close-up of a piece of cooked meat garnished with fried onions
Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Baking and broiling are both healthy cooking methods, but broiling requires less time. Both techniques require use of your oven. The main differences between them are the cooking temperatures, equipment and preparation of the ingredients or items that you are cooking. Broiling requires a more watchful eye than baking, yet when done properly, it produces as much flavor and less fat in your finished dishes.

Oven Cooking

Modern gas and electric ovens normally have a dial or buttons that let you set it for low and moderate temperatures, between 200 and 375 F. These temperatures bake food that you place on an oven rack, from cakes and cookies to meats and vegetables. The heat in the oven is indirect, normally coming from the oven’s bottom burners. When you set an oven on the broil setting, a separate burner or heat element at the top of the oven produces heat that cooks the food on the oven rack below it, using direct heat. Broiler temperatures are commonly between 400 and 500 F. The direct heat also browns food faster than baking does.


Broiling requires metal pans, commonly steel, aluminum or cast iron. You cannot place glass or synthetic pans under a broiler because the high temperatures and direct heat melt silicone cookware, and can shatter even ovenproof glass baking dishes. The standard broiling pan that often comes with a stove has a slotted top that fits on top of a shallow rectangular or square metal pan. When you place your food on the slotted broiler cover, excess fat in the food drips into the pan below. This helps to decrease the fat content of the dish.


The amount of time that broiling takes is considerably less than the time needed for baking the same food. Meats, vegetables and seafood generally need only 10 to 15 minutes' cooking time in a broiler, compared to 30 minutes to an hour or more for baking, depending on the food. Proper broiling requires that you position the oven racks two to six inches below the broiler element or flame. The closer the food is to the heat, the more quickly it cooks, and the risk of burning the surface of the food before the interior cooks is higher.

Broiling Techniques

Preheat your broiler according to the manufacturer's directions. For even cooking, center the broiler pan under the broiler element or flame. Stay close to your stove during broiling, and check often for flare-ups and burning. Turn thick cuts of meat and dense vegetables such as carrots during broiling for best results. Avoid marinades containing oil for foods that you intend to broil; the oil can cause splattering, risking fires.