Can You Bake on the Bottom Rack of the Oven if You Are Broiling on Top?

If you plan to cook a meal that includes several dishes, you may wonder if you can broil and bake in the same oven to help save time. The problem with this method is that when you broil, you heat your oven to a very hot temperature, much higher than you use when you bake. Broiling and baking at the same time will not cook your food to the desired texture and taste because the two methods rely on such different temperatures.

Broiling can burn food quite quickly. (Image: smileitsmccheeze/iStock/Getty Images)

Broiling

Broiling uses the heat from the upper heating element in your oven to quickly cook and brown food. Temperatures in your oven while broiling can reach 500 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. Not all foods are suitable for broiling because they can cook too quickly on the outside, while leaving the inside undercooked. Harold McGee notes in his book, "Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes," that broiling works best for thick cuts of meat or fish, as well as flat vegetables, such as asparagus. Use your broiler to also brown the top of precooked desserts, such as creme brulee, and casseroles, such as potato gratin.

Baking

When you bake foods you use a lower oven temperature than you use when you broil a dish. Baking allows you to evenly cook a casserole, a loaf of bread, piece of meat or a dessert on the inside and outside, but it takes longer than broiling. Baking a recipe ensures that the exterior of the dish cooks at the same pace as the inside of the food. Baking temperatures range from 325 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Problems

The primary problem with broiling and baking at the same time is that the high oven temperatures will result in uneven baking. If you try to bake a loaf of bread or a cake, a broil temperature is much to hot to cook both the outside and inside at the same time. Instead, the outside will turn golden brown while the inside will still be raw. You will also have a problem effectively broiling your food if your oven is set at a baking temperature for another dish you are preparing.

Recommendations

Broiling and baking at the same time may save a few minutes in the kitchen, but there are other ways to save time without compromising the taste and texture of your food. Bake your dessert or side dish until it is almost completely done. Turn your oven to broil to cook your meat, but leave the almost cooked dish on the bottom rack of the oven to brown on top. A few minutes under a broiler will not ruin your dish, but you do not want to leave it in for any longer. To save even more time, choose a meal that requires you to either bake all of the components or broil all of them. This will allow you to use the same oven temperature throughout the entire cooking process.

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