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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Removing Oven Smells

    I have a large electric oven. If I use it to grill chicken one day but the next day I need to bake a cake, I find that the smell of chicken is there in my cake. I have tried cleaning the oven in various ways, whilst it is still warm with plain water, with soapy water, with baking soda, with oven cleaning sprays, leaving it open all night after use, but I find the smell still persists. Any ideas on how to remove the smell?

    From the nigella team:

    Whilst the smell of roast chicken is quite enticing while the bird is in the oven, it can be a little off-putting the next day. One of the first steps to take is to make sure that your kitchen is well-ventilated while the chicken is roasting so that there are no lingering smells in the room the next day. The main source of the smell is likely to be chicken fat which will spit from the chicken during cooking, particularly if grilling (broiling) the chicken. You may find it helpful to grill the chicken slightly further away from the heat source of the grill, the chicken will take slightly longer to cook, though should spit less.

    For cleaning the oven usually a paste of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) is effective. You may find that fat is collecting above the heat source so you will need to wait for this to cool completely before cleaning the top of the oven. Another alternative is to use a mixture of coarse salt and lemon juice as the salt acts as a mild abrasive and the lemon juice will cut any grease in the oven, as well as improving the smell. Any cleaners should be completely removed with a cloth and plenty of clean water.

    Please check your oven handbook before using any oven cleaner - either home-made or bought - as some ovens have special coatings which can be damaged by acids or abrasive materials.

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