Ever have a cake fall or a casserole burn? It may not be your cooking skills that are bad. You may just need to brush up on how to use your oven properly. Here are seven tips that will help your baked goods turn out perfectly.

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Don’t open the door

It's tempting to open the oven door to peek at your cakes or cookies, but resist the urge. Opening your oven door can make the temperature of the oven drop dramatically. Temperature fluctuations can make cakes fall and make other foods take longer to cook than the timing the recipes calls for.

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Overfilling the oven

Your oven may be roomy, but don't stuff as many dishes as you can into your oven. You must leave space around pans so that air can circulate around each food item to cook properly. Make sure that there are a couple inches between the pans for the best air circulation and don't let the pans touch the sides of the oven.

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Perfect pan placement

Want your cupcakes or pies to bake perfectly every time? Place them on the center of the rack so that it bakes evenly. If you are cooking more than one thing, put them on different racks and position them so that the one on the bottom rack isn't blocking the heat for the item on the top rack.

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Aluminum foil is a no-no

You may have seen a Pinterest tip that suggested lining your oven with foil is a great way to protect your oven from drips. Just don't do it. Not only can the reflected heat make your baked goods cook faster, can damage your oven. There have even been reports of the foil melting and the heat reflected off of the foil may burn out the oven's heating elements. Instead, use a silicone oven liner that is designed to be put inside of an oven.

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Keep your oven clean

If you leave drips and crumbs on the bottom of your oven, you could be sabotaging your baking. Those food bits can catch fire or smoke, which can overheat the oven or at the very least make your baked goods taste like soot.

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When self-cleaning goes wrong

The self-cleaning option on your stove is a great way to keep it clean, but beware, it only self-cleans to a point. After the oven has cooled down, wipe the interior down with a damp cloth to remove any soot and leave the door open for a few hours to let the oven air out. Skipping this step can make your next batch of cookies taste like a house fire.

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Find your hotspots

Your oven has areas where it gets hotter and areas where it stays cooler. Knowing where the hotspots are can help you be a better cook. When you know your hotspots, you will know where to place your pans to avoid uneven cooking. To find you hotspots, cover a baking sheet with shredded coconut and place it in your oven at 350 degrees. The coconut that toasts the quickest is in your oven's hotspots.

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