RV ovens are a challenge that many have faced, but few have mastered. Those small propane-powered contraptions have burned more meals than anyone would like to admit. Through a lot, and we mean a lot, of trial and error a select few have managed to conquer the dreaded RV oven. To help you face that fiery beast, here are some tips for baking in an RV oven.
Outdoor temp can affect oven temp
Keep in mind that the temperature outside can change the temperature inside your oven. RV ovens are usually placed against the wall, and RV insulation isn’t always the best. If there are freezing temperatures outside, it will probably take longer to finish cooking. Similarly, on very hot days the oven will likely heat much faster than you’re used to.
Get an oven thermometer
Building off of our last tip, it’s smart to monitor your oven temperature with an oven thermometer. This way you can keep track of the oven temperature, knowing that the outside weather will probably be influencing it. Although you can set your oven to a particular temp, the actual temperature inside is likely different from what it says on the screen. You can keep track of the actual oven temp with the thermometer, and adjust the numbers on the screen accordingly (like increasing the temp on the oven screen if cold weather is cooling the actual temperature.)
Rotate the pan
If you’ve cooked in an RV oven, you’ve likely ended up with a loaf of bread or a batch of cookies that were burned on one side and raw on the other. This is because RV ovens are known for having terrible heat distribution. The heat comes from the back of the oven and, theoretically, should move toward the front via rods that extend across the length of the oven. In reality, these rods are not the best at warming the front of the oven as much as the back. In order to avoid that half burned half raw taste, rotate the pan roughly halfway through cooking, or more often if the dish cooks for over an hour.
Level the RV
Something that you might not have considered heavily impacts your RV cooking – where you’re parked. If you’re parked on an incline, it can spell disaster for your dishes. When cooking something watery, you can find that the food spills over the low side of the dish resulting in a burned-on oven mess. When baking a casserole or cake, your dish could come out with a distinct slope where the batter gathered on the lower side. Unless you’re after that Appalachian mountain look, we suggest keeping your RV as level as you can.
Move the rack
Raising your oven rack helps evenly distribute the heat. Between being closer to the heat conducting rods and the warm air that naturally rises to the top of the oven, the higher the better (usually). Depending on what you’re cooking and the height of the pan, you may need to move the rack back down. Knowing where to put your oven rack comes with luck, skill and a whole lot of trial and error.
We hope these tips for baking in an RV oven help you have a little more dinner success, but most of your well-cooked meals will come from knowledge gained by experience. The good news is, you’re definitely not alone in the struggle to figure out the key to cooking in an RV oven. Even if you plan on following our advice, it might be a good idea to pack some peanut butter and jelly when you head out on a camping trip. Pizza joints usually don’t deliver to the great outdoors.