suited right in the middle. With seven racks, you can opt for the second or third rack.

Keep in mind that some recipes will require you to switch racks. For example, if you’re baking cookies, you might move the cookie sheet up a rack to get extra crispiness and desirable browning. 

Preheat the Oven

Now it’s time to get rolling. Most recipes will tell you to preheat the oven to a certain temperature before mixing and blending your ingredients. That’s because it can take several minutes for an oven to preheat, and you shouldn’t waste time standing around.

Preheating the oven is incredibly important. Never stick your raw batter or dough in an oven that has not been preheated (unless the recipe tells you otherwise, which isn’t often).

Why is preheating so important? Well, preheating will allow the oven to reach the optimal temperature for your baked treat. If the oven isn’t ready, you can end up with a baked treat that is undercooked, unevenly cooked, and/or ultimately a huge mess. 

To preheat, simply use the dial or enter the temperature you need. Then hit “start.” The oven will start to heat up. When it’s ready, most ovens will make a “beeping” sound. 

Tip: Some ovens do not read correctly. This can be due to many things. The best way to make sure the inside of your oven is the temperature it says it is is to use an oven thermometer. That way, you know whether you need to increase or reduce the temp for your treat.

When Fully Preheated, Place Items Inside

Wait until the oven is fully preheated. Remember, placing your ingredients inside an oven that is not preheated all the way can lead to disaster. Avoid this by being patient and starting the preheating process before you mix.

Make sure you’re using the middle rack, as this is the ideal place for almost all baked treats. (Follow the recipe – if it says to place it on the top rack, then do it).

Place the items inside and set a timer. Some ovens have a convenient timer installed on display. All you need to do is select “timer,” enter how many minutes, and then hit “enter”. If your oven does not have this feature, consider purchasing a kitchen timer or using your phone.

Tip 1: Give your dishes and pans plenty of room if you’re cooking more than one thing at a time. Proper ventilation is key to evenly baked treats. There should be at least two inches surrounding each pan.

Tip 2: Convection oven temperatures should be 25F less than the recipe calls for. Otherwise, your baked goods will get overheated. You will also need to reduce the overall baking time by around 20%.

Tip 3: While baking, try to avoid opening the oven door. This allows the heat to escape, which can lead to uneven baking or increased baking time. 

Unless you are rotating the pan 90 degrees (essential for cookies and cakes), switching to a different rack, or checking close to the end of the bake time, it’s best to leave the oven alone and let it work its magic. 

Remove and Enjoy!

When the timer beeps, it’s time to check your baked goods! Most of the time, you can tell with your eyes and nose if a recipe is done or not. But if you’re new to baking and not quite sure, don’t hesitate to put a toothpick in the middle. If it comes out clean, your treat is done.

Be careful with this step. Always use an oven mitt to avoid burns.

If your baked goods aren’t done, simply put them back into the oven for a few minutes. If it is done, let the baked treat cool entirely before you dig in, frost it, or store it for a later time. Turn the oven off at this point!


Using an oven for baking is pretty easy, right? But if you still have some questions, feel free to check out these frequently asked questions about how to use the oven for baking below.

What oven mode should I use for baking?

The best mode for baking is conventional, especially for baked treats that could be longer and slower. For baked goods that might bake up faster, convection (fan-forced) can be a viable option. However, these treats bake quicker and have a higher chance of being burned.

Can I use the normal oven for baking?

A normal, or conventional oven, can always be used for baking. In fact, it’s the easiest and best way to cook the majority of baked treats out there. Always follow the recipe, though!

How can I bake without an oven?

You don’t need an oven (conventional or convection) to bake. Other handy options can be used, such as a dutch oven, air fryer, electric oven, microwave, stovetop, pressure cooker, or crockpot.

Final Words

Baking is so much fun, and the results are always scrumptious. The trick is knowing how to bake using an oven first. The best thing to do is always follow the recipe. Some of the basic things to remember include: knowing what kind of oven you’re using, and how to turn on the bake and preheat.

Do you like baking using an oven? Do you think it’s difficult or easy? Share some helpful tips with us in the comment section. 

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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  • Ally

    Very easy, thus, after going through the article. Have learnt a lot especially on preheat and positioning.