How much time should the oven be preheated to reach the desired temperature? To bake cupcake recipes that say 180 C, how long should the oven be preheated and which level must be set among LOW, MED-LOW, MED, MED-HIGH, and HIGH?

  • When you say "level" do you mean temperature level (as in your oven only has those five temperature settings) or shelf placement?
    – Catija
    May 24, 2015 at 5:05
  • 1
    It may be worth adding a little more information on the type of oven you have, I'm not so sure the settings are all that consistent. Without an oven thermometer it might be a bit hit and miss.
    – PeterJ
    May 24, 2015 at 5:05
  • Yeah, if your oven has a brand name/model number we may even be able to find the user guide on the web somewhere.
    – Catija
    May 24, 2015 at 5:11
  • Many ovens will register as 'preheated' when they're up to temperature -- but as soon as you open the door, you release all of the hot air. For things that are really sensitive to temperature you might want to wait longer to make sure that the walls of the oven have absorbed sufficient heat.
    – Joe
    May 24, 2015 at 13:34
  • I have a Morphy Richards MW0 20MS oven. And yes, I mean the temperature level by referring to 'level'.
    – Sree
    May 24, 2015 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


This is difficult without knowing what sort of oven you have but here are some basic notes that will help you get started.

Many modern ovens will alert you to when they are at temperature. Every oven is different. My oven takes about 5 minutes to preheat but my dad's takes about 10.

If your oven doesn't have an alert, - and, honestly, even if it does - you should get an oven thermometer so that you can see when the oven is at temperature as many ovens do not run at the temperatures they claim to.

If your oven doesn't have specific temperature settings, only levels, it's essential to get an oven thermometer. If I had to guess, I'd say that you'd probably want medium... or possibly medium-low but only a thermometer (or possibly your oven's user pamphlet) will be able to tell you with any reliability. Also, if you only have five options, you may not be able to get it to exactly 180 C but if you're within 5 degrees on either side, you'll be fine, just watch the clock.

Something like this:

Oven thermometer

  • Indeed - if the oven doesn't even pretend to be able to control temperature, you really need a thermometer to find out what's going on in there.
    – Cascabel
    May 24, 2015 at 5:32
  • Cheaper electric ovens tend to have a range that they try to keep around the point (they cycle the elements on when it cools too much, then off when it gets too hot). There might be some significant swings around the desired temperature. (or some temperature near the desired one, if they're inaccurate as well as imprecise)
    – Joe
    May 24, 2015 at 13:33

I have been cooking/baking for 40 plus years, If I bake a sponge cake or cup cakes I sometimes preheat my oven other times I forget. It doesn't seem to make much difference, they always turn out great. Just don't open your oven for 10 minutes if baking cupcakes or they'll 'fall' if baking a large cake don't open the oven for 15 or even 20 minutes.

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