KitchenAid KFDD500ESS review: Versatility outweighs uneven performance for this double oven

The KFDD500ESS had a similar behavior as other gas ranges when it came to keeping tomato soup warm over a long period of time. I brought the soup to 165 degrees on medium heat, then switched the burner to low for 20 minutes. Even after I turned down the temperature, the soup's temperature spiked before it eventually decreased and began to climb again. The KFDD500ESS did cool off a few degrees more than the Dacor gas ranges I've tested.

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Roasting a chicken reveals a lot about an oven's cooking behavior with a familiar dish. Can the oven cook an odd-shaped piece of meat evenly? Is it hot enough to create a crisp skin but gentle enough to keep the meat juicy? And, most importantly, how does it taste?

The KitchenAid's convection roast mode uses heating elements at the top and bottom of the lower oven cavity and the convection fan to circulate hot air around the food you're roasting. In the case of my roast chicken test, the evenness of the oven's heat was evidence in the uniform golden-brown skin that covered the chicken. Usually, there's at least one dark patch of skin on top of the chicken breast, the highest point on the chicken that receives the most heat. That extra-crisp piece of skin was missing from the KitchenAid's roast chicken, and the skin was better for it. And the meat was super juicy and tender.

The KitchenAid KFDD500ESS roasts a beautiful chicken. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The biscuit tests is another good way to learn about how evenly an oven bakes in convection mode. When it was time for this test on the KFDD500ESS, my frustrations began when I tried to use the easy convection conversion tool. The oven's user guide recommends you preheat the oven on the regular bake setting, turn the oven all the way off, then use the Easy Convect button to enable that feature. That's a lot of steps for lackluster results. For the most part, the oven baked all of the biscuits evenly across each sheet. But the bottom rack was often very pale and appeared under-baked.

Each sheet of biscuits was mostly identical, but the top rack of biscuits (top left) was much darker than the bottom rack of biscuits (bottom left). The two pictures on the right show the color representation of each sheet of biscuits.

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The results of my broiling tests were a little more complicated than the roasted chicken results. When you use an oven's broiler, the heating element at the top of the oven cavity reaches a high temperature to cook food that you place on a rack right beneath the broiler. It's a good cooking method if you don't have access to an outdoor grill but want your meat to have a smoky char. Broiling is also good for adding a crisp crust to foods or toasting bread.

It took an average of 17.75 minutes to broil six burgers in the KFDD500ESS. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Though KitchenAid's traditional coil broiler reached 550 degrees, it took a slow and steady approach to cooking. Usually, broiled burger patties we've have a crisp sear on the outside with a medium-well center, depending on how long you cook it. In the KitchenAid, the patties never got the char I've seen with other burgers. And this broiler was a slacker when you compare it to other electric ovens. It took an average of 17.75 minutes to cook six hamburger patties. However, the patties stayed juicy, a nice surprise when you consider that long cook times often result in dried-out meat.

Final thoughts

The KitchenAid KFDD500ESS contains a lot in just 30 inches. There are two independent ovens, a decent cooktop and cooking modes to adapt to a wide variety of home chefs. It's cooking performance lagged during some tests, but the versatility that the KFDD500ESS offers makes the range a worthwhile investment, especially if you do a lot of heavy baking.