How to Cook a Large Meal Using One Oven – SheKnows

How to Cook a Large Meal Using One Oven – SheKnows

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Hosting a holiday is a serious undertaking — especially when you have about 20 dishes to prepare and don’t have the luxury of multiple ovens. Sure, we all wish we had a double stainless steel oven paired with a fancy refrigerator and granite countertops, but the reality for most of us is that we only have one oven. While it may seem like the only solution is to jump ship and host someone else, don’t give up just yet. You can cook a holiday dinner in one oven, and we’re here to help you figure out how to maximize your oven space during the holiday season.

Can you cook two or more dishes in the oven at once?

Yes. Most people worry when it comes to cooking two dishes at once, but the oven’s job is to keep the internal temperature set to what you set. It may have to work a little harder when introducing two or more cold dishes, but trust it will do its job.

Dishes typically take 15 percent longer to cook than cooking just one dish, so adjust the time accordingly. To ensure even cooking, make sure the oven is fully preheated before inserting the dishes, and rotate the dishes halfway through. We highly recommend purchasing an oven thermometer because even though the dial is set to the correct temperature, the temperature inside may be completely different.

Courtesy of KT Thermo.

3-inch oven thermometer $9.60 $15.60 38% discount


You can also try using cast iron cookware to cook your food because cast iron retains heat much better than traditional cookware, so you won’t lose as much heat if you need to open the oven to add a new dish. We recommend using Le Creuset cookware for optimal heat retention.

Courtesy of Le Creuset.

Rectangular ceramic bowl covered with heritage stoneware $107.95


Lodge also manufactures high-quality cast iron cookware at affordable prices.

Photo: Lodge.

Can you cook one dish and bake another dish at the same time?

Yes, but there are some guidelines you must follow. First, baked goods are not flexible when it comes to temperature. Preheat the oven to the appropriate temperature for the dish bread good. Most cooked dishes are flexible when it comes to temperature – this includes meats, vegetables, casseroles, baked potatoes and the like. A cooked dish may take more or less time to prepare, but it will come out the same. Baked goods are a science, and every variable must be precise.

Second, make sure the meat (or main course) doesn’t have a strong flavour, such as garlic. If so, it’s best to cook the items separately so the flavors don’t interfere.

Tips for cooking multiple dishes

  • Meat is the most flexible. Technically, meat can be cooked at any temperature until done. The lower the temperature, the longer it takes and the juicier it becomes. If cooking multiple dishes, set the temperature to whatever the non-meat dish requires.
  • The meat stays hot for a while. Large roasts, such as pork or turkey, will stay hot for an hour after they come out of the oven. Plan to cook smaller side dishes during this time.
  • Most ovens have a 25 degree variance. If one dish needs to be cooked at 350°F and another at 400°F, set the oven to 375°. Most ovens are off by about 25 degrees anyway, as long as they are set around desired temperature, the dish will be good.
  • Arrange the dishes so that there is enough space between them. Air must be able to circulate between all the dishes, so separate them accordingly.

A version of this article was originally published in November 2013.

Before you go, check out these Ina Garten-approved holiday gift ideas:

Watch: Giada De Laurentiis just shared a bunch of her holiday cooking and hostess tips with us and they’re amazing

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