Oven Parts 101: Learn How the Cookies Crumble

Lawrence Bonk
Written by Lawrence Bonk
Updated July 22, 2022
Man closing door of oven
Photo: Yakobchuk Olena / Adobe Stock


  • There are various oven types, including gas, electric, and induction.

  • The primary parts of an oven include the stovetop, cavity, and range. 

  • The cavity includes a light bulb or two, oven racks, and various heating elements.

  • The stovetop functions differently depending on the type of oven (gas vs. electric).

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Where would we be without ovens? Fresh out of cookies, that’s where. These appliances are the focal point of any kitchen, allowing friends and families to come together and create scrumptious meals. Ovens may use tried-and-true technology dating back hundreds of years, but there are still plenty of components and some diversity between the different oven types. Learn about the various oven parts to understand how to clean an oven, maintain, and use one.

Stovetop and Burners

Rice, boiled water, pasta, and stir fry are just a few common dishes created on a stovetop. An oven’s stovetop includes several burners and typically features control dials and knobs. Sometimes the control dials are above the burners to the rear (though some designs put the controls up front). This is the control center of your appliance, allowing you to set temperatures for each burner and the interior of the oven itself.

It’s worth noting that different ovens feature unique indicators for when the burners are in use. Gas ovens use actual flames, making for a handy visual cue to keep your hands away. Electric ovens burn red, as do induction stovetops. As a matter of fact, these burners are a key difference between the various types of ovens.

Ignition Element 

This is one oven part name you may never have heard of. Without an ignition system, oven burners and the cavity remain cold, with no hope of ever preparing delicious meals. 

Gas ranges feature one of three basic gas ignition systems; pilot ignition, a hot surface ignition system (with a “glow bar” or “glow coil”), and a spark ignition system. Electric ovens employ a spark-ignition element or a hot surface system, both of which are susceptible to electrical issues. Convection ovens use any number of ignition systems, depending on the fuel source. 

Oven Hood and Ventilation 

All of that heat has to go somewhere, right? That’s where your oven’s range hood and ventilation system come into play. This ventilation system captures heat and smoke and transfers it outside (sometimes via ductwork). As a bonus, most oven hoods have controls for regulating the ventilation fan, engaging a light, reading the time, and more. You’ll usually find these controls on the hood, so you won’t have to put your hand near anything blazing hot.

Oven Door

Dad watching daughter taking muffins out of oven
Photo: fizkes / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

An oven door isn’t just for inserting cake ingredients and raw Thanksgiving turkeys. It gives you a window into the cooking process, so you can easily see how far along you are with various recipes. Most oven doors are treated with tempered glass, thanks to its increased durability and lower conduction than traditional glass. Most ovens feature a handle that is cool to the touch and swings outward, though sliding doors are making an appearance in some modern designs. 

Broiling Element and Baking Element 

Turning on the broiler is the perfect way to finish up a recipe and quickly brown a chicken or give a layer of cheese a good melting. Most broilers reside at the top of the oven cavity, allowing ingredients to sit close to the heating element to cook in temperatures between 500 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the broiler sits in the bottom drawer in some models. The broiler is susceptible to certain maintenance issues, and repairing an oven’s heating element costs $150 to $400

The baking elements are located throughout the interior and handle all other cooking duties. Convection ovens also feature fans to assist with circulating hot air throughout the cavity. 

Oven Racks

Without oven racks, an oven would just be a hot box that only allows for roasting marshmallows from a safe distance. Luckily, modern ovens come with multiple racks with a variety of positions to place these racks. Place a rack near the top of the cavity to broil food and in the middle for a nice, even heat. 

Light Bulb and Assembly

The glass oven door is of no use without an interior light bulb to illuminate the cavity. This convenient light bulb lets you see food as it’s cooking without opening the door and letting out the heat, but not just any bulb will do here. Choose a bulb specifically designed for surviving high temperatures. Many halogens and incandescent light bulbs are great for this task. 


Your oven’s internal thermostat signals the heating elements when the oven reaches the desired temperature, offering precise temperature controls. In most cases, the thermostat is in the control panel, with a probe that reaches into the cavity. This temperature-sensing probe tells the various heating elements to activate or deactivate to regulate the temperature as needed.

Warming Drawer and Storage 

At the very least, most ovens include a storage drawer underneath the cavity. This is a good place to store baking trays and the like. Some modern appliances take this concept a step further by including a dedicated warming drawer, also located near the bottom of the oven. This warming drawer helps keep meals warm after preparation, which is particularly handy when cooking multiple dishes in rapid succession for a large family meal. 

If your oven is giving you trouble, call on a local appliance repair pro so you can get back to baking a batch of your favorite cookies.

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