As a home baker, whipping up homemade rolls, cookies and cakes from scratch is my bread and butter. But the one step I'm not so fond of is waiting for the oven to preheat. Why? Because it can feel like an eternity when I'm craving a sweet treat! This is also true for weeknights when I need to get dinner on the table in a short amount of time. The good news is I recently discovered a trick for how to preheat an oven quickly — and I plan on using this one whether I'm in a hurry or not! Keep reading to learn about the speedy hack that gets your oven ready for baking in no time.
Why you need to preheat your oven
Ovens, regardless of the type, can take up to 20 minutes to preheat as they gradually come up to the set temperature, but unfortunately, it's not a step you want to skip even if you're short on time. Preheating is necessary, especially for cookies, pizza or bread, to ensure that baked goods rise and brown properly — that's because they need that initial shock of high heat. You risk baking up tough and unevenly browned treats when placing them in a cold oven and then heating up the appliance. Plus, not preheating your oven beforehand could prolong the baking time for your dishes.
It's clear that skipping this step is more trouble than it's worth. Fortunately, there's an easy shortcut that gets your oven preheated much quicker and allows you to start baking right away!
How to preheat an oven quickly
Lifehacker writer Rachel Fairbank shared this simple tip that left me stunned (in the best way possible): She suggests turning your broiler on its highest setting for 3 to 5 minutes first, then setting the oven to its desired preheat temperature.
This speeds things up for your oven as it's circulating the broiler's intense heat, allowing it to reach the ideal temperature in 10 minutes or less. So I decided to put this hack to the test to see if it actually works.
My preheating test
Since my oven typically takes around 20 minutes, I'd like to think this trick was made especially for my weekly baking adventures. I tried it out before baking a small batch of frozen cheddar biscuits. First, I let my broiler run on its high setting for 4 minutes before turning it off. Next, I turned the oven to 400°F. It only took 9 minutes to preheat — that's half the time it usually takes! Next, I baked the biscuits for about 15 minutes until golden brown, and they came out great as always. I'll be cranking up my broiler before preheating the oven from now on.
2 delicious baked recipes
Don't just take my word for it: try this clever preheating hack the next time you're making a baked recipe. Start with these two ideas, which are sure to satisfy your sweet or savory cravings, and see how the trick helps you save time in the kitchen!
Crusted Tilapia Fillets
Panko, mayo and capers create the deliciously crispy coating.
1 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbs. + ⅓ cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbs. drained capers
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 carrots, cut into sticks
1 Tbs. olive oil
¼ tsp. + ⅛ tsp. salt
2 zucchini, cut into sticks
4 (4 to 5 oz.) tilapia fillets
Parsley leaves, lemon zest strips and lemon halves
Active: 30 mins
Total time: 1 hr
Yield: 4 servings
Heat oven to 400°F. Coat rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. In bowl, mix panko, 2 Tbs. mayonnaise, parsley and capers. In separate bowl, mix remaining mayonnaise and lemon juice.
In bowl, toss carrots with 1½ tsp. oil and ⅛ tsp. salt. In separate bowl toss zucchini with remaining 1½ tsp. oil and ⅛ tsp. salt. Spread carrots on baking sheet. Roast 10 min. Add zucchini; roast until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Place tilapia over vegetables. Sprinkle with remaining salt and top with panko mixture. Bake until fish is opaque, 6 to 7 minutes. Serve with mayonnaise mixture. Garnish with parsley and lemon.
Mini croissants are perfect for soaking up the creamy liquid in this sweet casserole — brioche would be just as delicious!
8 mini croissants, about 13 oz.
1 cup half-and-half
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Active: 15 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Yield: 6 servings
Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Tear croissants into 4 pieces each.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, zest and vanilla. Gently fold in croissant pieces; let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes; transfer to baking dish. Top with blueberries. Bake until no longer wet in center, 20 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Keep reading more tips and tricks that make cooking a breeze!