Modern ovens have long since moved beyond simple temperature control, offering creative home cooks a plethora of modes and functions for cooking a wide variety of dishes and desserts. Surely, you have seen on your “kitchen favorites” a lot of different symbols that indicate one or another mode of operation of the device. Of course, many of them are familiar to you. However, not all oven symbols are intuitive, and an inexperienced housewife may have problems selecting the right mode. So, let’s take a closer look at these questions.
Understanding oven symbols
The symbols on your oven’s control panel are visual clues to specific functions and settings that help you understand what your oven can do. This guide will unlock the mystery of cooking symbols so you can create culinary masterpieces and enjoy the cooking process instead of spending hours deciphering appliance manuals. So, what do the oven symbols mean?
Conventional heating oven
Upper and lower heating elements
The “top and bottom heating” icon, shown with two lines, one at the top and one at the bottom, represents the normal oven mode. When both the top and bottom parts of the oven are working, the heat is distributed throughout the oven cavity, and the food is cooked evenly with the top of the food browned. This mode is suitable for roasting meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, or baked goods.
Lower heat element only
The “Bottom Heater” symbol is a symbol with a line in a square at the bottom, which means that only the bottom heating element of the oven radiates heat and directs the airflow upwards. Perfect for baking pizzas and pies with fillings, it allows you to achieve a crispy base for the dish without losing the juiciness of the filling. This mode is also great for gently cooking stews and casseroles for long periods or reheating ready-to-eat foods before serving.
Fan with circle
The “fan in a circle” symbol – is a mode in which heating is provided by the circular element at the back of the oven chamber, while the fan circulates hot air throughout the entire space, which in turn ensures even cooking of most types of food and allows you to load all oven tiers at the same time. Great for cooking cake crusts, cupcakes, cookies, and pizza. But meat, fruit, and vegetables are often dry.
Fan with lower heat
The fan symbol, complemented by the line at the bottom, is convection with bottom heating. Heat is generated in the lower part of the chamber and evenly distributed by the fan, which is great for keeping the top of the dish moist while the bottom is well-baked. This is a good option for baking quiche, casseroles, or crispy pizzas.
The symbol with several zigzag lines in a square indicates full grill mode when the upper and lower heating elements of the oven are activated simultaneously. The intense blast of hot air is perfect for cooking large cuts of meat or foods that need to be thoroughly cooked and browned on all sides.
The grill icon, often shown as a single wavy or zigzag line, indicates that the oven is in grill mode when only the top element of the oven is on, and intense heat is applied from above. This function is ideal for melting or crisping the top of foods (meat, poultry, fish, casseroles) at the end of cooking.
Grill and fan
The fan symbol with a zigzag line at the top indicates that the grill and fan are working simultaneously. The combination of these two functions allows heat to circulate throughout the oven and activates the upper heating element, resulting in even cooking (different types of casseroles) with a crispy crust.
Grill and lower heat
The zigzag line at the top and the straight line at the bottom of the square is the mode in which both the grill and the lower heating element of the cavity work simultaneously. Suitable for cooking meats, vegetables, pies, tartlets, casseroles, and crispy pizzas when the base of the dish has to be browned and the crust needs to be golden.
The snowflake or water drop icon indicates a mode designed to defrost food quickly and safely. The food is defrosted by circulating air in the chamber through the operation of the fan.
Shown as a zigzag arrow, this is the symbol for rapid oven heating, which allows the oven to reach the desired temperature quickly, reducing the waiting time for initial heating. This function can be particularly useful for recipes that require precise and hot oven preheating, such as baking bread.
The “lock” or “flame” symbol indicates that the oven is in pyrolytic cleaning mode. When this mode is activated, the oven heats up to a very high temperature, usually around 900°F, which turns grease and burnt food particles into ashes that are relatively easy to remove.
The keep-warm indicator is displayed on the oven control panel in the form of a plate with rising steam. The low heat setting is activated, which keeps the already-cooked food warm and ready to eat.
The “square with pizza slice inside” icon is the oven mode for baking pizza. This is usually the ideal temperature to produce a crispy crust and ensure that the toppings are cooked evenly.
The clock or hourglass icon – allows you to set a specific cooking time, after which the oven will automatically turn off.
Alarm and minute minder
“Bell” is an option on the control panel that can be used when the timer is activated. An audible alarm alerts you to check the food at various stages of cooking.
Other oven symbols
The “light bulb” is the symbol for the oven light. In some ovens, the light comes on automatically, but some models require you to turn the light on and off to control the cooking process.
“Key or Lock” is a safety feature. Child lock ensures that the oven settings remain unchanged even if children accidentally touch the control panel. This mode is usually activated and deactivated by pressing and holding a specific combination of buttons simultaneously.
Do oven symbols vary between different brands and models?
Yes, depending on the make and model, and as technology advances, electric oven manufacturers may use different symbols and introduce new designations to match their visual style or brand theme. But most of the icons are common and used in most oven models.
Can I use the same settings for different types of dishes?
Of course, you can use different oven modes according to your taste and personal experience. For example, when baking meat or poultry, I always use the “Top and Bottom Heat” mode, and while the dish is cooking, I switch the oven to the “Pizza” mode to get a browned base for my dish and then at the completion stage, I switch to the “Grill” function to get a browned and crispy crust.
Can I use the oven light symbol while cooking?
When preparing dishes that require close monitoring or delicate baked goods, you can turn on the oven light to check the color, texture, and doneness of your food without opening the oven door or interrupting the cooking process.