What To Do If Your Oven Smells Like Burning: 5 Fixes

What To Do If Your Oven Smells Like Burning

Stuck trying to figure out why your oven smells like burning?

Don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place to get the issue fixed. First, take a look at your food and make sure it’s not on fire. But if your meal is okay, there are other things you need to check.

If your oven smells like burning, chances are the protective chemicals of the oven are burning off, the insulation is exposed, or there are plastic zip-ties on your food. The use of harsh chemicals to clean your oven or an electrical malfunction could also explain the issue.

Read on to stop the burning smell!

In case you prefer to listen, here’s a clip from our podcast where we discuss how to solve a smoky oven.

Why trust us? This article was written by Craig Anderson and James Blackford.

Craig has helped thousands of other homeowners repair their appliances since 2016.

James is one of our resident appliance experts with over 16 years of experience. He currently works as a Master Technician for SquareTrade, and runs his own appliance repair business.

5 Reasons Why Your Oven Smells Like Burning

I’ve done a lot of research to figure out why your oven smells like burning. Some of the most popular reasons are:

#1 Protective Chemicals

If your oven is still relatively new, there’s a good chance it smells like burning due to factory chemicals. A lot of manufacturers use chemicals to prevent the over walls from breaking down during transportation or while sitting in the store.

In my experience, it’s common that when you first turn on your oven, the protective chemicals will burn off, giving off a strange smell.

As a result, you may want to consider putting your oven through a few cooking cycles without any food in it so you can get rid of the chemicals before cooking meals.

So, before you grow overly concerned about something burning in the oven, wait a little while.

#2 Oven Insulation

Another possible reason why your oven smells like burning is that insulation is being exposed to high heat.

Your oven has a lot of insulation that keeps the heat in the oven, so you don’t have to worry about the heat leaking into your kitchen, increasing your utility bills

In most cases, I find the situation to be normal. Your insulation must be exposed to heat a few times before the smell disappears. That said, an oven burning smell could also indicate that your oven insulation is being unnecessarily exposed to heat.

#3 Zip Ties on the Food 

Another possible reason your oven smells like burning is that some of the food you’ve put inside it still has plastic zip ties. Many food items come with zip ties because it makes the food easier to store, sell, and cook.

If you smell something burning in the oven, I advise you to look closer at the food and ensure no zip ties need to be removed.

#4 An Electrical Malfunction

If your oven still smells like burning, it could also be due to an electrical malfunction. If so, you must stop using the oven and take the time to figure out where the source of the problem lies.

electric oven wiring
An electrical malfunction could explain why your oven smells like burning.

Once you’ve pinpointed the source of the issue, you must address it as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you could have a fire on your hands. 

An electrical malfunction is serious, and you must look at the error code displayed on your oven (if there’s any). If you don’t see an error code, you may need to call a professional to look at your oven.

Note: Most modern ovens have safety features that will trip your circuit breakers in the event of a serious short circuit. So, although you must address the issue immediately, the likelihood of your house burning down because of such a situation is relatively low.

#5 Cleaning Solutions 

In my opinion, cleaning your oven frequently is essentially to prevent mechanical obstructions from building up on the inside of the oven itself. 

However, you must be careful with your choice of cleaning agents. If you use strong chemical cleaning solutions, the chemicals will likely leave a strong odor that will remain for days and become more intense with heat.

Fixing an Oven That Smells Like Burning: 5 Steps

Now that you know the most common culprits, it’s time to learn how to fix the issue. Don’t worry, it’s very simple; you just need to:

#1 Start By Burning In Your Oven

If you have a brand-new oven, the solution is to break it in. You can break your oven in by burning the protective chemicals off of your oven before you put food in it.

In a lot of cases, you can look at the manual that came with the oven to see what you need to do to get rid of the protective chemicals. 

#2 Get Rid of Burnt Food Particles

There’s also a chance your oven smells like burning because there are food particles left behind from prior meals. Even if your oven has a self-cleaning option, it may not be enough to get rid of the food particles left behind completely

To get rid of the food particles, you should remove the racks from the oven and get rid of any obvious chunks of food. After this, you should run your oven’s self-cleaning mode.

cleaning oven rack
Clean your oven’s components regularly to make sure there are not any food particles left behind that could cause a burning smell in the future.

To clean the oven racks, you should use a solution that is one part vinegar and one part water. Then, wipe down the racks and the inside of your oven.

#3 Avoid Strong Cleaning Solutions

Even though it’s fine for you to use substances such as baking soda or vinegar to clean the inside of your oven, you should be careful if you use anything stronger. Strong chemical cleaning solutions will leave behind foul odors that burn when you heat your oven.

You should not need anything stronger than baking soda, vinegar, water, and detergent to clean your oven.

Remember that your oven also has a self-cleaning solution. You should also make sure you put the self-cleaning feature to work for you. If you can stay away from strong, overpowering cleaning solutions, you should be able to avoid the foul odor left behind by other cleaning substances.

#4 Check the Oven Insulation

As mentioned above, if you have had your oven for a while and the burning smell is new, then you should check your oven for exposed insulation.

If you find exposed insulation in the oven, you must remove or replace it. If you’re uncomfortable checking for insulation issues, contact a professional who can help you. 

#5 Call the Gas Company

Finally, if you smell sulfur coming from your oven, it could be a sign that you have a gas leak somewhere which is a serious issue that must be dealt with immediately-

The first thing you need to do is call 911 or the local gas company to let them know that you have a gas leak.

Keep in mind that you should not use your oven if you suspect a gas leak. There’s also a good chance the gas company is going to shut off your gas immediately, so you may lose access to other appliances as well.

The gas company will come out and do a thorough investigation to figure out where the leak is coming from. Best case scenario, they’ll fix the source of the leak and be on their way. However, there’s always a chance that they’ll ask you to replace your oven if they find anything wrong with it.

Addressing an Oven That Smells Like Burning

You might have a burning smell coming from your oven for many reasons. If you’re not burning your food, you should ensure the electrical system is okay, no zip ties are left behind, and the insulation is not exposed to the heat.

You may also need to burn in your oven to get rid of the protective chemicals. You may also want to check and see if you used any overly strong cleaning solutions.

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Have a great day!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more