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Your RV Oven – What’s it used for?

August 11, 2009 by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak · 39 Comments  
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Kay Peterson, co-founder of the Escapees RV Club, used to say in her “Living in a Sardine Can” talk that her RV oven was strictly for storage. She wasn’t even sure how it worked. They ate out a lot.

In our case, our oven stores extra pans and it gets used frequently. We much prefer to eat our own cooking. I am lucky – George loves to cook and cooks almost all our dinners plus bakes gluten-free English muffins weekly. Frankly, his cooking tastes better than 99 percent of the meals we do eat out.

Using your own facilities – stove and oven – has other benefits:

  • control over the quantity of food you are served and eat
  • limit portion size for weight control
  • keep food expenditures down.

Some newer RVs don’t even have a regular oven. That should tell you about how much they are used! Instead, they have a combination convection/microwave oven. Some RVers love them, others have never figured out how to cook using their convection oven.

How about you? Does your RV have an oven? What’s it used for? If you have a convection oven, are you able to bake with it or would you prefer the old fashioned kind? Let’s hear from you!  And, if you’d like to participate in a poll on what your oven is used for, click here. We’ll share the results in a future blog. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

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Comments

39 Responses to “Your RV Oven – What’s it used for?”

  1. Helen Burns on August 12th, 2009 6:31 am

    Like you, my husband does the cooking and it’s tastier, healthier, and cheaper than eating out. He grills a lot, but his saute pan also gets a lot of use. Unfortunately, we only have the micro/convection combo, and it’s not very big. He’s occasionally used it to bake, but is more likely to use a small crockpot for oven dishes. My only cooking interest is homemade bread. I like to mix it, knead it by hand, and watch it rise, and if we’re lucky, it’s yummy! On a long trip this summer, I mastered sourdough bread–yes, I brought and fed my starter on the trip. What I continue to struggle with, tho, is getting bread in a loaf pan to turn out well. A couple of those attempts ended in the trash can! I’d love to find someone who’s figured that out to share ideas with.

  2. Merryann on August 12th, 2009 8:49 am

    My oven gets used all the time. As a fulltimer, my RV is my home and I treat the kitchen as such. I tend to ignore all the “RV recipes” and just do my housekeeping like I always have – only in a smaller space. The one concession I have made is silicon bakeware – it fits in a much smaller space.

    Anyone for blueberry muffins with fresh berries picked at the campground in Marquette MI?

  3. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak on August 12th, 2009 9:17 am

    Can anyone help Helen with baking bread in a convection oven? We have the regular kind.

    Hmm… blueberry muffins with fresh berries sounds delicious!

    Glad to see there are some creative cooks who just happen to be traveling in an RV.

    Jaimie

  4. Rich D. on August 12th, 2009 10:56 am

    In response to your comment about a convection oven not being a “regular oven”, I’d like to clarify. A convection oven IS a regular oven in the sense it cooks with heat. The “convection” comes into play because it has a small fan that circulates the heated air. This does two things; first it cooks a little more quickly because of the fan (think of a “wind-chill factor” in reverse) and second, it insures that all parts of the oven heat to the same temperature. This means the convection oven will cook more evenly. Absolutely anything that can be baked in a “regular” oven can be baked just as well or better in a convection oven. If you have a combination microwave/convection oven just be sure to use it in the convection only mode for baking. Remember to cut the baking time, 20% less time is a good starting point.

  5. Rex Vogel on August 12th, 2009 11:26 am

    When we purchased our current motorhome, one of my wife’s requirements was that it have an oven. Although we use it less frequently than our electric fry pan or toaster oven, it’s guaranteed to be used four times a year–Canadian Thanksgiving, U.S. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years–for what else but turkey. Rest of the year it’s used for storage of pots and pans.
    Eating in rather than eating out on a regular basis helps keep the budget under control and ensures a healthy diet.

  6. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak on August 12th, 2009 11:35 am

    Rich, thanks for clarifying, though bottom line, it does take some adjusting to cook with a convection oven. Helen, I hope that information helps!

    Rex, even in a sticks n brix, many of us don’t use the oven all that frequently, but there are certain times when it is essential.

    Do the convection ovens that come in RVs hold a turkey?

    Jaimie

  7. JOHN BENWELL ST.LOUIS COUNTY, MO. on August 12th, 2009 12:34 pm

    We have never used our oven nor top burners, We have a NU- WAVE portable convection cooker or use the MICRWAVE OVEN. We have a FOREST RIVER- GEORGETOWN- 2006.

  8. Serge Cossette on August 12th, 2009 12:38 pm

    If half the fun is getting there, the other half is cooking a delicious and decent dinner once arrived at destination. By the way, camping is one and half fun kind of thing!

  9. Larry Parker on August 12th, 2009 12:48 pm

    We use our RV oven like the one we have at our house. As we looked at RVs, we turn down any RVs that do not have ovens. The reasons sales people give on why ovens are not in most new RVs usually give us the laugh of the day.

    RV Manufacturers: Please provide standard ovens and microwave in your new RVs.

  10. Gawrsh on August 12th, 2009 12:51 pm

    Well, we even have an oven in the coach, and we don’t even use it as an oven as often as we do even the built-in Finnish Sauna. And we don’t even have a Finnish Sauna!

    The oven is a noisy hole in our galley that creates and echoes bangs and clangs and screeches going down the road, and so we usually pack it full of soft things like extra bath and beach towels, softsided coolers, backpacks and extra socks.

  11. rachael para on August 12th, 2009 12:51 pm

    I love my little oven in our keystone travel trailer. I had to shop for oven ware that was the correct size. I think my little trailer oven cooks better than my new oven at home. I have baked pies, cookies and bread in it and it cooks very even and really does not heat up the trailer. I love fixing meals in our trailer. I feel like a kid playing house with my easy-bake-oven!!

  12. Frances Mizrany on August 12th, 2009 12:52 pm

    We have a oven and a convection/microwave oven in our RV and I use both. I love to bake cookies when we are camping. For some reason they taste extra good. If I’m making cookies for my husband I use the convection oven as he loves his cookies crispy and I like mine soft and use the regular oven for them. When I bake meatloaf or something messy that spits I will use the convection as it is easier cleaning it up. For covered baking the bottom oven is used. I also use the bottom oven when we are camping in an area that is hot – say over 95 deg. as the regular oven puts out a lot of heat. So summers here in south Texas call for convection baking if possible. We don’t eat out much and prefer our own food even if we are near restaurants. Home cooked food is even tastier when we are camping out in the woods for some reason.

  13. Maggie on August 12th, 2009 12:57 pm

    I don’t cook any differently on our fifth wheel than I do at home: If something I’m cooking requires an oven, I crank it up. I have, however, found that baked items take a little longer than they do in my full size oven at home. And, since I didn’t trust the temp. guage, I invested in an oven thermometer.
    So far this summer, I have whipped up two rum cakes, three onion pies (it’s a German thing) and, now, since Maine’s wild blueberries are in season, it’s cobbler time.

  14. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak on August 12th, 2009 1:07 pm

    These are great fun to read – keep ‘em coming! What a variety of responses.

    Maggie, I agree, using an RV oven does require an oven thermometer for best results.

    Jaimie

  15. Wandell on August 12th, 2009 1:26 pm

    I have a regular oven and a convection/microwave combo in my 2009 Bounder MH. I also have the same setup in my home., so I am accoustomed to the way they work. I use the convection oven more than the regular oven. I make biscuits, pies, cakes, cook all kinds of meat and breads in my convection oven, as I do at home. And if I am in a hurry– some foods are great cooked using the combination setting. The best prime rib I ever cooked was using the microwave/convection combo. There are so many cook books avilable for combo cooking. It saves time and energy. If you haven’t tried it, maybe you should, it is fun. have fun!! A happy part time RV’er. wandell

  16. DICK "MR. HAPPY" on August 12th, 2009 1:37 pm

    I have both a regular oven and a convectionl oven. I use both. The oven is larger and i can do a pie and bread at the same time. The convection oven is great for a fast fresh berry or peach cobbler.

  17. nushagak on August 12th, 2009 1:38 pm

    I have a microwave/convection combo. I like the idea of it, and not having to have it on as long for cooking – keeps the RV cooler, and uses less energy, but…. I have not had great success with cooking.

  18. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak on August 12th, 2009 2:30 pm

    I’m surprised that so many RVers have both a regular oven and a convection oven and use them both.

    Jaimie

  19. Brenda Kelley on August 12th, 2009 2:39 pm

    The oven in our 1995 Minnie is propane only (I have natural gas at home) and is sooo very limited in space that even without the racks and sitting the oven pan on top of the gas element only gives me about 4 inches of clearance in what I can cook in it therefore I seldom use it.

  20. Lisa C on August 12th, 2009 2:52 pm

    Everyone needs to do what works best for them and I love hearing all the comments! In our case, we did not want a regular oven because we knew we would not use it much and we much prefer having more drawers. We have a combo oven and we use it all the time, however we have had more success using the microwave only or the convection only.
    When baking cakes or roasting chickens, we use the convection just like a regular oven but we reduce the temperature about 25 degrees and cut down the time from what we would use for our regular oven at home. Also, remember to use the rack.
    Haven’t tried to bake bread…maybe we will do that next!

  21. Dave Planitzer on August 12th, 2009 2:58 pm

    The oven is a great place to store the laptop and accessories.

  22. Ken Cunningham on August 12th, 2009 3:55 pm

    We use our oven in the Spring and Fall. We try to cook outdoors the rest of the year, keeps the camper cooler.We don’t use our oven as storage in the current camper as it has more storage than our previous one. I love baking bread, making cakes and baking cookies as well as roasts.

  23. John Jackman on August 12th, 2009 4:06 pm

    We have a small oven and have made pizza a few times and done cookies on occasion but mostly we use our BBQ for cooking. I tend to find that it is very hot and takes a bit of getting used to.

  24. Lenore Slater on August 13th, 2009 11:38 am

    We have a propane oven – yes, small, but very effective. In earlier years we cooked roasts and everything in a smaller version in these ovens. How much do you need for two people? In even earlier years when we were tenting with two kids, I cooked full meals (roasts, again) on a two burner cooktop. Just cook your starch and veggies together or on top of each other by using a bowled shape piece of tin foil stretched over the item that takes the longest cooking time; poke steam holes in and steam your veggies. The meat/gravy was done on the 2nd burner and a roast like a thick steak works beautifully. I enjoy cooking and didn’t get to cook the way I wanted to for my family. Vacation time was when I got to go gourmet! Now that I no longer work, I find I would rather sit back and relax or explore my surroundings than cook. We RV 9 months of the year for about 11 days at a time and a few days home to do laundry and cooking. When we cook a meal, we cook double and make it into a TV dinner or frozen entree, all in foil pans which fit beautifully in the oven. We get healthy, tasty meals at a low price. Some of the places we visit have very expensive groceries. We pack all our pre-cooked, pre-frozen items into the freezer and the refrigerator and eat what thaws first. You get to know how many meals you can put in the fridge without having food spoil. I admit, we do not use the oven so much in the hot days but Fall and Spring this method works well. We use the same method for hot weather except we package pre-cooked meals like stews or chili in freezer bags (or sliced roast in gravy). If you thaw this out through the day and empty it in the pot at dinner it cooks without heating your RV up as an oven would. Happy RV Cooking!

  25. E Rieg on August 13th, 2009 11:58 am

    We are just started using our oven ( I was afraid to lite it) and now use it every trip. Fresh biscuts, quick one dish meals that cook in 20 minutes after a day of touring or driving. Much cheaper and relaxing.

  26. Sandi on August 13th, 2009 2:00 pm

    I fulltime RV and use my over the same as I would at home, pies, bread, turkey
    whatever, when purchasing our 5th wheel if it had no oven we didn’t even look at it.

  27. Kathy N on August 14th, 2009 12:59 pm

    Last winter 2008-09, we did the snowbird thing and flew south of Miami for the month of December. I was worried about making my cookies in my oven, but they were better than perfect and betther baked than at home in PA.
    It is also true you can save a great deal of money by making and baking your own meals.

  28. Karen on August 14th, 2009 1:29 pm

    Our motorhome is small so we opted for drawers over an oven. We fulltime and I really missed not being able to bake anything. Plus we dry camp a lot so a toaster oven won’t work. Recently I spotted a post on the Escapees about a small oven that works on top of a range burner. It’s called an Ovenette and was manufactured during the 1940s and 50s. They show up on Ebay fairly often, mostly in like new condition. I bid on won one and won! I’ve been using it for everything – pizza , meatloaf , bread , cakes , muffins. It works well but you have to monitor it and adjust the flame so that it keeps an even temperature.

  29. Allison on August 14th, 2009 1:53 pm

    We fulltime and boondock with solar about 85% of the time, so I opted to have a 22″ oven put in and the microwave taken OUT. Turned the space where the micro went into storage.
    Like anything else, it suits my scratch cooking style and the low-power way we live in our RV.

  30. Gail Clark on August 14th, 2009 3:02 pm

    I just loved reading all the comments! I’d love to have some of the recipes that people use. I do have a convection.micro tht I us. My biggest problem is that I have to use a oven thermometer to use the convection. My convection has never worked correctly no matter how much I complained to my dealer. But I can make good brownies, muffins and frozen pizza.

  31. Johnny G...AKA The NYC Castaway on August 14th, 2009 4:58 pm

    We are full timers and we love our oven. Just wish it was a little bigger to cook full size turkeys on Thanksgiving. We couldn’t live without an oven. We just don’t know how to cook in a microwave/convectional oven.

  32. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak on August 14th, 2009 10:38 pm

    This discussion is so interesting! I would never have thought of using the oven to store a laptop. And I had never heard of an ovenette! BTW, speaking of the 40s and 50s, I’ve been looking for one of those waffle makers that go on top of the stove. I have seen them when I wasn’t looking in antique stores. Waffles are so yummy!

    Jaimie

  33. Manuel Enos on August 16th, 2009 12:20 pm

    We have a Newmar Dutchstar with a convection oven and once we learned that it cooks a little faster than a regular oven we were set!! We cook in it, on the stove as well as outside. Why spend a bunch going out to eat when you can carry your food alot cheaper and preparing it is half the fun in camping out.

  34. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak on August 26th, 2009 5:49 pm

    Learning to use your own convection oven is key. I agree, eating in is better in many ways.

    Jaimie

  35. Carol Holt on September 1st, 2009 9:37 pm

    I’m a full-timer and love my propane oven. In the last 10 years I’ve baked everything in it. An oven thermometer is a requirement and I have the best luck with air-cusioned bottom pans. For those who want to do a turkey – check out Julia Child’s book “The Way to Cook” and her disassembled turkey. A 12 pounder works perfectly, roasts quickly and is delicious. We’ve celetrated with it for years.

  36. Kat Prawl on October 1st, 2009 12:58 pm

    When we got our 2007 Southwind, we had the oven pulled out and replaced with a drawer dishwasher. The convection/microwave and a countertop toaster oven works for everything we want, and the dishwasher is a god-send. For traveling we stow pots & pans in the convection/mw and things like coffee pot & pitchers in the dishwasher.

  37. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak on October 1st, 2009 8:51 pm

    Carol, we too have found an oven thermometer a necessity. Thanks for the tip on finding a recipe to cook a disassembled turkey. I wouldn’t have thought of that!

    Kat, I have never heard of a drawer dishwasher. Sounds handy. Sounds like your setup is working very well for you.

    Jaimie

  38. Frank Howard on March 28th, 2010 4:49 pm

    The RV oven is great for heating up leftovers when parked for lunch. Because it is so small you can use “seat-of-the-pants” cooking like you would a toaster oven. I got the idea while travelling in Italy when a vendor pulled out a frozen, ready- to- cook dish and threw it in a hot oven. It was ready in less than 15 minutes.

  39. Agnes Scurlock on March 14th, 2011 2:59 pm

    Don’t seem to cook well with small RV convection oven any suggestions?

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