A few months ago I got a question from one of the members from my done-for-you meal planning service I call ‘Soupstones’.
It’s went something, well actually, it went exactly like this…
Tonight’s dinner was divine: The Satay Curry from Soupstones (meal plan) 99. 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?
FYI. Cheesecake is in the oven now. Sausage supper is for tomorrow. :-)
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.
As I responded to Bella, I realized I haven’t ever written about oven temps here on Stonesoup.
So it’s time we changed that!
Here’s what you need to know.
The Stonesoup Guide to Oven Temperatures
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.
Most savoury dishes are flexible with temp.
Cooking sausages at 170C (325F) instead of 200C (400F) isn’t going to make a huge difference apart from the time.
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.
It’s OK to use different temps to the recipe.
Just expect the timing to be different and you’ll be fine.
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.
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.
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.
Oven thermometers aren’t worth it.
I’ve tried a few different ones and they tended to cause more trouble than their worth. Falling over and generally getting in the way. 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.
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.
My Favourite Oven Temps.
100C / 200C – super slow cooking for meats etc. similar to a slow cooker.
180C / 350F – for most baked goods, cookies, cakes, pastries etc.
200C / 400F – for cooking everything else. Roasting veggies, fruit, cooking baked dishes (like the moussaka below) and reheating food.
250C / 480F – aka ‘cranking it’. For pizza, fast roast fish and times when I’m running super late.
Did you find this helpful?
Or got another question? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Seriously Easy Moussaka
I’ve never really thought about moussaka until recently when I was craving lasagne but wanting a low carb alternative. The only downside is that like lasagne this is a bit time consuming but I’ve kept it as simple as possible!
enough for 3-4
takes an hour
3 medium eggplant
450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef or lamb
700g (3cups) tomato passata (puree NOT concentrated tomato paste)
300g (1 1/4cups) sour cream
2 handfuls grated parmesan
baby spinach or salad leaves, to serve
1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Slice eggplant about 1/2 inch (1cm) thick. Place on an oven tray and drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
2. Roast eggplant until really soft – about 30 minutes, turning about half way.
3. Meanwhile, brown meat in a hot pan with a little oil. Then add the tomato and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Taste and season with salt if needed.
4. Cover the base of an oven proof dish with the meat. Layer over the cooked eggplant and top with remaining meat.
5. Mix sour cream and Parmesan then spread carefully over the top. Depending on the size of your dish it may not completely cover so I leave some space around the edges (see photo).
6. Bake 200C for about 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly and browned on top. Serve with salad on the side.
vegetarian – replace beef with cooked lentils or beans.
dairy-free – replace the sour cream and parmesan with a few handfuls almond meal or soft bread crumbs. Scatter over the top to give a lovely crust.
vegan – combine the vegetarian and dairy-free options.
more veg – feel free to layer in other cooked veg like roast zucchini, capsicum (bell peppers) or mushrooms.
carb lovers – add in a few layers of lasagne sheets and expect to cook for longer.