How to Broil
Discover how this classic oven method can be used to quick-cook meats, poultry, seafood, and, even more surprising, vegetables and fruits. We have tips that cover it all: how to broil vegetables, how to broil a burger, how to broil steak, and how to broil chicken. You can use this quick cooking technique on weeknights when you're in a pinch, or whenever you need to get dinner on the table quickly.
Broiling means to cook food using the direct, dry heat from your oven broiler. Some people think of broiling as grilling's cousin because broiled foods brown on the surface and have a caramelized taste. Broiling is often used for meat, poultry, and fish, but creative cooks know that broiling does wonders for many fruits and veggies, too. There are several advantages to broiling: Most foods take only about 15 minutes to cook and, unlike grilling, weather is not an issue, and prep and cleanup are simple.
Best Foods for Broiling
- Meats. Generally, meats less than 1-1/2 inches thick, such as steaks and pork chops, are good candidates for broiling. Also, because broiling is a dry-heat method of cookery, you will want to use tender beef cuts or steaks, including ribeye, tenderloin, top loin, top sirloin, tri-tip (bottom sirloin), flank, porterhouse, rib, and T-bone. Ground meat patties are also suitable for broiling.
- Chicken & Turkey. A variety of chicken parts work for broiling, including chicken quarters, legs, bone-in breasts, chicken halves, and skinless, boneless breast halves. Turkey breast cutlets and tenderloin steaks also work.
- Fish & Shellfish. Broiling is one of the easiest cooking methods for fish fillets and steaks. Shrimp and scallops are also good candidates for broiling.
- Kabobs. Skewers of cubed beef, pork, poultry, shrimp, or scallops—along with vegetables—are a favorite broiled entree and perfect for an easy, prep-ahead company dinner.
- Fruits. What's good on the grill is equally good on the broiler, including peaches, nectarines, pineapple, plums, and mango. Grapefruit and bananas can also be broiled.
- Veggies. Popular choices include asparagus spears, sweet pepper strips, tomato halves, and onion wedges.
How to Prepare the Broiler Pan & Oven Rack
Spray nonstick pans with nonstick cooking spray. If you don't have a nonstick pan or you are cooking messy foods, you can line the top and bottom parts of the broiler pan with regular or nonstick aluminum foil. For the top part of the broiler pan, be sure to cut slits through the foil so fat can drain. Another option is to grease the broiler pan with a brush dipped in softened butter or shortening.
To make sure your oven rack is at the right height, place pan with the food on the top oven rack in a cold oven. Adjust rack until the surface of the food to be broiled is at the recommended distance from the broiler element. See individual foods and recipes below for guidelines.
How to Broil Meat
Be sure to check your recipe carefully for broiling time, but you can use our tips below as a general guide if your recipe doesn't specify. Start by preheating the broiler, then place meat on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. For cuts less than 1-1/2 inches thick, broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat. For 1-1/2-inch thick cuts, broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat. Broil for the time listed below or until done, turning meat over after halfway through the total broiling time. For steaks, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Boneless steak (chuck eye, shoulder center [ranch], ribeye, shoulder top blade [flat-iron], tenderloin, top loin): For 1-inch thickness, broil for 12 to 14 minutes for medium rare or 15 to 18 minutes for medium doneness; for 1-1/2-inch thickness, broil for 18 to 21 minutes for medium rare, or 22 to 27 minutes for medium doneness.
- Boneless top sirloin steak: For 1-inch thickness, broil for 15 to 17 minutes for medium rare, or 20 to 22 minutes for medium doneness. For 1-1/2-inch-thick steaks, broil for 25 to 27 minutes for medium rare, or 30 to 32 minutes for medium doneness.
- Boneless tri-tip steak (bottom sirloin): For 3/4-inch thickness, broil for 6 to 7 minutes for medium rare or 8 to 9 minutes for medium doneness. For 1-inch steaks, broil for 9 to 10 minutes for medium rare or 11 to 12 minutes for medium doneness.
- Flank steak: For steaks weighing 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 pounds, broil for 17 to 21 minutes for medium doneness.
- Steak with bone (porterhouse, rib, T-bone): For 1-inch thick steaks, broil for 12 to 15 minutes for medium rare, or 15 to 20 minutes for medium doneness. For 1-1/2-inch thickness, broil for 20 to 25 minutes for medium rare or 25 to 30 minutes for medium.
- Ground Meat
- Patties (beef, lamb, pork, or veal): For 1/2-inch-thick patties, broil for 10 to 12 minutes. For 3/4-inch patties, broil for 12 to 14 minutes.
- Chop (loin or rib): For 1-inch thickness, broil for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Chop (sirloin): For 1-inch thick chops, broil for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Chop (boneless top loin): For 3/4-inch and 1-inch chops, broil for 9 to 11 minutes. For 1-1/4-inch to 1-1/2-inch thick chops, broil for 16 to 20 minutes.
- Chop with bone (loin or rib): For 3/4-inch and 1-inch chops, broil for 9 to 12 minutes. For 1-1/4-inch and 1-1/2-inch chops, broil for 16 to 20 minutes.
- Chop with bone (sirloin): For 3/4-inch and 1-inch chops, broil for 10 to 13 minutes.
- Ham steak, cooked: For 1-inch thickness, broil for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Frankfurters and sausage links, cooked: Broil for 3 to 7 minutes or until heated through.
- Chop (loin or rib): For 3/4-inch to 1-inch thickness, broil for 14 to 16 minutes. For 1-1/2-inch chops, broil for 21 to 25 minutes.
How to Broil Chicken and Poultry
If desired, remove poultry skin; sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Preheat broiler for 5 to 10 minutes. Arrange poultry on the unheated rack of a broiler pan with the bone side(s) up. If desired, brush poultry with vegetable oil. Place pan under broiler so the surface of the poultry is 4 to 5 inches from the heat; chicken and Cornish game hen halves should be 5 to 6 inches from the heat. Turn pieces over when brown on one side, usually after half of the broiling time. Chicken halves and quarters and meaty pieces should be turned after 20 minutes. Brush again with oil. The poultry is done when the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear (180 degrees F for thighs and drumsticks; 170 degrees F for breast meat; 160 degrees F for duck breast). If desired, brush with a sauce the last 5 minutes of cooking. Follow your recipe or use our guide below to help you determine broiling time.
- Broiler-fryer, half: For 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds, broil for 28 to 32 minutes.
- Broiler-fryer, quarter: For 10 to 12 ounces, broil for 28 to 32 minutes.
- Kabobs (boneless breast, cut into 2-1/2-inch strips and threaded loosely onto skewers): Broil for 8 to 10 minutes
- Meaty pieces (breast halves, drumsticks, and thighs with bone): For 2-1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken, broil for 25 to 35 minutes.
- Skinless, boneless breast halves: For 4 to 5 ounces, broil for 12 to 15 minutes
- Cornish game hen, half: For 10 to 12 ounces, broil for 25 to 35 minutes.
- Boneless duck breast, skin removed: For 6 to 8 ounces, broil for 14 to 16 minutes
- Breast cutlet: For 2 ounce cutlets, broil for 6 to 8 minutes
- Breast tenderloin steaks (to make 1/2-inch thick steaks, cut turkey tenderloin in half horizontally): For 4 to 6 ounce steaks, broil for 8 to 10 minutes
How to Broil Fish
For fish fillets or steaks, place fish on the greased rack of a broiler pan, adjusting so the fish is about 4 inches from the heat source. For fillets, tuck under any thin edges. Brush fish with olive oil or melted butter. Broil 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness. If fish is thicker than 1 inch, turn once halfway through broiling time. Minutes count when it comes to fish, so keep a close eye on it. Properly cooked white-flesh fish is opaque and it flakes when tested with a fork. Juices should be milky white. For darker-flesh fish, such as salmon, simply use the fork test—the flesh should flake easily.
How to Broil Vegetables
Broiling vegetables gives them caramelized edges and boosts flavor while keeping them crisp-tender. Sweet peppers and chile peppers are often broiled for a charred flavor and to help loosen the skin for peeling. Use a 15x10x1-inch pan instead of a broiler pan for veggies that need to be stirred while broiling. Line the pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
- Peppers. To broil and peel sweet peppers and chile peppers, such as poblanos, place peppers on a pan 6 to 8 inches below the broiler element. Broil until lightly charred, turning peppers occasionally with tongs until they are charred on all sides. Place charred peppers in a sealed clean paper bag. When peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and seeds. Use gloves if you are handling chile peppers.
- Tomatoes. Any full-size tomato can be used for broiling, but plum tomatoes are the perfect size. If you have large tomatoes, you may want to cut them into smaller pieces. Core and cut tomatoes in half from top to bottom. Place halves, cut side up, in a baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper and, if desired, a little shredded cheese or blue cheese crumbles. Broil for 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool; serve with your favorite vinaigrette dressing.
- Asparagus & Zucchini. The cooking method is the same for both of these vegetables. For asparagus, break or cut off tough ends. For zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place in a 15x10x1-inch foil-lined baking pan. Toss with 1 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season as desired with salt and ground black pepper or a seasoning blend. Make sure the veggies are arranged in a single layer. Broil about 5 inches from the broiler element, turning halfway though broiling. Broil asparagus about 6 to 8 minutes and zucchini about 5 to 6 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
How to Broil Fruit
Grilled fruit is a popular addition to toss into salads, chop in salsas, or serve as a dessert. Use a foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan for these fruits.
- Bananas. Peel and cut bananas into 2-inch chunks. Toss bananas with lemon juice, then sprinkle with brown sugar until evenly coated. Broil 4 inches from heat, about 2 minutes per side until golden. If desired, serve with a sauce made with yogurt and a little honey.
- Peaches & Nectarines. Peel and cut in half, removing pits. Toss halves with honey, coating evenly. Or toss halves with lemon juice, then toss with brown sugar. Place on pan; broil about 6 inches from heat, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Mangos. Peel and slice mangos; place in pan. Broil about 6 inches from heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. If desired, squeeze fresh lime juice over slices.
- Pineapple. Cut and core pineapple. Cut into 1/4- to 3/8-inch-thick slices; broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 6 to 9 minutes, turning once. If desired, serve with tropical-flavor yogurt or ice cream. Try it in our Broiled Pineapple Chicken Salad recipe.
- Grapefruit. Cut grapefruit in half crosswise. Place halves, cut side up, in pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar; broil 6 to 8 inches from heat until lightly browned.