Difference Between Baking and Roasting

When it comes to cooking, there are so many options. So how can you know when baking or roasting is the right option? You need to know the difference to make the right decision. Most of the time, though, roasting is for solid food (meat and potatoes), while baking is for batters.

Hey, there! I’m Michelle, and I spend way too much time in my kitchen. I love to make delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, but I always make sure to whip together a dessert, too. That said, I have used roasting and baking plenty of times and know the difference.

It can be difficult to know what type of cooking method to use, but I’m here to help. Below, you will find everything you need to know about baking and roasting. 

Who’s ready to bake (or roast)?

Baking vs Roasting: 5 Differences

Baking and roasting might seem fairly similar, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. They actually work in entirely different ways, and a recipe that calls for baking shouldn’t be roasted and vice versa. But what is the difference between these two cooking methods?

1. Temperature

Perhaps the biggest difference between baking and roasting is the oven temperature. When you bake something, the oven is typically set to 375F and below. Roasting, on the other hand, utilizes higher temperatures of 400F and above.

2. Recipes

The types of recipes used also differ greatly between roasting and baking. 

Roasting is used for foods that have a solid structure from the beginning. Think of food such as meat and potatoes. Baking is for recipes with a liquidy batter that needs to solidify slowly in the oven, such as cupcakes, cakes, and muffins.

3. Covered or Uncovered

While this might be a subtle difference between baking and roasting, it will still be mentioned. 

Roasting is almost always done using an uncovered pan. Baking can go either way. Sometimes, baked goods are left uncovered. Other times, they are required to be covered for the best results. This doesn’t occur in the realm of roasting, where uncovered is also the best option.

4. Method of Cooking

The way each method actually cooks the food differs, too.

Roasting uses a combination of dry heat and hot air that surrounds the food to cook it evenly. This can be done in an oven, but roasting can also take place over an open flame or another type of heat source. Through roasting, browning, and caramelization are achieved.

Baking uses dry heat, but there is no direct exposure to flames. Baking is most commonly done in an oven for the best results, and the result is a perfectly baked treat that doesn’t need any type of caramelization.

5. Fat Application

If you do not know whether to use roasting or baking, one easy trick is to look at how the fat was applied to the recipe.

When fat, such as oil, is brushed onto solid food (beef or chicken), it should be roasted. When the fat is applied to the batter, which is the case in items like cookies and cakes, the baking method should be used.

This all comes down to the final result. With fat on the outside, roasting will provide a delectable crust that is perfectly caramelized. With fat inside, baking can work with the ingredients to expand and create delectable flavors and textures.


Baking and roasting certainly have their specific purposes. If you still want to learn more about the difference between baking and roasting, check out some of the most frequently asked questions below.

Is roasting faster than baking?

Since roasting is done at a much higher temperature than baking, it is faster than baking. It also produces far more browning than baking, so it is only useable for certain recipes.

What does it mean to roast in the oven?

Roasting in the oven refers to cooking solid foods at a high temperature in an uncovered pan. This dry heating method will surround the ingredients with hot air, ensuring that it is cooked evenly on all sides.

What is the difference between baking, broiling, and roasting?

Broiling is another common cooking method that is only suitable for certain applications. That’s because broiling only utilizes the top heating element directly onto the food, creating extra browning and crispiness. 

What types of foods are best for roasting?

Many foods can be roasted, but some of the favorites include root vegetables and all types of meats (beef, chicken, turkey, etc.). Fish can be roasted, but they tend to cook faster and are more delicate, which is why they’re frequently baked instead of roasted.

Final Thoughts

Roasting and baking are both great cooking methods, but they’re not feasible for every recipe. Roasting should be reserved for solid foods that need higher temperatures. Baking is best for treats that have a liquidy batter that needs to cook slower.

Do you like to roast or bake?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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