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How to choose an oven that won't let you down when entertaining

Hot tips to help you feed a crowd this festive season

Last updated: 22 November 2019

Need to know

  • A standard oven will fit a turkey or ham – but won't leave room for anything else
  • A wider oven will give you more space to accommodate other food
  • If you have the space, consider a double oven or freestanding oven with multiple cooking compartments

When you're cooking for a crowd, there's often little margin for error: if you burn the roast potatoes, you're potentially disappointing tens of people, rather than just a few. 

If you're upgrading your oven ahead of the busy festive season, you'll want to make sure you make a good choice – and we can help. CHOICE's kitchen queen Fiona Mair shares her tips for choosing the right oven, and we'll steer you in the direction of some quality ovens that'll help you cook up a storm to feed the hordes. 

Size it up

Make sure you factor the size of your oven into your menu planning, and figure out if you need to upgrade.

"A standard 60cm oven with a capacity of about 65–73L can fit a fairly large turkey (no. 6) or ham (size 7), but that will leave you no room for anything else," says Fiona. 

So you may need to consider oven size if you're planning on serving other hot foods for your festive feast. It'll be a massive festive fail if your turkey is ready but you haven't even started cooking the potatoes.

"Ovens sized 70–90cm will give you more volume and can accommodate other foods such as baked vegetables."

What features should you look for in an oven?

If you're cooking for a crowd, Fiona suggests a few features and extras that'll make life easier:

  • Fan-forced cooking: this will enable you to cook on multiple shelves
  • Pyrolytic cleaning: this will take care of any grease splatters, spills and baked-on food with ease – just turn it on and vacuum up the ash once the oven has cooled down. 
  • Catalytic liners: the next best thing to a pyrolytic oven, catalytic liners absorb fat splatters so they don't bake onto the oven's interior – again, just turn the oven up and then wipe the liners once the oven is cool. 
  • Accessories: roasting trays and racks that come with the oven are helpful, and telescopic runners are useful for sliding out heavy dishes that require basting or turning
  • Timer: this will help you cook your meal to perfection, rather than relying on guesswork
  • Meat thermometer: very handy for roasting meats to make sure they're not only cooked to your liking, but to ensure you don't send your guests home with food poisoning

Wall ovens

If you're after a big wall oven, 90cm wide is as big as it gets. These 90cm ovens scored well in some of our tests – but they weren't necessarily the top performers. To see the full results, visit our wall oven reviews.


Miele H 6290 B wall oven.

Miele H 6290 B

  • Multiple shelf baking score: 95%
  • Roasting score: 90%
  • Price: $7399

This 90cm Miele wall oven aced our multiple shelf baking test – but for the price, you'd expect excellent performance. 

Read our review of the Miele H 6290 B wall oven


Euromaid MF90 wall oven.

Euromaid MF90

  • Multiple shelf baking score: 95%
  • Roasting score: 90%
  • Price: $1687

This Euromaid wall oven delivers the same results for a much more affordable price. It also received an excellent score for low-temperature baking, so it could help you turn out the perfect pav.

Read our review of the Euromaid MF90 wall oven.

Double ovens

You could also opt for a double oven set-up, which is two distinct ovens, each with its own set of functions, but stacked one on top of the other into a larger unit. 

Some configurations are actually two full-sized ovens, and some are a smaller half-oven (with fewer functions) on top of a full-sized one. So consider how much space you have in your kitchen, and what you'll be using the second oven for. 

"If you have a large family, a freestanding 90cm oven or a 90cm wall oven is worthwhile," says Fiona. "Even a 75–80cm oven will give you a little extra baking area."


Falcon Classic Deluxe freestanding oven.

Freestanding ovens

Another option is a freestanding oven with multiple compartments, which will enable you to cook different foods at different temperatures – so you can cook a pork roast with perfectly crisp crackling at the same time as you turn out a light-as-air Victoria sponge. 

They do have their limitations, however. The smaller grill and oven compartments can limit the amount of food you can cook: the tall oven component usually has a narrow cavity, and smaller compartments may not take standard-size baking trays.

One example is the Falcon Classic deluxe CDL90DF + Colour freestanding oven. It's a dual-fuel model with a gas cooktop. While it's 90cm wide in total, its internal oven volume is just 51L in the main section. 

Oh, and it'll set you back a cool $8994 (RRP). But if you love the look, can live with the limitations and have a spare $9000, then this may be the oven for you.