Broiling is a great way to make foods extra crisp and give them some browning.
But what’s the exact temperature of broil?
And can you achieve the same results if your oven doesn’t have a broiler?
To answer both of these questions, we’ll need to take a look at how broiling works and when it’s a good idea to use it.
What’s the temperature of broil?
Broiling is a cooking method that uses the radiant heat from an electric coil or gas burner to cook foods.
It’s different from baking since it doesn’t rely on the ambient temperature of the oven.
Due to this, keeping the broiler constantly heated is more important than the actual temperature of the oven.
If your oven comes without a broiler and you crank up the temperature, you’re simply going to burn your food.
Having said that, some ovens come with “High” and “Low” temperature settings for broiling.
Knowing the difference between them can be useful when you’re cooking different types of foods.
The temperature setting of broil affects when the heating element cycles off and back on.
When it’s set to “Low”, the broiler heats to 450°F/232.2°C, while on “High” it typically reaches 550°F/287.8°C. If your oven doesn’t come with a temperature setting for broil, you can assume that it will heat up to 550°F.
How to broil in the oven?
The broiler is typically positioned at the top of an oven, but it can also sit at the bottom in some cases.
For the purpose of this guide, I’m going to assume yours also sits at the top.
Since broiling is mostly reserved for thin pieces of meat, chicken and vegetables it’s best to use the “High” setting.
This will give your foods a nice browning and keep them moist on the inside.
The only time you should consider broiling on “Low” is when you’re cooking meats thicker than 1.5 inches.
Using the “High” setting in these cases, will burn the outside of the meat before it is done cooking.
For this reason, it’s also a good idea to place the meat on a lower rack and limit its exposure to heat.
Although optional, it’s also worth noting that you can leave the door of your oven slightly opened when broiling.
This will allow some of the ambient heat to escape and your broiler won’t cycle off.
As a result, your food will continue to get blasted with high heat and will develop a more even browning.
With that out of the way, it’s time to see how you can broil in the oven.
1. Preheat the broiler.
Before I start broiling, I first preheat the broiler for 5 – 10 minutes.
This way my foods cooks more evenly and develops a better crust.
If your oven comes with settings for broiling, you should select “Low” for thicker cuts of meat and “High” for anything else.
In case it doesn’t, you should cut your meat into half inch slices before placing it in the oven.
This will help the meat cook all the way through and prevent it from burning.
2. Place the dish under the heating element.
Most ovens come with a pan that’s specifically made for broiling.
If yours doesn’t have one or you’ve lost it, you can use a cast iron skillet or a heavy duty baking sheet.
In these cases, it’s also a good idea to place a cooling rack or a wire rack on top.
This will provide better air circulation and keep the drippings at the bottom of the pan.
If you’re cooking foods that require more time, you should place the dish six inches below the broiler.
Otherwise, you should position it roughly three inches below the heating element.
It’s also a good idea to heat up the pan for a few minutes before putting your food on it.
This will shave off a few minutes of cooking time.
3. Keep a close eye on the oven.
You need to be extremely careful when broiling, since the high temperatures can easily burn your food.
I always make sure to pay close attention to my food during broiling.
If you notice that your food begins to brown too fast, you may need to position it at a lower rack or reduce the temperature.
For more even browning, you’ll need to flip over your food once it reaches the five minute mark.
Some foods may release too much fat that can catch fire when broiling.
If you notice any smoke, you should turn off the oven and keep it closed until the fat burns off.
My tips for perfect broiling
Even though broiling isn’t rocket science, there are still a few things you can easily mess up.
Follow these tips to avoid making any mistakes:
Line the pan with aluminum foil
Cooking foods and especially meat at high temperatures often leaves nasty scorch marks at the bottom of the pan.
These can be extremely hard to remove even if you soak your pan in warm soapy water.
Fortunately, you can spare yourself from the extra cleaning by lining the bottom of your baking dish with aluminum foil.
This will prevent the food from sticking to the pan and you won’t worry about the stains.
If you’re using a broiling pan, you should cut slits on its upper rack to allow the air to circulate freely.
This will also allow the juices from the food to drip to the bottom of the pan.
Even though parchment paper is used for various baked dishes, you shouldn’t use it when you’re broiling.
Parchment paper cannot withstand temperatures higher than 450°F and can burn if you use it for broiling.
On that matter, you shouldn’t use any baking pans with a non-stick surface as well.
Most non-stick baking pans are covered in teflon which disintegrates at high temperatures and may release toxic fumes.
Glass and ceramic baking dishes are also not suited for broiling due to their lower heat resistance.
Don’t broil fatty foods
If you don’t want to burn down your house, then you shouldn’t broil fatty foods in your oven.
Exposing fatty foods to extreme heat vaporizes their cells and causes splattering.
And when the fat splatters on a surface with a temperature above 375°F (190.5°C) it can quickly catch fire.
Unfortunately, this is something that I had to learn the hard way when I tried to grill burgers in my toaster oven.
In case your oven starts to burn, you should turn it off and keep its door closed.
The lack of oxygen will smother the fire out and prevent it from spreading.
Also, you should never use water to put out a grease fire!
Using water will cause the grease to expand and combine with the oxygen in the air.
My experience has been that it’s best to avoid using marinades or brines when you’re broiling.
This is because the excess fat and liquid can cause a fire hazard.
If you do use a brine, you should pat the surface of your food dry with a paper towel.
This will prevent splattering and reduce the risk of fire.
For marinades, you should brush the surface of the food lightly so there isn’t any fat or liquid at the bottom of the pan.
With that said, using a dry rub is usually enough to give your meat or vegetables a decent flavor.
You can use anything from garlic and onion powder to cayenne pepper or dry mustard.
Stick to thin cuts of meat
If you use anything that’s thicker than 1.5 inches, it will burn on the outside and remain raw on the inside.
The best way to prepare thick cuts of meat in the oven is to bake or braise them.
These methods give the meat enough time to fully cook without burning to a crisp.
In case you decide to broil a more hefty piece of meat, you should broil it on low and place it on a lower rack.
You can also roast it first and finish cooking by searing it for 2 – 3 minutes under the broiler.
Most home ovens have a high and low temperature setting for broiling.
When an oven is set to a low broil the broiler heats up to 450°F.
This temperature setting is perfect for foods that require more cooking time.
A high broil on the other hand reaches a temperature of 550°F and is mostly used to cook thin cuts of meat and fish.
If your oven doesn’t have temperature settings, then it most probably heats up to between 500 – 550°F.