Broil vs bake – What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between broil and bake?

Most of us know what baking means. You bake bread, you bake cakes and cinnamon rolls. You can bake chicken breasts and even bake bacon. In the baking cooking process, the heating elements in the oven heat up and the hot air cooks whatever’s inside, right? But what does it mean to broil something and what’s the difference between bake and broil?

Overall, baking uses indirect heat at low temperatures and broiling use direct heat at higher temperatures. They are relatively similar but serve different functions. In this article, we’ll go into a little bit more detail about these cooking methods.

What is broiling?

The broiling method of cooking exposes food to a heat source directly in a pan. The high heat makes the food crispy and causes it to cook quickly, at least the side that is most exposed to the heating element.

What does actually broiling do?

Broiling does not require circulating heat but rather direct heating. The temperature from within your oven will indirectly heat up all your food, but the heating coil that you’re broiling with will give off a much higher temperature than the air in the oven. There is a large advantage of using this cooking method when you cook meats, some vegetables, or when wanting to quickly melt cheese on a dish.

Be wary of how long you broil something, though. It’s very easy to char your food or cause excessive smoke.

That’s why broiling often requires an oven with a special setting (most large ovens have it), or a special broiler appliance, or a broiling pan, and it always requires you to place your food in the top rack (right below the top burner), not the middle rack!

Benefits of the broil setting

Some say that broiling helps add flavor to tender cuts of meat in the same way that a grill can. You can also achieve a crispy texture quickly on things like croissants and frozen chicken nuggets. Using a broiler would give you the crispiness you desire in some foods without deep frying.

However, you should limit how much oil goes into something that you deep fry. Because you’re supposed to reach temperatures of 550 degrees Fahrenheit, you can burn oil on your dish and cause a lot of smoke.

What is baking?

broil vs bake

Baking is the cooking of food by heating up the air around it. Recipes typically use lower temperatures between 375 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking in the oven is a slower or slow method of heating food up compared to broiling.

What does baking do?

Baking is considered safer and easier to manage for people because of the lower amount of heat that is used (450 or so compared to 550!). Different recipes will require different temperatures and ovens are easy to use, but in general, the baking method is great for bread, solid foods, casseroles, vegetables, cake, and even meats.

However, you won’t get the crispiness (or burning effect) that you would when you broil. And although you can bake a steak, it’s not comparable to grilling it.

Benefits of a Bake Setting

Because you can set a specific temperature you know exactly how the food cooks. The heat is evenly distributed throughout the entire dish.

Heating up food can diminish nutrients from that food. When an ingredient is exposed repeatedly to high temperatures, it reduces the nutritional and moisture contents. Therefore, the higher the heat, the drier the food. And if you love cakes or other baked goods, then you need an even distribution of heat to get that cake to cook properly without burning the top of it.

Broil vs Bake – Which is better?

It depends! You can broil vegetables to get them crispy. Or you can start by baking and then broil a steak if it’s too cold to pull out your grill.

However, broiling a cake from scratch would be terrible! Go ahead and put your cinnamon rolls in a broiling pan and then cook them. Your cinnamon rolls might be overcooked on top and not cooked at all on the bottom.

FAQs – Cooking Methods

Do people know the difference between bake and broil? Let’s try to find common questions that people ask.

Can I use broil instead of baking?

Definitely not! If you’re baking bread, you do not want to broil that bread instead. And you also don’t want to be baking bread in a broiler. Baking and broiling are very different.

Does the broiling cooking method make things crispy?

Yes, broiling can make things crispy. So it’s a great alternative to a grill on a day when it’s too cold to go outside. You can cook vegetables and meat without freezing yourself!

What’s the difference between broiling and baking when using a convection oven since the hot air circulates differently?

There’s actually no difference because what a convection oven does is use fans to circulate air ensuring that the entire oven’s temperature is even when you’re baking. If you use the broiling with convection ovens, it still heats up the coil to a higher temp than the rest of the air inside.

However, now there are some new ovens that cook using infrared radiation. Infrared ovens use heatwaves kind of like a microwave. For those appliances, these rules still apply although they might cook much faster than traditional ones.

Final thoughts – The main difference between bake and broil

Broil vs Bake – which one is better? It really depends on the foods you’re making and what you need. Thankfully, almost all ovens have a broil feature. Some countertop ovens may not have it, but the best countertop ovens will.

Basically, if you’re looking at cooking something evenly through with hot air, then baking is what you need. If you’re looking at charring or cooking something on the top using direct heat, then broiling is what you need.

Save up to 25% on your next order

We have partnered with Hamilton Beach to offer their best deals on high quality kitchen appliances to our readers. Click the button below to see their exclusive offers.

Leave a Comment


Hold on!

See our favorite kitchen book by our favorite (late) celebrity chef!

Breville Mini Smart Oven

Hold on!

See our top choice for the best countertop oven on Amazon!