Written by Rick

What do the symbols on my oven mean?

Your oven is covered in symbols, but what do they all mean? Below, I'll tell you about the most frequently occurring oven symbols. The appearance of the symbols may differ per brand, though they'll mostly look similar. If the symbol you're looking for isn't in the list, it's probably a special type of program. In this case, have a look at your oven's manual.

Fan oven

hot air symbol

The fan oven symbol is a fan. With this setting, the oven uses a fan to evenly distribute the heat throughout the entire oven. The advantage of this is that you can bake relatively fast and on different levels. This setting is less suitable for baking pies, but handles casseroles well, for example.

Lower heat

lower heat symbol

In case of lower heat, all heat is generated by a heating element at the bottom of the oven. You can use this setting for bain-maries or to finish cooking a dish, but it's also useful for dishes that are cooked at high temperatures. You can use this setting to ensure the crust of your pizza or pie heats up well without the top burning. For this setting, you should preferably only use 1 baking sheet or oven rack. A second baking sheet or oven rack won't receive the extra heat from the lower heating element.

Upper and lower heat

upper and lower heat symbol

If you select upper and lower heat, the heat comes from both above and below. You can use this setting to make casseroles, meat, and pies. Upper and lower heat is a preferred option especially for baked goods that need to rise. Because of the air stream produced by the fan of the fan oven, your rising pastry might collapse. For this setting, you should also use only 1 baking sheet or oven rack. After all, your dish needs to receive heat from above and below. An extra baking sheet or oven rack would block this.

Upper heat

If you select upper heat, the oven only switches on the upper heating element. You can use this function to bake cakes of which the crust has already been baked. By using upper heat, you only bake the top of your cake. This way, your apple pie won't have a burnt crust.

Full grill

full grill symbol

You can use this to enable the entire grill. You can use this setting if you're going to grill a full baking sheet. You can use the grill to broil food, but also to cook meat, fish, or vegetables. If you want prepare really thick pieces of meat, we don't recommend using the grill. If you try to grill a thick piece, you'll notice it's difficult to fully cook the inside without burning the outside.

Part grill

part grill symbol

For some ovens, you have the possibility of only using part of the grill. Make sure to check which part of the grill you're using, so you can place your dish in the right spot. Usually, this is the center of the grill. You use the part grill function the same way you'd use the full grill function, but for smaller amounts.

Grill and fan

circulation grill symbol

If you choose for the grill and fan setting, your oven will alternate between using the grill and the fan. This way, your oven will blow the hot air around your dish every now and then, which means even larger pieces of meat and fish are cooked well. If you only use the grill for larger pieces of meat and fish, you run the risk of burning the outside while the inside is still raw.

Pizza setting

pizza setting symbol

The pizza setting often uses a combination of the fan oven and the heating element at the bottom of the oven. The extra heat from below ensures your pizza gets a nice, crispy crust. Of course, you can also use the pizza setting for other dishes that need extra heat from below.

Steam

steam symbol

The steaming function allows you to steam not only vegetables and potatoes, but also rice, meat, fish, and poultry. The advantage of steaming is that it retains flavors and nutrients better than other preparation methods. You can also use a steam oven to heat up leftovers. Heating up, or 'regeneration', in a steam oven takes longer than a microwave, but you'll notice the result tastes a lot better.

Microwave

microwave symbol

You can use the microwave setting to quickly defrost or heat up food. Other than that, the microwave is very suitable for boiling vegetables and potatoes. If you boil those in a microwave, you need far less water than you would in a pan. This way, the vitamins in the food are retained, and you won't pour them out with the water.

Defrost

defrost symbol

With the defrost mode, you can defrost products without heating them up. Quickly defrost a slice of bread for breakfast, or minced meat for a pasta sauce. The way the defrost mode works differs between ovens and microwave ovens. If you use the defrost mode on your microwave, you have to select the weight, after which the microwave activates with the right wattage and defrost time. An oven defrosts products by circulating low-temperature air through the oven.

Crisp

crisp symbol

You can only find the crisp function on microwave ovens. With this function, you can make crispy oven fries, give your pizza a crispy crust, or make rosemary chicken with a crispy layer. The crisp function only works in combination with a crisper bowl or crisper dish. The extra-hot dish heats the bottom, while the grill is aimed at the top of your dish. You can use the crisp function to speed up the cooking process, so you'll be able to serve a crispy dish quickly.


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