The Difference Between Baking And Broiling

Do you ever stay up late pondering life's big questions, like "what is the difference between baking and broiling?" Well, maybe that's just us. We ponder these things, so you don't have to.

Your oven is a highly versatile appliance you can use for a variety of cooking techniques all with a push of a button or turn of a knob. In the past, home bakers and cooks using a brick oven had to manually adjust the ash and wood used to cook their food (per Smithsonian Magazine). They weren't able to easily switch between broiling and baking like we do today.

Too often, people make common mistakes while using their oven which makes it more challenging to create all your favorite meals. One of those common mistakes is not using your broiler correctly.

While both baking and broiling happen in the oven, the differences include the heat source, time, and concentration of the heat. Since the broiler uses a different heat source than your oven uses to bake and roast, you want to check where your broiler is located. Many ovens include the broiler in the upper back end of the oven. Some have a separate broiler drawer underneath the baking oven drawer. Knowing where your broiler is will help you better understand the difference as well as when you use each technique.

Choosing the right technique for the job

As Southern Living explains, your oven has different heating elements found on the top, bottom, and possibly the back. This varies by the model, but it is by design so your oven can concentrate heat in a specific area or evenly throughout, depending on the cooking technique you use.

When you bake, your oven circulates hot air evenly to cook gradually using comparatively lower temperatures anywhere from 170 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking is a classic go-to method for cakes, bread, casseroles, or dense meats like a whole turkey. Examples include just about any baked good, as well as these oven-baked dinner recipes.

If you opt to broil, your oven uses more direct, concentrated infrared heat from a single source to cook food quickly at a high temperature — often around 550 degrees Fahrenheit. You may prefer to use the broiler function for searing or browning foods like tomatoes, and meat, or the cheese topping of French onion soup. Broiling is also the go-to option if you want to make food crispy or a little charred, per MasterClass. Some examples include our broiled lobster tail recipe or this 15-minute bruschetta recipe.