Turkey roasting in oven

What is the difference between baking, broiling and roasting?

Knowing the differences between baking vs. broil vs. roast oven settings can help create a properly seared piece of meat or a perfectly crisped cookie. Use this guide to understand the types of foods, cookware and recipes to use for these settings and to fine tune your baking, roasting and broiling techniques.

Baking, roasting and broiling are all functions of your oven and they each are used to produce specific results.

  • Broiling can mimic grilling and cooks foods using high temperatures. When foods are placed close to the heat source they cook quickly and produce a seared or charred edge. 

  • Baking uses dry heat at lower temperatures to slowly cook unstructured foods such as batter or dough, gently browning the surface while solidifying the interior. 

  • Roasting is similar to baking, but uses higher temperatures to cook foods such as prime cuts of meat and vegetables while also producing a crisp, caramelized surface all over.

Whether you have a conventional or convection oven, gas or electric range, double wall or countertop oven, these cooking methods and settings apply. If you have more than one of these appliances, you can use one to bake or roast while broiling in the other. Discover more about how a convection oven works and how to use it for cooking and baking. Also, compare how other types of ovens work to choose the right one for your kitchen. Learn how to grill indoors in the oven as well.

Salmon, asparagus and potatoes roasting in oven Salmon, asparagus and potatoes roasting in oven

How to Broil in an Oven and which Foods Broil Best?

The broil setting on your oven cooks food quickly with direct heat, typically at 550℉ (289℃) and produces a seared finish that’s similar to grilling. Smaller or countertop ovens preheat to the broiling temp faster so you can quickly finish baked or slow-roasted dishes with crisp browned edges.

Foods must be placed close to the broiler for the heat to successfully reach and cook them. Depending on your oven, this may mean moving the rack to the top or bottom of the oven. Broiling sears the surface of food and works best for cooking thin meats and vegetables. This method can also be used to add texture to the surface of foods that have already been cooked using another method like baking or roasting.

Try Broiling These Foods

Broiling is ideal for foods such as thin cuts of meat like steak or boneless chicken and fish. Browning or searing cut fruits and vegetables can help add dimension and depth of flavor to these foods as well.

  • These bacon-wrapped scallops can be assembled in ten minutes and are seared and ready to eat after 15-20 minutes under the broiler. 

  • Broil diced or sliced pineapple to caramelize the sugars for a quick and delicious side to accompany fish or chicken.

  • For a quick, mouthwatering supper, use a countertop oven like this one from KitchenAid to broil salmon steaks with unagi sauce

  • You can finish these savory loaded potato slices with a few minutes under the broiler to give them an extra bit of crispy brown flavor. 

  • Running sliced bananas under the broiler for a few minutes makes a quick and easy dessert drizzled with Nutella.

When broiling, place your oven rack as close to the heat source as possible, whether that’s the top or the bottom of your oven. Because electric and convection ovens provide drier heat and convection circulates air, they are ideal for broiling. Use all-metal pans (stainless steel, carbon steel or cast iron) to avoid damaging more sensitive cookware with the intense heat.

Woman removing fresh-baked croissants from oven Woman removing fresh-baked croissants from oven

When should I use the Bake Oven Setting?

Baking uses dry heat to surround food with hot air that is set to temperatures up to 375℉ (190℃). Use your oven’s bake setting with the rack placed in the center so hot dry air surrounds the pan evenly and cooks the food slowly without causing the surface to brown or crisp too much or too quickly. 


Baking is ideal for unstructured foods that require slow cooking such as cake batter, cookie or bread dough, custard, quiche, souffle, and oven-baked ribs

  • This goat cheese marinara appetizer is baked to gently cook the vegetables in the sauce and then soften the cheese that’s added at the end of the baking time.

  • You can easily bake kale chips in the oven for a healthy, savory snack.

  • There are endless possibilities for cookies to bake – from thin and crisp to soft and chewy. 

You can bake with any oven-safe cookware including stainless steel, cast iron, glass, ceramic, nonstick or silicone with the rack placed in the center of the oven to heat all sides evenly. For a browned or crisp surface, baking with your dish uncovered produces a browned or crisp surface, while covering the dish keeps the surface moist and can steam the food. 

What’s the Difference Between Baking and Roasting?

Roasting, like baking, is a method of cooking that uses hot, dry air to cook food in the oven, but at higher temperatures. Roasting is typically used for foods with a solid structure such as vegetables and meats, roasting uses the bake setting at 400ºF (204ºC) or higher to brown the surface and develop flavor. 

Which foods should I roast?

Roasting browns and caramelizes the surface of food, producing complex flavors, and is often the best method for cooking prime cuts of meat and vegetables.

  • Whole chicken is often roasted, while cut parts, such as chicken breasts, thighs and drumsticks are typically baked. Try this recipe for roasted chicken that infuses the poultry with lemon and thyme.
  • This slow-roasted pork shoulder uses a lower temperature for a longer period to produce tender, juicy slices.
  • Brussels sprouts are roasted to soften them and lightly char surfaces, adding a smoky flavor to this complex salad.
  • Roasting brings out the caramelized flavors and crisp edges of these garlicky potatoes.
  • Use high heat roasting to soften the centers and char the edges of these mixed vegetables that are finished with a bright, tangy balsamic glaze.

Roasting, like baking, is typically done with the oven rack positioned in the center of the oven to allow the hot, dry air to surround the pan evenly. Roast food in oven safe cookware that has sides to catch fat and juices. You can set the meat on a rack in the pan to lift the food away from the pan drippings so all sides can brown evenly. Sometimes meat is roasted using a combination of high and low temperatures to help keep the roast moist and tender while also browning the surface.

Pizza on baking stone in oven Pizza on baking stone in oven

Are Convection Bake and Convection Roast Different from Bake or Broil?

If your electric oven has convection, it may have settings for bake, convection bake and/or convection roast as well as broil. Conventional and convection ovens both cook food by surrounding the dish with dry heat. The heating elements in conventional ovens are on the top and bottom only, which can cause areas of uneven temperatures inside the oven. Convection ovens use a fan to circulate the heat and a true convection oven has a fan and a third heating element in the back of the oven to allow for even cooking on multiple racks.

Depending on where you place your dishes in a conventional oven, you may have undercooked centers or burnt edges due to the uneven temperatures, which can complicate cooking multiple dishes simultanesouly. The fan in a convection oven helps move the hot air around all dishes evenly. In addition, it helps produce crispy meats, caramelized vegetables and flaky, fluffy baked goods by removing excess moisture.

Mastering the Use of Bake vs Roast vs Broil Oven Settings 

Understanding the important differences between your oven’s settings for baking, roasting and broiling will help you expand your culinary horizons. You can produce baked goods that have a light, delicate crumb with a crisp, flaky edge as well as juicy roasts with deep, caramelized flavor. You can quickly put a charred, crisp finish on appetizers or slow-cooked dishes with your broiler. Your oven and countertop oven can open a whole world of cooking possibilities when you know how and why to use settings properly. After baking, roasting or broiling, clean your oven glass with our easy how-to guide.