How to Calibrate Your Oven For Better Baking

Calibrate your oven

With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about holiday baking! I love baking….especially my Mom’s Sour Cream Cookies! I make a lot of these cookies as treats for family and friends around the holidays, but it’s very easy to over-bake them, so it’s important the oven’s temperature be set just so. Last year, I decided to find out just how accurate my oven really is. It turns out that calibrating an oven is a very simple process that only takes a couple of minutes!

Calibrate your oven

First, you’ll need to an oven thermometer. The inexpensive grocery store variety will work just fine! Once you have a thermometer, preheat your oven to 350° and set the thermometer in the center of the oven. Once the oven is completely preheated (give it plenty of time,) check the thermometer. Ideally, you’d want to check the temperature through the oven door with the oven still shut. Quite a bit of heat can escape through the open door!

How to Calibrate Your Oven

I was amazed that my oven was exactly 350°! Turns out, the oven is not to blame when my cookies or bread don’t bake perfectly. ;-)

From here, you can move the thermometer around in the oven, giving it 10-15 minutes between readings. You may discover a few hot pockets or cooler spots. While there’s not much you can do about those variations, it’s much better to know that they are there so you can properly rotate things.

If your oven wasn’t perfect, you can be pretty happy as long as it is within 5-10 degrees. A reading of anywhere from 340°-360° is acceptable.  You may notice that your oven needs more time to heat up than you thought, or that it heats up higher than 350° after it preheats. Every oven is a little different, but understanding yours should help you bake things much more evenly. :-)

Calibrate your oven

If your oven was below 340° or above 360°, you’ll want to tweak things a little bit, so that you don’t have to adjust every time you set the oven. If you still have your owner’s manual, look for a section about calibrating. Otherwise, you can search the model number of your oven and find the manual online. The model number is located on your oven, usually just inside the door against the left side. Most ovens will give you the same directions for calibration.

Adjusting the Temperature Gauge

How to Calibrate Your Oven

Remove the oven temperature knob and take a look at the back. All you have to do is loosen those two screws and move the dial clockwise or counterclockwise to shift the numbers. Tighten the screws back up and turn on the oven to see if everything matches.

This solution is really just bringing the numbers on the oven dial into alignment with the temperature inside the oven. We’re not actually adjusting any of the inner workings of the oven itself. If your oven temperature is off by more than 100° or fluctuates a lot in temperature, you’ll need to call a professional.

Happy baking! :-)

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Living in Central Texas we don’t use our gas oven often. Especially now that we have an Instapot Vortex. We couldn’t figure out why our pizzas kept turning out with an uncooked center LOL One day I decided to get a thermostat like the one in the link above. Turns out that ours was 25 degrees too hot. We use the same method about twice a year to check now.

  • […] is a lot harder if your oven isn’t actually at the temperature you think it is. Calibrating your oven is super easy, and it makes baking much more […]

  • It looks like, from one of your photos, that you might have a convection oven. We were taught in culinary school that convection ovens bake as if it’s 50 degrees higher than regular ovens (of which I am sure you are probably already aware.)

  • I have a gas oven (which I love), but what do you do when the temp is okay but can not get the rack height right? If I move it up one level the bottom gets too dark and if I move it back down one the top does.

    • I’d probably use something like a cookie cooling rack — one that’s safe to use in the oven — to put under the food and put the oven rack on the lower level. Maybe even an upside-down cookie sheet would work — anything that would raise the food a bit.

  • I would have never thought to calibrate my oven…………..NOW with Jillee’s helpful blog, I can. Just like Donna said, You learn something new every day especially when you go to the right place………………………….Thank you………

  • Ha, ha. My oven doesn’t even have numbers; we lost the dial with numbers and it was $150 to replace so we didn’t and just use a knob. I take a wild guess where 350 is and work from there. Don’t know why I never thought about getting a thermometer.

  • My oven is so old it just has numbers on the knob, nothing else :) It’s pretty close though, I keep a thermometer in the oven just in case. Good info to know for a new one though, when I get around to buying one haha

  • Like you, I have a frigidaire. But unlike you, mine has a digital readout and touchpad settings. I have had to recalibrate the temperature in the last couple of years. After having the service guy recalibrate it for me, he showed me how to do it myself and where in my manual the instructions were. Thanks for reminding me that it’s time to check it again!

  • Holy Cow! That old adage “You learn something new every day” is at work again! I just barely got my coffee made, man. Did a few stretchy moves, and sat down to mah keyboard and monitor and shazaam! AND, I will have you know, that your little lesson of the day couldn’t come at a more auspicious time. My oven has been giving me fits for the last 2 1/2 year, even after having a new element put in (yep, it’s an Eeelectric oven), it has seemed that that oven was still running hot. THANK YOU so much! After all these decades, I now have a means of figuring it out! You rock, lady, you so rock!

  • This doesn’t work on a digital oven. I was told by my repairman that gas ovens cannot be calibrated. Ended up having to buy a whole new oven after adjusting for a year.

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