Usage Tips \ Ovens \ Roasting vs. Baking: What’s the Difference?

Roasting vs. Baking: What’s the Difference?

Should you roast or should you bake? That’s the question! These tried-and-true cooking methods are used in many of your family’s favourite dishes. Read on to learn about the differences between the two cooking methods, the advantages of each, and how and when to use them to achieve the best results.


Table of contents


How do Roasting and Baking Differ?

Baking and roasting both use dry heat and hot air to cook food inside your oven. The primary difference between roasting and baking is temperature. For firm vegetables and large cuts of meat, a roasting temperature of approximately 400°F (204°C) and higher is usually recommended. Pies, breads, and casseroles, on the other hand, are typically baked — meaning they cook at around 350°F (177°C) and lower.

It’s tempting to think that simply turning up the heat while baking will get the job done quicker, but that’s actually not the case. While roasting is hotter, it isn’t always faster. The method you use will depend on the food you’re cooking and the results you want. If you try roasting foods that are commonly baked, you can burn the outside while leaving the inside undercooked. On the other hand, foods that are commonly roasted, such as potatoes or squash, need higher temperatures to get tender on the inside and browned and crispy on the outside.

If you want to get that browned crust on the outside of a baked food, you can simply finish off the recipe quickly under your broiler. Unlike roasting and baking, broiling involves placing your dish close to your oven’s heating element, allowing the food to brown, char, or caramelize quickly.


What’s the Difference Between Convection Roasting and Convection Baking?


When it comes to convection roasting and convection baking, the main difference is in the temperature. Baking temperatures are lower, while roasting temperatures are higher. Convection ovens have an additional heating element and a fan that circulates hot air throughout the oven, keeping the temperature at an optimal level.

Convection ovens also have many advantages for baking and roasting food. The hot air that circulates helps to remove excess moisture from food surfaces, resulting in crispy skins on meats, caramelization on roasted veggies, and flaky crusts on baked goods. Convection can also help you get consistent results when roasting or baking multiple dishes on different racks.

Roasting 101: What is Roasting?


Roasting is a cooking technique that uses higher temperatures to achieve a browned exterior crust on food cooked largely in an uncovered pan. Roasting works best on “structured” or sturdy food, such as potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and squash, as well as meats such as ham, beef, or turkey.

Is it best to roast or bake a turkey?

When it comes to cooking a perfect Thanksgiving turkey, a combination of roasting and baking is often the ideal way. Start with the oven preheated to 450°F (232°C), and then immediately turn it down to 350°F (or 325°F (163°C) for a large turkey). This allows the turkey to get some high heat off the bat, but prevents it from drying out. Another common method is to set the temperature to 325°F and not open the door for basting. Keeping the door shut helps reduce fluctuations in temperature.

How to Roast

Roasting is a popular cooking method for a reason — it can add depth to nearly any dish. It can help draw out complex and delicious flavours in vegetables, meats, and even fruit dishes. Follow these simple roasting tips to make a lifetime of family favourites.

Step 1: Follow your recipe to set the oven temperature

Always be sure to read and follow your recipe carefully. Sometimes the oven temperature is supposed to start low and slow, and then go high — and sometimes it’s vice versa, depending on the ingredients used. A good rule of thumb is to start with higher temperatures for a large cut of meat, then lower the temperature to avoid overcooking the outside before the middle is ready. Higher oven temperatures can also work well for smaller cuts of meat and most vegetables.

Step 2: Clean and prepare your ingredients; place them in a pan

A roasting pan with low sides can help distribute heat more evenly through your food. Having a rack inside the pan can help keep food up and out of fatty drippings. When using a large roasting pan, the bottom rack is ideal, whereas when roasting a pan of veggies, the middle rack should work just fine. To be sure you’re using the best rack for the job, reference your Use and Care Guide.

Step 3: Keep your eye on the temperature and baste as needed

To accurately check when meat is cooked to your liking, use a cooking thermometer. Veggies are much easier, and are generally ready when they are fork tender and have a bit of browning on the outside. If your recipe calls for basting — a popular method of keeping meat moist by pouring its own juices over it while cooking — try not to open the oven door too often, as each time the door is opened there is a risk that heat will be lost and food overcooked due to oven cycling.

Step 4: Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to rest

Once your dish is finished, remove it from the oven and let the meat rest for around 10 to 20 minutes before carving. This allows the meat to cool and the juices to be redistributed.

Cooking tip: Regardless of whether you have a conventional oven or a convection oven, you can achieve excellent roasting and baking results. A conventional oven uses two elements to create heat, with the dish closest to the heating element cooking the quickest. A convection oven, on the other hand, has a fan that circulates the hot air around the oven to improve heat distribution, cooking speed, and browning. Some convection ovens also have a third element providing additional heat, usually located near the fan.

Need to know more about the difference between conventional and convection ovens? Explore our helpful guide to learn more.


Baking 101: What it is, and how to do it


Baking uses moderate temperatures (lower than for roasting) to cook food and get a nicely browned crust. Typically, baking is used for “unstructured” foods such as lasagna, quiche, cakes, pies, small cuts of chicken or fish, and casseroles. Baking is also a great way to add texture and browning to the surface of your dishes without drying them out.

If you’re unsure about whether to bake or roast your meats, consider the size. If you’re cooking a whole chicken or ham, it’s usually best to roast. If you’re cooking boneless chicken breasts or pork chops — in other words, meats with lower fat content — baking should do the job.


How to Bake


Nothing smells better than the aroma of a slow-cooking family dinner wafting through the house. It’s a mainstay of many cultures, and it’s easy to bake a delicious meal that will bring the whole family together.

Step 1: Start by preheating the oven

Always follow your recipe and fully preheat your oven before placing any food inside. Also, be sure to follow the recipe time carefully to avoid overcooking or undercooking your dish.

Step 2: Select the right dish for baking

To get the best results with baking, use a baking sheet or casserole dish — ideally placed on the middle rack. To ensure optimal rack placement, refer to your Use and Care Guide, as it can vary by cycle and cavity. Shallow dishes help to keep excess moisture from gathering, and help you achieve nicely browned meat skins and caramelized vegetables. Remember that non-stick or glass pans, as well as dark or dull pans, may require shorter baking times compared to insulated or stainless steel pans.

Step 3: Cover or uncover the food as desired

Baked foods are usually uncovered, but not always. Follow your recipe, as it may call for periodic covering with a lid or aluminum foil to maintain moisture. For example, casseroles and lasagnas usually start out covered to avoid drying, but end without a cover to get nice browning and crisping.

Step 4: Check the temperature and level of browning

A cooking thermometer will allow you to accurately verify the internal temperatures of meats before removing them from the heat. Also, watch for a crispy top and bubbling around the edges of pasta dishes and casseroles to help determine doneness.


Not Sure Where to Start?

No problem! Visit our Appliance Finder Tool to find the recommended range or wall oven for your family’s unique kitchen needs.
Keep performance at its peak. Give your wall oven the care it deserves beyond the manufacturer's warranty. Learn more.
Did you find the article helpful?
You already voted!

Related Articles

Keep performance at its peak. Give your wall oven the care it deserves beyond the manufacturer's warranty. Learn more.

Share this article

This will come in handy.

Get monthly answers to household challenges, and more from Appliance Answers and Whirlpool Canada.*

Popular Articles

Gas vs. Electric Dryers

When the time comes to buy a new dryer, you have some decisions to make as far as features and design options but, choosing your

How to Buy a Dryer: The Full Guide

Table of Contents Planning considerations Decide on Your Preferred Set-up Washer and dryer sets can be installed in one of two ways. You can position

Fix it, clean it,
adjust it, love it.

Sign up for monthly tips & tricks and more from Appliance Answers and Whirlpool Canada.*
By closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our Privacy Notice unless you have disabled them.