5 Things You Should Never Put Under the Broiler
It started with a text.
My husband: What pan would you use for broiling?
Me: Skillet or baking sheet?
Then silence. A few minutes later:
Me: All metal, no coatings or special handles. Cast iron too.
Him: One of these? (includes a picture of our all-metal baking sheets)
Me: Any of those.
Him: Not these? (includes a picture of our pricey, waffle-bottom, nonstick-coated baking sheets)
Him: Yeah… thought so.
Me: Good man.
Him: I chose poorly. Bad man.
Save yourself similar angst by heeding this list of items that should never ever go under the broiler, whether your broiler is gas flame or electric coil.
1. Anything with a Nonstick Coating
The nonstick coating of your skillet or baking sheet is not designed to withstand the high temperatures of the broiler (or direct flame). Unless your nonstick cookware or bakeware explicitly says "broiler safe" or "safe up to 550°F," your best bet is to choose all-metal pans such as stainless steel or seasoned cast iron. (We love this affordable 13-piece nonstick cookware set from Amazon—it's only $150!)
2. Any Skillet with a Protective Handle or Grip
If it's designed to keep you from burning your hand when you take the pot off the heat, then it shouldn't go under a broiler flame. This holds true for anything decorative, like a wooden or plastic handle. Even silicone handles made for cast-iron skillets can only withstand temps up to 450°F, so make sure to remove them before broiling.
3. Glass Baking Vessels
These aren't designed for the intense heat of a broiler and can crack or shatter. (I've had a baking dish shatter under different circumstances, and that's a mess I never want to clean up again. That, and it ruins your dinner.) If you're looking to brown the top of a casserole or French onion soup's cheesy toast, opt instead for a baking dish or crock made of ceramic or porcelain, which can withstand those temps. (We love this durable stoneware option from Le Creuset.)
4. Parchment Paper
It's smart to line a baking sheet before putting it under the broiler because high temperatures can really cook on any sort of fat or marinade, making it difficult to clean your baking sheets. That liner, however, should not be parchment paper. While it is heat resistant, it is not heat-proof, and it can ignite. Also, save your silicone liner for baking cookies. Choose aluminum foil for your broiling needs.
5. Certain Foods
Most items can either be cooked or finished under the broiler, but there are some exceptions:
- Cold meat: If you're looking to cook something like a steak, don't put it in straight from the fridge, or the center will stay a cool and ultra-rare (and not in a good way).
- Large pieces of meat, like a whole chicken or roast, can't possibly be cooked through before the outside chars.
- Cheese can go from golden and bubbly to black and blistering in a few seconds, so pay attention! Keep the broiler door open a crack, if necessary.
- Fresh herbs or greens will char quickly, and possibly ignite, under a gas broiler, so keep an eye on them as well.
- Avoid broiling anything that's been sitting in oil (or at least don't put it on the rack closest to the heat source—give it at least six inches). I once tested a chef's recipe for confit chicken thighs that slow cooked for eight hours in olive oil before being popped under the broiler to crisp up the skin. You better believe those suckers caught fire. Learn from my mistake.
And there you have it: a short but important list of broiler faux pas. And no, my husband did not get in trouble that night of the mistaken broiler pan. He had a delicious dinner ready when I got home. How could I be mad about that?