A butter garnished steak dish with asparagus on the side

What is basting (in cooking)?

Basting is a cooking technique that helps add moisture and flavor to foods like meat or poultry using oils, sauces, marinades or juices from the meat itself. You can use a basting or pastry brush, spoon, ladle, or turkey baster to infuse more flavor into your food.

Once you try basting for your family’s next meal, it will be hard to have meat any other way. The combination of flavors and a crispy surface with a tender bite will have you trying this technique on your family’s future meat or poultry dishes while experimenting with some of your favorite seasonings.

Does basting do anything? 

Yes, depending on the technique, basting can help improve the texture and flavor of your meat. Basting meat with butter or fats help add flavor, a crispy outer texture and deep golden color. Basting uses sauces or oils to help keep your meat moist as it cooks.

What is basting oil?

Basting oil is an oil-based marinade used for seasoning meat. Basting oil is usually made with olive oil, garlic and your preferred herbs and spices. Basting oil can also be used for marinating vegetables or as a dipping sauce.

There are a number of other fats that can be used in basting including butter, canola oil and vegetable oil, depending on your preference or your diet. While mixing oils with herbs or basting your food, remember to be mindful of spilling as grease and oil stains can be tough to remove from aprons or clothing.

Sliced turkey with gravy garnished with herbs Sliced turkey with gravy garnished with herbs

How to baste

Carefully remove your dish from the oven and use a basting brush, ladle or turkey baster to apply your oils or drippings onto the meat. The optimal way to baste is to take out the dish and close the oven. This process should be quick to not disturb cooking temperatures. You can baste using any of these three techniques:

Spoon icon
Spoon or ladle:

This method is ideal for scooping out of a deep pan, allowing for  a plentiful application of basting liquid. If you’re using a pan or deep container, dip your pan at a slight angle to gather the liquid into a corner and scoop upward to fully cover your meat or poultry.

Turkey baster icon
Turkey baster:

Shaped like a syringe with a larger bulb, a baster is a good tool for applying liquids in harder to reach areas. Squeeze the bulb to suction and gather your cooking liquids into the tube until the bulb has re-inflated. Gently squeeze to release your liquids over the meat.

Brush icon

Using either a silicone or pastry brush is helpful for lighter, even basting applications for food like turkey breasts. Dip your brush into your sauce or marinade and brush it onto your food.

Closed oven with oven light on showing dual racks of elaborate dishes cooking Closed oven with oven light on showing dual racks of elaborate dishes cooking

Guide to basting meat

Generally, when cooked in the oven, meat without much fat can dry out, whereas meat with a lot of fat—like pork—doesn’t need much basting. If you’re following a recipe, it should give you guidance on how much or how often to baste while your food is roasting, but this is a helpful starting point.

Food Type

Baste Time

Food TypeBBQ meat, steaks or chicken parts Baste TimeEvery 15 minutes
Food TypeSmall poultry like chicken or cornish hens Baste TimeEvery 15-20 minutes
Food TypeLarge poultry like turkey, duck or goose Baste TimeOnce every hour
Food TypeLarge pork products like ham Baste TimeEvery 30 minutes
Food TypeWhole pig Baste TimeOnce every hour
A pair of tongs arranging a steak on a skillet

How to butter baste steak

One of the most flavorful ways to butter baste a steak is to brown your butter with herbs and garlic in the same pan you’re using to sear the steak. Spoon this hot liquid over your seared steaks. Since a crispy crust forms during the searing of your steak, the buttery flavor and seasoning should infuse nicely without requiring more time on a skillet.

Discover Whirlpool® Wall Ovens

Achieve delicious results for weeknight meals with Whirlpool® Wall Ovens. With select models featuring Fan Convection Cooking to prepare multiple dishes at once, or Air Fry Mode for crispy and delicious wings and fries, you’ll have plenty of tasty options to offer your family. Discover Whirlpool® Starter and Standard Wall Ovens to help streamline dinnertime.

Explore more oven options from Whirlpool brand

Gold home heartbeat logo over image of a tablet with Whirlpool blog page displayed in the background Gold home heartbeat logo over image of a tablet with Whirlpool blog page displayed in the background

home heartbeat

Ready for more tips, home hacks and appliance guides?