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Break in the oven

By Demetrius Nickleberry November 17, 2021 0 comments

Congrats on your fancy new appliance! That is very exciting. Just know that you’ll have to do a few things before you can get cooking.

1. Inspect it.

As with any major appliance that gets delivered, you’ll want to give your range a thorough looksie before you sign for it. Keep your eyes peeled for dents or dings in the metal, make sure the plug on the end of the power cord isn’t bent, open and close the oven door a few times, and inspect all of the burners.

If something is wrong, you’ll want to refuse the delivery — or at least have it documented — so that the company can’t say it happened after their guys left. Your phone is your friend here: Take photos of anything that looks awry.

2. Read the manual.

It’s not going to be the most compelling read of the month, but it’s still worth the time — especially if your new oven has a bunch of new-to-you features like convection or combo-steam options. You have our permission to highlight stuff, dog-ear corners, and write in the manual. You might need to refer back to it and it’s yours to mark up however you see fit.

In related news, your range might have some sort of accompanying videos online. Check with the manufacturer or big-box hardware stores to see what they have on offer. Watching a feature get explained in a few seconds might help you make sense of it all.

3. Remove all the packaging and wipe your range down.

The installers will likely take away bigger pieces of cardboard, but do a big, comprehensive sweep and remove any zip ties (especially on the racks), plastic films over the controls and the door, and any other packaging that is still in or around your oven.

Once that’s done, use warm, soapy water and a cloth to wipe down the racks and the insides of the oven. Then, adjust the racks in a way that makes sense to you. If you’re not sure, put one rack closer to the top and one closer to the middle, as those are probably the positions you’ll use the most.

4. Break in the oven.

This is technically called a “burn in” and it’s a pretty important step (or several steps). Almost every oven — gas or electric — will need a burn in (remember when we said to read the manual?) or else you will have some stinky chemical smells, which can permeate your food when you go to cook.

Most manufacturers will tell you to heat your new oven to a high temp (think: about 400°F) for 30 minutes to help remove any residue from the surfaces inside the oven. Be sure to open the windows and run some fans — things will get smelly. You might have to repeat this process several times until you no longer smell the chemicals while the oven is on.

5. Check your cookware for compatibility.

Ideally, you looked to see if your cookware was compatible with your new range before you bought it. If you didn’t, check the manual now. If you did, check it again anyway.

If you just made the switch from electric to gas, you might want to reconsider your dark-colored metal bakeware, as the bottoms of your foods can start to burn before the middle or the top is done. Just got a stove with an induction cooktop? Use a magnet to test the bottom of your pots and pans (if the magnet sticks, they’ll work on your new range).


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