The Ultimate Oven Temperature Guide

The Ultimate Oven Temperature Guide

A few months ago I got a question from a Simple Meal Plans member looking for an oven temperature guide.

Oven Temperature Guide
Video Tutorial

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The question went like this…

Hey Jules,

Tonight’s dinner was divine: your Satay Curry. MUST make it again!

Anyway, tonight’s plan was actually Italian Sausage Supper + Divine 4 Ingredients Cheesecake.

I chickened out.

Can I cook them in the oven together, even though one is 170 and the other 200 degrees Celsius?

Are there guidelines I can use as dictate what can be cooked in the oven, and what temps?


ps. FYI. Cheesecake is in the oven now. Sausage supper is for tomorrow. :-)
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My answer was YES you can absolutely cook them in the oven together.

Best to set the temp to 170C to make sure the cheesecake is fine. And expect the sausage supper to take longer than the recipe.

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How to cook 2 things with different temps

It’s simple. Use the set point for the most delicate item or for the one with the lowest temp. And expect the other item to take longer than normal.

I’d probably put the more delicate / lower temp dish on the lower shelf as well.

Too easy!

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Oven Temperature Guide
(Oven Temperature Conversion Chart)

F = degrees Fahrenheit (degrees f)
C = degrees Celsius (degrees c)
GM = gas mark

200F = 100C – super slow cooking for meats etc. similar to a slow cooker.

300F = 150C = GM2 – regular slow roasting.

350F = 180C = GM4 – for most sweet baking, cookies, cakes etc. Roasting nuts.

400F = 200C = GM6 – Perfect roasting temperature for roasting veggies, roasting chicken, roast beef, roast lamb, cooking baked dishes, reheating food. Basically good for cooking everything else.

480F = 250C = GM9 – aka ‘cranking it’. For pizza, fast roast fish and times when I’m short on time.

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The Ultimate Oven Temperature Guide

1. Things cook faster at higher temps.

Of course you already knew this. So if you need / want to cook something in a hotter oven you expect it to take less time and start checking earlier.

Where it gets tricky is for larger pieces of meat or baked goods like Bella’s cheesecake. If the temperature is too high the edges will start burning before the middle is done.

Not a good look.

So in Bella’s case I’d choose the oven temp to suit the cheesecake and let the sausages just take longer to cook.

2. Most savoury dishes are flexible with temperature.

Cooking sausages at 170C (325F) instead of 200C (400F) isn’t going to make a huge difference apart from the time.

3. Most sweet baked goods aren’t so flexible.

Two reasons for this. First as I mentioned above is the potential for uneven cooking (burnt edges).

The second is that baked treats tend to have a smaller window of time between ideal and under or over baked. Another reason to prioritize the cheesecake.

4. It’s OK to use different temps to the recipe.

Just expect the timing to be different and you’ll be fine.

5. Generally fan assisted ovens will cook quicker.

Which is why most recipes will tell you to reduce the set temp by 20C / 50F with fan ovens.

The theory is the fan moves the air in the oven to redistribute the hot air that rises so you get more even cooking. A fan definitely helps so I pretty much always use the fan but still find some unevenness with my current oven.

6. Some ovens are fast and some are slow.

Having lived with many different ovens over the years I’ve found some ovens just tend to run ‘hot’ and cook things quickly. And of course others are slower.

7. Use the middle shelf when baking.

Just so you’re more likely to get good air circulation around your baked treat and therefore more even baking.

8. Are oven thermometers accurate?

I’ve tried a few different ones and they tended to cause more trouble than their worth. So while they may be accurate they can fall over and get in the way. So I don’t use them.

I prefer to just use the oven settings and go from there. After all the aim is to have properly cooked (and delicious!) food. There aren’t any prizes for baking at exactly 180C for exactly 30 minutes.

Although if your oven doesn’t have any temperature markings on it (and I’ve lived with those) a thermometer can be helpful.
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How to know when your oven is done preheating

Most modern ovens will have an indication when it is at the correct temperature. My old oven had a little thermometer icon when it was preheating and this would go out when it was finished. My new oven rings a little alarm when it is at temperature. It also has a little ‘i’ button – when I press this it tells me the current temperature.

If your oven is older and doesn’t tell you – just allow it to heat for 10 minutes. That will be enough time for most ovens to come up to temperature.

If you’re baking a savoury dish it’s fine to put the food in before it is up to temp.

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Is 450 high for an oven?

YES! 450 Fahrenheit (230C or GM8) is pretty hot. However when I’m short on time I often increase the temperature even higher to 480F (250C / GM 9).

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More Cooking Skills

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Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x


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  • Another helpful tip is where you place the food in the oven. The temperature is higher on the top shelf than on the lower shelf. I always do my roast potatoes on the top shelf! :-)

  • This was interesting. But, what is the elevation where you are? I (and others no doubt) are at higher elevations – about a mile high here in Arizona in the US (where its also very low humidity – another factor people tell me.)

  • Great post. Thanks for the hints Jules and the recipe. Will swap the eggplant for zucchini but it sounds both healthy and yummy.

  • Hi Jules, thanks for the oven tips. I have another question (feel silly for asking this) but when you cook a sweet and a savoury together in the oven at the same time, like the sausage supper and the cheesecake, will the cheesecake take on a sausage taste?

    • See my comments below.
      That was an important question at the Smeg training…..the answer is “NO the flavours don’t usually transfer. Mind you, I probably wouldn’t cook a garlic pie at the same time as a lemon meringue!
      Cheers, Ellis

  • Hi Jules – I have a kid who won’t eat eggplant and doesn’t like zucchini all that much either. So I do one third of the casserole dish with sliced potato or mashed potato if I have it in the fridge. The other two thirds is eggplant moussaka as usual for the adults.

      • OMG – same here – why are these two veggies so loathed by kids and teens? Bizarrely – if I grate either of them the teen will eat it up without a comment – as long as it is in a dish like this or a tomato sauce etc – not solo. I think it is the texture of both that irks him as they are similar on the soft/mush front. Try it and see – you never know?!!!!!

  • This is great – thanks Jules. I have to agree about the oven thermometer – it is painful – but a necessity for me as our gauge is completely off. Took my a long time to figure out that I wasn’t such a bad cook after all – it really was the oven’s fault!! = )
    On another note, I wonder if you have many interesting dairy, gluten and nightshade free recipes? Of course, there’s the good old stew (no potatoes or tomatoes etc.) and trusty stir-fries, but as the weather cools I’m looking for more comfort food options. Anything up your sleeve?

  • In a previous life I was a kitchen appliance salesman. The Omega/Smeg suppliers provided hands on training which involved cooking. At the class that I attended there were around 15 participants and the exercise/demonstration was to prepare and cook main and sweets for all 15 in one oven at the same time. The oven used was a basic 600 mm, 3 shelf and fan forced model. As you can imagine, the thing was packed but, boy, the food (roast meat and veg were superb. If you use the baking trays that came with your oven you’ll maximise the space.
    Cheers, Ellis (a VERY amateur cook)

  • Thank you so much, Jules (and Bella). I’ve often wondered about oven temps and had chosen to use a mid-way temp of 375F when cooking a 350F dish with a 400F dish. Now I know better. Plus, I used to use the lower shelf rack, thinking closer to the oven element was hotter. :( Thanks again for this info.

  • Hi Jules!
    This is some super helpful information! I’ve always been a bit unsure about oven temps but from now on I’ll know what to do. Thank you!!
    Also, that Moussaka looks divine – gotta give it a go!
    You really inspire me to get in the kitchen and try new things. :-)

  • I was going to cook moussaka tomorrow eve but will now use this recipe. Saves having to make a white sauce to go with too.

  • Greetings, found the blog interesting but as I have an Aga, not really useful! Recipes that say ‘put on the middle (or top, or bottom) shelf for x amount of time have always stumpted me, as middle of the oven is Gas mark 5/6 (sorry, never had an electric oven), top is mark 8/9 etc.
    One day we may move and have a normal cooker!

  • I can juggle most temperatures that are reasonably close, but I find the biggest challenge is slow-cooked roasts with roast potatoes. because the difference in temperature requirements is significant. I cook the meat very slowly at about 160 F because that’s what it needs, but the potatoes are best at high temp. I can’t quite cook the spuds in the resting time after I take the roast from the oven.

  • Yes, very helpful. My oven cooks very unevenly, so sometimes I have to rotate things halfway through. Also, the gas company seems to give gas that delivers different BTU’s from day to day! Not at all helpful.

  • Thanks Jules! I wonder, if substituting the eggplant with mushrooms, (if eggplant is out of season) would mushroom need prior cooking? (I did try a quick and unsuccessful Google on this!)..

  • I made this Wednesday and it was delicious and even more delicious the day after! I replaced sour cream with a fermented oat based creme fraiche to make it dairy free. Thank you Jules!

  • Thank you for the simplicity, ease and flavour of your recipes Jules. I love the above moussaka recipe and also the lentil balls for a vegetarian option – both asking for ‘tomato passata’ which we do not have on our shelves. What do you suggest as a fresh and healthy alternative – maybe made with fresh tomatoes to quick and easy sub the tomato passata? Thank you x li

  • Made this recipe tonight. I added some onion, garlic, and fresh basil to the lamb/tomato mixture – but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. It was absolutely delicious and my dinner guest was very complimentary! Thanks Jules :)

  • Jules, I have a question: I need to cook at 100ºC and the minimum temperature of my oven is 125ºC. Is there anything I can do to lower it while roasting? I thought of introducing a tray with water at the bottom but not sure it’ll do the trick. Thanks

  • Hi Jules!
    I know you posted this recipe last year and I’m finally getting around to making it! ( You’re post on FB the other day reminded me of it), but I just wanted to note I added a few teaspoons of ras el hangout to the meat mixture as every time I’ve had mussaka in the past it’s always had a hint of spice, so as it’s baking in the oven, it smells wonderful and can’t wait to take a bite!
    Oh! And I wanted to add my grocery store here in the US has finally started carrying a proper tomato passata! I was so excited since I’ve been following your blog for years now and have never been able to find that ingredient until now!
    Thanks for everything!

  • Hi Jules,
    I have used this base recipe and changed the eggplant for thin slices of uncooked pumpkin. It takes a little longer to cook, about an hour, so I put the sour cream topping half way through.
    Might take longer to cook but much easier than having to cook the eggplant first.

  • I have always been unsure of the term “slow oven”. Just what does that mean? Is it 325 degrees or 300 degrees? When baking a new recipe this term in confusing!

    • To be honest I think a slow oven can be anywhere between those temperatures Mary – I’m not a fan of vague terms like that so always include the exact temp with my recipes. Great question though!

  • I am making a crown roast of pork that requires a 325 degree oven. It is accompanied by a dressing that requires a 375 degree oven uncovered for an hour. If I bake them together at 325 how long do I need to bake the dressing? Also, should it be covered?

    • Good question Marge…

      I’m sorry I can’t really say for sure without seeing the recipe.

      But as a guess I’d leave the pork uncovered unless it starts to brown too much. And I’d expect the dressing to take 90 minutes – but best to just check every 15 minutes or so.
      Good luck!

  • How do I cook a yummy recipe I have that calls for it to bake at 175 for 2 1/2 hours faster? I would love to make this more often but with the cook time makes it almost impossible. Please help?
    It’s chicken with rice & canned soup topped with grated cheese.
    Thank you!

    • Just increase the temperature Liza. I’d start with 220C and check after 30 minutes. I assume it’s being cooked covered.

      Does that help?

  • Whatever happened to the child having to sit at the table until plate was clean. I was made to eat everything on my plate. And there is nothing that I do t eat today. Too many commercials on tv add to the idea that green veggies are yucky! But French fries are yummy. Worse think is to get you children hooked on fried foods. Parents of today have forgotten the negative words. Is it on your plate? Then it eat!
    My son is a Chef and makes and eats all food groups.

  • Hi Jules,

    I am trying to create a formula for oven-cooking for 2 different temperatures, and wanted to see what you think of.

    Let me build an example here. If a cooking instructions says 350F for 30 minutes, the “total energy needed=TEN” would be Temp x time which is 350 x 30 = 10,500.

    Now let’s look at the calculation in your article above, let’s cook at 250 instead of 350, then you will need 42 minutes. So TEN is the same = 250 x 42 = 10,500.

    So “in theory” as long as I get to the TEN I should be able to adjust the time OR temperature or both as long as they are logical (we won’t be cooking something at 5,000F for 2 minutes).

    Here is what I want to achieve; when I make ribs/large meats in oven, I start with high temp for a short time and reduce to low for long time. So I have 2 different temps. The original recipe says 350 for 150 minutes(TEN=52,500). But I want to start with 450 and reduced to 250. Now we need to split this into two; 450 instead of 350 for x amount of time + 250 instead of 350 for y amount of time. This total should be 52, 500. My calc shows, x = 35 minutes, y = 147 minutes. Hope you get the idea :) My issue here is when you reduce the temp from 450 to 250, it just doesn’t immediately goes from 450 to 250, the residual temp stays way longer than 250 for sometime, hence using the TEN formula for 2 dif temp doesn’t work, I was wondering how you would approach to that.

    • Tansu, I think that your oven should regulate the temperature automatically, meaning as soon as you lower it, the oven turns of until it did reach the temperature you did lower it to (for the simple reason that the thermometer will register a higher temperature.

      On my external oven on high temperatures there are 4 minutes added after heating something up high, so I assume that this process will take around 5 minutes, and I assume that you don’t have to worry about your dish having been heated 3 minutes higher than you set it to.

      In your case I would simply ignore it and from the first time on go by your experience. If it was a little bit too dry, lower the overall length by ten minutes and if it was not totally done, extend the time by the same length.

  • Ok, I have had to read through your guide (which was unsolicited and not wanted in this recipe), and a million comments. and still don’t see any directions for the dish. I am getting very tired of people using this site to push their blogs and not the dish they claim they are making.

    Truly tired.

    Not good form.

    • Well, still Jules did teach us not to obsess over calculations but to go with the flow.

      But so that you are happy: I just tried out a faster way to heat up my frozen fish. I use celsius, but you can do the same calculation doing Fahrenheit:

      On my fish-fillet it says: 200° for 40 minutes, so I calculate:
      200 x 40 = 8000 Watt put into the fish altogether.
      I wanted to do it faster at 250° (the max on my oven),
      so I divide 8000 / 250, which brought it down to 32 minutes.
      Worked like a charm in my case.
      Only danger is: The fillet is a little browner, so you better check in between on your oven and do the same calculation in Fahrenheit

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