Which Oven Rack Position Gets The Most Heat When Baking ( It Depends!)

  • By: VidJovanovic
  • Date: June 28, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.
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If you’re unsure which oven rack position is best for your cooking needs, this blog post will explain the differences between the different oven rack positions and which one gets the most heat when baking.

When baking or broiling food, you may notice that it cooks differently depending on what oven rack position you use. 

In this blog post, we’ll look at the different oven rack positions and explore which one gets the most heat when baking.

Which Oven Rack Position Gets The Most Heat When Baking
Which Oven Rack Position Gets The Most Heat When Baking

Here Is The Answer To Which Oven Rack Position Gets The Most Heat When Baking

When you’re baking, the heat from the gas oven travels upward. It’s strongest near the heating coils at the bottom of the oven and weakest near the top. 

The middle of the racks gets a happy medium of hot air, which makes it a happy place for your cakes and cookies to bake. The position of your oven rack can make a big difference in how fast your food cooks and how evenly it browns and bakes.

The heating coils on the back and top of an electric oven heat the air in a particular spot. When baking, that spot is the center of the top or middle rack. So if you want the most heat, bake in the center of a rack for either an electric oven. 

Here’s Why You Should Position The Oven Racks

Here's Why You Should Position The Oven Racks
Here’s Why You Should Position The Oven Racks
  • Positioning the oven racks will help you bake more evenly.
  • The position of your baking pans and dishes is affected by the heat source will affect how they cook, meaning that it’s essential to get as close as possible to a perfect arrangement.
  • The way your food cooks depends on where it is positioned inside the oven. Your pies and cakes won’t brown properly if they’re too far away from their heating element, so pay attention when positioning them in your oven!
  • Heat distribution is essential when cooking with gas stoves or electric ranges because it determines how much heat each part of your meal gets—and all that could mean for its texture and flavor.

What Other Factors Affect How Heat Is Distributed In An Oven?

Here are some factors that affect how heat is distributed in an oven:

  • The shape of the oven
  • The number of heating elements
  • The size of the oven and its interior design (for example, if there’s a fan on top)
  • The type of heating element (gas vs. electric)
  • How well insulated your kitchen is (think insulation, not walls)

The Shape of Your Oven

The shape of your oven affects how heat is distributed. For example, a convection oven has a fan that circulates the air around the food to help it bake more evenly.

This means that when you place your cookies on the top rack, they might bake faster than if they were near the bottom of the oven—so don’t worry about moving them to another place!

Another thing to keep in mind: while rectangular and square shapes are popular for stoves and microwaves, round ones tend to be best for baking because there’s no corner where cold air can gather (which can cause uneven heating).

  • The shape of your oven affects how heat is distributed in an oven. The higher the temperature, the more likely you are to get the crispy bottom, even bake, and middle of the oven if you place the food on the bottom oven rack.
  • If you want flakey baked goods, place them in the lowest position and close on the oven door.
  • A lower temperature is best for crusty and chewy baked goods like cookies or pizza crust, while a higher temperature is better for flaky items like pie crust or pastries that need to brown quickly.

Number of Heating Elements in The Oven

The number of heating elements in your oven is a big factor in determining how much heat you can expect to be coming out of them.

For example, if you have two bottom heating elements but one top one, more heat will be coming from the bottom than from any other spot.

If you want to cook something evenly, it’s better to put it on one of the top racks rather than on either side (where there are no heating elements).

The more heating elements, the more evenly the heat will be distributed. Due to the fact that hot air rises, placing your meal on a rack next to the burner is preferable to placing it directly on the burner.

Tips on How to Position the Oven Rack Depending on What You Are Cooking

Tips On How To Position The Oven Rack Depending On What You Are Cooking
Tips On How To Position The Oven Rack Depending On What You Are Cooking

If baking a large sheet cake, place the cake pan on the middle rack. If you are baking a large casserole dish, place the dish on the bottom rack. If you are baking a large roast, place the roast on the top rack.

The best way to position your oven rack depends on what you are cooking, but in general, the lowest rack should be used for roasting, while the middle rack should be used for baking.

If you want to get a crusty brown top with a golden brown crust, place your food on the top of the oven.

What Happens to Food when Baked at Different Positions of The Oven Rack?

When you bake food at different oven rack positions, it can affect the bottom crust. Specifically, you might get a better bottom crust when you bake food in the bottom thirds of the oven and on one side or another of the oven walls.

The default position for most baking dishes is in the middle of the oven rack. This is because it’s the position that will allow you to achieve the desired temperature best, and it’s where food will cook evenly throughout.

To bake your dish at a specific position on your oven rack, you’ll want to set your oven’s thermostat to the desired temperature and place a baking dish into the oven on its center rack.

Why Do Different Racks Receive Different Amount Of Heat?

Why Do Different Racks Receive Different Amount Of Heat
Why Do Different Racks Receive Different Amount Of Heat

Here are a few of the explanations.

  • Distance from the heating element. In most ovens, there is a heating element in the bottom of the oven that heats up to around 500° F (260° C). The closer something is to that heating element, the more heat it receives.
  • Distance from heat source. Bigger objects take longer to cook since they require less time on each side and are further away from a direct heat source, as seen in the table below (like an open flame or broiler).
  • This can make precision cooking difficult because if you’re trying to bake something for 20 minutes at 400ºF and it takes 30 minutes at 375ºF due to its size, then your food could be overdone by the time everything has cooked through!

What if You Don’t Have Enough Oven Racks?

If you don’t have enough oven racks and need more than you have. Here are some creative ways to make sure all of the heat gets transferred from the bottom of the pan to the top of food:

  • Use cooling racks. They’re made for this! The slats allow for circulation and airflow, so they’re especially good at cooking foods that need lots of heat distributed evenly throughout—think cookies or loaves of bread.
  • It’s best to bake a single layer of cookies at a time rather than trying to bake more than one layer at the same time. This will help ensure that your cookies cook evenly, rather than some receiving too much heat and burning while others don’t receive enough heat and remain soft.
  • If you have a storage drawer in your oven, you can also store baked cookies in this space until all of them are done baking.
  • Elevate with baking sheets and stones. Baking sheets are designed specifically to allow air flow underneath, so they’re another good option if your kitchen equipment lacks variety but not creativity.

How To Check Which Oven Rack Gets The Hottest?

  • Use a Thermometer.
  • An oven thermometer, to be precise. (We can’t make this stuff up.)
  • Digital thermometers are great for checking the heat of your food as it cooks and monitoring its internal temperature for doneness. But if you want to know which part of your oven gets the hottest when baking, you’ll need an oven-safe digital probe thermometer that measures from -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit (-50 to 300 degrees Celsius).
  • A meat probe goes in the meat and monitors its internal temperature until it reaches doneness. For example, if you want perfectly cooked chicken breast every time, insert a remote temperature monitor into one end while cooking; when it registers 160°F (71°C), remove from heat—no more guessing!

Do All The Racks Receive Same Amount Of Heat On Its Sides

Do All The Racks Receive Same Amount Of Heat On Its Side
Do All The Racks Receive Same Amount Of Heat On Its Side

Nope! All racks do not receive the same amount of heat on their side. For example, if you place a baking sheet with cookies on the bottom rack, they will receive different amounts of heat from the sides because they are at different heating units placed.

The heat from the door side is always low as it always does not have any heating elements.

How To Position The Oven Racks If You Have A Convection Oven

Things are slightly different if you use a convection oven. Convection ovens use fans to circulate hot air around the cooking chamber, so there’s no reason to position your rack in the center of your oven.

Instead, it’s best to place them in the middle of your baking space where they will receive more heat from that circulating air flow.

How To Position The Oven Racks If You Have An Electric Oven

According to research released by the American Chemical Society, electric ovens and grills can be used to bake a cake.

However, baking cakes in an electric oven is much more successful if you turn off half of the racks and put them on the bottom rack (or upper rack).

There’s less competition for heat from other things in your oven like cookies or cakes or whatever else you’ve baked.

This results in less time needed to cook your cake, and not only does it look better when finished, but it also tastes better!

How To Position The Oven Racks If You Have A Microwave Oven

A microwave oven is a countertop appliance that uses microwaves to heat and cooks food. It has a rotating tray and a turntable that rotates the food.

The turntable is heated by microwave energy, so it’s important to place foods on the rotating tray instead of directly on top of the turntable when you’re using your microwave.


In this blog post, we discussed the different positions of an oven rack and which one gets the most heat when baking. We also discussed what happens to your food when baking at different positions.

This blog post will help you better understand how to bake your food and the different positions of your oven rack. Depending on what you are baking, it is best to use an oven rack that is positioned in the middle of your oven.

This will evenly distribute heat in the oven and the food and prevent it from burning. If you choose a different position, you might not get the best results.

Thank you for reading this blog post. We hope you found it helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different oven rack positions when baking?

There are three different oven rack positions when baking: top, middle, and bottom. The most common and convenient rack position is the middle. It offers a safe distance from the heat source, so you can watch your baked goods as they bake. The low position (or bottom rack) is used for cookies and baking sheets since these items can brown quickly on the top side. 

What are the best oven rack positions for baking cakes?

The best position for an oven rack when baking cakes is to place it in the center of the oven. This position gives you enough headroom to fill and bake your cake without burning the top or bottom. 

What are the best oven rack positions for baking pizza?

When baking pizza, place your oven rack in the upper or central third of the oven. This allows heat to circulate through the pizza, cooking evenly and quickly. 

Do different racks get different amounts of heat, or is it just a myth?

The heat is not the same across all racks. Hence the temperature of each rack will differ from each other because of their distance from the heating element. 


Vid Jovanovic

I’m Vid Jovanovic and I’m 36 years old. I’m a teacher by profession and my passion lies in baking. I have been baking since my early teens, when my grandmother taught me how to make a simple cake that you can find in any supermarket. My passion for baking grew as I got older and I started experimenting with different ingredients and recipes.