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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.
Both roasting and baking use dry-heat and hot air inside your oven to cook foods. The main difference between baking and roasting oven settings is temperature. Large cuts of meat and firm vegetables have a roasting temperature of around 400°F and up, while the baking temperature for recipes like breads, pies and casseroles is around 350°F and lower.
You may think that simply turning up the heat on a recipe that calls for baking will get the job done sooner, but this is not usually the case. Roasting is not necessarily faster than baking. Which method you use will depend on your ingredients and the results you want. For example, foods that are commonly baked can burn on the outside before fully cooking in the middle if roasted vs baked. Alternatively, ingredients that are commonly roasted like potatoes or squash require high temperatures to achieve a tender texture throughout with a nicely browned, crispy exterior.
If you’re looking for a similar browned, crispy exterior on baked foods, you can finish off a recipe under your broiler. In contrast to baking and roasting, which surrounds food with heated air, broiling places food close to your oven’s heating element so that the food’s surface can quickly cook, brown, char or caramelize. Learn more about broiling and how you can use this technique.
The main difference between convection roasting and baking is the temperature used. Roasting temperatures are higher and baking temperatures are lower. Both convection roast and bake oven settings will activate an additional heating element and a fan that circulates hot air within the oven cavity, helping to maintain optimal temperatures.
Convection oven settings have other advantages while roasting and baking, too. The circulating air can help remove excess moisture from food surfaces to promote crispy skins on roasted meats and caramelization on roasted veggies and flaky baked goods. Using convection settings can also help deliver consistent results between dishes when roasting or baking on multiple racks.
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Roasting uses higher heat to effectively achieve a nicely browned exterior crust and crispiness on foods 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.
A combination of baking and roasting may be the ideal method for a juicy turkey with golden brown, crispy skin. One method is to start with an oven heated to 450°F and then immediately reduce the temperature to 350°F (or 325°F for a large bird). This gives the turkey the benefit of immediate high-heat roasting while avoiding drying. Another popular method involves low temperature cooking (around 325°F) without basting or opening the oven door, which helps reduce fluctuations in temperature.
In select Whirlpool® Convection Ovens, the Convect Roast Cycle is designed to promote browning and maintain high temperatures throughout roasting, which may also help reduce cook times. This is a great setting to use on busy holidays when you have multiple dishes to prepare.
Roasting can add depth to nearly any dish, creating complex textures and flavors on meats, vegetables and even fruit. Follow these roasting tips to enjoy excellent results on a range of family-favorite recipes.
Step 1: Check your recipe to set the oven temperature
Roasting temperatures can vary. They can start low and slow or high, depending on the recipe and ingredients used. A good general rule is to start with a high temperature for large cuts of meat, then reduce the temperature to avoid overcooking the outside before the inside is done. You can also use higher temperatures for smaller cuts of meat and most vegetables.
Step 2: Prepare and place your ingredients in a pan
Using a roasting pan with low sides and some heft can help 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 larger items like turkeys or whole chickens. A center rack is ideal when roasting vegetables.
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, be careful not to 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 and redistribute 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 and sometimes a third heating element that circulates hot air around the cavity for improved heat distribution, improved browning and crisping and fast baking and roasting.1 Some oven models feature a third heating element, called True Convection Cooking. 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.
Baking uses moderate 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.
When deciding between roasting vs baking chicken or other meats, consider the size and cut. It’s usually best to roast a whole chicken or ham, but bake smaller, boneless cuts like chicken breasts or pork chops that have less fat content.
Baking is often the mainstay of many family dinners and deserts. These baking tips will have your family gathered around the table in no time.
Step 1: Preheat your oven according to the recipe
Always allow your oven to fully preheat before placing any foods inside. Any cycle designed with preheat can only deliver targeted 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 a shallow depth. Be aware that dark, dull, non-stick or glass pans may require shorter baking times, in contrast to insulated or stainless steel pans that 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 before removing 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.
Looking for an appliance to help you roast and bake without the cooktop? A wall oven is just what you’re looking for. Browse options with True Convection Cooking, smart technology and more in a variety of sizes and finishes to match both your cooking needs and the design of your home.
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1. Compared to a traditional thermal-bake cycle on the same model.