Preheating An Oven – How Long It Takes

Preheating is always an issue many have in mind when thinking of using an oven, preheating is a standard procedure in cooking, especially baking. Anyone observant will notice that baking recipes require preheating the oven. This is to ensure the food will be done within the time stated in the recipe.

Preheating an oven whether electric or gas can take anything from 5 – 20 minutes. Gas ovens tend to heat up faster at a rate of 5-10 minutes compared the electric ovens at 5 – 10 minutes depending on the size. Preheating an oven is recommended for both electric and gas ovens.

However, as good as preheating is, it can be a thorn in the side, especially when you are in a hurry to get something to eat.

Do not worry, read on as you’ll be exposed to all you need to know about preheating

How Long Does It Take To Preheat Electric Oven

Before talking about the duration needed for your electric oven to preheat, there are some important things to note.

When it comes to the duration taken to preheat an electric oven, it all boils down to the model of the electric oven, older ovens may take longer periods and they do not come with the pre-fast feature.

Apart from the model of the oven, other factors contribute to the period it will take for an electric oven to be preheated.

  • Room Temperature
    If you place your oven in a room with low temperature, then preheating might take a longer period.
  • The oven starting temperature
  • Selected Temperature
    Most times the preheat temperature is set at 350.
    However, there are cases you want something higher.
    In that case, for every 25 added the preheat time will increase by about 45-60 seconds.
  • Volt Installation
    If an oven is installed on a lower voltage it will be slower in preheating compared to those installed on a high voltage.
    Installing an oven on a low voltage will lead to a longer preheating period.
    The standard voltage for an electric oven is 240 volts.
    Anything less than that will lead to a longer preheating time.
    For instance, Installing your electric oven at 208 volts will cause a 25% increase in the preheat time.
  • Number of racks in the oven.
    For every extra rack in the oven, will add about half a minute to the preheat time

Generally, if all things are in order, most electric ovens heat up to the right temperature (350 degrees) in about 10 to 15 minutes for normal operations.

Below is a table showing the duration it will take for your electric oven to heat to 350 degrees if the oven is installed at the correct voltage (240 volts)

Oven TypePreheat Time (approx)
Electric oven with the visible bottom bake element5-10 minutes
Electric oven with Hidden bake elements and pre-fast feature7-10 minutes
Electric Ovens with Hidden Bake Elements15-20 minutes

Note: To preheat to 450, add extra 4-5 minutes to the time.

You can’t completely trust the temperature inside the oven because sometimes it is not accurate and does not match the temperature on the dial

To have a more accurate measure of the preheat time needed, you’ll need an oven thermometer.

An oven thermometer will give you the actual temperature. Using the thermometer will give a more accurate result than waiting for your oven to beep or waiting for the indicator light to go on

Place the thermometer in the middle of the rack ( the rack placed in the middle of the oven). Then set the oven to 350 and also set the timer. Once it is 10 minutes check the thermometer, do that again at 15 minutes

How Long Should It Take To Preheat A Gas Oven?

Compared to an electric oven, gas ovens get heated up faster. Under normal circumstances, a gas oven should heat up (to 350 degrees) in 5 to 10 minutes.

You should always leave the door closed except stated otherwise because if left open the heat in the oven will escape and this will, in turn, affect the duration of your preheat.

Just like an electric oven, some things might delay the preheating of your gas oven.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

  • Room Temperature and the Starting Temperature Of the Oven (just as we have in an electric oven).
  • Volt Installation
    Everything said about volt installation of electric ovens holds for gas ovens too.
    Anything below 105 volts will lead to a longer preheating period for a gas oven.
  • Faulty Thermostat
    The thermostat is responsible for controlling the amount of gas within an oven.
    Basically, the thermostat lets your oven reach a certain temperature and not get heated any longer, then the valve closes.
    So a faulty thermostat will not let enough gas into the oven, lingering it from heating up properly.
  • Gas Safety Valve Issues
    A safety valve opens and relieves excess pressure from equipment.
    It also recloses and prevents the further release of gas after the restoration of normal conditions.
    A broken gas safety valve may cause your oven to be heating slowly.
    If the safety valve isn’t opening up properly or getting stuck, it can make your cook get too hot or heat slowly.
    This can eventually turn out to be a serious issue and you need to contact your gas company if you smell any gas near your cooker.
  • Broken Ignite
    The ignitor is responsible for letting gas flow to your oven which in turn heat your oven.
    A broken gas ignitor will not let gas fill your oven.
    Also once the ignitor is broken the valve will not be able to release any gas.
    Once this happens, you have to replace the igniter immediately

Do I Have To Preheat My Oven Before Using It?

So this is a question on many lips. The answer to the question is a resounding YES.

You need to preheat your oven. Preheating your oven will make your food cook faster. It is also important when you’re baking.

So does this hold for Gas Oven too?

Yes, just like an electric oven you also need to preheat a Gas oven. In short, the major difference between a Gas and an Electric oven is that a gas oven can burn up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit compared to 450 or 500 degrees Fahrenheit of an Electric oven.

Also, preheating increases the interior of the oven. Once the temperature of the interior is raised, it helps keep the air hot.

Can I Do Anything To Speed Up The Preheat Of My Oven?

There are times when we feel our oven takes a long time to heat up. This can come down to a lot of factors. Let take a look at some of the hacks you can apply to speed up the preheat of your oven.

Note: This works for both gas and electric oven.

  • Take out unused racks
    It is best to remove any rack in the oven before preheating.
    Leaving an unused rack in the oven will prolong the time it will take for preheating.
    As said earlier in this article, on average an unused rack will add about half a minute to the preheating duration.
  • Avoid Opening The Door While Preheating
    While the urge to always peek into your oven is always there, resist the urge.
    Keeping your door closed during the preheating will make it fast.
  • Turn off your Circuit
    If you notice your oven is taking longer than necessary for preheating.
    Turn off the circuit breaker and switch it in about 30-45 seconds.
    This is to make sure the oven is getting adequate power.
  • Contact your Installer
    If your oven was newly installed, then you should call your installer.
    Your installer will check if the power cord was wired properly.
    If your oven is not newly installed, the electrician will check the power connections and power supply to the range.
  • Use a broiler
    This is more of a black hat method and should be used at your discretion.
    If your oven has a broiler, it can save you time in the kitchen.
    All you have to do is turn on the broiler for some minutes before switching to the temperature you want.
    This will save you time from waiting for the preheat setting to beep.