When making meals for your family, you’re going to want to do your best to ensure that things turn out great. You try to make all of your meals taste fantastic, and you also want them to look the part.
Sometimes you need certain dishes to brown on top so that they have the proper aesthetic. Browning the top of dishes might also help things to taste right in certain instances.
This is why it’s more than a bit frustrating when your oven isn’t browning things as expected. You might be wondering what it is you’re doing wrong.
It definitely isn’t good to just keep the dish in the oven for too long because you’re not trying to burn everything. Is there a specific reason why things aren’t browning as they should?
Keep reading to learn what to do about an oven not browning things on top. This should help you to turn things around and get better results.
It Might Be Because of the Type of Oven That You’re Using
There’s a good chance that what you’re experiencing is because of the oven type that you own. If you are using a gas oven that doesn’t have a fan, then it’s more likely that you’ll encounter issues such as this.
Electric ovens that have fans blowing the heat around the oven are going to distribute heat evenly. Sometimes the airflow just isn’t going to be as good about helping your dishes to brown on top how you want them to.
If you’re using a gas oven that heats up from the bottom, then you’re probably going to need to try to do things differently than you have been. Often, all that’s required is to change the rack that you’re baking on.
You might be used to baking things on the middle rack, but it’ll probably be better to try the top rack. When you’re baking a casserole or something else on the middle rack, the heat is going to hit the bottom of the pan without sufficiently hitting the top.
Placing the pan on the top rack will have the heat hit the bottom of the pan and then bounce off of the top of the oven to get the top of your dish. You should have much more satisfactory results if you bake things on the top rack.
Methods to Push the Heat to the Top
There is another thing that you can do to try to push the heat to the top of the oven. This next idea involves getting a tray that is a bit bigger than the one you’re using to bake your dish.
You want to place this tray beneath the tray that you’re using to bake things. This is being done in an attempt to shield the bottom of the food that you’re trying to bake, and it’ll also force the heat to go upward.
As long as you have a tray on the middle rack, the food that you’re trying to bake on the top rack should have an easier time browning. This is an idea that’s well worth trying because many professional bakers use this to make gas ovens work properly for their needs.
Depending on what you’re trying to make, it might even be beneficial to place some water in the empty tray. This can create steam that will help to regulate the heat, and it might give you an easier time getting consistent results.
You might not want to do this when you’re baking pastries, though. It could wind up making it easier for the pastries to crack, and most bakers won’t want their pastries to look as if they’ve split in certain spots.
What If You Have Issues with the Bottoms Not Being Done?
It is possible that making these changes could cause the bottoms of your dishes to not finish as quickly as the tops. You should be able to remedy this by moving the food down to the middle rack to finish baking the bottoms.
Sometimes certain ovens will make things tough on you and you’ll have to reposition your dish. This might be a bit of an annoyance, but you should be able to brown the tops and then switch positions to bake the bottoms of the food just a little longer.
In this situation, you’d be removing the extra tray and then putting your food dish on the middle rack where that extra tray used to be. Ideally, your food dish will finish baking on the bottom and everything will be fine.
Not everyone who has problems browning dishes on top will have issues such as this. The bottom portions of your dish might bake through just fine despite your efforts to push the heat to the top of the oven.
Try Using a Different Pan
There are also instances where the type of pan that you’re using won’t be good for baking. For example, you could be using a pan that causes the bottom of your food to bake quickly, and this makes it hard to brown the top without burning the bottom of the food.
It’s likely going to be worth experimenting with different pans to see if you get better results. You might find that you’ll want to use a specific casserole pan when trying to brown certain dishes.
Hopefully, trying to do the things mentioned above will make a difference. It isn’t too uncommon for people to encounter issues when baking in gas ovens.
You might even need to try changing pans to see if that will make a difference. Either way, you have ways to try to work around this issue that can make it much simpler for you to get good results.
Browning things on top is an important part of the baking process. Whether you’re making pastries or you’re trying to bake a delicious casserole, you’re going to want things to turn out right.
Simply troubleshoot and try to figure out what’s going wrong. Making some adjustments to what you’re doing could make it so that things will turn out perfectly in the future.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.