What's the Difference Between a Convection Oven and a Roaster Oven?


Quick Answer

Roaster ovens cook by using radiant heat at high temperatures, while convection ovens use a fan to circulate heat throughout the oven. Convection ovens come in small counterop units and full-size ovens, but roaster ovens are almost always small countertop appliances.

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Full Answer

Roaster ovens are often used to free up the full-size oven when cooking a roast or holiday bird. This allows sides, desserts or other dishes to come out of the roaster oven at the same time as the main dish for simple entertaining. Many roasters offer additional functions, such as baking, steaming or slow cooking. Because of the small size, tight-fitting lid and lack of ventilation, steam builds up inside of the unit while roasting. While this ensures moist meat and poultry, it also inhibits browning.

The fan in convection ovens circulates heat and uses vents that are similar to traditional ovens, so foods cook faster and more evenly. Convection ovens crisp and brown better than roaster ovens, and they almost always have multiple functions as well. Full floor-standing units usually offer traditional radiant heat cooking and convection options, while some modern microwave ovens also offer convection cooking. Countertop convection ovens sometimes offer baking, roasting, toasting, broiling and even rotisserie functions.

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