Leaving the House While the Oven Is On

Updated on March 23, 2012
S.B. asks from Encino, CA
23 answers

Hi Moms -
I know this sounds like a basic question, but is it ok to leave the house while cooking something in the oven (even as I type it, I feel like it is a ridiculous one)? I am slow-roasting a chicken today, which will take 3 hours. I'd like to take my son to the park during some of that time. Is there any danger in leaving the oven on with no one around?
PS - my oven has a timer feature where it will turn itself off when its time to do so.

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So What Happened?

Wow! Given the variance in responses, I guess this wasn't such a ridiculous question after all. Thanks to all who responded and gave me much to think about.

Featured Answers


answers from Houston on

I know so many people who will put in a roast or something, then go out for the day. I would never do this! My oven is an old piece of junk though that has already caught fire twice. I also won't leave a crock pot running.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I would never do it. Especially with something that produces grease like chicken, what if some splashed down on the element and started a fire?

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answers from Los Angeles on

I'm not a fan of that......just in case.

You never know.

Can you take your son in the backyard?

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

I don't know if it's safe or not but I do it all the time. Electric oven, with timer. Hey, if the oven burns the house down, better that I'm not inside.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I've never done that before. I've always felt uneasy about it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

I wouldn't. I'm usually in the middle of cooking dinner before I pick up my daughter from school and if I have something in the oven I make sure to turn it off. And then as I'm driving I'm trying to remember if I actually did turn it off, it kind of stresses me out.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Use a crock pot instead.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

how often does your oven explode currently? :)

Go, have fun. But know that if something does go wrong (it catches fire) - you won't be there with the fire extinguisher.

It's your call - depends on your comfort level.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I've done it. Just make sure to be back home in time. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I love the timer on my oven! I turn my oven on with the timer probably 3 days a week when I am not home. I am usually home 15-30 minutes later to then put the food in the oven, but I have no problem leaving my oven for 30-60 minutes. In fact, I put things in the oven and then go outside and play with the kids, never checking on the oven, all the time.

I am sure it's not the best advice in the world, but I feel OK about doing it. Our oven is 4 years old, of good quality, and I just don't worry about it.

I wonder how many fires are started a year by ovens being used correctly? Here's some data:

16% of home fires are caused by the oven (http://www.nfpa.org/categoryList.asp?categoryID=952&U...)

The NFPA does not recommend it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Set your timer to turn the oven off, verify that you've done it and go. Or turn the oven on a lower temp and let it cook the entire time you are gone.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Nope - not me.

I'm too scared my house will burn down. So we'll play inside while something is cooking or I'll sit on the deck and let them play in the backyard, with the door open. I'd smell smoke if anything happened then.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have been tempted many times, but I just can't do it. I have left the crock pot on though while I was away for an hour or so. There probably isn't any difference between the two, but for some reason I think that leaving a crock pot on is less dangerous for some reason..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

Once upon a time I had an oven with a timer. It was electric. I loved it. My son and I would pop the Christmas turkey in, go off and do our volunteer gig, then come home to a cooked bird.

Ahhhh, memories.

Now I have a regular gas oven, so am more leery about leaving it on when I am gone. If i do it is just for a quick trip to local convenience store - no more than 15 minutes or so.

I think with an oven with a timer it is okay to leave it.


answers from Kansas City on

i think it's all good :) have not done it but would.


answers from Austin on

Ha, the house my husband I ow own, was owned by his parents at one point.. We did not purchase it from them.. Anyway when he turned 5, they went to the movies and when they came back their house was on fire.. Yes, this house..

She had left the roast to cook.. The fire dept said it was the splatter of the grease caught fire in the oven. The main damage was to the oven.. some burns to the floor and wall behind the stove and into the attic. .. Thank goodness a neighbor smelled the burning.. since the windows were all open.



answers from Pittsburgh on

MY husband won't leave the house with ANY appliance on (washer, dryer, dishwasher, oven that is) but I do. I figure two/birds, O. stone.
I think I'm efficient by throwing in a load of wash & heading to the grocery store. Him? I'm asking for burst hoses and a flooded basement. :)
BUT the times I have run out with OVEN on have been more like quick errand things....



answers from New York on

I did this one time and I could relax enough to do what I had to do.



answers from Cincinnati on

I wont do it. That would be the time my house burns down. i would use the crock pot instead but its probably not the same.



answers from Kansas City on

I guess I'm the opposite of lots of people - I do this quite often. BUT I only do it when the temp is lower - like 250. Don't ask me why that makes a difference, but I won't leave if it is on higher. I guess I worry about it spilling over or something, but usually I only have a roast or ribs in when i do this.



answers from San Francisco on

I say go. I've left my oven on and left for a short period of time. I don't think I've ever heard of a house fire starting from an oven.

Go and have a good time!


answers from Kansas City on

When I was young, yes I was once, my mother and other mothers would leave the Sunday dinner in the oven to eat when church was out. I never heard of a fire but I always thought it wasn't too wise to do. I've heard of grease fires in ovens if not extremely clean ovens but today I think they usually clean themselves sort of. I'd be very careful doing it if I was you and maybe turn it down to the lowest temp you can and then turn it up when you get home and plan for that low time in cooking time.


answers from Chicago on

I always cook a roast in the oven and leave now and then. I would make sure the chicken isn't dry as a bone, and then leave and go have fun.

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