What’s the difference between baking and roasting?
Part of our Ultimate Guide to Cooking Techniques. Click to see more answers to your questions.
Baking and roasting are both cooking methods that use dry heat, but roasting typically refers to cooking meat, while baking refers to cooking food in a pan or dish, often in the oven.
Roasting usually involves higher temperatures, and results in a browned exterior and tender interior. Roasting oven temperatures are usually between 400°F and 450°F (200°C to 230°C). The exact temperature used can depend on the type of food being roasted and the desired outcome (e.g. crispy skin on a chicken or a tender roast beef). For example, root vegetables may be roasted at a lower temperature for a longer period of time, while meats may be roasted at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time to achieve a browned exterior and a juicy interior.
Common foods that are roasted include:
- Meat (beef, pork, lamb, chicken)
- Vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, bell peppers)
- Nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts)
- Seafood (salmon, shrimp, scallops)
- Whole chickens or turkeys
- Game meats (venison, quail)
- Root vegetables (beets, turnips, rutabaga)
- Garlic bulbs
- Coffee beans.
Baking is often done at lower temperatures, and results in a fully cooked product that may be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Common baking temperatures range from 350°F to 425°F (175°C to 220°C). The exact temperature depends on the type of food being baked and the desired outcome. For example, cookies are typically baked at 375°F (190°C), while cakes are usually baked at 350°F (175°C). Bread is often baked at 425°F (220°C) to achieve a crispy crust. Some recipes, like casseroles, may start at a higher temperature to brown the top and then be finished at a lower temperature to ensure even cooking.
Common foods that are baked include:
- Bread (loaves, rolls, pastries)
- Cakes (vanilla, chocolate, carrot)
- Pies (apple, pumpkin, pecan)
- Cookies (chocolate chip, sugar, oatmeal)
- Pasta dishes (lasagna, macaroni and cheese, ziti)
- Casseroles (chicken, vegetable, pasta)
- Fruit desserts (cobbler, crumble, tart)
- Muffins (blueberry, chocolate, banana).