How much room is need for air circulation in an oven?

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Assistant Cook
Oct 20, 2004
I was getting ready to buy a new roasting pan (the one I have is too big for the oven in my new house) and I was remembering hearing something about pans and how much room they need in the oven. Unfortunately, my oven is REALLY small - only 18" wide. I found a roasting pan that's 16.75" wide - but will that leave enough room for proper air circulation? It's an electric oven.

Will I be able to properly cook a turkey for example if it takes up that much room in the oven?



Senior Cook
Sep 29, 2004
London, Ontario, Canada
Spacing of your roaster in your oven...

For Best Air Circulation
Hot air must circulate around the pans in the oven for even heat to reach all parts of the oven. This results in better baking.

For best results, allow 1-1/2 to 2 inches (4-5 cm.) of space around each pan and between pans and oven walls.

Place the pans so that one is not directly over the other.

Use only one cookie sheet in the oven at a time.

Use the following as a guide to determine where to place the pans:

One Pan

Place in the center of the oven rack.

Two Pans

Place in opposite corners of the oven rack or on two separate racks.

Three or Four Pans

Place in opposite corners on each oven rack. Stagger pans so no pan is directly over another.


Peerless-Premier Appliance Co.

Call Toll Free 800-858-5844

Hope this helps....Pst :D

Michael in FtW

Master Chef
Moderator Emeritus
Sep 5, 2004
Fort Worth, TX
I'm with pst - a 16.75" pan in an 18" oven isn't going to work that well. For roasting a turkey, you can get by with 1.5 inch on each side - for baking you need 3 inches.

To find the maximum size pan to use: for roasting subtract 3 from the width and depth of the oven, for baking breads subtract 6.

For example - for roasting meats - try to find a pan about 15" long or less. For baking cookies and such, look for one about 12" long of less.


Sous Chef
Aug 24, 2004
Just my opinion. When it comes to baking pastries, cakes, etc., air circulation is very important. When it comes to roasting meat and turkeys, it's less important.

Less circulation will affect your roasting time, so allow more time for the bird to get done.
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