Many RVers pack their refrigerators with frozen homemade meals when they hit the road for a camping trip. Others find that access to an oven and a stovetop is essential.
Since most appliances in an RV are more compact than those in a residential home, what can you cook in an RV oven? Do they heat evenly, or will most baked goods look like something from your child’s Easy-Bake Oven?
You might be pleasantly surprised to find that today’s RV appliances can turn out entrees and desserts that a four-star chef would proudly claim as their own. Let’s see why!
What Is An RV Oven?
An RV oven usually consists of a stovetop and a small oven beneath it. The stove can be fueled by propane or electricity, like an induction cooktop, and the oven is usually run on propane. Ignition can be by automated spark, but some require manual lighting with a match or lighter.
A propane stovetop has two or three burners, depending on the size. An electric induction cooktop usually has one burner, making preparing ‘many pot meals’ rather tricky. The induction stove also uses a good deal of electricity, so if you are dependent on batteries while boondocking, you may want to limit your use.
Because recreational vehicles usually are smaller than most full-size homes, space is limited, and RV ovens are not as large as residential ones. There may not be room for a regular-sized pizza pan or sheet cake pan, but adapting to smaller baking pans and dishes can make an RV oven quite useful.
What Is the Average Size Of An Oven in An RV?
RV ovens range in width from 17” to 21” and can be approximately 11” tall. The standard depth is around 16,” and some top-of-the-line ovens even have a broiler.
Many of these appliances come as freestanding units with stovetop burners and a range below. Some RVers opt for a propane stovetop with a separate convection microwave oven. These ovens have more consistent cooking temperatures and times, but they use electricity as a heat source.
Pro Tip: Make camping while cooking easier with these 5 Easy Camping Meal Hacks.
How Does An RV Oven Work?
Propane ovens require an ignited flame to heat the interior. This heat source is usually below a metal plate in the oven’s bottom that helps dissipate the heat upwards.
Many RV ovens require manual lighting. Once lit, it may take about ten minutes to preheat. Unlike residential ovens, there are no fans to circulate the hot air in an RV oven so that baking can be uneven.
Can You Bake Evenly in An RV Oven?
When baking in an RV oven, keep in mind the oven is smaller than what you may usually be accustomed to. Less volume means there’s no room for a fan to circulate hot air, so it is a good idea to turn your dish 180 degrees halfway through its baking cycle. This should give more thorough coverage.
There are many factors to baking that don’t always occur in a residential oven. Altitude can affect the rise and fall of baked goods, and with RV travel, you may be cooking in various heights. Use recipes designed for high-altitude baking when above 6,000 feet.
Adapt old family recipes by adding a bit of flour or other ingredients as needed. Water will boil faster on your RV stovetop at high altitudes, meaning the temperature required is not as hot. You will have to adjust your cooking skills for many situations like this as you travel.
Keep in mind that in almost all cases, your RV oven is on an outside wall of your home on wheels. It will heat up faster on hot days and take longer to heat up on cool ones. Put an oven thermometer in to get an accurate account of your oven’s temperature to keep consistent heat for your baking needs.
Pro Tip: Ready to cook a feast in your RV oven? Use these 7 RV Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas.
How Much Propane Does An RV Oven Use?
Propane usage is nominal with an RV stove or oven. It is the suggested fuel for RVers who enjoy dispersed camping without hookups.
On average, a range in use for one continuous hour will burn about one-third of a gallon of propane. On the other hand, electric induction stovetops and convection microwaves use a great deal of electricity, requiring a generator or battery and inverter for operation.
Can You Use a Pizza Stone in An RV Oven?
A pizza stone is a wonderful addition, especially to older RV ovens. It helps to disperse heat more evenly while baking because the stone absorbs heat and radiates it out from underneath baking dishes. You will need to watch for too much heat on the bottom of your dishes. They can become ‘crusty’ if left too long in the oven, which is how the pizza stone got its name!
Is Baking in An RV Oven Worth It?
If you enjoy creative cooking, an RV oven can be a necessary tool. You can use it just like an oven inside your residential home. Even if your RV appliances are antiquities, you can make slight adjustments to turn out a meal fit for royalty.
You can save money by creating home-cooked casseroles, desserts, and dishes while skipping the cost of restaurant meals. Baking with an RV oven can bring a bit of home to your campsite.
What’s your favorite food to make with your RV oven? Let us know in the comments!
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