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

One of the many benefits of owning an RV is the ability to 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 using their RV oven isn’t as glamorous as they expected. 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.

RV oven comic
Want more comics like this? Get access to our comic library here.

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 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. 

Are RV Propane Ovens Safe?

Generally, an RV propane oven is safe to use if it is properly installed and you maintain the parts and hoses and keep it clean. However, there will always be inherent risks when using propane. We recommend installing an RV propane detector and an RV carbon monoxide detector in your camper. This will help you detect any dangerous gas leaks.

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? Let’s take a closer look.

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. 

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

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. 

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 nearly impossible. Your favorite casserole dish or cookie pan might not fit.

Pro Tip: Could an RV outdoor kitchen be the solution to your cooking woes? 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. 

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 anyway. 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 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. 

Pro Tip: If you’re 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. 

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,...
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  • COOK FAST OR SLOW: Pressure cook delicious one-pot meals up to...

Pro Tip: If you love to cook even while you travel, check out these 10 Amazingly Good Camping Meals for Your Next Camping Trip.

What to Do With Your Unused RV Oven

Those who 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!

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

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 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

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

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. If you lower your expectations and don’t expect your RV oven to perform the same as a residential one, you can avoid disappointment.

Did you ditch your RV oven? If so, what did you replace it with? Let us know in the comments.

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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David

Wednesday 27th of December 2023

I removed the useless oven from my truck camper and replaced it with a Victron inverter, two B2B chargers, and an MPPT solar controller. Oven RIP

J Can

Thursday 16th of November 2023

Recently purchased a used Lance trailer with no propane oven but a High Pointe Microwave Convection oven combo. I've been researching it for weeks and first attempted brownies in the convection function. I ended up doubling the cook time. Second attempt was apple crisp - and again had to double cook time. Turned the grill function on for 15 minutes to help brown the top and it had almost to effect. I'm not a very happy camper at this point. Unsure why our oven combo takes more time to cook! I do enjoy the extra cabinet created by the missing propane oven but definitely unsure if we made the right choice eliminating it with this purchase.

Kathy and Bob Pearce

Tuesday 12th of September 2023

We ditched our useless RV oven and installed a beverage fridge in its place. We upgraded the Microwave oven with a 3 in 1 micro, convection and convention oven. I love my 3 in 1 and use ot daily!

Chazman

Sunday 10th of September 2023

Do I use my rv propane oven?

One word - BACON!

Clare Scheffer

Sunday 10th of September 2023

There’s another alternative to an oven: Omnia is an “oven” that works on a propane stove. In my Omnia I have baked everything from meatloaf to cornbread. Yum