While broiler pans are all fairly similar in design, each pan has unique details that can significantly change its cooking abilities. With the help of a professional chef of 12 years, we looked at over 35 different broiler sets and compared their materials, ease of use, and of course, cooking abilities. If you want the best broiler pan, we believe the Baker's Secret Non-Stick Broiler is the number one option. With that said, the Granite Ware Bake & Broil Set was a close runner-up with even more extras, so it's also well worth the look considering its value and versatility. Article Summary
Kitchen utensils, tools and cookware are items that we don’t give a lot of thought to on a day-to-day basis. Grabbing a knife from the knife block, a plate from the cupboard and a pot from the cabinet are all probably muscle memory and second nature for you by now, unless you just moved into a new place. These things we usually don’t think about until they need to be replaced, and one of items is the classic broiler pan. Broiler pans are usually included with apartments and rented houses, but they’re usually covered with few years’ worth of blackened, charred food residue.
If you are using one of these old broiler pans that are well-past their retirement, it’s time to consider an upgrade. Using an out-of-commission broiler pan can not only be an extreme pain to use and clean, it can consistently ruin dinner due to the taste left by contact with stuck-on food particles. Upgrading to a solid, new broiler pan can have a significantly positive effect on dinner time, entertaining, potluck preparation, and simply cooking in general.
There are several brands, shapes and forms of broiler pan, and many of them are very similar to each other. However, there are some small differences here and there that can add up and greatly affect the quality and ease of use. The fact that some of these differences are so subtle makes picking the best broiler pan a bit of a headache and a chore. Luckily for you, we’ve taken the liberty of conducting a boatload of research on broiler pans via customer reviews and technical aspects, and we’ve come up with a list of the top three best broiler pans currently on the market.
(L x W x H)
The best broiler pan overall
The first up on our list is the Baker’s Secret Non-Stick Broiler. Baker’s Secret, as you might imagine, features an extremely wide array of baking products. From measuring cups and pastry blenders to pizza pans and muffin tins, Baker’s Secret has a product for all of your baking needs – and also for your broiling needs. This broiler pan features a unique design that makes it particularly convenient and safe to use for advanced home cooks, as well as beginners who are new to broiling.
Like many other broiler pans, this pan features a durable, non-stick coating to keep food from sticking. It also features a grill-style top and is perforated with holes for draining fat and excess liquid. The best feature of this broiler pan is the top rack; which, instead of simply being set on top of the bottom pan, has handles that extend beyond the pan, making it very easy and safe to remove from the pan. Also, having the rack slightly inset, instead of simply laying on top of the pan, has the benefit of receiving more heat from the sides and bottom of the pan, effectively cooking your food faster.
Professional-weight, double-ply steel makes up the construction of this pan, making it strong enough to handle pretty much whatever you throw at it. Dishwasher safe, tough, easy and safe to use, and including a five-year warranty from Baker’s Secret – this broiler pan would be top of the line even without the inset top rack with convenient handles. If you’re in the market for the best broiler pan, no matter your cooking needs, we believe the Baker’s Secret Non-Stick Broiler has it all.
A highly-rated second choice
Perhaps instead of strictly a broiler pan, you’re looking for more of a utility player for your kitchen. If so, you’re in luck, the Granite Ware Bake, Broil and Grill Pan can cater to any need you have involving an oven. This 3 piece set, as the name implies, comes with a pan, a flat broiler rack and a grill rack. As such a versatile piece of equipment, how did this pan end up as the runner up?
There are a few factors contributing to this pan’s placement on the list. First, the 2 top rocks sit on top of the pan, instead of being inset like our top pick. This is fine, and more common, but it isn’t nearly as safe and convenient as the Baking Secret pan’s design. Also, although this broiler pan includes a grill rack, the design of the broiler rack is completely flat, and doesn’t have ridges, bumps or any raised surfaces like most broiler racks to raise the food from the cooking surface to help fight against sticking, and also to make sure that there is heat hitting the bottom of the product while cooking.
With its shortcomings covered, here is the good part of this pan: it is extremely versatile. The fact that it comes with a broiler top and a grill rack give you seemingly endless options for what you can cook on it, and the heavy, carbon steel production means that this versatility will be long-lasting. With this broiler pan, you can execute a great number of recipes and have more control of your cooking style. If you’re new in the kitchen and haven’t amassed a great number of pans yet, or you just moved into a new place and are looking for a more modular approach to cooking to save space, the Granite Ware Bake, Broil and Grill Pan is a great choice.
Another great pan that will last for years
Non-stick broiler pans are great – they help to ensure your food doesn’t stick to the pan and helps with cleanup. However, there is one thing non-stick coatings can’t do: last forever. Non-stick coatings will eventually be worn down and worn off, leaving spots of exposed metal and spots where the non-stick coating still clings on, which can be a sorry affair and be frustrating to cook with. The Norpro Broil and Roast Set offers a stainless steel construction with no presence of a non-stick coating, which takes the limit off of its longevity, and will last you as long as anything else made of stainless steel (in other words – a long, long time).
Although this pan has increased longevity, and a great, diamond design for draining fats efficiently while leaving a large surface area to be in contact with the product, it is a bit further down on our list due to the short-term inconvenience of not having a non-stick coating and the extra steps in cooking to accommodate that. The size of this pan also leaves a little to be desired, as it is a bit on the small side compared to the others on our list. For those concerned with long-term quality, the Norpro Stainless Steel Broil and Roast Set is definitely worth a look.
The different types of broiler pans
Broiler pans, overall, are pretty straightforward. They are composed of a rack on which to place your food products and a pan underneath to catch any drippings. Although these two aspects of a broiler pan never change, that doesn’t mean that there is no variety to each of these components. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, the shape and configuration can vary pretty widely from pan to pan, especially if a particularly innovative or creative design is used. The top rack can be specialized to accommodate different types of food and to achieve different grillmarks on the food cooked atop this device.
Many broiler pan racks are solid pieces of metal with thin, raised slits, but some racks of holes instead, attaining a flatter shape. Some racks abandon the traditional broiler pan design entirely and feature a metal grill rack (the type you would find on an outdoor grill) with much wider spaces in between the actual cooking surface. Also regarding the rack and its difference between grill pans, the way the rack and pan fit together vary widely. Some racks are simply set into or set on top of the pan, while others are set inside with handles that stick out, making food retrieval easier and safer.
In addition to the different designs of broiler pan, there are a few different materials that can be used in a durable, efficient broiler pan. Many broiler pans are made of either aluminum or carbon steel for durability and easy adhesion for the coating. Speaking of the coating, there are several different types of surfaces the broiler pan can be coated in to ensure that food doesn’t stick and the finish remains durable enough to last you a long time. Finishes range from enamel and porcelain to a simple non-stick glaze put right on top of the metal. Some broiler pans are simply stainless steel with no coating. This may seem like a disadvantage, but non-stick coatings eventually wear off – stainless steel doesn’t. Stainless steel offers more longevity, but you have to be more careful with them to avoid sticking.
Things to consider before buying
Since broiler pans have a few select qualities that vary from pan to pan, the decision can get cloudy when considering every possibility and outcome of your purchase. If you keep a few key aspects of what you’re looking for in your next broiler pan in mind, you’ll be able to cut out a lot of the fluff and narrow your decision down significantly. Here are some key questions to ask yourself before buying your next broiler pan:
How often are you going to use your broiler pan?
If TV dinners, or simple meals prepared on the stovetop are more your forte, spending a fortune on a fancy, new broiler pan is going to be a waste. If you are learning to cook and you want to step it up a bit from your current broiler pan, then a very basic, simple pan will do the trick. Advanced home cooks who will be getting pretty solid and consistent use out of their new broiler pan will want a nicer pan with a tougher nonstick coating, or no non-stick coating at all for maximum longevity, that can stand the test of time and still crank out meals left and right.
What do you primarily cook on your broiler pan?
Determining your broiler pan needs depends pretty heavily on what you’re going to be cooking on it. If you’re going to be cooking vegetables almost exclusively, it’s going to benefit you to have a top rack that has more surface area in contact with the food product while cooking. For meat, racks with wide slits or grill-style racks are preferable to make sure that all of the drippings are caught and end up in the pan – not on your food. If you don’t know what you’re going to cook on your new broiler pan, as this is a new adventure for you, you’ll want to aim for somewhere in the middle of the two.
Why it’s important to replace your pans
The biggest problem with old broiler pans is food adhesion, hands down. Whether it’s beef, chicken, fish, potatoes or heaven forbid anything with cheese, an old broiler pan with a worn non-stick coating or burnt surface will be holding on to a good portion of your food when you try to remove it, unless it’s completely doused in oil or butter.
The biggest benefit of investing in a nice, new broiler pan is preventing this food maiming from taking place. Purchasing a broiler pan with a durable nonstick surface and keeping it clean will make dinner time not only more enjoyable, but cleaner, easier and safer. “Safer, why safer?”, you may ask.
If you have ever frantically tried to remove stuck-on food from a pan, especially during the initial removal of the product, you know that it involves a lot of wiggling, shaking and a bunch of other movements. Movements that you know you shouldn’t be doing with a fork or knife in your hand, but you’re doing them anyway because you WILL get that fish off the pan in one piece. A new broiler pan with a nonstick surface will assure that your dinner comes right off of the rack quickly and safely, helping keep your culinary adventures injury-free.
Why you should use a broiler pan instead of a regular baking sheet
The age old question: why use a broiler pan when you can just use a regular baking sheet? It is surely easier to clean and more convenient to use a square pan or cookie sheet to do the broiling, right? There are a few things that lend themselves to favor the broiler pan and make it a more effective cooking tool for the high heat a broiler will subject not only the cooking surface, but the food to. One of the great, but complicated things about cooking is all of the nuances and intricacies with heat distribution, airflow and substance control. If you don’t have a very good grasp of these concepts with regard to cooking, it’s time to brush up on your knowledge, as having a rudimentary understanding can vastly improve your cooking.
When cooking on a regular baking sheet under the broiler, the heat comes down from the broiler and directly onto the top of the food and the cooking surface. Cookie sheets are fine for convection, because the heat is coming from all sides and the cooking surface is evenly heated. With a broiler, it’s kind of like a verse charcoal grill, in that the food is heated from the top. With that, to ensure even cooking, you’re going to have to flip everything over to give the other side some attention. With a broiler pan, the rack the food sits on is thin, but sits on top of the pan to allow some room in between the food and the bottom of the cooking surface that is heated by the broiler. This design allows heat to move under the food and ensure even cooking via the heat bouncing off of the floor of the broiler pan and back up into your pork chops or New York strip.
Another distinct advantage of using a broiler pan is that it allows you to control your pan drippings. Cooking your meat products in their own juices produces a different effect than allowing the drippings to escape and be trapped in the broiler pan – it also makes for easier cleanup once the cooking is finished.
How to use a broiler pan with different foods
Cooking with the broiler is not nearly as popular as it used to be, which is a shame, as it can produce some truly amazing recipes, and it is extremely easy to use. Cooking the broiler gives you the advantage of high, direct heat, which gives you a ton of control of how the food is cooked. One of the best things about the broiler is that it also allows you to have a nice crispy crust on many foods because of the direct heat to cook the outside while leaving the outside thoroughly cooked, but not burnt.
One of the most popular things to cook under the broiler is meat products. The caramelized crust you can achieve with a broiler makes cooking meat in them very desirable. The high, direct heat cooks the outside of the meat faster than the inside, which seals in all of the juices and allows for a more flavorful and tender product when the food is finished. Cooking meat with a broiler gives you a pretty similar effect to an outdoor grill, without the smoky flavor, of course. Is there anything better than a crispy, brown crust sealing in the juices on an exceptional cut of steak? Doubtful.
Vegetables are also popular to cook on the grill because of the consistency that can be achieved. Grilling vegetables (shish-kebabs, anyone?) has been a tradition for a long time, though it did fall a bit by the wayside, and is very inconvenient in the winter months. As an indoor solution, slide some vegetables under the broiler for a perfect brown exterior and perfectly cooked interior to compliment your main course, or even as the main course. Eggplant, asparagus and several other vegetables are highly receptive to grilling and can really benefit from that cooking method (especially when they’re wrapped in bacon).
Lastly, desserts are also achievable in the oven. Although the broiler isn’t ideal for pies or cakes, it is ideal for anything that requires caramelization on the top. Cooking through on convection mode, then finishing in the broiler gives your food a delightful crispy exterior that will really ramp up the taste and quality of your food.
Wrapping it up
There’s more to broiler pans than you thought, isn’t there? Sometimes everyday items can be the most difficult to choose simply because they get so much use. This is particularly why you see some people standing in front of the toilet paper for ten minutes at the grocery store weighing the pros and cons of each roll. The three products in our guide are what we believe to be the best broiler pan products, but as you’ve learned throughout our buying guide, what we thought was great might not be the top of your list. Everyone has different needs, so give your pots and pans some thought on how’ll you use them before just buying any old set of cast irons.