Baking could be defined as both science and art. You must have an artist’s imagination to garnish a fancy meal and scientist’s precision to cook at the right temperature. Don’t worry, you won’t need a degree in arts nor science because we’ve got you covered with oven cooking temperatures.
Oven Cooking Temperature Rules
Along with all the fancy cooking terms and gadgets, you must know oven cooking rules of thumb*:
- Low oven – A low oven is when you cook at low temperatures between 120°C and 150° C. These low cooking temperatures are perfect when you cook and slowly roast meat for a longer time. If you’re cooking eggs, meat, or other high protein foods, keep the temperatures low or you might overcook them.
- Medium oven – A medium oven doesn’t mean placing the oven racks in the middle of the oven. It means that the cooking temperature should not exceed 180° C. It’s the perfect oven cooking temperature for when you want to bake something but you don’t know how long you need to cook it or what temperature to use. Set the oven temperature to 180°C and keep and keep an eye on it.
- High oven – A high oven is when you heat the oven to 200°C or higher. This oven cooking temperature is perfect for roasting lean cuts of meat or fish quickly.
* Note that temperatures may vary depending on the type of oven itself. Preparing meals with a halogen cooker, for example, takes less time and lower temperatures, thanks to the unique heating elements.
Oven Cooking Vegetables
If you want to roast vegetables in the oven, cook them at 180° for 30 minutes. If you prefer your veggies well cooked and crunchy, just turn them over a bit and leave them in the oven for another 15 minutes or so.
Oven Cooking Meat
Roast Pork: If you don’t know what temperature should a pork roast be cooked to, now you will know. Preheat the oven to 250°C before placing the pork roast inside. When the oven cooking temperature is reached you can cook the pork meat. Roast it at 250°C for 20-30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 120°C. Cook at this temperature for 2.5-4 hours. The bigger the size of the pork roast is, the longer it will take to be cooked. Remember that it’s better to cook pork to medium or well done instead of medium rare. If you undercook the pork, the bacteria that are particular to pork meat won’t be killed in the cooking process, and you risk getting sick.
Roast Turkey: The oven cooking temperature and time needed to roast a turkey depend on whether you want to roast a whole turkey or turkey breast fillet. For a whole turkey preheat the oven to 180°C and cook for 35-40 minutes per kilogramme of meat. For example, a 4kg turkey will need 2.5 to be fully cooked. On the other hand, the oven cooking temperature for turkey breast fillet is 200°C for 30 minutes per kilogramme of meat.
Roast Chicken: The oven temperature for roasting a 1.5kg whole chicken should be 200°C. Cook at this temperature for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 160°C. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour. If your chicken weighs 2kg or more it may take up to 2 hours to roast completely. If you want to make things fancy, you could baste the chicken in the juices from the bottom of the pan every 20 minutes or so while it cooks. When the chicken roast is ready you can serve it right away or let it sit for a few minutes. If you have to reheat it before serving, make sure the oven temperature is 160°C. Avoid reheating the meat in the microwave as it tends to get dry.
Roast Beef: The oven cooking temperature needed to roast beef is 200°C. Cook the meat at this temperature for 30 minutes, turn it over and roast the beef for another 40 minutes or longer. If you want to cook wagyu beef, you have to do it slightly differently. Roast the beef at the highest possible temperature for 15 minutes per kilogram of meat and then switch the oven temperature to the lowest and cook the beef for 1 hour. To check if the meat is well done enough for you cut a slice in the middle of and check the colour of the meat.
Baked Fish: When you bake fish, the oven temperature should be 200°. Cook for 15 minutes or until the fish is fully baked.
Cooking Using the Oven Thermometer Method
Some people find it easier to cook using the oven thermometer method. There’s a list of safe minimum internal temperatures for each type of food. This means that this is the desired temperature that you want the middle of your meat portion to reach. There are many chefs who say that meat will continue to cook when you remove it from the oven and let it rest. Some even claim that the temperature actually rises while the meat rests which you could easily verify via a thermal gun, especially useful for professionals. You could check out the infographic below to see the required safe minimum internal temperatures for cooking different meats.
Oven Cooking Baked Goods
Cookies, cupcakes, biscuits: In general, anything with a lot of sugar in it will require lower temperatures to cook, as sugary foods tend to brown or burn easily when cooked at higher temperatures. When you make cupcakes or other sweets, cook in a low oven for 45 minutes, or for 10-20 minutes in a medium oven.
Pastry: Delicious pastries usually contain a lot of moisture, and it’s better to bake them at a high temperature for a short period of time.
Bread: Fat, round bread needs a longer time to cook. Bake at a medium or low temperature for a longer time frame, as the heat needs more time to reach the center of the bread.
Pizza and baguette: Cook these delicious baked goods quickly in a medium oven if you want to avoid burning the thin dough and skinny shape.