Anova has bridged the gap from professional restaurants to the home kitchen with their combi-oven.
In this Anova Precision Oven Review, I’ll go through this countertop combi-oven that can cook sous vide, roast, air fry, bake, and more. It offers precise temperatures, steam control, variable fan speeds and Wi-Fi connectivity with a mobile app.
No more running into the kitchen to check on the food every five minutes because you monitor and control your oven right from the Anova app.
With a host of features not available in conventional ovens, Anova is changing the way we cook at home at this sous vide oven. Actually, it’s a sous vide oven+ for the multiple ways of cooking.
But have they succeeded? As they say, the proof is in the eating. Let’s take an in-depth look at the Anova’s first Combi-Oven, the Precision Oven.
What is a Combi-Oven? How Does It Work?
Traditional convection ovens at home control the Dry Bulb temperature, while a combi-oven controls the Wet Bulb temperature. Dry bulb temperature refers to the ambient air temperature in the air, while the wet bulb temperature includes moisture along with the air.
Taking into account the moisture content of the air within the oven is important, because food releases moisture as it cooks. The energy that’s used to evaporate this moisture can cause the actual cooking temperature to fluctuate by as much as 60°.
Combi-ovens measure cooking temperature with a wet bulb measurement, same as top-end professional ovens. Using the wet bulb method means the oven can accurately set and maintain the correct cooking temperature.
They can also control the amount of moisture in the oven throughout the whole cooking process, retaining moisture in the food. This also allows you to set the humidity within the oven high enough that you can cook food with the Sous Vide method.
By controlling the steam and temperature accurately, the Anova Precision Oven excels not just in sous vide cooking, but also in baking, broiling, and air-frying too.
Let’s look at the technical specs of the Anova Oven.
Anova Precision Oven Technical Specifications
- Size (Width, Depth, Height) – 22.4″ x 17.7″ x 14.1″ (56.9cm x 45cm x 35.8cm)
- Power – Overall 2200/2400 Watts @ 220 – 240v
- Heating Elements – Top 1600 W – Bottom 700 W – Rear 1600 W
- Steam Boiler – 1200 W
- Temperature Range – 77° – 482°F (25°-250°C) with Accuracy +/- 6°F(3°C)
- Fans – Top and Rear Fans
- Wi-Fi Connectivity – 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n
- App – Android and iOS
- Sensors – Wet Bulb Sensor, Ambient Temperature Sensor, Steam Boiler Sensor, Food Probe.
- Water Tank – 1.3 Gal (5L) and Detachable
- Controls – Touchscreen Display
Anova Precision Oven Features and Benefits
Controlling Temperature and Humidity
As I touched on earlier one of the main differences between conventional ovens and combi-ovens is the latter’s ability to control humidity. That maintains accurate control of the cooking temperature and retains all that moistness in your food with a steam bath.
In the oven, moisture is released from your food, which then evaporates and cools the food, even drawing more moisture from it. This is why meals can often come out of the oven dry and stringy. There’s no more moisture in the oven for the food to come out soft and juicy.
Enter the Anova Precision Oven with its humidity control. The oven controls the humidity by releasing steam to maintain or change the humidity levels, based on how the home chef wants to cook the food.
Sous Vide Cooking Feature
Thanks to the magic of steam, the Anova Oven can prepare your food sous vide without a full sous vide kit. The Precision Oven can be set to 100% humidity and perform the exact same function as sealing your food in a bag with continuous steam release.
Sous Vide is a cooking method that has been popular in professional kitchens for years. When we think of sous vide cooking, we think of sealing food in plastic bags and cooking it in a controlled temperature water bath.
When the humidity is set to high humidity, there’s no evaporation, effectively sealing the food as if it were sealed in a plastic bag. The benefits of cooking sous vide using a combi-oven doesn’t stop there either.
Thanks to the power of steam, the temperatures inside the oven can be raised as you cook, while you can’t do that with traditional sous vide cookers. That means cooking time using the oven can be up to 50% faster than traditional sous vide methods.
Precision Oven Dry and Wet Bulb Sensors
The Anova Precision Oven uses a combination of wet bulb and dry bulb sensors for precision cooking with the steam oven technique.
The oven can use the sensors to measure the temperature and humidity. The higher the wet bulb temperature is in relation to the dry bulb temperature, the higher the humidity is within the oven.
That allows for greater humidity and temperature control, which in turn relates to faster cook times, and juicier and more flavorful food.
Monitor Doneness with the Food Probe
Knowing when your meal is cooked to perfection can be a hit-or-miss affair and often requires opening the oven (and letting all that energy out) to check the cooking progress. Of course, that drops the temperature and lowers the humidity as well, which further hurts the cooking process.
The Anova combi-oven solves the oven opening with an integrated food probe that tells you how well your food is cooked without opening the oven. With the Anova combi-oven, the doneness of your food can be monitored through the app on a smartphone or tablet.
The Food Probe continuously keeping tabs on doneness will be great when cooking steaks, chicken breasts, and other meats.
Anova Mobile App
The Anova App is a Wi-Fi connected control panel for your oven. The app’s basic functions allow you to adjust and monitor temperatures within your oven, but it’s far more powerful than a mere monitoring tool. With the app, you can also take advantage of the following features:
- Time and Temperature Guides – The guides have accompanying pictures to show how your food should come out looking, depending on the settings you choose.
- Schedule – Set the oven come to start cooking at a specific time. Great if you want to arrive home from work and have dinner ready and cooked to perfection.
- Change Stages Mid-Recipe – Set the initial preheat and cooking temperature, then once your food is cooked internally (according to the Food Probe), you can change the cooking settings. You can set it to sear your sous-vide cooked chicken or those juicy chicken wings without having to take them out of the Precision Oven. Keep it all inside the oven chambers and there’re less pans to clean.
- Recipes – Anova has compiled a list of recipes in the app to get you started. Other users and even you can share your recipes on the app too.
- Monitor – Monitor all aspects of the cooking process including humidity, food and oven temperatures, and fan speeds.
Great Food Recipe Options
Having so much control over an oven allows you to prepare more adventurous dishes, but still keep the whole process simple. In this section are some recipe examples you can use to prepare meals using the Anova Precision Oven:
Sous Vide Roasted Chicken Recipe
Sous vide cook the chicken at a low temperature to hold all the moisture within the chicken. Once cooked, brown it to perfection using the convection fan.
- Prepare the chicken the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight. To prepare the chicken, first spachcock it (remove the backbone), so you can lay the chicken flat to cook. Salt on all sides, then season the skin as desired.
- Prior to cooking grease, a perforated pan (like this one) with a high smoke point oil such as almond or grapeseed oil. Then insert the food probe into the thickest part of the chicken breast and position the chicken and pan into the middle of the oven.
- Set the mode to sous vide and cook at 145°F for two hours.
- Remove the chicken and preheat the oven to 482° F, with sous vide and steam modes off. Removing the chicken ensures it doesn’t overcook whilst the oven reaches the desired temperature.
- Lightly brush the chicken skin with the high smoke point oil and when the oven is at the correct temperature place the bird back in the oven until it is perfectly browned. Usually ten minutes.
Bread / Baguettes
Bread in a standard oven can be hit-or-miss. With the complete environmental control that this oven offers, much of that uncertainty is removed in the process. Of course, a lot of work goes into making the bread dough, but once it is prepared, the rest is easier. Following the steps below should give you a perfect loaf of bread.
- Preheat the oven to 475° F, with sous vide mode off and the steam set to 100%
- Place the prepared dough into the oven (it has been risen, placed in a baking tin and scored)
- Cook for 5 minutes using the above settings
- Switch to ‘Dry Mode’ by turning the steam mode Off. With the temperature left unadjusted, cook using this mode for around ten minutes until the crust is crispy and golden brown.
- Remove the bread, let it cool, and enjoy!
Frozen Crispy Foods
Sometimes it’s nice to let someone else do all the prep and just have to heat the meal up. In traditional ovens, frozen crispy foods like chips and chicken nuggets can often come out soggy. But the Anova Oven has various modes that can give you perfect crispy results each time.
Air Fryer Mode
Set the oven to 400° F and cook for around twenty minutes with no steam. Air fryer mode is a great time for pizzas.
While this may sound like it would end up with soggy food, using a steam setting of 50% actually speeds up the cooking process and cooks the frozen food more evenly. The high cooking temperature still ensures a crispy result.
Two Stage Cooking
Using a combination of the two stages gives you the best of both options. Cook it with 50% steam for the first stage, then switch to a dry stage for the final ten minutes.
Anova Precision Oven Accessories
There are a number of Anova accessories for their line of products, but nothing that I saw specifically for the Precision Oven. But there are many non-Anova branded accessories you can buy that will make cooking easier and more efficient.
Extra Pans and Racks for the Anova Precision Oven that can act as an alternative to the perforated pan that’s included in many recipes: UItra Cuisine Commercial Quality Racks and Pans
- Set of 2 heavy duty cooling racks with strong wire grids, small holes, smooth no-snag edges, and a full 1 inch height resulting in greater all around airflow for evening cooking, cooling, and roasting every time
- Food-safe, professional grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel for an easy clean up; unlike other cheap racks made of iron covered with chrome coating, the Ultra Cuisine cooling and baking rack is 100% stainless steel, so there is no worry of rusting or chrome flaking off into your food; Ultra Cuisine baking racks are dishwasher-safe, oven-safe, and offer long-lasting superior quality
Last update on 2021-04-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Baguette Bread Pan for the Anova Precision Oven: Amagabeli Nonstick Perforated Baguette Pan
- Nonstick & Perforated: Amagabeli Baguette Bread Pan is non-stick; baguette pan for baking is heat resistant. Perforations in the surface of this baguette baking pan let moisture escape, allowing loaves to crisp and brow evenly. Environmental friendly coating of this baguette baking tray is specially formulated for superior baking and easy release of baked goods.
- Heavy duty & Food grade material: French bread baking pan is made of food grade carbon steel that is eco-friendly for strength and durability; perforated baguette pan with anti-stick coating, which provides a clear, non-stick baking surface. French bread loaf pan is easy-to-clean and this Italian loaf pan is made of much thicker material than regular ones.
Last update on 2021-04-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Anova Precision Oven Review Final Thoughts
There is a reason that professional chefs have been using combi-ovens like this for years. They are simply so much better at their job than conventional ovens. A product really can’t have higher credentials than widespread industry acceptance.
Anova brings this technology into the home market at a relatively affordable price point for all of the Anova Precision Oven’s features and benefits.
If you’re looking to just cook sous vide, look at any of their three sous vide cookers in my Anova Precision Cookers Review.