Most people think knowing the right time and temperature for cooking is all you need. But understanding the best rack position as well as the differences between conventional and convection ovens will help your food turn out how you want it. Learn the ins and outs of how to use an oven so you get consistent performance, meal after meal.

Step 1: Double Check Your Oven Type

Before you start cooking, know what you’re using — conventional or convection. This will determine time, temperature and rack position.

Conventional oven type


In a conventional oven, the dish closest to an active heating element cooks the fastest. It's what most people grew up using and still have in their homes today.

Convection oven with fan cooking


Fan cooking helps distribute temperatures more evenly on all racks than thermal-bake ovens. Cooking by convection can circulate heated air for fast baking and roasting.

Reposition Racks based on your meal

Open oven racks Open oven racks

Step 2: Reposition Racks based on your meal

Check how many rack positions your oven has. It can vary from three to seven. Positioning racks closer or further from the oven heating elements can affect how food cooks.

  • 1

    Roasting meat and poultry

  • 2

    All purpose baking rack or when using two racks

  • 3

    All purpose baking rack and broiling larger cuts or bone-in meat

  • 4

    Baking larger cuts or bone-in meat

  • 5

    Thinner cuts of meat or vegetables

Large turkey roast in an oven

Step 3: Start Cooking

  • Preheat to the right temperature.

  • Wait until it’s fully preheated to put in your food.

  • Allow 2" of space around cookware and bakeware so air can circulate.

  • Set the time you want to cook for.

  • Avoid opening the door unless needed, so the temperature doesn’t drop.

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Convection ovens can help improve the bake times of many dishes thanks to their even heating design. Typically, to adjust your recipe when baking, reduce the temperature by 25°F and when roasting, reduce the overall cook time by 20%. Or check your oven for a setting that does it for you, like Auto Convect Conversion by Maytag.

keep your oven clean with self cleaning settings and hand cleaning

Step 4: Keep your oven clean

Many ovens have a self-cleaning cycle so you don’t have to spend hours scrubbing. They utilize only heat—no chemicals—and are built to withstand high temperatures. For the dos and don'ts of running a self cleaning cycle and how long it can take, read how to use a self cleaning oven. If your oven doesn't have a self cleaning cycle, see your owner's manual for instructions on how to clean by hand and read how to clean an oven from top to bottom.

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cleaning the racks

Use a non-abrasive scrubbing sponge or a steel-wool pad for stubborn soils. For racks that are harder to slide out, use a little vegetable oil on the rack guides.


Learn about the benefits of cooking with either convection or conventional.

See what Maytag has to offer and zero in on the right range for you.

Learn what parts make up your oven and find the ones you need.

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