Building upon the success of the Precision Cooker immersion circulator, Anova has once again brought the home cook closer to conveniently preparing restaurant quality meals with its more capable new oven offering–the Anova Precision Oven.
In summary, this oven does a lot of things really well and is a leap forward for the home cook. If you love your sous vide, this oven will perform just as well and allow you to skip both the bagging and searing process. But the oven goes far beyond that; its versatility is on par with that of an Instant Pot and deserves serious consideration for the substantial countertop real estate it demands. Below you’ll find my Anova Precision Oven (APO) review, including a list of pros and cons.
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Released in late 2020, the Precision Oven is a smart oven that not only allows for cooking in the sous vide method (more easily), but additional methods also include: convection bake, roast, toast, steam, air fry, dehydrate, and more.
Like the Precision Cooker, reaching a target temperature with little to no variation is core to its process. However, precise temperature control is not limited to the lower temperature bounds.
No need to separately sear after your sous vide cook! You can shift to the higher temperature levels mid-cook. This effectively allows you to one-step low and slow cook moisture rich methods with high temperature dry heat finishing methods (think perfectly juicy roast chicken with crispy skin, from a single button press).
Summary Pros and Cons
- Highly versatile with great results when used correctly
- 1/10 the cost of the commercial equivalent (combi-oven)
- Large enough to accommodate a small turkey
- Steep learning curve
- Countertop space hog – Bulky device that requires 4″ of additional clearance on sides and top
- Manufacturing issues that comes with a 1st generation device
- 2 year warranty is a compensating factor
- Wi-Fi connectivity can be an issue
Anova Precision Oven Review
What separates the Precision Oven from a conventional / convection oven and / or toaster oven is its ability to control the steam level (moisture) in the cooking environment. A 1.3 gallon (4.9 liter) water tank, which is removable for easy filling and cleaning, attaches to the right of the oven door alongside the traditional cooking ‘box’.
This is effectively what makes the Precision Oven a combi-oven. It’s capable of humidity control, which has conventionally been limited to commercial use at roughly 10x the cost. With traditional ovens, food cooks controlling solely for temperature, which can lead to it drying out.
The Precision Oven makes a more sophisticated cooking technique, controlling for both temperature and humidity. It’s also available at a reasonable price point for the home kitchen.
Furthermore, you have control of which (or combination of which) heating elements (rear, top, bottom) and fans (rear, top) to use for added precision.
On the dimension of convenience, the smart oven features Wi-Fi connectivity with a robust mobile companion app featuring full control of the device, push notifications and one-step recipes.
In short, no more running into the kitchen to check on the food every five minutes; instead, you actively and passively monitor and control your oven right from the Anova Oven app.
Along with standard elements, such as a sheet pan / drip tray and two racks, a temperature probe is included. This enables the truly smart single button press multi-stage cooking.
Tap water can be used in the water tank, but Anova says it’s a good idea to use distilled water to minimize the need to descale. A full water tank affords 24 hours of continuous steam function.
With a host of features not available in conventional ovens, Anova is changing the way we cook at home with this sous vide capable oven.
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°F.
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.
Combi-ovens, such as the Anova Precision Cooker, can also control the amount of moisture in the oven through the entirety of the cooking process. This is crucial to retaining moisture in food. By setting the humidity control very high, the oven actually replicates cooking via the sous vide method.
Sous vide in an oven. Who would’ve thought? No sous vide cooker, no sous vide container, no sealing the food in a sous vide bag, searing complete as part of the cooking process. Wow.
By controlling the steam setting and temperature accurately, the Anova Precision Oven excels not only in sous vide cooking, but also in baking, broiling, steam cooking, air-frying and more.
Let’s look at the technical specs of the Anova Precision 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 mentioned earlier, the main difference between conventional ovens and combi-ovens is the latter’s ability to control humidity.
In a conventional oven, moisture is released from your food, which then evaporates and cools the food, ultimately drawing even more moisture from it. This is what leads to meals of, say chicken breast, coming out of conventional ovens dry and stringy. There’s no capability to add moisture in the oven to enable the food to come out optimally.
Enter the Anova Precision Oven with its humidity control. The oven controls the humidity by releasing steam to maintain or change the humidity levels. This is based on how the home chef wants to cook the food. Juicy meat or the perfect brussels sprouts become a predictable and repeatable result, leading to a more enjoyable home cooking experience.
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.
On the Precision Oven, when the humidity is set to high humidity (100%), there’s no evaporation. This 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 coupled with continuous monitoring from the probe thermometer, the temperatures inside the oven can be raised as you cook. This can’t be done with traditional sous vide cookers. That means cooking time using the Precision 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 Readings
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 included temperature probe integrated to tell you how well your food is cooked without the need to open the oven door. 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 keeps tabs on the level of ‘doneness’. This is great when cooking steaks, chicken breasts, and other meats. Furthermore, the smart capabilities of the Precision Oven allow for a searing stage to be programmed to immediately follow the preferred ‘doneness’.
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 dishes with more precision, but Anova endeavors to 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 neutral high smoke point oil such as avocado or grapeseed oil. Then insert the food probe into the thickest part of the chicken breast. Then 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 is optimal, as it ensures the chicken doesn’t overcook whilst the oven reaches the desired temperature.
- Lightly brush the chicken skin with the high smoke point oil. When the oven reaches 482°F, place the bird back in the oven until it is perfectly browned; approximately 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. Once it is prepared, the rest becomes easier and yields more predictable results. Involving steam in the cooking process is fantastic for bread. This delays the crust formation, thus allowing for the bread to continue expanding. 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 Heat 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!
General Cooking Options & Approaches
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
Pizzas are a great option to cook in air fryer mode. Set the oven to 480° F with no steam and preheat a pizza stone (or pizza steel) for 30 minutes.
Then insert the pizza atop the pizza stone and cook for around seven minutes until crust is golden and cheese shows some browning. Rotate pizza half-way through cooking.
Reheating dishes incorporating steam is a game-changer. Using a high cooking temperature along with steam will produce a crispy result where desired.
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 finale. Think fingerling potatoes that combine a creamy interior texture with a perfectly crispy exterior.
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
- HEAVY DUTY STAINLESS STEEL, STURDY DESIGN: Set of 2 cooling racks for half sheet baking pans are food-safe, professional grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel with strong, heavy duty wire grids, small...
- DISHWASHER-SAFE AND EASY TO CLEAN: Our cooling racks are 100% stainless steel for easy clean up and can be safely washed in the dishwasher so there is no worry of rusting or chrome flaking off into...
Baguette Bread Pan for the Anova Precision Oven: Amagabeli Nonstick Perforated Baguette Pan
- Non-stick & 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...
- 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...
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 professional acceptance.
The Precision Oven is the first combi oven available to the retail consumer at ~ 1/10th the traditional cost; which in itself is reason enough to place it among the best countertop ovens available to home chefs on the market today.
That said, do expect a bit of learning curve as you upgrade from conventional ovens–but the results are well worth it.
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 for a simple sous vide device, look at any of their three sous vide cookers in my Anova Precision Cookers Review.
Anova Precision Oven FAQs
The short answer is yes, though I would say toast isn’t the strong suit of the Anova Precision Oven. Roughly half of users seem to keep a simple toaster around for toast specifically.