Roasting and baking are two cooking staples that have their differences, but both can be used to create some of your family’s favorite dishes. Read on to learn about the advantages of each method, including how and when to use them on certain foods to get the best results.
What’s the difference between roasting and baking temperatures?
Both methods use dry-heat and hot air inside your oven to cook foods thoroughly. A key difference is that convect roasting uses a fan to drive hot air around the food to promote even cooking. Though they may seem similar, roasting often calls for higher temperatures around 400°F and up, while baking calls for somewhat lower temperatures around 350°F.
What is roasting?
Roasting uses higher heat to quickly achieve a nicely browned exterior crust and crispiness, with food cooked in an uncovered pan for most of the process. It’s best used for structured foods—think sturdy veggies, like cauliflower and carrots, as well as dense meats like ham, tenderloin or your Thanksgiving turkey. In convection ovens, the Convect Roast cycle is designed to promote browning and maintain high temperatures throughout roasting, which can also help reduce cook times.
How to roast
Step 1: Check your recipe to set the oven temperature
Roasting temperatures can vary from starting out low and slow to high, all depending on the recipe and ingredients used. A good general rule is to start with a low temperature for large cuts of meat to avoid overcooking the outside before the inside is done. You can use higher temperatures for smaller cuts of meat and moderate heat for most vegetables.
Step 2: Prepare and place your ingredients in a pan
Using a roasting pan with low sides and some heft helps heat move more evenly through your food. A rack inside the pan keeps foods up and out of any fatty drippings that might result from cooking. The bottom and lower racks in your oven are optimal placements for roasting. Reference your Use and Care Guide for optimal rack placement, as it may vary by cycle and cavity.
Step 3: Check the temperature and baste as needed in your recipe
Use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature of meat and verify doneness. Veggies should be done when they are fork tender, with some visible browning and texture. If your recipe calls for basting, a method of keeping meat moist by pouring its own juices or marinade over it as it cooks, don’t open the oven too often at the risk of losing heat and over-cooking due to oven cycling.
Step 4: Remove from oven and allow to rest
Once your food is done, let meat rest for around 10 to 20 minutes before cutting to help retain all the juices inside.
Cooking tip: You can achieve excellent roasting and baking results with a convection or conventional oven. A convection oven has a fan that circulates hot air around the cavity for even heat distribution, improved browning and crisping, and fast baking and roasting.1 Conventional ovens use two heating elements to heat air, with the dish closest to the active heating element cooking the fastest. Learn more about the differences between the two.
What is baking?
Baking uses lower temperatures to cook through food and achieve a browned crust. It is most often used for unstructured foods like casseroles, quiche and lasagna, as well as smaller cuts of chicken or fish. It’s also a good method to add texture and browning to the surface of your meals without rapidly drying them out.
How to bake
Step 1: Preheat your oven according to the recipe
Always allow your oven to fully preheat before placing any foods inside. Not doing so could lead to burning, as any cycle designed with preheat can only have guaranteed results when it is allowed to fully preheat. Make sure to always check your recipe time to avoid over or under-cooking foods.
Step 2: Select an appropriate dish for baking
Use a baking sheet or casserole dish, ideally placed on the center rack, to get the best results. Check your Use and Care Guide for optimal rack placement, as it may vary by cycle and cavity. To ensure that your food browns and doesn’t gather too much moisture, choose dishes with shallow depth. Be aware that dark, dull, non-stick, or glass pans may require shorter baking times, in contrast insulated or stainless steel pans may require longer baking times.
Step 3: Cover or uncover the food as needed
Though baked foods are often uncovered, your recipe may call for a temporary covering with a lid or aluminum foil to maintain moisture before browning. Foods like lasagna and casseroles often start out covered to avoid drying, but are uncovered for browning towards the end of the bake.
Step 4: Check the temperature and level of browning
Use a cooking thermometer to verify the temperature of meats and remove from the oven. You can also watch for a crispy top and bubbling around the edges of casseroles and pasta dishes to help gauge doneness.
Learn more about oven features
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Have you ever wondered how restaurants achieve the perfect charred finish on meats, vegetables and oven-baked bread?
Why would you calibrate your oven?
Sometimes ovens are "designed" to run slightly cooler or hotter than their specified temperatures to improve performance.
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1. Compared to a traditional thermal-bake cycle on the same model.