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End of the RV Oven: Why RVers Are Ditching Propane Baking

End of the RV Oven: Why RVers Are Ditching Propane Baking

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. 

RV propane oven
This RV oven takes up quite a bit of space in this small kitchen.

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? 

RV oven with door open
Many RV ovens are too small for a standard sheet pan and often have issues with uneven heating.

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. 

Low-Quality Components

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. 

Suburban RV propane oven
RV ovens aren’t exactly known for their quality.

Small Size

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. 

Pie baking in an RV oven
When using your RV oven, check periodically to make sure it stays lit.

After the oven is lit, you’ll want to watch it to ensure the temperature rises because they can go out periodically. 

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. 

Class A kitchen
This is a kitchen in a Class A motorhome. Look at all of the extra storage space you get without an oven.

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 Oven

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

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”.)

How to Use a Convection Microwave (With Confidence) || Fulltime RV Living

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

Induction Burner

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. 

induction cooktop
If you have a portable induction cooktop, you could even use it outdoors.

Instant Pot

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?

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker,...
  • 7-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Pressure cook, slow cook, rice cooker,...
  • QUICK ONE-TOUCH COOKING: 13 customizable Smart Programs for...
  • COOK FAST OR SLOW: Pressure cook delicious one-pot meals up to...

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. 

Open RV propane oven
On RV oven can be a good place to store pots and pans when not in use.

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. 

induction cooktop in a Class A motorhome
One popular alternative is placing an RV dishwasher below an induction cooktop.

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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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
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Gil Strachan

Monday 26th of December 2022

This post is amost a year old, but I thought I would reply anyway... giving propane ovens a score of 8/10. Read on...

We use our propane oven with some regularity; it's especially useful for things like baking a frozen pizza, warming a casserole, browning a pan roast or broiling a steak. (It's not always gonna be the perfect bbq day!)

These ovens are admittedly small, but can be really useful. For example, if you are boondocking without an electrical hook-up; there aren't many RVs large enough to support sufficient solar, a battery bank and inverter with enough capacity to do this kind of cooking. Even some campground hook-ups might not supply enough power for one or more kitchen cooking appliances

Some propane oven tips:

The oven controls are notoriously inaccurate, so we use a little oven thermometer to learn the real temperature... our oven for example, needs to be set 25 degrees F higher on the dial, to achieve the desired oven temperature.

There's no window in the oven door, so every time you open the door you could add about 10-15 minutes to your cooking time! To help with this, a pizza stone will definately help to better distribute heat in the oven, as well as minimizing the heat loss if you feel a need to open the door while cooking.

Lighting the oven pilot can be much easier if you have a long-stem, flexible butane bbq lighter. Set a flashlight on the open door when lighting the pilot, so you can better see where you're aiming!

Be sure to turn on the range hood fan when using the cooktop or the oven to remove heat and odours, and to minimize indoor humidity when camping in colder weather. ___

How did I get to my rating of 8/10 for propane ovens? Starting at 10, I deducted one point for each thing that I feel is a notable decificiency. Then I added back another one point for each solid advantage the propane oven represents.

Minus 1 for no window in the oven door. Minus 1 for no built-in oven igniter. Minus 1 for inaccurate oven temperature dials. Minus 1 for no pilot light (there's one for the HWT, why not the oven?)

Plus 1 for the fact that it's a working oven... we are glamping after all! Plus 1 for not having to use the generator when boondocking. (Maybe Plus 2?)

I ignored the uneven heat and heat loss issues, because what the heck... it's a tiny oven designed for a tiny space - and the pizza stone really works. My wife is superfoodie and wouldn't be any fun in the bush without the oven!

Rich Bain

Monday 26th of December 2022

We had our camper built specifically for us. Several custom things in ours. We did NOT get an oven by our choice. We also have a 2 burner stove top since we have never used 3 burners at once. The extra storage space where the oven would have been is far more useful. We do have an induction/microwave though.

We use a bbq to do our baking needs. My wife has made cookies, pizza and more on the bbq.


Thursday 9th of June 2022

We’re full time campers, chasing the job all over the US. We often cook on open (& indirect) fire. Sometimes, its not feasible. Not everything works in the 2 crock pots. I’ve been cooking & baking, the better part of 55yrs. It was a learning curve with the wee, propane oven. Nothing over 13”. Adjust the temps and check often (I sliced off a lot of burned bottoms! And when you think you've got it, change the LP tank, or get an account with a local company-HA! ) But winter’s low & slow dinners add heat & delicious scents, for sure. What about summer? After making a long, educated decision, I got an Emeril Lagasse 360 XL Air Fry Oven, and a 3.5 lb Coleman fold up camp table to fit on my slide out & keep the oven out of the way. Someone gave me a second folding table for outside, on the “porch” where the cat & I sit and do my baking. I’m back on the learning curve, adapting my recipes to the oven, but nothing has a burned bottom. And the first batch of cookies seemed raw, till totally cooled, ooey-gooey! Rotisserie pork roast, baked chicken. Slow cook, air fried pork chops to DIE for! I can’t wait to dehydrate. No propane, no hot kitchen overworking the A/C. But my propane stove is a staple, for sure.


Friday 15th of April 2022

We are full timers in a TT and replaced our propane oven/stove with a dishwasher. We installed a quick connect to the gas line for oven, accessible from the newly claimed countertop space where the stove was. We can connect our portable propane stove to the quick connect and use it on the counter whenever we want to cook with gas. We replaced our microwave with a toaster over/air fryer combo and that handles any baking needs we have. Obviously everyone will have a different experience and have their own preferences. For us though, the space used by the oven was a waste, while the dishwasher allowed us to reclaim sink and counter space as dirty dishes from the day go into the dishwasher rather than the sink/countertop.

Mortons on the Move

Saturday 23rd of April 2022

Agree on the dishwasher in place of the oven! Much better kitchen tool for full time when you can bake other ways.

Steve engi-nerd

Sunday 6th of February 2022

We agree with the issues with most RV ovens but most of the complaints are the result of poor quality and cheap design. We replace the most common brand of RV oven with a Furrion stove / oven. My wife says it works much like our oven at home. The heat is much more even and easy to control. The oven has a spark igniter and the knobs are lit. So I think if RV manufactures put a little better quality components in their products, there would be many less complaints. And let’s not even start with the inefficient furnaces and poor duct work!!!

Mortons on the Move

Friday 11th of February 2022

You're right. Design and quality can definitely cause issues.

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