Many people use these three terms in an interchangeable fashion because they don’t truly understand them. The inappropriate use of these words can cause confusion when you are following a recipe or shopping for a new appliance. In this article, we will explore baking, grilling, and roasting in more detail to help you make informed decisions.
A Basic Primer
Before we get into the specifics of each cooking term, it’s worth mentioning that many people confuse roasting and grilling and this is understandable. It’s natural to believe that roasting and grilling are pretty much the same things, but they are not. In fact, of the three cooking methods roasting and baking are the most similar. Grilling is a simpler method and it should not be confused with the others.
This is a slow and low-intensity cooking method that takes place entirely in the oven. The air is heated with a gas or electric element and this heat is transferred to the food. Baking can work on a low or high heat depending on the food you’re baking and the results you need. Baking on a high heat will brown foods in a similar way to broiling or grilling. But you can use the oven to bake foods on a lower heat for longer, which is similar to the use of a slow cooker to cook certain cuts of meat. Baking is a longer cooking process than grilling, but it’s a good option for thicker and larger food items.
This is the application of dry heat from above or below to cook the food. When you think of the range of foods that can be cooked in this way, it’s easy to see that you have been grilling them. The food is cooked by radiation and the most common application is cooking meat with dry heat. This can be achieved with electric heating elements, gas burners, hot coals, smoking wood, and more. If the heat is applied from above this is known as broiling in Canada and the U.S. The latest grilling pans even use conduction to create cooking heat.
Roasting food was traditionally the method where the food (typically meat) was cooked over or in front of a fire or bed of coals. As ranges developed the use of hearths for cooking decreased and the term roasting was expanded to cover meat that was cooked in the oven. An oven is basically an insulated box, the internal air is heated to a predetermined temperature to start or finish the roast.
Baking and Roasting Comparisons
The main distinguishing factor is the type and structure of food that you want to cook. When baking, the foods don’t have a clearly defined structure before heat is applied and then they are solid and ready to eat after cooling, such as bread, cakes, cookies, pies, and more. Roasting will involve cooking foods that already have a defined structure before the cooking process begins, such as meats, vegetables, and more.
Roasted foods are cooked in an uncovered pan and baked goods are covered and cooked in an enclosed oven. Roasting requires a higher temperature of around 205ºC compared to around 175ºC for baking. When grilling, it’s all too easy to brown the outer surfaces too fast, and yet it’s uncooked in the middle. This is less likely during roasting because the heat is slow and low for prolonged periods of time.
If you’re considering a new oven, grill, or range for your home, explore our online collection. For further guidance and help speak to our home appliance expert.