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Are all RV ovens created equal? Do you use yours?

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By Tony Barthel
We recently posted a question on our RV Advice Facebook Group. I asked, “Some of you have been reading my RV reviews over on RV Travel, and one of the things I’ve kvetched about are the small 17″ ovens in so many RVs. But I wonder – if you do have an RV with this small oven, do you use it at all and what do you use it for?”

Your responses to the questions were enlightening so I thought I’d share.

In most RVs, you’ll find them equipped with either a Suburban, Atwood or Furrion range, typically with three burners on top and potentially an oven down below. While some premium RVs come with much larger ovens, the typical RV generally comes with one of these smaller ones. 

Do you use the oven?

Many of the respondents on the post indicated that they do, in fact, use the ovens in their RVs… for storage. 

For example, Facebook user Nancy S. wrote, “I use my oven for storage now. Bought a good countertop oven which I use daily. Miss the counter space but enjoy cooking again.”

Roy B. wrote, “I removed my oven (because) we never used it. We installed a cooktop. We use the convection part of the microwave oven. Had (drawers) installed where the oven used to be.”
Editor’s Note: This is what RVtravel.com staff member Gail did to her and Chuck’s motorhome too! 

Lauren B. E. added, “We have one of those silly too-small-to-bake-anything-in-it ovens. We use it to store our induction hot plate, which we use more than the gas burners.”

It seems that a good number of the respondents paid for something they’re not using and would prefer the additional drawer or storage space. 

But those who do use the oven almost invariably talk about a pizza stone in the oven to even out the heat. And many of the respondents said that they make pizza, cookies or cakes in their ovens. But that’s about it. 

More complaints about typical RV ovens

The other complaints about the typical RV oven were well put by Vicki L. C., who wrote, “My oven has been used once. It was so hard to light, never again. I had to twist like a pretzel and my old knees had a heck of a time getting up off the floor. Now it’s full of breads and snacks.”

To light most RV ovens you have to get down where you can see the pilot light and then, while holding in the knob on the range, use a lighter to light the pilot light. While it might be bad for your back, it’s certainly entertaining to take a photo of someone doing that. I want to stay married so I won’t share my photos with you. 

Oh. And then you have to get back up from this odd position on the floor of your RV. 

RV oven tricks

Meet my friend Manya. I met Manya when I worked at Redwood Empire RVs. Manya may be one of the most well-suited RV enthusiasts I know. Not only does she go RVing every chance she gets, but she also builds campfires that astound and uses both pie irons and her RV’s oven to prepare some wonderful meals. You won’t starve if you’re camping with Manya. 

Incidentally, she also is a whiz with RV finance, which is her primary job at the dealership to this day. 

Manya showed my wife and me that you can actually roast pork in the RV oven by buying a small oven thermometer. She discovered that her 21” oven will maintain 225°F temperature, but since that number is not written on the dial, that’s where having that thermometer comes in handy. 

The pulled pork she made, as well as a Christmas ham just a couple of weeks ago, were as good as any I’ve had in a restaurant and better than some. The real secret is even heating and knowing the actual temperature your oven is delivering. 

What we use our oven for

My wife and I also use our 21” RV oven to make breakfast casseroles, and my wife often will bake cookies to invite other campers in to tell their camping stories – when it’s not COVID times, of course.

RV OvenI like to make drop biscuits in the oven as a component of biscuits and gravy, and we’ve also used our former bed and breakfast ownership experience to use our oven for quiches.

An essential component of using these is also an oven thermometer. You can go very simple and inexpensive such as this one and that’s plenty. I also carry a wireless laser thermometer so you can measure the hot spots in the oven. Note that I also use this for measuring the wheel temperatures outside the trailer. 

Evening out the heat in the oven is another important aspect of using them successfully. Almost invariably everybody who said that they do use their oven also mentions putting a pizza stone or other baking stone in the oven. This helps to even out the heat for sure, though you’ll want to protect it from breaking as your RV rattles down the highway. 

Some of the newer RV ovens feature a simpler lighting procedure where your past life as a gymnast doesn’t come into play. In fact, some of the newer ones can be lit while you’re standing up in front of the oven!

In my RV reviews, I have often complained about the smaller RV oven as being worthless – which prompted my question on the RV Advice Facebook Group. It turns out that I’m not just a complainer, but the smaller oven really is considered worthless – at least to the respondents of the post.

##RVT982

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Duane R
6 months ago

I did like Kyle, below, and installed a spark igniter. Simple to do. Now, I just push the button to light the stove burners or the 17″ oven. I can see the pilot flame without bending down.

And, instead of a pizza stone which could break, I put two layers of foil in the middle of the oven. My biscuits never burn, nor does anything my wife makes. I make biscuits and gravy almost every weekend for hunting camp, and they always come out great. I don’t see what all the whining is about, as we use our oven every trip.

I also installed a wired, remote oven thermometer. I can keep the oven at the right temp without trusting the inaccurate dial markings.

Last edited 6 months ago by Duane R
Bob p
6 months ago

DW uses that to store her 15” skillet and spatter screens and anything else she can fit in there. Lol! Factory could’ve saved themselves money by putting a cabinet there. If we want biscuits we’ll go to Hardee’s.

Cheri Rae
6 months ago

I do use my small 17″ oven frequently as long as the outside temperatures are decent. If it’s too hot its hard to keep inside temperatures comfortable with the indoor oven on. When that happens we use the convection oven, or we cook outside. I would prefer a nicer oven but it works and I’m happy to have it.

Cheri Rae
6 months ago
Reply to  Cheri Rae

I do use a pizza stone as it definitely makes everything cook evenly.

Mary
6 months ago

We full-time in our travel trailer so yes, I use the small oven all the time. Almost everything I want to bake or roast I can do so with some adjustments. For example my 2 quart casserole dish won’t fit with the cover on so I either use foil to cover it or I invert the lid so the knob is down. I do use the pizza stone to even out the heat. If I want to bake a turkey breast we just cut it in half.

Barbara Brooker
6 months ago

I use a NuWave induction plate and a NuWave Bravo XL oven and have for over 5 years. I actually use it in our sticks and bricks home too!

Stan W
6 months ago

We use our 21″ oven all the time, yes you have to keep an eye on things, We don’t use a pizza stone, yet. I just rotate what ever I’m cooking for half of the time cycle. For example Pizza 10 minutes I rotate it at 5 minutes, And play with the temp a little. You are RVing not eating at home we make it work.

Christine
6 months ago

We have had 3 different MHs and not one of them had an oven. We have a convection microwave which we used until we bought a countertop oven. The convection oven took forever to preheat and did not heat evenly.

Kyle Petree
6 months ago

Installed a spark ignitor on the stove and oven. Now I don’t wake up the wife in the morning when I light the stove to make coffee and don’t have to get on my knee’s to light the oven pilot. Worth it.

https://fixyourcamper.com/camper-stove-igniter-upgrade/

Spike
6 months ago

We haven’t had a conventional oven in any of our RV’s since 1998. If the RV came with one it was removed and replaced with drawers as part of the deal. Cooktop and convection microwave and more storage for us.

Thomas D
6 months ago

We use our small oven all the time.
Pizza is always crisp rather than soggy. We make roasts cookies bread. All good. Our s+b home has a large oven, all that extra room wasted and gas too. More than twice the space of our rv, what for?

Joan
6 months ago

Our small RV has no oven, but don’t see how one would even fit because just under the stovetop is my (only) pantry, and I need that. We have an Omnia oven that I use on the stovetop occasionally for small stuff: a meatloaf, cobbler, fridge biscuits, etc., (but they have to fit in the Bundt-shaped pan). Mostly cook outside, but I did splurge on a Camp Chef oven/stove combo, which works fine when there’s no wind, useless in even a small breeze. When there’s no wind, I put a griddle on the small two-burner stovetop, and bake something in the oven at the same time.

Jay
6 months ago

No mention of safety of RV ovens at high temperatures. I imagine they purpose built with good insulation but are they ever a source of RV fires not caused by what you’re cooking in them?

Kathy Niemeyer
6 months ago

We full time 5 months out of the year. I discovered that using propane makes it very HOT inside our unit. I now use an electric skillet, small air fryer and an instant pot for all my cooking..

Lori
6 months ago

I did put a pizza stone in my tiny oven and I have a thermometer to know what temp I’m actually cooking at. I regularly cook “normal” meals in my oven. Since it’s just the 2 of us the 1/4 sheet and smaller casserole dish holds what we need it to. We live in it mostly full time as we do have a house we go back to occasionally. I honestly find no issue cooking in my oven other than I can’t have big dinner parties and that’s just fine with me. 🙂

kat
6 months ago

So jealous of the oven shown. I make and refrigerate Cookie dough the night before camping and bake cookies the first night to get things smelling great in the campground. A small cookie sheet is all I can fit in that nearly worthless oven. So it is cookies and rolls only.

Scott R. Ellis
6 months ago

Really? I responded that we regularly use our 17″ oven (without a stone, etc) and like it just fine, and that I wished you’d quit beating that dead horse. Musta missed that one.

Mark Honeycutt
6 months ago
Reply to  Scott R. Ellis

When I had one in my old travel trailer I used it quite often for many different things. However without a pizza stone or ceramic tile I don’t know how you keep from burning the bottom of whatever you are cooking?

John Vignola
6 months ago

We have a 21” oven and use it to cook bacon, biscuits, cookies at night and bread. We have an oven temp monitor so we know what and where to set the oven to get done what we need. PITA to lite but worth it…

Claudia
6 months ago

The inability to choose an accurate temperature on the dial combined with the Furrion oven not maintaing any level of stable temp while on (even with a pizza stone) frustrates me to the point that I don’t use it. We use the convection microwave for most everything but that’s not the greatest either since the size is small. I wish they’d figure out a way to put an electric oven instead of gas in there as an option. I mean, small is fine – there’s only 2 of us and I’m not roasting turkeys on the road after all. Just big enough for a small cookie sheet? Throw in the convection fan as well and we’d be on to something useful.

Bugsy
1 year ago

I have a 17″ which I use mainly for desserts. Cookies, cakes, brownies, etc. Everything else is grill, crock pot or air fryer. Works great for desserts as long as I have a pizza stone on the bottom, a oven thermometer and let it get to temperature, which takes a long time. That’s the one thing I don’t like.

Rod PARKER
1 year ago

We have a 17″ Furrion oven in our 2019 Imagine 2600RB that only has 3 3/4″ space above the oven grill for cook space. I have occasionally cooked biscuits. However, the temp on the knob is useless as a setting. I rely on a thermometer I set on the rack. There is 4″ below the oven burner I guess a could be used for broiling. Have not done that.

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