How Long Does It Take an RV Oven to Preheat

How Long Does It Take an RV Oven to Preheat?

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Last Updated on April 14, 2023 by Jessica Lauren Vine

Do you wonder, “How long does it take an RV oven to preheat?”

Cooking in an RV can significantly lower the cost of your camping experience. If you are a full-time RV-er, you will likely need to cook most nights to avoid eating out. When using an RV oven, it can be tricky to know how the temperatures work. You could wonder how long it takes to preheat an RV oven.

When cooking in an RV, it is essential to preheat the oven, which takes longer than a regular oven. An RV oven takes at least twenty minutes to preheat. Each oven is unique, so you may need to experiment with yours to learn the best length of time. Consider using a pizza stone for more even heating.

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If you are organizing a trip in your RV, planning is essential. Packing enough frozen meals to last the trip may be tempting, but there is something to be said for cooking your own meals on the road. Knowing how long to preheat your RV oven is mainly about trial and error, so let’s dive into the world of RV cooking and unpack all you need to know about preheating your RV oven.

How Long To Preheat An RV Oven?

Preheating an RV oven is a little different from preheating a conventional oven. While the oven may look similar to a traditional oven, a few differences affect how the heating process works.  

If you are taking your RV on the road, your location and the weather could affect how long your oven takes to preheat.

The main factor to consider is the heating element; however, there are a few other factors to consider, too. Some of the factors to consider include:

  1. The heating design of an RV oven
  2. The weather outside
  3. Your altitude
  4. Your energy-source

1. The Heating Design Of An RV Oven

In an RV oven, the pilot is at the back. A rod runs from the back to the front, carrying the flame along the length of the oven. A metal plate above the rod is designed to distribute the heat.

The heating system in an RV oven is not the most effective since there are no fans to distribute the heat. Because there is no convection, RV ovens generally take a little longer to preheat than regular ovens.

The heating rod is situated at the bottom of the oven, so you could find that the oven is a great deal warmer at the bottom than at the top.

Cook’s Tip: When baking in one of these ovens, consider raising the rack a little to avoid having the bottom of your baked goods burn!

2. The Weather Outside

Never knowing what weather will greet you on your camping trip is part of the adventure, but did you know that forces of nature can also affect your cooking experience?

Since RVs are limited in space, the oven is placed against the outer wall. Having an oven on the outer wall of any structure means that the weather affects the heating process.

When planning how long to preheat your RV oven, consider the temperature of the air outside. If it is a cold day, your oven will take a long time to preheat. It will require less time to heat up if it is particularly warm.

The weather will also affect how long your entire cook takes. Keep this in mind as you follow recipes with time-sensitive cooks.

Cook’s Tip: Consider using an oven thermometer in your RV oven. Since temperatures can fluctuate based on many variables, it helps to know precisely what heat intensity with which you are working.

3. Your Altitude

Depending on how high up you and your RV are, your altitude can affect the heating time needed in your RV oven. 

The boiling point of water is generally lower at high altitudes. That means the time needed to cook at high altitudes is more extended than if you are on the coast.

The general rule for high-altitude RV cooking is to increase your cooking time, not the temperature, by 25%. What would take you two hours to cook at sea level will take you two and a half hours at a high altitude.

The same applies to preheating your RV oven. If you are sea level, your oven will become hot enough to begin cooking in a shorter time than in a mountainous area. Make use of an oven thermometer to assess how hot the oven is before starting your cook.

Cook’s Tip:  Altitude affects the length of the cook, not the temperature needed. Be wary of raising the temperature at high altitudes, as this will likely dry your dish out instead of helping it cook more quickly.

4. Your Energy-Source

RV ovens typically use propane for heating. Some models use electricity, and others use a combination of electricity and propane.

If your RV oven uses propane, it will likely heat up fairly quickly. In general, the gas heats more quickly than electricity. Keep this in mind as you calculate how long to preheat your RV oven.

Cook’s Tip: Taking the time to adequately preheat your RV oven may feel like a waste of propane. If yours takes relatively long, consider that an adequately preheated oven generally leads to a more efficient cook. What may feel like an eternity before the cook will pay off when your meal is cooked throughout.

5. Using Trial And Error

It may seem like an expensive exercise, but the truth is that the only way to understand your RV oven truly is to experiment with it. 

Just like conventional ovens, each RV oven has its quirks. The best way to figure out how long to preheat your particular RV oven is to test out familiar recipes. Record the difference in time between your conventional and RV ovens for future use.

Use an oven thermometer to assess how hot the oven gets, and record how long it takes. Take note of factors like the weather outside and your altitude, which could affect your cooking experience if you move around.

Once you have tested and recorded cooking and preheating times in various locations and weather conditions, you may wish to keep the recorded information near your RV oven.

When you begin preheating your RV oven, check your recorded times and variables. It is then easy to set a timer and start cooking when the oven should be ready. Of course, it is helpful to check your oven thermometer to ensure your oven is sufficiently heated.


RV ovens take different times to preheat, depending on the weather, altitude, source of power, and your particular oven. It is best to get to know your specific oven by experimenting with well-known recipes in various locations. Record how long your oven takes to preheat, given different variables, to learn how best to use it.

In general, propane ovens need less time to heat up than electric ones. Still, there is no convection in an RV oven, so it will likely take a little longer than you expect. Users report waiting between ten and thirty minutes for their RV ovens to heat up sufficiently. We recommend trying yours out and using an oven thermometer to confirm that it is hot enough to cook efficiently.

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