Omnia Stove Top Baking Oven

By Carolyn Shearlock, copyright 2011 . All rights reserved.

Ideal if you don't have a conventional oven

No oven?  But still want baked goods — cookies, cakes, bread and more?  You can bake it on the stove top with the Omnia Stove Top Oven.  I’ve tried a number of methods of baking on the stove — in a Dutch oven, with a pressure cooker (both dry and with water) and in a Coleman Camp Oven — and the Omnia is hands-down the easiest and produces the best results.

When a reader recommended the Omnia oven, I decided to buy one and test it out. I love it! I also discovered that Practical Sailor had done a very brief review on the Omnia oven in August 2010 and concluded that it was a good option for boats without a conventional oven.  I totally agree.

How Does the Omnia Work?

There are three pieces to the Omnia oven:  a steel base, an aluminum ring-shaped baking pan and the lid. The picture at right shows how it works.

The burner directly heats the steel base, which in turn heats the air trapped between the base and the baking pan.  The burner also heats air that goes up the center of the baking pan and the lid serves to distribute that hot air over the top of the food.

Thus, there’s hot air both under and above the baking pan — and in the center.  A few air holes in the lid allow steam to escape.

It can be used with virtually any type of stove burner — gas, electric or even various other fuels used with camping and backpacking stoves. And it can be used on a grill — making it easier to keep the cooking heat out of the boat.

Using the Omnia

The system is simple:  you place the steel base on the burner and let it heat for about 3 minutes on high.  Put your food into the baking pan and put the lid on it, then set it onto the base.

The instructions say to then turn the burner down to medium or lower.  I found that I had better results if I left it on high just about a minute (to heat the air on top of the food) and then turned it down to slightly higher than medium.

Cooking time is then about the same as with a conventional oven, but don’t take the lid off too often to check, as you let out the hot air from the top each time.

Yes, it’s a little strange to bake without a thermostat to know that it’s at the right temperature, and it will take a little experimentation to know the best settings on your stove.

Why I Like It Better than Other Options

I’ve never recommended “baking” in a pressure cooker, as it is very likely to warp the pan if you use it dry, and using water in it means that your food is steamed instead of baked (fine if it’s supposed to be steamed, not so good otherwise).

A Dutch oven won’t bake as much as the Omnia, it’s hard to keep foods from burning on the bottom and the top tends to be steamed from the moisture driven out of the food (which has no way to escape).

The Coleman Camp Oven is huge and very tippy on a boat unless you engineer some serious tie-downs for it.

After several weeks of testing the Omnia with a variety of dishes, my conclusion is that it’s the best way to bake on the stove top that I’ve ever tried.  If your boat (or RV or any other kitchen) doesn’t have a true oven, I highly recommend the Omnia oven:

  • It’s been designed from the ground up to bake on the stove top — it’s not a jury-rigged solution.
  • The whole thing is smaller and much lighter than a good cast iron Dutch oven (it’s about 10 inches in diameter, 5 inches high, weighs about a pound and comes with a little bag to store it it).
  • You can bake about twice as much in the Omnia as in a Dutch oven (about what would fit in an 8″ x 8″ pan or 9″ x 5″ loaf pan, versus about a 6″ round pan).
  • The results are better and easier to achieve.

When I baked using the Dutch oven, it was hard to keep the top of the baked food from being steamed by the moisture being driven out of the food (read my article on baking in the Dutch oven).  The Omnia takes care of that, with the lid being high enough over the food to have quite a bit of hot air there, as well as having holes to let the steam escape.  My bread and baked goods were very similar in texture to what they were in a conventional oven.

Buying the Omnia

The Omnia isn’t cheap, but it’s not expensive either — about $65 —  a lot less than a new stove with an oven (bonus: nothing to install!).

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Comments

  1. Shawn Passeri says:

    I have been using the Omni for several years and have baked many things from cakes, brownies, bisquits and breads. I use it on my boat that has a Origo stove and no oven. I Love this item and would recommend this to anybody who does not have a stove.

    Shawn

    • Carolyn Shearlock says:

      Thanks for adding your experience! I was really amazed at how easy it was to get GREAT results.

      -Carolyn

  2. Joe on Facebook says:

    Do you have any idea how exciting this is for me??? My oven doesn’t get hot enough to make flan. Now, I can do it on the stove top! Thanks!

  3. Let us know how it turns out — or better yet, post a photo. You’re making me hungry . . .

  4. Joe on Facebook says:

    I will. Just as soon as it arrives!

  5. Peter Jacops on Facebook says:

    great product indeed!

  6. Eniko Ilyes DeMarco on Facebook says:

    Interesting. Just goes to show you how important Internet search is. Thanks for your informative blog. Even when I don’t comment, I enjoy it very much.

  7. Thanks!

  8. Exact same stovetop ovens have been sold in the Middle East forever. Google “wonder pot”, there is a Wikipedia article with photos.

    I understand the Omnia is well-made, but it does cost $60+. I bought a Wonder Pot oven in a housewares shop in Jordan last year for $7.50 U.S. It is used on my sailboat’s alcohol stovetop and we’ve had great success with quick breads, yeast breads, cakes, meat loaf, loin or eye roasts, chicken, baked potatos, etc. The “Bundt Pan” wrap-around shape requires one to be a bit creative, but this $7.50 item has changed dinner menus on the boat for the way-much better.. no more do we dream of a $1,000 range with an oven.

    All told though, these stovetop ovens are great fun and work very well.

    • I saw the “Wonder Pot” on another site & bought it off Amazon for $55. I am totally new to sailing. We just bought a boat, haven’t even gone out yet..I plan to try out the Wonder Pot this weekend at home here..But you said you bought one for $7.50..that’s a huge difference..The Omnia sounds great but Im not too interested in baking rolls,sweets,bread as I am meats/veggies.. I’ll learn But thx for your inpu t5/23/12.

      • Judiann, I think you got a Wonderbag which is a totally different item from the Omnia and its relative the “wonderpot” that is sold in Middle Eastern countries quite cheaply. The Wonderbag is more like a crock pot while the Omnia is for cakes, breads and that type of baking. Both are great on a boat, depending on what you want to do.

  9. Barbare Plate says:

    I am interested in purchasing the Omnia stove and would like to know where they are available. Thank you.

  10. Great information! I love to bake and once we’re living on our sailboat this would be a great addition that we’ve never heard of! We have an alcohol stove, so I’m glad to read the comment above that it works well with that too!

    Thanks again Carolyn for all your great tips!

  11. Gonna add this to our growing list!

  12. The even better thing with the Omnia is their absolutely faboulous service. While we were sailing the Med, about four years ago, we bought one that we used daily. 28 feet boat with an 11 year and a 14 year, a dog and two adults demanded a lot of it. But one day during dishing on the deck, the middle part of the oven went in to the deep out of the spanish coast. When back in Sweden after a couple of years, we cleaned up the boat and found the left overs of the Omnia. I decided to take contact with them to see if I could buy just the part missing. Well they not only sended one the day after but also did not charge me anything at all! Very nice in did! Our new boat got an oven but i do prefer to use the Omnia. Easier to clean! :-)

    • I’ll second that — I’ve had quite a bit of contact with them (getting permission to use a picture of the Omnia in the cookbook, and getting them stocked again on Amazon) and they have been fantastic! Glad to hear that others are having the same great experience.

  13. the omnia is perfect, can’t go on holiday without it! LOVE IT! :-)

  14. Even better news . . . Amazon FINALLY removed the link to the one that’s not in stock . . . so now there’s just one seller listed and it’s IN STOCK!

  15. Peggy D. says:

    I just ordered this from Amazon & am looking forward to trying it out! Our 29-year-old Catalina has the original CNG range with functional burners but a nonfunctional oven, & it’s been frustrating me terribly to have to do *all* my cooking on the stovetop or on the grill. Costs a ton to replace the range, plus we’d have to convert over to propane which opens up a huge bag of worms, way more than we’re ready to deal with right now. Thanks for finding & reviewing this item for us — if I make any amazing discoveries while I’m using it I’ll pass them along!

  16. Sue Peck on Facebook says:

    We are planning 4 weeks in Desolation Sound next summer and one of these would be lovely as we have no oven…only a 2 burner Origo stove

  17. Janice Fleischmann says:

    I am awaiting my Omnia as we speak and a multipot too ! Can’t wait to try them out !
    Thanks for letting everyone know about these great items.

  18. Gretchen Hannsz Witzgall on Facebook says:

    on my wishlist…

  19. I have had great success under sail and recommend it for small meals. For crews of four or more the pressure cooker is still better.

  20. Can’t wait to try one of your recipes in my new Omnia!

  21. Rosamond says:

    Meh. After river guiding for 30 years, I know that your disrespect for dutch oven baking almost certainly comes from lack of experience. A real, solid cast iron dutch oven with legs will out-bake anything else that masquerades as an oven in the wilderness…..especially anything that can be produced in a glorified bundt pan. And it’s a poor craftsman who blames their tools; burnt food in a dutch oven is a sign of impatience and too many coals on the bottom. But your thermos cooking article was right on. I’m using one now for long distance kayak tours, instead of the usual anodized pressure cooker. Saves both weight and fuel.

    • Well, on a boat there aren’t any coals . . . just a burner on the stove. And yeah, I’ve done it with okay results, even there, but I find the Omnia a lot easier in the typical boat galley. Glad to know that the Dutch oven works well for you.

  22. I’m interesting in cooking,baking etc and I’m glad to know about Omnia.I have a question because in my country most people used kerosene stove.Is it okay to use Omnia on kerosene stove. Thanks for letting everyone know about this.

    • Yes, it works well on a kerosene stove — it works on almost any stove (the only unusual one is that with an electric induction burner, you need an induction plate).

  23. What concerns me about all these extra cooking gadgets is, how much gas do they use. On our Oceanis 37 we only have room for two x 2.5kg gas cylinders. We are only lightweight cruisers compared with most of you! How much gas do you heavyweights carry?

    • I don’t know that you’d call us “heavyweights” — but we had 2 – 20 pound propane tanks on Que Tal and will have the same on Barefoot Gal . . . but she has propane refrigeration so it will last a much shorter time.

      On Que Tal, without propane refrigeration, a 20 pound tank would last us about 3 months and I did plenty of baking. Baking in the Omnia certainly doesn’t use more gas than a conventional oven, but if you’re that tight on propane you might not do any baking. I would have thought that an Oceanis would have a conventional oven — but I also would have thought that it had room for more propane than that, too.

  24. Kyrah Drasheff says:

    Hi! Is the Omni good for also cooking casseroles for main dishes? For roasting meat?
    I’m looking for something for our Island Packet 27. We have the original stovetop and uses propane.

  25. My Omnia Oven arrived yesterday, and today I made Jiffy corn bread, per your instructions. It came out PERFECT, and it was SO easy. Thanks for the great instructions! Now, I am not a sailorr or a boater of any kind, in fact I have a ‘land yacht’. I just ordered a Casita Travel Trailer, a TINY little thing with just a 13′ living space, all self contained like a boat, and it sports just a 2-burner stove. I am downsizing from a 35′ 5th wheel, sorta like going from a larger yacht to a dinghy. ;-) Thus my interest in the Omnia Oven. Can’t wait to try more stuff, I am experimenting at home before the Casita is ready to be picked up.

  26. Posted above about the very successful corn bread first try with my new Omnia Oven. Since then I have had 3 more successes and NO failures! Second ‘experiment’ was “Ghirardelli Brownies Mix” (Dark Chocolate) straight from the box per the instructions, PERFECT! Cut them into 12 ‘wedges’ after popping the ‘ring’ out of the pan while still warm. Third came the very easy ‘el cheapo’ Cinnamon Rolls in a tube, per TBG pics at the heading of this page, also a great result. Then I got more adventuresome–at Wally World I found a 21 oz. pouch of “Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie” mix. So, I made up the batch per the alternate “Baking Cutout Cookies” instructions, then divided the resulting dough exactly in half. I pressed half of the dough into the bottom of the (always) Crisco’d and floured Omnia pan, and baked as I had the previous projects, but I would say for about 15 min. (+/-), checking for doneness probably too often. When I could see the edges browned a bit, and they ‘smelled done’, I took them out, let cool for just a couple minutes, then inverted the contents onto a plate. They fell right out, I flipped them back again with another plate so they were right side up, cut into 12 ‘bar cookies’, and…………perfect ‘sugar cookie bars’! I repeated the process with the second half of the dough. Next experiments will be some savory choices. So far I am VERY PLEASED with my Omnia Oven!

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