What Is A Multifunction Oven? – Everything Explained
If you’re shopping for an oven, you’re likely to come across the term multifunction oven. But what does it mean? Is it a good thing?
In this post, I’ll explain what a multifunction oven is, its pros and cons as well as answer some popular questions about the topic.
Let’s get into it!
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What Is A Multifunction Oven?
A multifunction oven is an oven that has multiple heating elements inside the oven cavity and a variety of settings to use these elements in a combination of different ways to give you more options when it comes to cooking. If you have purchased a built-in oven for your kitchen over the past decade, it is likely a multifunction oven.
A multifunction oven not only provides steady heat from a bottom heating element, but also includes a fan for convection cooking, a top heating element, a grill, and even a defrost function. Use the control panel to select the cooking function you desire for each recipe.
Other common multifunction settings include a pizza setting, dough proving, slow cooking, bread baking as well as various cleaning functions. The exact functions will vary depending on the make and model.
Multifunction ovens are available as both free-standing range cookers as well as built-in appliances. They can be sold as electric or gas and as a single oven or combi versions. You can also order a double multifunction oven to further expand your baking capabilities.
You may think of a multifunctional oven as a luxury upgrade, but the majority of ovens produced these days include many multifunction options. It is harder to find a true conventional or simple fan oven.
An old-fashioned conventional built-in oven can be found for about £150. A multifunction can be purchased for as little as £200. Of course, you can totally splurge and pay in excess of £2,000 for an oven that matches all your appliances, has Wi-Fi capabilities, and all the bells and whistles.
- Add flexibility to your oven-prepared recipes. Bake, roast, grill, and defrost with one appliance.
- Includes conventional, fan, and grill cooking options.
- Versatile cooking options
- Programmable cooking times.
- Top and bottom heating elements for more even cooking.
- Fan convection setting speeds up cooking times.
- Cost-effective upgrade
- Available for gas or electric
- Slightly more expensive than a conventional oven.
- Complicated controls can confuse inexperienced cooks.
- Could be more of an appliance than you will ever need or use.
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How Do You Use A Multifunction Oven?
A multi-function oven can be used for preparing nearly any type of meal not cooked on a hob. While the controls on multifunction ovens will vary slightly between manufacturers, the majority will be very similar in operation.
Are you a keen baker? You can bake like a conventional heating oven. Select the base heat button and set your temperature and time. If your cake recipe refers to 180F fan heating, you will select the bottom heat and fan button.
You may wish to roast a chicken or beef using the top and bottom heat with fan. Depending on your model, you will either select all three buttons or use the digital menu to choose your setting. Using the fan with top and bottom heat provides faster and more even cooking.
Are you finishing off a steak with the grill? There will either be a small grill drawer at the top or you may need to move the racks to the top slot. Press the grill symbol with or without fan. Some units allow you to heat just half the grill to sear smaller portions.
Your multifunction oven will likely have a pre-heat feature or rapid start setting that brings the oven up to temperature before you begin baking. The fan element speeds up the pre-heat cycle.
Use the defrost setting to turn on just the fan without heat. Your frozen food will defrost faster compared to leaving it on the counter.
Many will also include a pizza setting that uses the bottom heating element and the fan to evenly cook your pizza while making sure the doughy base gets cooked through fully to perfection.
Some multifunction ovens include a steam tray to help control the moisture level for roasts and bread.
The oven may also be self-cleaning. If it says it is pyrolytic, it will literally burn any stuck-on foods to ash. Once you select the cleaning cycle, the oven locks. Temperatures soar up to 500C. It stays locked until the oven is completely cool. Simply sweep out the ash, and you have a clean oven without using chemicals.
Another option for cleaning is a steam-clean function found on a limited number of models. The oven boils off a tray of water which helps to melt stuck fats. It makes it easier to wipe up burnt-on foods, but it is not as efficient as the pyrolytic option.
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What is the difference between a fan and a multifunction oven?
A fan oven may or may not have a grill. The multifunction oven is more likely to have additional programmable functions such as grill with fan, top and bottom heat with fan etc.
A fan oven may only have the option of using the fan with bottom heat (or lower element). The multifunction oven gives you greater flexibility and cooking styles.
What is the difference between a conventional oven and a multifunction oven?
A conventional oven uses only bottom heat with no electric fan to bake food. Some conventional ovens include a grill, but no fan.
A multifunction oven will have the ability for bottom heat, top and bottom heat, grill, fan, and possibly a multitude of functions. It is getting harder to find a true conventional oven in the UK as nearly every model features a fan and grill.
Does a multifunction oven have a grill?
Yes, nearly every multifunction oven comes with a grill. Some higher-end models have the choice of doing half or double grill where you choose to heat foods with just half of the upper element.
This is great for reheating a slice of pizza or a single serving of leftover lasagne. Always check the function details when you buy a multifunction oven to ensure it has everything that you want and need.
Is a multifunction oven worth it?
Investing in a multifunction oven is worth it if you are an avid cook and baker. It provides the greatest level of flexibility, so your recipes come out just right every time.
A multifunction oven helps you bake, roast, grill, and steam with confidence. If you use the kitchen in your flat just to heat frozen meals or reheat leftovers, a smaller tabletop microwave/convection oven will do the job.
If you are remodelling a larger kitchen in a house, adding a multifunction oven helps to maintain the value of the home.
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There you have it! Everything you need to know about the multifunction oven and if it’s the right choice for you.
Nowadays you’d be hard-pressed to find an oven that isn’t multifunction. Every manufacturer makes multifunction models as part of their line-up, even as part of their entry-level options.
While they may be fractionally more expensive than a conventional oven, In my opinion, the extra settings and cooking options far outweigh the extra cost. Conventional cooking is a thing of the past!
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.