On birthdays, holidays, and other such occasions, you might need to use your stove and oven simultaneously. You worry about straining the appliances, but is this worry unfounded? I’ll tell you in this post.
Can you use the oven and stove at the same time? Yes, you can use the oven and stove at the same time, but it’s recommended they’re within 50 to 100 degrees of the same temperature range. When using both appliances at once, you must be especially mindful of hot cooking surfaces so you don’t get burned.
Ahead, I’ll talk further about cooking on both appliances at once. I’ll also have safety tips and pointers so you can get more done in the kitchen without incident. Let’s get started!
So, Can You Cook in the Oven and on the Stove Simultaneously?
As I touched on in the intro, some occasions require you to use both your oven and stove.
Whether the two appliances are connected as part of a range or they’re separate appliances in your kitchen, using the oven and stove at the same time is doable.
You must keep the two appliances operating at close to the same temperatures. The variance is between 50- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit up to 150 degrees, but the closer the temperatures match, the better.
Why is that? To answer that question, I need to explain how gas versus electric ovens and stoves work.
Electric Ovens and Stoves
If you live in an apartment or a condo, more than likely, your oven and stove both use electricity rather than natural gas. Electricity is the more economical option of the two, after all.
On your stovetop, each burner features electric coils. Depending on the cost of your stove, the coils might be exposed, or they could be covered with a ceramic top.
By powering on the stove, electricity courses through each heating coil, warming up the metal.
If you can see the coils, then you’ll be able to watch as they turn visibly orange or red. Then you’d put your pot or pan on the coil and begin cooking.
Electric ovens have a heating element known as a resistor. The resistor is what produces thermal energy in the cavity of the oven.
If you’ve ever blown a fuse by running too many electrical appliances before, then you can easily understand why your electric stove and oven should be within the same temperature range.
When their temps are as close as possible, one appliance isn’t demanding so much electrical current that tripping the power is likely.
Gas Ovens and Stoves
Now let’s switch gears and talk about gas appliances.
When you move into your own home, your stove and oven are a lot likelier to use gas instead of electricity. Here’s how that works.
Your gas cooktop has a pilot light within the appliance. The pilot light is beside one of the burners.
Whenever you turn your stovetop burners on, the pilot light produces a spark or even a flame. The flame sends heat to a mix of oxygen and gas within the stove, which causes ignition. That mixture will travel throughout the stove to heat all the burners if necessary.
To produce more heat when you crank up a burner, more air and gas travel through the stove, increasing the size of the flame.
As for gas ovens, they too use a pilot light, although some models feature a spark generator for consistent sparks that can ignite a flame. All you have to do is press a button on your oven and the same ignition process as described above will transpire.
The built-in oven thermostat regulates the rate of heat the oven receives. The burner goes out when your oven hits the preset temperature so your food doesn’t overcook.
In some instances, the gas light can be reignited before cooking ends, such as when you open the oven door for too long to check whether your food is done.
Natural gas, as great as it is, can be very dangerous if you have issues such as gas leaks. By regulating how much natural gas you use–such as by keeping your oven and stove in a similar temperature range when they’re both on–you’ll be safer.
Considerations When Using the Oven and Stove at the Same Time
Just because cooking on your stove and oven simultaneously is doable doesn’t mean it’s easy.
The following considerations must be kept top of mind as you proceed with your cooking plans for the day.
Cooking Foods on the Top Shelf of the Oven Could Cause Overcooking or Burning
Are you a top-shelf type of oven user?
If you answered yes, then you’re going to have to pay special attention to the foods that occupy that shelf while your stovetop is also on.
You know that heat rises, so the upper shelf already gets more heat than the bottom shelf. Now there’s heat overhead thanks to the stove running as well.
This can cause the foods you’re baking or cooking in the oven to get browned far quicker than usual.
Depending on what you’re making, a little bit of extra browning isn’t always a good thing. However, what starts as golden-brown goodness can quickly become a black charred mess if you take your eye away from the oven for too long.
Here’s what I would recommend. Whatever the allotted time you usually cook or bake a meal, cut down the cooking time by at least five minutes.
You can always keep the food in for longer to bake it further, but there’s nothing you can do once it’s overcooked.
Stovetop Foods Might Not Need to Cook as Long
I again want to mention that heat rises. As your oven preheats and then reaches the cooking temperature you set, the stove will warm up further in kind.
This can create warmer conditions than what you’re used to when operating your stove.
Don’t be surprised if it takes minutes fewer for your stovetop foods to fully cook when you also run the oven.
This isn’t a time to fight the clock. Take your food off the stovetop if it’s done cooking rather than trying to let it cook for as long as it usually does. By that point, you could have accidentally burned your dinner, side dish, or dessert.
Scents from One Food Can Permeate into Another
Your famous holiday dinner menu is quite varied, but you might want to reconsider which foods you cook or bake together.
The stronger the scent, the better off you are isolating that food and cooking it in either the oven or the stove but not when both appliances are running.
Very aromatic foods can spread their odors to other foods, especially foods you’re cooking on the bottom shelf of your oven versus the top or vice-versa. Those foods are trapped in a heat box together, so smells can certainly meld.
Oven odors can also spread to the stovetop, although the opposite doesn’t happen since the oven meals are sealed.
Even if the scent that’s wafting through your whole kitchen is a pleasing one, if the aroma isn’t usually associated with a particular dish, it can interrupt the eating experience. After all, eating is as much about smelling food as it is tasting it!
Safety Tips for Your Busiest Days in the Kitchen
In a perfect world, you’d use your oven or stove one at a time so you don’t put a strain on your home’s electrical system or gas system. If you must run both simultaneously, then make sure you follow these safety tips!
Take Your Time
You have to make a five-course Thanksgiving dinner before the in-laws come over at three o’clock, and it’s already 10:30. It’s too easy to begin running around your kitchen like a chicken without a head, but you can’t do that.
Instead, you need to stop for a moment, take a breath, and keep your head in the game.
When you’re frantic, you make mistakes, often careless ones. You set the oven 50 degrees warmer than what it should be, which can cause your famous green bean casserole to burn.
You spill and make messes (more on this momentarily) and maybe you forget to wash your hands after handling foods harboring bacteria before cooking.
Rushing around the kitchen is not going to help you get anything done faster. If anything, you could impede your progress with your carelessness.
Timers Are Your Friend
When you have a lot going on in the kitchen at once, you can’t remember that you put the turkey in the oven at 10:30 and that you started boiling water at 10:35. Trust me, as the day goes on, you won’t be able to keep track of anything.
Ovens have timers, and many stoves do as well. These timers exist for you to use, so take advantage of them!
You never realize how quickly five minutes can pass until you’re knee-deep in sweet potatoes, so you’ll be glad to have the timer to remind you.
Don’t Lean Too Close to the Oven
Using your oven and stove at the same time means twice the heat sources burning at once. If yours is a kitchen range, then you need to take caution as you lean over the stovetop to stir the pots and pans that are cooking.
Don’t stay near the appliances for any longer than you have to. Consider wearing an apron and a cooking glove for protection.
Have Designated Cooling Areas
You might not be able to recall which of the four (or more) burners you have running, so I wouldn’t recommend using your stovetop as a cooling rack.
If you put a cooked meal on a burner, even if the burner is on low heat, it’s still cooking whatever’s on the pan or in the pot after you took it out of the oven.
Instead, I’d set aside some counter space for your foods to cool so you can ensure they’re not exposed to more heat.
Don’t Leave Spills for Later
Did you spill something? It happens to the best of us during everyday cooking.
When you’re in a cooking frenzy with your oven and stovetop on, your rate of spills can go way up.
That’s part of why I recommend taking it slow, as you can be more conscientious of what you’re doing and avoid spills. That said, I recognize that in these high-stress situations, spills can be inevitable.
Rather than leave them for later, please take care of spills right now. They can be a slipping hazard, either for you or any other family member (or pet!) that enters the kitchen while you’re cooking.
Depending on what you spilled, the food can also stain your counter or your floors, which is an unpleasant discovery to have to make after spending all day busting your butt in the kitchen.
Have a Fire Escape Plan
Even if you’re the most conscientious cook in the neighborhood, it doesn’t hurt to have a fire escape plan should the worst ever happen.
If a fire does occur in your home, be it the kitchen or elsewhere, don’t try to put it out yourself. Gather your family members, get out of there, and dial 911 (or your emergency number equivalent).