‘Broil' vs 'Bake': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on November 16, 2023

If you are looking for an explanation of the difference between 'broil' vs. 'bake,' I can help.

Here is the short answer, just in case you are pressed for time:

  • 'Broil' is a verb and noun that means to grill or cook by exposure to radiant heat.
  • 'Bake' is a verb and noun that means to cook by dry heat or to cook in an oven.

While the above answer gives you an overview of the difference between these words, there is a lot more to learn. So, keep reading.

What is the Difference Between 'Broil' vs. 'Bake?'

If you plan on baking or cooking things in the oven, you need to know the difference between 'bake' and 'broil.' Both are settings on your oven. However, when you 'bake,' you cook with dry heat. When you 'broil' something, you expose it to the heating element located at the top of your oven.

The 'broil' setting is the highest setting on the oven, and it can burn things very quickly. So, you should only use the setting when you want to toast, caramelize, or crisp something that is already cooked or doesn't require extended cooking times.

Most of the time, you need to 'bake' dishes before broiling them. Otherwise, you will not know how cooked they will be when they are done.

Definition of 'Broil': What Does 'Broil' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'broil' as a noun that means:

  • The act of cooking something directly under or over direct radiant heat

It can also mean:

  • A loud or disruptive commotion
  • A loud brawl

'Broil' can also be a verb that means:

  • To brawl
  • To embroil
  • To cook by directly exposing the dish to radiant heat
  • To grill
  • To be subjected to high heat

Synonyms and Similar Words to 'Broil'

  • Clash
  • Brawl
  • Bicker
  • Fight
  • Quarrel
  • Fracas
  • Fuss
  • Tussle
  • Battle
  • Ruckus
  • Combat
  • Argue
  • Argument
  • Altercation
  • Spat
  • Contest
  • Melee
  • Scrap
  • Tiff
  • Conflict
  • Horseplay
  • Roughhouse
  • Trap
  • Embroil
  • Snare
  • Tangle
  • Bog
  • Jam
  • Ensnare

Definition of 'Bake': What Does 'Bake' Mean?

The same defines 'bake' as a verb that means:

  • To cook in an oven using dry heat
  • To harden or dry with heat
  • To bake food
  • To become or be very hot

'Bake' can also be a noun that means:

  • The act of baking or cooking in an oven
  • A dinner or social gathering

Synonyms and Similar Words to 'Bake'

  • Fire
  • Grill
  • Flame
  • Ignite
  • Scald
  • Scorch
  • Burn
  • Char
  • Sear
  • Scathe
  • Singe
  • Soiree
  • Party
  • Gathering
  • Potluck
  • Tea party
  • Dance
  • Blowout
  • Gathering
  • Bash
  • Benefit
  • Gala
  • Ball
  • Celebration
  • Kegger
  • Reception
  • Shindig
  • Formal
  • Shower
  • Clamback
  • Meet and greet
  • House party

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Broil' vs. 'Bake'

When it comes to words like these, you need to ensure your pronunciation is accurate. Otherwise, someone may not understand you. If you are giving cooking instructions, miscommunication can cause your recipe to fail.

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can reference. 

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'broil':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'bake':


When and How to Use 'Broil' vs. 'Bake'

With terms like 'bake' and 'broil,' it is important to know when and how to use each term. So, here are a few tips.

  • Use 'broil' if you are telling something to lightly toast something, especially after it is already cooked in the center.

For example, you might say:

Why don't you put the bread in the oven for a minute and broil it so the cheese melts?

  • Use 'bake' when you are talking about cooking something at a specific temperature.

As an example, I might say:

Bake the casserole at 375 degrees for one hour

  • Use 'broil' when you are talking about a loud commotion, typically from a fight.

So, you could say:

I heard a broil outside my door last night, and I couldn't go back to sleep. 

  • Use 'bake' to describe the act of baking. 

As an example, you can say:

Do you want to bake with me this evening? 

  • Use 'bake' when you are talking about something sitting in the sun.

For example, you might hear someone say:

Don't bake in the sun all day. It is not good for your skin. 

Sample Sentences Using 'Broil' vs. 'Bake'

Here are some sample sentences using 'broil' vs. 'bake.' Read them to learn how to use these terms in different contexts.


  • You can use broil to quickly toast the top of dishes.
  • If you want it to be crispier, put it back in the oven on broil for a minute or two.
  • Be careful not to leave your food in the oven too long on the broil setting, or it will burn.
  • Did you hear that broil down the hall the other day? It sounded serious.
  • We are going to broil some fish and vegetables in about an hour. You should come over.


  • The recipe says to bake it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  • After you mix the dry ingredients, add the juice of two lemons. Then mix it together and bake it at 450 degrees.
  • I want to get new plates that you can bake on, wash in the dishwasher, and put in the microwave.
  • I love to bake fresh pies for the holidays. Would you like to help? 
  • Do you want to come over to our house this Friday night for a bake?


  • You typically use broil after you have baked something to crisp the top.
  • When you bake, ensure that the oven is not set to broil. Otherwise, you will char the top of your dish.
  • You can start broiling the meat on the grill while I bake the sides.

Review: 'Broil' vs. 'Bake'

We went over a lot of information. So, let's recap what you learned about the difference between 'broil' vs. 'bake':

  • 'Broil' is a setting on your oven that exposes your dish to high heat from above. 
  • 'Bake' is a setting on your oven that allows you to set a specific temperature. 
  • 'Broil' can also mean a lousy disturbance. 
  • 'Bake' can also mean a social gathering or dinner party. 

These terms are fairly simple to remember after you learn their correct meanings and usages. However, it is always a good idea to check if you happen to forget, which means cooking in the oven and which means exposed to a direct heating element so you do not burn your food. So, if you need to, you can always return to this lesson in the future for a quick review.

You can also learn about hundreds of other commonly misused, misspelled, and mispronounced terms in the confusing words section here. So, if you are wondering about the definitions of other English words, check them out before you go.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.