The Difference Between Roasting and Baking

difference between roasting and baking

Difference between roasting and baking

If you do an internet search, you’ll find plenty on the difference between roasting and baking. And for the most part, they all pretty much say the same thing. Personally, I think it’s splitting hairs. I say this because much of what you’ll find are generalizations with plenty of exceptions. The difference between roasting and baking probably has as much to do with a lexicon as a pure definition.

With that said, check out today’s featured article, then come back for additional discussion.

According to our article of the day, it boils down to these four areas:


Structure of the food:


Typically, roasting requires a higher temperature (400°F and above) to create a browned, flavorful “crust” on the outside of the food being cooked. Baking generally occurs at lower oven temperatures, up to 375°F.

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Fat content:

Covered pan:

Roasting is typically done in an open, uncovered pan, while items that are baked may be covered.

Not to be a contrarian, but in the video recipe below, chef and blogger John Mitzewich pokes holes in the temperature and covered pan distinctions. He “roasts” covered and uncovered and at different temperatures to achieve his desired result. Chef John is one of my favorites, so you’ll be seeing quite a number of his videos when I need to make a point. Most of his videos are less than ten minutes, and he’ll nearly always bring a smile to your face.

While watching the video, I ask that you forget about the difference between roasting and baking. I also want you to forget about his recipe. What I’d like is that you pay attention to his methods. That chuck roast is a tough cut until it’s cooked long enough. So Chef John is slow roasting in foil to help that part of the process. By marinating overnight, he’s adding another layer of flavor. Then he adds flavor and texture by giving it some healthy color.

Could you use this procedure with a pork shoulder? Yes! Pork shoulder is also a tough cut that requires similar cooking times. Notice toward the end, he tells you that you could cook it longer. How much longer? He didn’t say, which means until you’re satisfied with its tenderness. That is called cooking with your eyes and touch.

So … is it roasting or baking?

And in the end, whether you call it roasting or baking, it doesn’t change the outcome or the method(s) he used.

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