Why Is My Oven Burning Things On the Bottom?

When cooking in the oven, achieving the ideal texture and readiness is a matter of balance, as it necessitates thorough cooking of the inside without burning the outside; furthermore, it’s crucial that the exterior is uniformly cooked and that heat is distributed from all angles by the oven, or else you may end up with a cookie that’s perfectly soft on top but burnt to a crisp on the bottom.

Obtaining the ideal cooking temperature is a simple task with a properly working oven and thermometer, however, preventing any part of the exterior from burning while cooking the interior can be challenging, especially if the oven is not set up correctly or is malfunctioning.

If you are currently facing the issue of burning food in your oven, it is important to examine the appliance before questioning your cooking skills, especially when attempting a seemingly easy task like baking a frozen pizza.

While there isn’t a single solution that can fix the issue of an oven burning food on the bottom, as it could be caused by various factors, we can identify the reason behind this problem and work towards restoring balance to prevent further burning.

If your oven is burning the bottom or one side of your food, it could be due to a malfunctioning thermostat or temperature sensor, the need for calibration, or a damaged heating element.

Reasons Why Your Oven Burn Foods On the Bottom

Two of the primary causes for food burning on the bottom of your oven have been discussed earlier, and we will elaborate on them shortly. However, it is essential to note that there are other factors that can lead to scorching at the bottom, which we will also address in this article.

First, we will examine the causes, followed by the remedies.

The oven’s thermostat is broken

If your oven is burning food on the bottom, it could be due to a damaged thermostat. The thermostat controls the heating elements and regulates the temperature by turning them on and off. If it’s broken, the elements may stay on for too long, making it difficult to maintain the desired temperature.

If there is a problem with the connection between the thermostat and the heating element, it will affect the oven’s performance. To verify if the thermostat is transmitting accurate information to the heating elements, you can buy an external thermostat and measure the temperature of the oven. The temperature displayed on the external thermostat should match the oven’s set temperature.

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One of the oven’s heating elements has been damaged

If you notice that your food is burnt on one side and undercooked or not cooked at all on the other side, it could be due to a malfunctioning heating element in your oven. When only one heating element is functioning properly, the dish will cook unevenly with one side being scorched while the other remains uncooked due to insufficient heat distribution.

Over time, heating elements can become damaged and wiring can deteriorate, resulting in the element malfunctioning or behaving abnormally. This is not ideal for cooking, so it’s important to check for any visible signs of damage or wear and tear. If you’re unsure or don’t feel confident in your abilities, it’s best to seek assistance from a professional technician.

When dealing with appliances like ovens, it may be best to hire a professional as attempting to fix them without proper expertise can cause more harm than good.

The oven isn’t calibrated

One common reason for food burning in the oven is improper calibration. If an oven is not calibrated correctly, it will distribute heat unevenly, resulting in some parts of the dish being cooked more than others. This can lead to a dish that is partially cooked in the center and burnt on the outside.

Each model of oven has its own specific way of calibration, so it is recommended to consult your user manual or customer support for instructions on how to recalibrate your oven. In case you have discarded the user manual, you can search for it online as many manufacturers provide PDF versions of their manuals on their website.

The oven trays are placed badly

Placing your oven trays at the lower end of the oven’s cavity will result in more heat from the bottom heating element, which is closer to the tray than the upper element, causing the bottom of the dish to cook faster than the top and increasing the likelihood of burning on the bottom.

Most recipes suggest placing the oven trays on the center rack for evenly distributed heat, ensuring that your dishes are cooked from all angles simultaneously, resulting in a uniform cook. As anticipated, cooking near the heating elements will cause one side to brown faster than the other.

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Nowadays, many ovens have their heat source positioned at the bottom, which enables the heated air to rise and circulate within the oven’s cavity. Therefore, it is crucial to place the tray on the center rack to ensure that there is sufficient heat from both the source and the rising hot air reaching the top of the oven.

You’re using the wrong sheet or pan

If you want to avoid burning the bottom of your food, it is recommended that you place it on a surface with low thermal conductivity; materials with higher conductivity increase the likelihood of burning. Using Pyrex, parchment paper, or a baking stone can reduce the risk of burnt bottoms, while metallic materials pose a greater risk due to their higher conductivity.

You’re not preheating the oven

If your oven is not preheated, the direct heat from its heating elements can overcook your food. Even with the heating elements at half temperature, extended exposure can cause burning. To prevent this, always preheat your oven and quickly place your dish inside once it has finished preheating.

You’re keeping the oven door open for too long

Keeping the oven door ajar for an extended period of time can cause the heating elements to stay on longer than necessary, resulting in overheating and burning the bottom of your food. It is important to open the door quickly and strategically to avoid this issue.

Consider it as a composed and tranquil adaptation of Formula 1’s pit stops.

You’re using glass, darkened, warped, or dull finish pans.

When bad pans are used, either because they are damaged or unsuitable for the task at hand, food can burn on the bottom; however, this issue can be prevented or reduced by lining the pans with parchment paper. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the bottom of your pans is clean and free of dark spots, which can also lead to burning.

So How Do You Stop Food From Burning On the Bottom In the Oven?

Although we know about the issue, how can we solve it? It is crucial to prevent food wastage, and one way to achieve this is by educating people.

  • Verify the temperature of your oven by using an external thermometer to ensure it matches the temperature you set.
  • Wait until your oven is fully preheated before putting the food inside.
  • Avoid keeping the oven door open for extended periods.
  • Utilize appropriate cookware and baking sheets.
  • Position the tray or rack at the middle of the oven – not too near to the upper or lower part.
  • Ensure that the oven is configured for baking and not broiling.
  • Check the heating elements visually to ensure they are not impaired.
  • Hot spot tests can be done by putting trays near the bake and broil elements in your oven to check if there is a difference in temperature between them. To ensure even cooking, place a piece of bread in the center of each tray and observe if it has been cooked evenly on both trays. If not, it is recommended to have someone inspect the element that is causing burning on the bottom.

What’s Causing My Oven To Overheat?

If your oven is overheating, it could be due to a malfunctioning thermostat or heating elements, among other possible causes.

  • Incorrect temperature display on the thermostat knob: When the knob is not mounted correctly, it becomes challenging to determine the oven’s set temperature, leading to overheating and burning of food on the bottom.
  • Grime & Junk: If your oven is overheating, it could be due to a dirty thermostat that cannot accurately measure the temperature. To check if this is the case, remove and clean the thermostat.
  • Oven fan: In case the oven fan is not working correctly or running at a reduced speed, it can lead to overheating of the oven.
  • Glitches in the control panel: The display on modern ovens, known as the control panel, can experience glitches due to power outages. Resetting the oven may require turning off the circuit breaker for a brief period of time.
  • Malfunctioning selector switch: When the selector switch fails to function, it disrupts the communication between the thermostat and heating elements, causing flawed temperature signaling. As a result, the heating elements continue to heat up the oven even when it’s already heated.
  • The article has already addressed other frequent issues such as faulty thermostats, sensors, and heating components.

You can also check this video about “Why Is My Oven Burning Things On the Bottom?”

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