Gadget Review – the Omnia Stovetop Oven
When we ordered our motorhome Betsy, she was supposed to come fitted with a full gas oven. However, when we picked her up we were told that there was a problem and it wasn’t possible to install one without significant alterations and cost. As we love to cook, this was a serious blow, so we immediately started looking for alternatives. We first tried an appliance called a Remoska, which many motorhomers swear by and consists of a roasting pan plus the lid that contains an electric heating element. While this was excellent for roast dinners and other baking, it had three main drawbacks for us. Firstly it was big and heavy and took up a lot of room. Secondly, it was quite power hungry and as we live off grid we have to be careful not to drain our batteries, which limited how much we could use the Remoska. Thirdly, it just stopped working after three months. Although we got a refund, it wasn’t replaced. After further extensive research, we came across the Omnia – an ingenious device from Sweden which we would now hate to be without. It is not until you actually have something like this that you realise all of the great food that you are missing out on just because you don’t have the means to cook it. We have been using our Omnia now since October 2017 and have put a lot of other motorhomers onto them. We mention them on social media a lot and keep getting asked questions, so we decided to put up a review here on our website so everyone can understand what an Omnia is, how it works, and how it would benefit them.
What is an Omnia?
An Omnia is an appliance that you use on your gas or electric cooktop. This allows you to cook most things that you would normally make in an oven, without actually having one. The Omnia greatly expands the range of dishes you can cook in your motorhome or boat. There are three pieces to the standard Omnia, (plus two optional extra parts which I will talk about later). These are:
- the round steel base, which sits directly onto the gas ring or electric element
- the aluminium ring-shaped baking pan, which sits on the base and you fill with the goodies to be cooked
- the bright red lid
The whole device measures just 250mm in diameter, stands 140mm high and weighs in at a paltry 500 grams. It comes packed in its own neat little bag to keep everything together and tidy. The optional parts are a silicon mould insert which means you don’t have to butter and flour the baking pan each time you use it, and it makes washing up soooo much easier, and a rack which sits inside the Omnia for certain types of baking.
How does the Omnia work?
The steel base sits directly on a gas ring, camp cooker or electric element (not induction though), with the baking pan, then the lid on top. The burner heats the air under the pan and in the top compartment, through the hole in the middle of the baking pan. There are small holes in the lid which let out excess steam. You simply butter and flour the baking pan (if you have the silicon mould then ignore this step and insert the mould straight into the pan). You then fill the pan with your cake mix, lasagne ingredients, roast dinner ingredients, bread dough etc, pop it on the base, drop the lid into place and centre the whole assembly on your fired up gas ring or cooktop. The gas is normally turned down close to the lowest setting and then the Omnia is left to do its magic. Most dishes take the same time as they would in an oven. We had our Omnia for several months before finding somewhere we could buy the silicon mould (from the Jula store in Sweden), and after having used it with or without the mould, we thoroughly recommend the mould is purchased. The only real pains with using the Omnia were buttering/flouring the baking pan then washing it afterwards, and the silicon mould does away with all that.
Homemade Breads, Cakes and Sweets
Savoury Dishes to Delight the Tastebuds
Would an Omnia Benefit Me?
Well that’s a great question and thank you for asking it.
An Omnia is certainly a benefit for us and if I explain why, then you can decide whether your circumstances are close enough to ours that you would benefit as well.
1. We have no oven so without an Omnia we couldn’t cook cakes, roast dinners, bread, lasagne, scones, quiches, or any of the other beautiful dishes that have come out of our little Omnia. If you have an oven then you probably don’t need an Omnia.
2. We are very rarely on an electrical hook up so we can’t easily use electrical appliances that consume a lot of electricity.
3. We actually like to cook ourselves and only eat out very occasionally. If your preferences and budget suit eating out most nights, then you probably won’t use an Omnia often.
4. We wild camp a lot and generally setting up barbeques and Cadac style cookers outside is not permitted. If you typically stay at campsites and possess these items you may have less use for an Omnia.
5. We really like eating good food and the Omnia makes spectacularly tasty tucker. We are happy to make the effort to cook food that makes us happy. If your camping tastes are satisfied by baked beans on toast and you can’t be bothered taking the time to put more than two ingredients together then again the Omnia may not be for you.
6. We are also sailors and recognise that an Omnia would be a great device to have on an oven-less yacht.
If you relate to our situation then you are probably getting just a little excited now and just want to know how you can get your hands on one of these life-changing tools.
But unfortunately (for us), we are not making money from this website or selling anything so we have no magic link we can share to let you buy one easily. There doesn’t seem to be a current UK distributor however many of the camping shops in Europe have them in stock and there are a lot of authorised European online retailers who I am sure would ship to Great Britain and other European locations. For an online retailer, we suggest you go onto the Omnia website resellers page.
We have seen Omnia and accessories for sale at many locations around Europe and the prices do vary. The three-piece base unit ranges anywhere from €37.50 through to €60. Then the silicon mould is priced at about €16 to €19. The rack insert is another extra item, however, this isn’t something we use a lot and I wouldn’t really recommend this as being critical to your gastronomic success. You can also buy a thermometer with a spike which passes through one of the holes in the lid to read the actual temperature. We don’t have this so can’t comment on how well it works, however, we seem to do fine without it.
If you buy an Omnia, please let us know how you find it and share any great recipes you find or come up with. We are always looking for new tasty stuff to try out.