Understanding the symbols on your oven is essential for achieving optimal cooking results. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain the meaning behind each oven symbol and provide useful tips on how to use them effectively.

Understanding Oven Symbols

Oven symbols explained
Oven symbols

Oven symbols can be confusing, leaving you unsure about which setting to use for different dishes. By familiarizing yourself with these symbols, you can unleash the full potential of your oven and become a culinary maestro.

1. Low Heat Element Only

low heat element only
low heat element only
  • Symbol: Rounded square with a single horizontal line
  • Meaning: Heat from the bottom element only, without fan circulation
  • Ideal for gently cooking stews, casseroles, or achieving a crispy base for pizzas and pastries

2. Upper and Lower Heating Elements

Oven Symbol for upper and lower heat
Oven Symbol for upper and lower heat
  • Symbol: Rounded square with two single horizontal lines
  • Meaning: Heat from both top and bottom elements, without fan circulation
  • Suitable for baking pastries, scones, and roasting meat on a single shelf

3. Fan with Lower Heat

fan with lower heat
fan with lower heat
  • Symbol: Square with a single line at the bottom and a fan icon above
  • Meaning: Heat from the base, circulated by the fan
  • Keeps the top of dishes moist while allowing the bottom to cook thoroughly
  • Great for avoiding blind baking and achieving crispy pizza bases

4. Fan Oven

fan only Oven Symbol
fan only Oven Symbol
  • Symbol: Circle with a fan inside
  • Meaning: Fan circulates heat from the circular element at the back
  • Ensures even heat distribution throughout the oven
  • Excellent for multi-shelf cooking, including roasting meat to perfection

5. Full Grill

Full Grill Oven Symbol
Full Grill Oven Symbol
  • Symbol: Double zigzag line at the top
  • Meaning: Heat produced by the full grill element
  • Use with the door closed or open (check your manual for specific instructions)
  • Perfect for cooking sausages, bacon, toasting, and browning meat

6. Part Grill

Part Grill Oven Symbol
Part Grill Oven Symbol
  • Symbol: Single zigzag line at the top
  • Meaning: Only a section of the grill element is activated
  • Place food directly under the activated section
  • Ideal for cooking a small portion, like a couple of sausages or cheese on toast

7. Grill and Fan

Grill and fan Oven Symbol
Grill and fan Oven Symbol
  • Symbol: Zigzag line at the top and a fan below
  • Meaning: Grill and fan operate simultaneously
  • The fan spreads the grill’s heat, resulting in a less intense heat
  • Suitable for cooking thicker meats or fish, without using the full oven or burning the top

8. Grill and Lower

Grill and lower heat oven symbol
Grill and lower heat oven symbol
  • Symbol: Square with a zigzag line at the top and a horizontal line at the bottom
  • Meaning: Combination heat setting
  • Ideal for achieving a crispy base and a nicely browned surface, perfect for tarts, pizza, and pies

9. Defrost

Defrost Oven Symbol
Defrost Oven Symbol
  • Symbol: Square with a snowflake inside and a water droplet
  • Meaning: Fan is on, but no heat is produced
  • Circulating air speeds up the defrosting process
  • Handy for defrosting food quickly before dinner preparations

10. Oven Light

Oven Light Symbol
Oven Light Symbol
  • Symbol: Square with a light or bulb inside
  • Meaning: Illuminates the oven interior for better visibility
  • Some ovens allow independent use, aiding cleaning by easily spotting grime

11. Plate Warming

Oven Plate warming symbol
Oven Plate warming symbol
  • Symbol: Three lines stacked vertically
  • Meaning: Gentle heat setting to warm plates before serving food
  • Ensures food stays warm and doesn’t cool quickly upon serving

12. Pyrolytic Cleaning

Oven Pyrolytic cleaning Symbol
Oven Pyrolytic cleaning Symbol
  • Symbol: Varies by manufacturer (e.g., capital P, dots, diamond shapes)
  • Meaning: High-temperature cleaning program (approximately 500°C)
  • Incinerates burnt-on cooking grime, leaving behind ash for easy wiping
  • Consult your oven’s manual for specific symbol used by the manufacturer

13. Alarm

Oven Alarm Symbol
Oven Alarm Symbol
  • Symbol: Represents the alarm feature
  • Enables you to set reminders to check on your cooking progress

14. Minute Minder

Minute minder oven symbol
Minute minder oven symbol
  • Symbol: Represents the automatic oven shut-off after a set time
  • Allows you to control cooking time, with a beep signaling completion

15. Child Lock

Oven Child Lock Symbol
Oven Child Lock Symbol
  • Symbol: Represents the child lock feature
  • Press and hold the button to activate or deactivate
  • When activated, the oven does not respond to button presses or dial turns


By understanding the symbols on your oven, you can optimize your cooking techniques and ensure delicious results. Familiarize yourself with the meanings behind these symbols and explore the diverse combinations your oven offers. Remember, not all ovens have the same features or symbols, so consult your manual for specific details. Use this guide as a starting point to embark on a culinary adventure and unleash the full potential of your oven.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are oven symbols the same for all models and brands

No, oven symbols can vary between different oven models and brands. It’s important to refer to your oven’s manual for the specific symbols and their meanings.

Can I use a fan oven to cook multiple dishes at once?

Yes, fan ovens are designed to provide even heat distribution, making them suitable for cooking multiple dishes simultaneously. However, if your oven doesn’t distribute heat evenly, you may need to rotate the trays for consistent results.

How do I activate the child lock feature on my oven?

The child lock symbol on your oven usually requires you to press and hold the corresponding button to activate or deactivate the feature. Refer to your oven’s manual for precise instructions.

What does the defrost symbol mean?

The defrost symbol indicates a fan-only mode with no heat. It is used to accelerate the defrosting process, making it faster than leaving the food on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator.

How does pyrolytic cleaning work?

Pyrolytic cleaning is a high-temperature self-cleaning feature offered by some ovens. The oven heats up to extreme temperatures, incinerating any burnt-on grime. Once complete, you can easily wipe away the ash residue.

Oven Symbols Explained
Oven Symbols Explained – Infographic

Key Notes and Important Points:

  • Understanding oven symbols ensures better cooking results.
  • Symbols vary between oven models and brands.
  • Some common symbols include conventional heating elements, fan ovens, grills, and combination settings.
  • Use the appropriate symbol for specific dishes or cooking requirements.
  • Consult your oven’s manual for precise symbol interpretations.
  • Experiment with different combinations of symbols to explore your oven’s versatility.
  • Additional features include defrosting, plate warming, pyrolytic cleaning, alarms, and child lock settings.
  • Always follow safety instructions and guidelines provided by the manufacturer

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