Short answer: To prevent an oven from burning the bottom of food, ensure proper rack placement and use suitable cookware. Check for thermostat or heating element. 

Experiencing an issue where your oven consistently burns the bottom of your food can be frustrating and disheartening, especially when you’ve put time and effort into preparing a meal. However, this common problem can often be resolved with a better understanding of its underlying causes and some straightforward adjustments. In this discussion, I will highlight the various reasons why ovens burn the bottom of food and explore practical solutions to ensure your culinary creations come out perfectly cooked and delicious every time.

Reasons Why Your Oven Burn Foods On The Bottom

Food bottom burnt
Food burnt in the oven

There are several reasons why your oven may be burning food on the bottom:

  1. Broken Thermostat: If your oven’s thermostat is malfunctioning, it may not regulate the temperature properly. This can result in the bottom of your food getting too hot, leading to burning.
  2. Damaged Heating Element: A damaged or faulty heating element can cause uneven heating in your oven. If the bottom element is malfunctioning, it may generate excessive heat at the bottom, burning your food.
  3. Calibration Issues: Ovens need to be calibrated periodically to ensure that they are heating to the correct temperature. If your oven is not calibrated correctly, it may run hotter than the set temperature, causing the bottom of your food to burn.
  4. Poor Tray Placement: The placement of your oven trays or racks can affect how evenly your food cooks. Placing food too close to the bottom of the oven can lead to burning, especially if the heating element is located there.
  5. Wrong Sheet or Pan: Using the wrong type of sheet or pan for your cooking can lead to burning. Some materials conduct heat more efficiently than others, and using the wrong one can cause the bottom of your food to overcook.
  6. Not Preheating: Preheating your oven is essential for even cooking. If you skip this step, your oven may take longer to reach the desired temperature, causing the bottom of your food to cook faster and burn.
  7. Leaving the Oven Door Open: Opening the oven door frequently or leaving it open for extended periods can disrupt the cooking process. It allows heat to escape and can result in uneven cooking, with the bottom of your food being more prone to burning.

How To Repair An Oven That Is Burning Food From Bottom?

Foil placed in pan
Foil placed under the pan to reduce burning

Repairing an oven that consistently burns food from the bottom can be a DIY task in some cases, but for others, it may require professional assistance. Here are steps to troubleshoot and potentially repair your oven:

  1. Check the Thermostat:
    • Purchase an oven thermometer and place it in the center of your oven.
    • Preheat the oven to a specific temperature, and when it reaches that temperature, check the thermometer.
    • If there’s a significant discrepancy between the oven’s temperature setting and the thermometer reading, your thermostat may be faulty.
    • To replace a faulty thermostat, consult your oven’s manual or consider hiring a professional technician.
  2. Inspect the Heating Element:
    • Turn off the oven and unplug it from the power source.
    • Open the oven door and remove any racks or trays.
    • Examine the heating elements (usually located at the top and bottom of the oven) for visible damage such as cracks, blisters, or burn marks.
    • If you find any damage, the heating element may need replacement. Consult your oven’s manual or seek professional help for this task.
  3. Calibrate the Oven:
    • Refer to your oven’s manual for instructions on how to calibrate it. Calibrating your oven can help ensure it heats to the correct temperature.
    • Typically, you’ll need to press a combination of buttons or turn a knob to access the calibration settings.
    • Follow the instructions to adjust the temperature calibration as needed.
  4. Adjust Tray Placement:
    • Make sure you’re placing your oven racks in the correct positions to allow for even cooking.
    • Use the middle rack for most baking and roasting. Avoid placing food too close to the bottom heating element.
  5. Use the Right Cookware:
    • Ensure you’re using oven-safe cookware that is appropriate for the type of food you’re cooking.
    • Avoid using dark-colored or nonstick pans, as they tend to absorb and retain heat, which can lead to burning.
  6. Preheat Your Oven:
    • Always preheat your oven to the desired temperature before placing food inside. This ensures even cooking and reduces the risk of burning.
  7. Minimize Oven Door Opening:
    • Avoid opening the oven door unnecessarily during cooking, as it can cause temperature fluctuations and uneven heating.
  8. Clean Your Oven:
    • Grease and food residue buildup inside the oven can lead to uneven heating. Clean the oven regularly to prevent this issue.

Why Does My Oven Burn My Biscuit Bottoms?

If your oven is consistently burning the bottoms of your biscuits, there are several common reasons for this issue:

  1. Temperature Too High: Baking biscuits at a temperature that’s too high can cause the bottoms to burn before the tops are fully cooked. Ensure that you’re following the recommended temperature in your biscuit recipe.
  2. Improper Rack Placement: Placing your biscuits too close to the bottom of the oven can expose them to intense heat, leading to burning. Use the middle oven rack for more even cooking.
  3. Dark Baking Sheet: Using a dark-colored baking sheet can cause biscuits to absorb more heat, which can lead to burning on the bottom. Consider using a lighter-colored or insulated baking sheet instead.
  4. Lack of Insulation: Insufficient insulation in your baking sheets or pans can lead to uneven heating. This can result in the bottoms of biscuits getting too much direct heat. Invest in quality baking sheets with good insulation.
  5. Overcrowding: Overcrowding the baking sheet with too many biscuits can hinder air circulation in the oven, leading to uneven cooking. Leave enough space between biscuits for proper airflow.
  6. Not Preheating the Oven: Failing to preheat the oven before baking can cause uneven cooking. Make sure to preheat your oven to the specified temperature in your recipe before placing the biscuits inside.
  7. Uneven Oven Temperature: Ovens can have temperature variations, with some areas being hotter than others. Consider using an oven thermometer to verify that your oven is heating accurately. If there’s a significant discrepancy, you may need to calibrate the oven or have it serviced.
  8. Baking Time Too Long: Overbaking biscuits can lead to burning, especially on the bottom. Follow the recommended baking time in your recipe and check for doneness a few minutes before the minimum suggested time.
  9. Excessive Fat or Butter: If your biscuit dough contains too much fat or butter, it can melt and pool at the bottom, causing burning. Make sure to follow your recipe’s measurements accurately.
  10. Wrong Oven Setting: Ensure you’re using the correct oven setting (e.g., bake, not broil) for baking biscuits. Using the wrong setting can result in uneven heating.
  11. Oven Hot Spots: Some ovens have hot spots where the heat is concentrated. Rotate your baking sheet halfway through the baking time to promote even cooking.

What’s Causing My Oven To Overheat?

An oven overheating can be a concerning issue as it not only affects your cooking but can also be a safety hazard. Several factors can cause an oven to overheat:

  1. Faulty Thermostat: The thermostat is responsible for regulating the oven’s temperature. If it’s malfunctioning or inaccurate, it may allow the oven to heat beyond the set temperature, causing overheating.
  2. Calibration Issues: Ovens need to be calibrated periodically to ensure they heat to the correct temperature. If your oven’s calibration is off, it may run hotter than the set temperature.
  3. Damaged Temperature Sensor: Modern ovens often have temperature sensors that monitor the internal temperature and communicate with the thermostat. A damaged or malfunctioning temperature sensor can lead to inaccurate temperature readings and overheating.
  4. Stuck Relay or Control Board: Ovens have electronic control boards and relays that manage heating elements. If these components become stuck or fail, they may keep the heating elements on continuously, causing the oven to overheat.
  5. Heating Element Problems: The heating elements in your oven can degrade or malfunction over time. If they get stuck in the “on” position, they will continuously generate heat and lead to overheating.
  6. Incorrect Settings: Accidentally using the broil setting instead of baking or using the self-cleaning function improperly can cause the oven to overheat.
  7. Ventilation Issues: Adequate ventilation is crucial for dissipating heat from the oven. If vents or exhaust systems are blocked or restricted, the oven may not be able to release excess heat, leading to overheating.
  8. Dirty or Greasy Buildup: Accumulated grease and food debris in the oven can act as insulation and trap heat, causing the oven to overheat. Regular cleaning is essential to prevent this.
  9. External Factors: Your oven’s surroundings can also contribute to overheating. Ensure there is enough space around the oven for proper ventilation, and check that nearby items are not obstructing airflow.
  10. Faulty Safety Thermostat: Ovens typically have safety thermostats that are designed to shut off the oven if it becomes too hot. If this safety thermostat is malfunctioning, it might not activate when needed, allowing the oven to overheat dangerously.
Adjusting tray in oven
Placing tray in oven correctly


Why is my oven burning everything?

Several factors can cause your oven to burn food. It could be due to an incorrect temperature setting, poor rack placement, using dark-colored or damaged bakeware, or problems with the oven’s thermostat or heating elements. To avoid burning, ensure proper oven settings, use appropriate cookware, and consider having your oven calibrated or inspected if the issue persists.

Why does my oven smell like burning when preheating?

A burning smell during oven preheating is relatively common and typically results from residue, dust, or oils left from manufacturing or previous use. It’s often harmless and should dissipate after a few preheating cycles. However, if the smell persists, it could indicate a malfunction or the need for a thorough cleaning.

Why does my oven smell weird?

Ovens can emit strange odors for various reasons. Common causes include burning off manufacturing residues, food spills, grease buildup, or even a dusty heating element. These odors are usually temporary and not harmful. To address the issue, clean your oven regularly and ensure proper ventilation.

Can you use a new oven right away?

It’s generally safe to use a new oven right away. However, it’s a good practice to run an empty oven cycle at a high temperature (around 400°F or 200°C) for about 30 minutes to burn off any manufacturing residues and odors before cooking food. This helps ensure a clean and odor-free cooking environment.

Does the new oven smell toxic?

The new oven smell is typically not toxic, but it can be unpleasant. It results from the oven’s components, such as insulation, adhesives, and coatings, curing and releasing fumes when exposed to heat for the first time. While these fumes may not be toxic, it’s a good idea to ventilate the kitchen by opening windows or using exhaust fans during the initial oven use to minimize any discomfort. If you have respiratory concerns, it’s wise to consult with the oven manufacturer or a professional for specific advice.



An oven burning the bottom of food can be attributed to various factors, including thermostat malfunctions, heating element issues, poor rack placement, and incorrect oven settings. To prevent this problem, it’s crucial to maintain your oven, use appropriate cookware, preheat as needed, and ensure proper ventilation. Regular maintenance and attention to these factors can help you achieve evenly cooked and perfectly browned dishes without the risk of burning the bottom of your food.

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