One of the many benefits of owning an RV is the ability to easily cook full meals, especially on those days when you can’t or don’t want to have a campfire. At first glance, it may seem like you have everything you need to cook a great meal, including an RV propane oven.
Unfortunately, many RVers quickly discover that RV ovens just don’t do it for them. Let’s look at why some people have ditched them altogether.
Do RVers Actually Use Their RV Ovens?
Yes, many RVers use their ovens. People love to share their fresh-baked pastries or hot casseroles. Many have found a way to have great success using their propane RV oven just as well as their oven at home.
Others swear it’s useless and have never used it. Still, some have used it but decided they prefer other cooking methods while camping. This space may become a permanent storage space for pots, pans, or spare paper towel rolls.
Do You Need an Oven in Your RV?
Some RVers use their oven every day, while others have never fired theirs up. If you rarely use your home oven, you most likely won’t need its RV counterpart much while camping.
Those who would rather cook with an oven than a campfire may find that they use it frequently, possibly even every trip out. Additionally, your need for an RV oven will depend on what you prefer to cook while camping.
Why RVers Are Falling Out of Love with Their Propane Ovens
RV propane ovens get a lot of hate. Many RVers claim that they don’t work and waste space. But why do they get this harsh criticism?
Uneven Heating/Hot Zones
RV ovens can have issues with uneven heating. They tend to leave users frustrated when one portion of their food burns while another remains cold.
Many have remedied this by placing a pizza stone inside to redistribute the heat. As you can imagine, having hot and cold zones may not work best to cook your food.
Often RV ovens are of poor quality because they must be lightweight. This can mean frequently replacing parts, and the cost can add up quickly.
Not to mention, if you’re waiting on a replacement part, you can’t use your oven anyway. Frequent repairs make it an unreliable appliance.
Many items in an RV are smaller than in a traditional home. Unfortunately, the RV oven is not exempt. This means your standard sheet pans likely won’t fit.
And you can forget about cooking more than one thing at a time. Many people find that the small size of the oven makes using it near impossible. Your favorite casserole dish or cookie pan probably won’t fit.
➡ Could an RV outdoor kitchen be the solution to your cooking woes? Some RVers think so, but are they really all they’re cracked up to be? Find out here: Is an RV Outdoor Kitchen Worth It?
Hard to Light
Unlike a residential oven, using your RV propane oven isn’t as easy as simply turning a knob. Most ovens don’t have electric ignition, meaning you will need to light the pilot light manually first, then turn on the oven. This pilot is usually way in the back corner, so you may have to get down on your knees to reach it.
Even then, the propane sometimes has a hard time catching, and it can take a few attempts to get it to light.
After the oven is lit, you’ll want to watch it to ensure the temperature rises because they can go out periodically.
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RV Manufacturers Are Also Skipping the RV Oven
RV manufacturers have caught on to the fact that many RVers feel their ovens waste space. Instead of putting a product in that their customers don’t find useful, some opt to use the area for storage or a more helpful appliance.
RV propane ovens often become repurposed for storage by RVers anyways. Many manufacturers have noted this phenomenon and have put more storage space in the kitchen. While rare, some RVs do come with a more residential-style oven to combat the common woes of the appliance.
Reliable Replacements for Your RV Oven
So what options do you have if your RV oven just isn’t cutting it? Let’s look at a few alternatives we recommend.
Toaster ovens serve as a great addition to your RV due to their efficiency and size. You can place them on a countertop or install them in place of a removed oven. They heat quickly and without using propane.
Toaster ovens come in all different sizes, so you can find one to fit your space. You can use them to make toast, bake fries, or even cook a pizza. If you don’t have the counter space, many models can be attached to the underside of the cabinets.
Microwave convection ovens are the perfect alternative to a propane RV oven. This impressive appliance can quickly make your popcorn or reheat leftovers like a standard microwave.
By selecting a new mode, you can use the same appliance as a standard electric oven, even baking bread. Many models offer a third option: a combination of microwave and convection at the same time (sometimes called “fast bake”.)
Most RVs come with a microwave already installed, so replacing your current microwave with a convection model takes up no additional space but gives you some fantastic added cooking capabilities.
➡ New to microwave convection ovens? Here’s everything you need to know: The Complete Guide to Your RV Microwave Convection Oven
While an induction burner doesn’t replace an oven’s functions, it allows you to remove your oven and still have a cooktop. You can permanently install an RV induction cooktop or purchase a portable unit.
A huge benefit to a portable one is mobility. You can easily move and store these small appliances when not in use. This frees up your counter for other cooking needs.
RVers may have fallen out of love with their ovens, but they’ve certainly fallen in love with Instant Pots. These small, multipurpose countertop appliances can act as pressure cookers, slow cookers, rice cookers, steamers, soup pots, and saute pans.
Is it any wonder they’ve become popular among people who spend a lot of time cooking in small RV kitchens?
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What to Do With Your Unused RV Oven
Those that have decided to let their RV propane oven go unused have a choice to make, leave it or remove it. If you choose to leave it, you can use it as storage for pots and pans or other items. You can even use it for extra pantry space—just don’t fire it up with groceries in there!
If you want to free up the space completely, you can simply remove it. Ensure you have capped your propane lines first. Once removed, you can sell the oven or toss it depending on its condition. If you have to trash it, contact your local waste collection facility to ensure you dispose of it correctly.
Can You Replace Your RV Oven with a Residential Version?
You can replace your RV oven with a residential version, but you’ll have some challenges. Remember that your RV’s door is smaller than a residential door, so measure carefully to make sure your new oven will fit inside.
Once you’ve determined that the one you want will get through the door, do a few more measurements to ensure it will fit in the old one’s place. Not only do you need it to fit in the spot, but make sure the oven door will fully open without hitting any other parts of the RV.
Lastly, ensure that the new oven will work with a propane conversion kit. This allows a natural gas oven to function using your RV’s propane tanks.
Should You Ditch Your RV Propane Oven?
If you use your RV oven often and find value in it, you don’t have to replace it. Don’t mess with what’s working, right? But if you have tried your oven and decided it doesn’t work for you, consider looking for an alternative.
Thankfully, you can find some great replacement options. Instead of letting the space go to waste, make the area work for you, whether with another appliance or storage.
RV propane ovens do get a bad rap. Lower your expectations from what a residential oven can do, and you can avoid disappointment.
Do you think their poor reputation is warranted or a bit dramatic? If you’ve replaced your RV oven, what did you replace it with? Let us know in the comments.
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