So you’re following a recipe. You’re going through each step, making sure you’re getting everything right. You’ve got the right ingredients, the right equipment and you are close to perfection!
But then you see an instruction that makes you scratch your head. It tells you to cook it on a ‘high broil.’ Wait a minute – exactly what temp is high broil?
Perhaps you’ve heard of broiling before, so that’s no big deal – but high broil? If you find yourself with the instruction of ‘high broil’ but without any indication as to its temperature then don’t worry!
This is an explanation of the best temperatures for high broiling, as well as a small exploration as to why you might want to broil on different temperatures altogether.
We’ll take you through some of the science of the process, as well the kinds of food you might want to broil at a high temperature and some pros and cons of broiling your food at all.
Table of Contents
What is Broiling?
Broiling is a cooking technique that heats food by exposing it to direct or radiant heat. It is generally done on a grill over hot coals or below an electric coil or gas burner. You might think that this sounds very similar to other techniques such as baking or roasting, but there is a difference.
Broiling requires you to turn the food as its cooking, one side at a time.
When broiling in an oven, for example, it’s a good idea to place the food very close to the electric coil or gas burner – this will achieve far more impressive textures and flavors.
The closeness of your food to the heating element of whatever you’re using to cook with is actually one of the downsides to broiling as it is a rather fast technique to use. This can be difficult to manage in practice.
Because broiling works by searing the surface of foods, it is most suited as a technique for cooking thin food such as particular cuts of fish, meat, seafood. It’s also great for thin vegetables that don’t require excessive oil or roasting.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of ovens have a broil option. This typically means that your oven will only use its heating element at the top, and likely at a high temperature.
What Temp Is High Broil?
So now that we have a good grasp of what broiling is, let’s explore what it means to broil at different temperatures.
If your oven has a broiling option, then you may have a few different choices in terms of temperature. More advanced ovens will allow you to change between low, medium, and high broiling temperatures.
Low is usually around 400°F, medium tends to sit around 450°F, whilst high will usually be set to around 500°F to 550°F. This is a good guideline as to the different temperatures of broiling. If your oven has one preset for broiling then it’s likely to be between 400°F and 500°F.
Some ovens also have an option for you to set your own temperature for broiling. If this is the case, then you will want to consider this when applying it to whatever food you’re making.
If the recipe or cooking guide you’re following tells you to cook it at a high broil, then you will want to set your oven at 500°F or higher.
The difference in broiling at different temperatures can completely change the end result of your food. If you broil on high heat with a food that is more suited for low heat, it is far more likely to burn or not cook to the correct temperature.
You should keep in mind that you can also control the pace of cooking based on the height of the rack within the oven. The closer you place the rack to the heating element, the faster the food will cook.
Also, don’t forget to preheat your oven at least five or ten minutes before placing your food in the oven.
Be careful! There’s nothing worse than cutting open food to find it burnt on the outside but stone cold on the inside.
Is Broiled Food Healthy for you?
Because broiling is a lesser-used cooking method, you’ll likely have some questions as to how healthy it is. Generally, broiling is thought to be much healthier when compared to other cooking techniques. (But check out the list of pros and cons below!)
Other techniques such as frying, or roasting require you to add fat and oil which adds extra calories. Because broiling does not need these, instead of relying on the natural fats and oils of any given food item, they end up much healthier for you.
What is the Difference between Baking and Broiling?
This is an important question that is worth discussing because sometimes people might bake their food at high temperatures, instead of broiling it.
Baking is when you surround your food with heat from different directions. When you oven-bake something, you are heating up the entirety of the air within the space to a high temperature.
This hot air then slowly cooks your food. Generally, baking is superior to broiling when you need something to be cooked slowly for a long time.
One popular cooking technique that combines the two is to begin your food by baking it – this works especially well if it is thick and requires a long cook time – and then to finish it by broiling.
This will allow the food to be properly cooked, but the broiling at the end will add additional texture and flavor that you might not get otherwise.
Broiling is also an incredible way of heating up leftovers, without making them soggy or unappealing to eat. If you’re reheating something that requires a certain temperature, just make sure you stir/turn the food when broiling to ensure it is properly cooked.
The Pros & Cons of Broiling
The Pros of Broiling
- Broiling is a dry heat cooking method, so it doesn’t add extra moisture to your food like boiling or simmering would. This can be beneficial if you’re trying to cook something that already has a lot of moisture in it, like a piece of fish. Broiling will help the fish cook evenly without making it too wet.
- Broiling creates a nice crispy crust on foods, which can be quite tasty.
- Broiling cooks food quickly and evenly, without the need for added oils or fats.
- You can create unique flavor combinations by using different marinades, herbs, and spices on your food before broiling it.
- Broiling cooks food quickly, so it’s perfect for busy nights when you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.
The Cons of Broiling
- You need to watch your food carefully while it’s broiling since it can easily burn.
- Broiling can dry out food. If you leave broiling food in the oven too long, it will become dry and tough.
- Broiling can produce certain toxins that have been linked to cancer in animal studies.
We hope that this guide has helped you understand the temperatures and some of the finer details of what broiling at a high heat means.