Should You Bake Or Broil a Turkey?


It’s about that time of the year where the much-awaited holidays are coming. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, we’re just excited to prepare our most famous dish at the dinner table. One of which is the yummy roast turkey with a bunch of sides.

Now, the question boils down on whether it’s best to bake or broil turkey? The answer is, it is best to bake your turkey instead of broiling to ensure that the meat is well cooked from the inside and not burnt on the outside.

To make it more clear to your understanding, let’s explain the difference between the two.

The Difference Between Baking and Broiling

I’m pretty sure you’re all familiar with the terms of baking and broiling at home especially if you own one of those ovens. It actually has many options on the way you roast dishes, one of the options we’ll talk about are baking and broiling.

Baking means that it is cooking your dish with a heat source from one side of the oven. The heat from the oven goes directly to the food which perfectly cooks the dish evenly without burning the outer portion. One of the reasons why it’s required to preheat the oven before baking is to make sure that the internal temperature is ample for cooking the dish.

The hot air inside the oven needs to be evenly distributed so no part of the dish is left uncooked. If you’ve tried making the rookie mistake of forgetting to preheat the oven, you’ll see a huge difference to the food upon baking. I also find in baking that the temperature can be easily adjusted as well while cooking.

While Broiling on the other hand means that you’re cooking the dish inside with an optimum heat source. The heat is quite intense compared to the heat provided when baking. That’s because the heat source from broiling comes from the topmost part of the oven.

Mind you, broiling releases some extra heat even if you have set the temperature on it. That’s why when you use the broiling setting, you need to flip the dish if it’s meat for example, to ensure that it’s evenly cooked. If not being careful with the temperature, the meat might end up burnt on the outside and raw on the inside.

Why Bake The Turkey Instead Of Broiling?

Baking is the most preferred option when roasting turkey or other types of poultry and meats. Poultry and pork are supposed to be cooked well because of the present salmonella in the meat and other bacteria that can be present when raw. These have to be done away with to ensure food safety.

rosted turkey

Baking has the ability to cook meat quite well because of its well spread out heat. Preheating the oven for 15-20 minutes is the best way to ensure that the heat was evenly divided inside the oven box. Rest assured the meat will cook perfectly within the set time.

Also, consider that Turkey is one of the biggest poultry products and you have to make sure that you cook it well. Depending on how big your turkey is, be sure to set it on a good temperature that it requires to ensure that it’s going to cook right. The bigger the meat, the higher the temperature, and the longer the cooking time.

As for broiling why it’s not the best option for roasting turkey, it’s because of its ability to only cook meat on the outside. The turkey’s skin might look cooked and roasty however when you check the meat inside, it’s still raw. I’ve personally tried broiling a whole turkey before and I just adjusted the temperature towards the end of the cooking time.

I went from 350 degrees F on the first hour then changed it to 320 degrees F towards the end. The reason for changing is to avoid the meat from drying out due to the hot temperature while still cooking the meat inside and avoiding the skin to get burned. It’s quite tricky at first but it can work. Still, you can see the difference between baking and broiling the turkey.

Dishes That Are Best For Baking and Broiling

When roasting meats like poultry, pork, and beef, and you want it to be as tender as it could be, it’s best to bake it. To achieve that pulled pork consistency baking is going to help the meat to evenly cook and still have it taste juicy. Baking is perfect for roasting meats that take time to cook without burning its skin or outer part. Still ensuring that the meat on the inside is not going to dry out.

Steaks, fish, vegetables, and even pizzas, broiling is the best option. Broiling is best for dishes when you want it to be crispy and toasty on the outside but not overcooked on the inside. For example, steaks, especially if you prefer medium rare, broiling is your best bet.

It perfectly cooks the outside with its strong heat without having to cook the inside. So the steak remains to be juicy and perfectly pink on the inside. Just how you like it.

At times when heating food or small portions of meat, I use broiling because I want it to be crispy on the outside. With vegetables such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower, I like broiling it because it still makes the vegetables chewy without overcooking it.

Key Takeaway

I know it can get confusing in the kitchen especially if it’s your first time trying cooking in the oven. It can be intimidating at first, but once you know the basics of how each setting works, you will immediately have a sense of confidence in each dish you work on. Especially with a turkey that you only get to eat during special occasions.

Definitely, there’s no room to mess this up. But with the right knowledge and cooking techniques, you can never go wrong. Try our tip on baking your turkey this coming Thanksgiving season or whatever occasion you might have and share to us your results. Happy cooking!

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