Is oven rack placement important?
Yes. Depending on how many rack placements are in your oven, positioning racks closer or farther from the heating elements has a direct impact on how your food cooks. Most standard, or conventional, ovens have heating elements located at the top and bottom of the oven. Typically, the middle rack is the best location for most foods to cook evenly. But, placing your meals on the highest or lowest rack closest to the heating source can yield faster cooking times and crisping due to the hotter temperatures.
In a convection oven, the air is circulated throughout the oven cavity, which is ideal for multi-rack cooking. True convection ovens add a third heating element and a fan for increased air circulation. While convection ovens can help improve the distribution of heated air and speed up cooking, be mindful that you may need to adjust cooking times and temperature settings to follow recipes made for a standard oven. Some models feature an auto conversion setting that handles this for you, like this gas range with Auto Convect Convection from Maytag brand.
In select models with a basket tray, convection ovens can also be used for air frying, which uses similar techniques as convection cooking by rapidly circulating air. Due to the temperatures and hot air circulation, you have the freedom to simply place your tray and fry without the need to rotate, although shaking the contents can help optimize the results. This range with air fryer and basket from Maytag brand can help you air fry your favorite appetizers and vegetables.