Oven Temperature Conversion

Why do you need a temperature conversion table?

Think back. How often have you found a recipe you wanted to try, and then realized that it only gives the oven temperature as "Moderately Hot" or 400 degrees when the numbers on your oven do not go that high? What are you to do?

Some recipes will give you the Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion or vice versa, but others leave you to guess. Not what we want! Guesswork can get you into trouble, as you might end up with burnt offerings, or even worse, food poisoning through serving undercooked food!

So to prevent embarrassment when cooking for the love-of-your-life, refer to this temperature guide for the correct conversion:

Temperature Conversion Table

CelsiusFahrenheitGas MarkHeat
120o250o1Very Slow
160o325o3Moderately Slow
200o400o6Moderately Hot
240o475o9Very Hot

Fan Ovens

If you have a fan assisted oven you need to adjust the temperature given in the recipe down by around 20-25 degrees C (Centigrade) or 50 degrees F (Fahrenheit), in order to cook your food correctly.

Preheating the oven

You will notice that some recipes ask you to preheat your oven to a certain temperature. This is because when you first turn on your oven it needs time to warm up. If the food is put in straight away, it will start cooking, slowly as the temperature increases. If you are cooking a casserole or a baked potato then this is not a problem, but you don't want cakes, for example, to do this.

Good recipes will mention that the oven needs preheating at the beginning so that it can be warming up while you do your preparation work. If this is not noted at the beginning of a recipe it is worth taking the time to scan through to see if it says "cook in a preheated oven for..." later on, to avoid the frustration of waiting for it to come to temperature once your food is ready to go in.

I have to tell you, from experience, that it is even more annoying when you have a double oven and find out that you have preheated the wrong one!

Oven Safe Cookware

If you are going to be cooking in the oven, it is wise to check the container that you are planning to use, to ensure it will withstand the temperature to which it will be submitted.

I normally try to use Pyrex bowls and casserole dishes, as they are good quality and safe for oven use. The one time I did try to save money, and used a cheaper brand, I ended up with the dish exploding in the oven and my casserole dumped unceremoniously on the bottom of the oven, amongst pieces of glass!

Covering the food

Some recipes will state "cook in a covered container". If you have a lid then do remember to put it on, before placing your food in the oven. If your container does not have a lid you can use tin foil (aluminium) instead. You may be required to take the lid off for the last part of the cooking time, in order for the dish to brown.

Food thermometer

Another way to take the guesswork out of oven cooking is to use a food or meat thermometer.

Use your own judgment

If a recipe, or food label, tells you that your food should take 20 minutes at a certain temperature, and by that time the food is not cooked, don't serve it anyway! Leave it in for a while longer.

My husband is terrible at this. "It said cook it for 30 minutes on the packet" he growls, "So why isn't it cooked?"

This can actually be for a number of reasons. If you are cooking meat, for example, it may be cut thicker than the piece that was used to test the recipe. Or your oven thermostat may be slightly incorrect, meaning that the oven isn't as hot as it is meant to be.

Hopefully this temperature conversion chart and notes will help you to cook and serve good, tasty food from your oven.