Your oven has a variety of functions that can be particularly useful during the frenzy of holiday cooking. But knowing how to use them the right way can make the difference between a forgettable feast and a memorable meal. We’ll review the difference between bake and broil functions on an oven, highlighting the pros, cons, and food recommendations for each. 

Breaking Down the Difference Between Bake and Broil

While both of these basic oven features are dry heat cooking methods, their similarities largely end there. Here’s how the difference between bake and broil can be used to enhance your cooking during the holidays and year-round. 

FAQ #1. How is Broiling Different From Baking?

The main difference between bake and broil functions is how they cook food. Baking heats the air inside the oven to cook food from the inside out. Usually, this involves preheating the oven to the desired temperature. Once it’s reached, only the bottom heating element comes on intermittently to maintain the air temperature during baking. 

So, what is broiling and how does it differ from baking? Broiling cooks food from the outside in, with direct contact from a heat source, similar to grilling. In an oven, this direct contact comes when food is placed in close proximity to the oven’s top heating element. It remains on throughout the cooking process to provide a constant, direct heat at a higher temperature than baking. This creates a deep, exterior browning in a shorter cooking time.

difference between bake and broil

FAQ #2. Is Broiling Better Than Baking?

When comparing bake vs broil functions, one is not overwhelmingly better than the other. Both are relatively healthy cooking methods that don’t require extra fat like frying or sauteing. Broiling may have a slight health advantage over baking because fat actually drips off food while it cooks. Using a broiling pan that elevates food off the bottom of the pan ensures that fat drips off and away during cooking.

FAQ #3. What Are the Pros and Cons of Bake vs Broil?

Both of these common oven functions have advantages and disadvantages when cooking food. The following list breaks down the pros and cons for each cooking method:

Baking:

Pros: 

  • Provides a consistent heat that cooks food evenly throughout
  • Baking times for specific recipes are generally consistent
  • Requires little extra fat, making for a healthy cooking method
  • Is ideal for a wide variety of foods from meats and vegetables to bread and pastries

Cons:

  • Longer, slower cooking process
  • Foods can easily dry out if overcooked

Broiling:

Pros: 

  • Fast cooking times
  • Requires no extra fat and allows existing fat to drip away while cooking
  • Provides a flavorful char to the outside of food

Cons:

  • Can cause messy splatters and splashes while cooking
  • Cookware is limited to metal pans, as glass and silicone can melt under high heat

FAQ #4. Which Setting Should I Use for Certain Foods?

Just like convection vs regular oven settings, there are certain foods that taste better if you know when to use bake or broil. Generally, baking is best for foods that turn from a liquid to a solid while cooking. Baking is also better for larger cuts of meat. Is roasting the same as baking? Generally, roasting occurs at a higher temperature for foods that are already in their solid form, such as whole turkey or chicken, rib roasts, or vegetables. Here are some examples of foods that taste best when baked:

  • Pastries such as cookies, bread, cakes, pies, and muffins
  • Lean meats like chicken breast or pork chops
  • Stews, casseroles, and other one-pot meals

What food do you broil for the best results? Solid foods such as thinner cuts of meat and fish, fruits, and vegetables benefit from a deep, flavorful browning. Specific examples include:

  • Individual steaks, beef filets, or burgers
  • Chicken pieces
  • Shellfish such as shrimp or scallops
  • Sliced peaches, plums, pineapple, zucchini, or eggplant

The team at Just-In Time Appliance Repair provides expert oven assistance. From the difference between bake and broil functions to complex repairs, we can answer any need.