Kitchen Hacks

The Built-In Oven Feature You're Not Using Yet

Gorgeously caramelized vegetables await.

July 24, 2018
Photo by Bobbi Lin

You know how to position your oven racks for baking cookies (upper and lower thirds, please and thank you) and for broiling fish (all the way near the tippy top).

But what about tossing those racks aside and—in a move that will definitely feel counterintuitive and maybe a little unlawful—placing your sheet pan directly on the oven floor?

It's a technique that Carolynn Carreño, in her book Bowls of Plenty, recommends for achieving charred edges on carrots, Brussels sprouts, and squash without having their insides slacken to mush. Carolynn picked up the trick from "a chef friend who had gone from working in restaurants with super powerful ovens to cooking at home."

"The oven floor provides the hottest, most even and direct heat possible," explains Carolynn, "which means you can get your vegetables nice and caramelized without overcooking them." She bakes two sheet trays of vegetables, one on the oven floor and the other on a rack in the middle, at 500° F (hot!) for about 20 minutes, switching their position halfway through. The result: tender but not spineless roasted vegetables with great color and natural sweetness. One more victory for us crispy vegetable fanatics!

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“So the article says not to use parchment paper for crisper vegetables then the pictures have...parchment paper”
— Carole

And, pssst, Carolynn doesn't instruct that you line the pans with foil or parchment paper—and, for the most caramelized results, neither do we!

But an important P.S.: You will want to contact your oven manufacturer (or check out the manual—you saved that right?) before you place a baking sheet, especially a heavy one, on the bottom surface.

Look at those crispy edges! Photo by James Ransom

If you cannot place the sheet pan directly on the oven floor (maybe that's where the heating elements are), Carolynn suggests position the rack as close to the bottom as possible, and Food52er AntoniaJames advises "putting a pizza stone on the bottom shelf and preheating it for at least an hour at a very high temperature." (She also preheats her roasting pans!)

More of the run-down on roasting vegetables:

A Dessert, Just Because

This article was originally published in June 2017, but we're running it again because we love a good hack.

Have you ever taken advantage of your oven's floor? Or is it a scary, dirty territory? Tell us in the comments below!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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  • nana69
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I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


AD May 7, 2023
The box of parchment paper I have says it should not be used at oven temperatures over 400°F. Might want to check yours before cranking the oven up to 500°.
mlledaffodil May 8, 2023
Parchment can & will catch fire!!
nana69 November 12, 2022
How do you cook on the bottom of the oven? I have a heating element on the bottom of my oven.
Printz December 26, 2019
Ummm, guys-this idea of bottom roasting vegetables is terrible. You run the risk of damaging your expensive oven for what purpose? Use lowest rack & high heat in a preheated oven and results will be excellent!
Nagesh K. December 25, 2019
I have been using this technique for baking pizza in my oven for many years. Works like a champ. Yet to disappoint !!
Allison H. May 13, 2019
So for clarity it’s 500 degrees for 10 minutes on the bottom and then move to the middle rack for the remaining time?
M S. February 11, 2019
Hmmmph. Was pleased with result when I put a cast iron pan on the lowest possible shelf to preheat. Then, put a chicken pot pie with a full crust on the shelf to better bake the internal crust. Worked beautifully.
Dorothy R. November 24, 2018
Would this work for fingerlings and the like?
Smaug July 24, 2018
I first learned to bake pizzas on the oven floor, and it worked well on the oven I had at the time, but it did not on other ovens I've tried since. Not a matter of running into heating elements; I think the variability is mostly a matter of distribution of thermal mass; also, some oven floors are not flat, some are vented etc.
BerryBaby July 24, 2018
I have a new oven and no, cannot put anything on oven floor. No need to. The new ovens bake and roast everything beautifully. Follow manufactures recommendations for best results.
Thomas F. March 9, 2018
Or you could use a Baking Steel. It’s not just for Pizza.
Carole March 8, 2018
So the article says not to use parchment paper for crisper vegetables then the pictures have...parchment paper
Patty C. February 22, 2018
That's how I make the best pizza, on the oven floor!
amal February 11, 2018
I make pizza and man'ousheh directly on the oven floor without a tray! (put the dough on a parchment paper lined tray, garnish it then with a firm wrist movement let the paper with garnished dough slide onto the oven floor)
jane F. June 23, 2017
Love this idea...just wished I did not have electric...:(
hollygewandter June 22, 2017
important warning from the dacor manual:
"WARNING - NEVER cover any slots, holes or passages in the oven bottom or cover an entire rack with materials such as aluminum foil. Doing so blocks air flow through the range and may cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Aluminum foil linings may also trap heat, causing a fire hazard."
Ann February 25, 2018
My oven has the same warning!! as many do!
polly June 22, 2017
Definitely DON'T do this if you own a Wolf oven - you will ruin the heating element and that pretty blue interior oven floor!
Amy R. March 28, 2018
Was just about to ask this! Love my blue oven floor even with its occassional smattering of charred bits.
Dorothy R. November 24, 2018
I think I will just use the bottom most rack.
Rose L. June 22, 2017
i've recommended baking pies on the floor of the oven for the first 20 minutes for a crisp bottom crust. of course you can't do that if there are coils on the bottom of the oven or if you have an oven that specifically says not to such as the Gaggenau but it's really a terrific technique!
Amy N. June 22, 2017
Just made a roasted shrimp and broccoli dish that I love this way and it was twice as good! Thanks for the tip-
Karenteacher June 18, 2017
I have a gas oven - so, no, not putting anything on the floor of my oven :)

Also, my broiler is in the drawer at the bottom; I don't think I've ever put the racks higher than the middle of the oven. Please remember when making comments such as those in this article that not everyone has an electric oven.
Gwen W. June 18, 2017
Karenteacher, I too had my broiler in the drawer at the bottom of my last stove/oven... Best broiler I ever had! and I agree, this gas stove states specifically NOT to put anything on the floor. People would be wise to consider their stoves limitations (and advantages in others) before following some suggestions.
Gwen W. June 18, 2017
But you best be prepared that an awful lot of oven's - unless spotlessly clean - will create smoke to drive you out of the house - and it could easily linger for days! I suggest stones and max 450 (maybe even 475) Plus an hour is a bit excessive - 20 minutes minimum and probably up to 35 for most.,