What Is A Broiler Pan? (Photos & How To Broil To Perfection)

What Is A Broiler Pan? + How To Use It!

META - A broiler pan is a pan that is used for broiling food. It is also known as a grilling pan or a roasting pan. Read here to find out how to use your broiler pan at home

Whether you are a fully trained chef or a novice in the kitchen, you will undoubtedly have an understanding of how food is prepared to be consumed as a meal. There will be an array of tools and techniques used and an abundance of kitchen utensils available.

Whilst terms such as boiling, frying in a skillet, or oven roasting will be very commonly known, broiling food, or using a broiler pan to cook, is less common. 

What Is A Broiler Pan? + How To Use It!

Using a broiler pan to prepare your food can lead to a lot of head-scratching and confusion. How do you even use a broiler pan? And what is it used for?

Thankfully, in this article, we will take a look at exactly what a broiler pan is, and how you can use a broiler pan to cook your meals, from vegetables to steak and meat dishes. 

What Is A Broiler Pan?

A broiler pan is made from a range of different materials from cast iron, stainless steel, or aluminum. If used correctly, a broiler pan is a great addition to your cookware selection. They are also referred to as broiler roasters.

Broiling food is a method of cooking in which food is cooked by being exposed directly to heat. This can lead to confusion between roasting food or broiling it. So, what exactly is the difference between these two methods of cooking?

In simple terms, whilst broiling food is similar to roasting food, the main difference is in the style of the pan and its design. Broiling pans are much shallower in their design than a traditional roasting tin. 

Most broiler pans will generally tend to come as a two-part set, the upper and the lower pan. The lower pan is used to collect any food drippings, meaning that food that is broiled does not cook in its own juices as with roasting. 

The upper pan is therefore used to cook the food on top of its slotted base.

The style of the broiler pan also allows food to be cooked much more quickly than with a roasted tin as the heat is distributed to the food more evenly.

As opposed to roasting, when a broiler pan is used to heat food, the heat is distributed from the top of the oven instead of from the bottom as with roasting.

This can result in food needing to be flipped more regularly, as it will cook much quicker!

What Foods Can Be Cooked With A Broiler Pan?

Broiler pans are used to cook a wide variety of food from vegetables, and seafood dishes, to steaks and meat cuts. It works especially well with meat, and seafood cooking, as it will drain any fats or juices.

Meats cooked in a broiler pan are a healthier choice than roasting and it is an excellent choice for cooking roast or steaks. Be sure to keep an eye on your meat as it is cooking to avoid your dish becoming dry or overcooked. 

As meat that is roasted cooks in its own fat and juices, roasted dishes tend to be juicier than meat cooked in a broiler pan. However, if timed correctly, using a broiler pan to cook meat will leave you with healthy and delicious meat dishes.

How Can You Use Your Broiler Pan?

How Can You Use Your Broiler Pan?

Using your broiler pan to cook your meals is a quick and easy way to make your favorite dishes at home. When you know how to use your pan properly, then cooking with your broiler pan will be super simple.

So, let’s take a look at our step-by-step guide to how to use your broiler pan at home to make delicious and quick meals.

Step One - Locate Your Oven Broiler

So this may sound a little bit silly, however, if you’ve never used your broiler oven before, you might not know where to start!

Your broiler oven is actually located on the roof of your oven, below the burners of your stovetop. They look like tubes or strips that burn bright orange as they heat up. They do become VERY HOT so do not touch to check the temperature!

Some broilers are located completely separately in a drawer below the oven but will work in the same way.

Step Two - Position Your Oven Rack For Broiling

Now that you have located where your broiler is on your oven, position your oven rack with enough space to fit your broiler pan and cook your food properly. 

If your broiler is fitted to the top of your oven, place your oven rack to the highest position whilst still maintaining enough space for your broiler pan to fit.

If your broiler is in a separate shelf at the bottom of your oven, then move your oven rack to the lowest position possible.

The ideal scenario is to leave a space of around 3 to 4 inches between your broiler pan and the heating element of the broiler if your broiler is at the top of your oven. 

In ovens that come with broilers in a drawer, there is less flexibility to choose the proximity of food to the heating elements. This is because it has been designed to allow 4 to 5 inches between the oven rack and the heating element.

If you are cooking thick or dense foods, it is advisable to position the rack further away from the heating element as these foods take time to cook properly.

Food positioned too close to the elements will cook quickly on the outside but the food may not be properly cooked in the middle.

Step Three - Turn Your Broiler On

In the same way as a typical oven, broilers take between 5 to 10 minutes to heat up until they are ready to cook your food.

Different ovens will vary in their warm-up times and the settings available so be sure to check your manual.

Most ovens feature a simple setting of on/off for broilers which will set the temperature to a standard high heat. If your oven does not have this broiler setting, we recommend heating your broiler to around 500 F.

As broilers heat at much higher temperatures than a normal oven, it is advisable to leave your oven door slightly open when you set your temperature. This will prevent your oven from overheating and automatically switching off.

Step Four - Broil Your Food!

Now that your broiler is heated to the correct temperature, it is time to cook your food. Use an oven glove to remove your oven rack and place it on a heat-protected surface. 

Now place your food on it and slide it back into the oven under your broiler, or into your broiler drawer.

Based on what you are cooking, be mindful that you may need to turn meat and vegetables more frequently, as broiling tends to cook food much quicker than alternative methods. 

Broiling is the opposite of crockpot cooking! You need to check on it much more frequently to minimize burning your food.

Hints And Tips For Using Broiler Pans

Now that we have looked at how you can use your broiler, let’s take a look at some hints and tips that will help you broil like a chef and simplify cooking in a broiler.

Always Preheat Your Broiler

As broilers cook at such high temperatures, it is advisable to always preheat the broiler before adding your food. If not, your food will begin to cook at a lower temperature than necessary.

You want your broiler to be hot and ready so that your food cooks as soon as you place the loaded broiler pan in and does not simply warm up food before cooking. 

This can lead to undercooked meat in the middle and can cause illness through harmful bacteria.

Use Appropriate Heat For Your Broiler Pan

As broiler pans are made from different materials, it is important to use a temperature suitable for your individual broiler pan. 

For instance, a pure aluminum pan is designed to withstand a higher cooking temperature than pans made from a combination of materials such as ceramic.

Evenly Position Your Food

This may sound obvious, but one of the most common mistakes made when broiling food is to not position your food evenly in your broiler pan before setting it under your broiler.

This will result in unevenly cooked food. This is especially true with meat dishes where you can be left with overcooked outer meat, but raw internal meat.

Clean Your Broiler Pan Immediately After Use

As broiler pans are non-stick, it is always advisable to clean your broiler pan immediately after use. This will ensure your broiler pan withstands the test of time and can be used time and time again.

By cleaning your broiler pan straight away after using it, you will also be saving yourself time and stress at a later date.

It is much easier to remove excess food from a broiler pan straight away than to leave it cool and stick to the pan. 

The fact that broiler pans have non-stick surfaces means that harsh cleaning agents are not suitable as they will quickly destroy the surface materials of your broiler pan. 

Instead, simply use a non-abrasive kitchen detergent with a soft cloth to rinse off residual fat and juices. You can also simply use warm, soapy water to eliminate residual grease quickly and easily.

Use Aluminum Foil

As broiler pans are made to withstand high temperatures, they are not non-stick and so can be difficult to clean after use.

An easy way to avoid this and speed up the process of cleaning your broiler pan is to line your pan with aluminum foil! This super-simple tip will save you SO much time washing up!

Just remember to cut some slits into your upper pan if you will also be using your lower tray to collect fats and juices.

Store Your Pan Correctly

To maintain the lifespan of your broiler pan, ensure that post cleaning it is thoroughly dried and stored correctly. It is imperative that your broiler pan is not stacked on top of or underneath other pans.

This will prohibit scratching the surface of your pan and enhance its durability. 

The best method of storing your broiler pan is to hang it up on a designated hook.

Bake Unevenly Cooked Food

If you have misjudged your broiling times, or unevenly positioned your food, and as a result, you have overcooked outer food which is raw in the middle, there is still an option available!

If this has happened, you need to remove your food from the broiler as this will only lead to burning your food completely.

Instead, remove your food from the broiler and place it into an oven on low heat to ensure the food is cooked thoroughly throughout.

If you have cooked your food in the oven initially, you can also place it under your broiler at the end of cooking for 2 to 3 minutes to give a nice chargrilled sear to your food.

Apply Sugary Sauce Using A Brush

If you are adding sugary sauces and condiments to your dishes such as barbeque sauce or ketchup, these will caramelize in a broiler within seconds and will burn very easily.

To minimize this from happening, cook your food in your broiler pan without the sauces added until the food is cooked. 

Then simply brush on and leave for just under a minute to get the taste you want without burning your sauce!

What To Use If You Don’t Have A Broiler Pan?

If you are looking to use your broiler to cook your food but you do not have a broiling pan, you can use other kitchen utensils as a substitute.

One thing to keep in mind is that the material of your substitute pan will need to be able to withstand the high temperatures of a broiler. For this reason, non-stick materials are a no-go!

Good broiler pan substitutes will include baking trays, aluminum foil trays, grill pans, and cast iron pans.

Whilst these are a good alternative to a broiler pan if you do not have one, they will not broil the food like a broiler pan, they will simply just get the job done!

Broiler pans are designed to withstand high temperatures of cooking whilst ensuring food is cooked quickly and evenly. If you want to regularly broil your food, invest in a broiler pan!

Why Use A Broiler Pan To Cook Your Food?

Why Use A Broiler Pan To Cook Your Food

Using a  broiler pan to cook your food is a super simple method to cook food quickly and easily. 

Using a broiler pan to broil your food will also leave you with food full of flavor as it mostly cooks the fat of foods without cooking them in their own juices.

Some advantages of broiling food are:

Less Fat Is Used

As food is placed very close to the heat source when broiling, you will need little or no oil to cook it. 

If you are also using a lower drip tray to broil, excess fat will be eliminated and drained directly from your food through the broiling rack.

This leaves you with flavorsome meat dishes which are also a much healthier alternative to skillet cooking or oven roasting your meats. 

If you want to add extra flavor to your food, you can add herbs, spices, or sauces for increased taste. 

To prevent your food from burning or smoking, only add sauces towards the end of the cooking time, and cut any excess fat from meat prior to broiling,

Increased Texture To Food

Using a broiler pan to cook your food can help you to achieve different food textures to alternative cooking methods. 

For example, you can make your food crispy, crusty, or caramelized by broiling which cannot be achieved in other cooking methods.

Broiling food also means you can cook food with complex and unique flavors. Using a broiler pan to cook meat will give you a restaurant-quality sear at home!

Our main tip here is to use good quality cuts of meat that are tender to begin with and can withstand high-temperature cooking. Steak is a great choice for using your broiler pan, especially if you like a brown, flavored exterior, with a softer interior.

Broiling Food Is Quicker To Cook

Using a broiler pan to cook your food will be quicker than alternative methods as it uses dry, high heat with your food placed very close to the heat source. This means that meat can be broiled in less than 15 minutes if broiled correctly.

To prevent your food from burning it is advisable to use a timer and to check your food regularly as you cook.

Broiling is a convenient and quick method of cooking if you follow the cooking guidance correctly and preheat your broiler prior to cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Broiler Pan Used For?

A broiler pan is used to cook foods via broiling, as opposed to other cooking methods such as baking, roasting, or skillet cooking. Broiling foods exposes food directly to the heat source, often at a very high temperature. 

This allows food to be cooked very quickly, and with minimal fuss. 

Whilst broiling food is often mistaken for roasting, this is not the case and they are very different methods of cooking food.

Roasting food will allow foods to be cooked in their own excess fats or juices, broiling will drain these fats and juices for a much healthier means of cooking food. 

What Is The Difference Between A Baking Pan And A Broiler Pan

Broiler pans are designed to withstand the intensity of cooking at high temperatures and as such are made from hard-wearing and durable materials such as aluminum and stainless steel.

Baking pans tend to be made from a variety of materials such which cannot withstand the intensity of broil cooking.

Broiling pans are also much heavier than a regular baking pan so they won’t flex or warp in the heat.

Is A Broiler Pan Necessary

For most recipes, using a broiler pan is not necessary and other means of cooking and utensils can easily be used. You can make most recipes using your oven, crockpot, or skillet and they will turn out fine.

However, if you are looking to use broil cooking to add texture and flavor to your dishes, then a broiler pan is a great addition to your cooking utensils.

Broil cooking your food is super quick and easy for busy weeknight dinners. 

It will also leave you with food that is cooked much more healthily than alternative cooking methods as excess fat and juice is removed during the cooking process.

Do You Need To Leave The Oven Door Open When You Broil

As cooking with a broiler pan will rely on extreme cooking temperatures to cook your food, it is normal practice to leave your oven door slightly ajar during cooking. 

This allows excess heat to escape and minimizes the risk of your oven automatically cycling off due to the high internal temperature.

If you close your oven door during broil cooking you run the risk of overheating your oven. This can cause undercooked food and harmful bacteria to develop.

Where Should You Place Your Rack When Broiling

As broil cooking is dependent on your broiler pan being directly below the source of heat, you must place your rack in the correct position to assist with current temperature cooking. 

If your broiler pan is placed too far away from the heating element, you could end up with unevenly cooked food.

Similarly, place your rack too close to the heat source and you could end up with overcooked or burnt food at best, or a fire hazard at worst.

For these reasons, you should place your rack as close to the heating element as possible with a safe distance of around 4 inches. 

If your broiler is at the top of your oven, the top shelf rack will be around this distance.

If your broiler is at the bottom of the oven in a separate drawer, position your rack on the lowest possible shelf. This will ensure that your broiler pan is still around 4 inches from the heat source.

In Summary

So as you can see from this article, using a broiler pan to cook your food is a quick and easy way to prepare delicious, restaurant-quality meals from the comfort of your own home.

By following our step-by-step guide, you will be able to make your favorite meals in a hassle-free and much speedier way than your regular cooking methods.

By investing in a good quality broiler pan, made from durable materials such as aluminum or stainless steel, there is no reason why your broiler pan can’t be used on a daily basis.

Following the simple cleaning hints and tips above will prolong the life of your broiler pan and reduce the risk of uneven cooking or damage to your pan over time.

Whilst broiling your food is often confused with roasting, broiling will allow you to cook meals with additional textures and flavors that will not be associated with roasting dishes. 

Similarly, broiling food will eliminate excess fats, oils, and juices from being used to cook your meals in a way that roasting does not. This leaves you with food that is much healthier and more nutritious. 

As we have also discussed, broiling your food does have its downsides. Not using the correct broiler pan can lead to unevenly cooked food. 

At worst, using an alternative to a broiler pan to broil foods can lead to a fire risk from excess fat not being drained effectively and heating up too quickly.

You also need to ensure that a timer is used to prevent overheating and that you turn and check your food regularly. If you are looking for a meal that can be prepared and left, then maybe stick to your crockpot!

However, if you are looking for a meal that can be prepped and cooked in no time, which is rich in texture and flavor, then a broiler pan is a great option.

If you haven't tried broiling already, grab your broiler pan and your favorite dinner ingredients and give it a try today. You won’t be disappointed! And that’s a promise! 

About the author 

Katie McDonald

I have been feeding my family from my kitchen for over 15 years, and I love it. Cooking is more than a passion for me, it makes me happy.

I am also a healthy mom of 4 kids, and love to practice yoga.

My core strengths include being detail-oriented, quick learner and fast to hop on trends.