Many ovens come with a “low broil” setting, but what exactly does this mean? What temperature is low broil and when should you use it? This guide will explain everything you need to know about broiling on low.
What is Broiling?
Before getting into low broil specifically, let’s review what broiling is in general. Broiling is a high-heat cooking method that uses intense, direct radiant heat from above to quickly cook, brown, and crisp the surface of foods.
Most ovens have both a standard “high” broil setting that generates extreme heat from 500-550°F, as well as a “low” broil setting that produces less intense heat, typically between 350-400°F. The low broil allows for more gradual and gentle cooking.
Difference Between High and Low Broil
High broil sears and chars, while low broil gently cooks. The high setting is best for quick cooking or putting a nice crust on a steak or chops. But it can burn food easily if you don’t pay close attention. Low broil provides more moderate, even heating that thoroughly cooks food without burning the exterior.
What Temperature is Standard for Low Broil?
There is no universally standard low broil temperature, but most ovens range from 350-450°F on low broil. You may need to consult your oven’s manual to find the exact low broil temp, as it can vary by model. Frigidaire ovens, for example, use 400°F for low broil.
No matter the exact temperature your oven uses, low broil will always be significantly lower than high broil. High broil can be over 100 degrees hotter.
Tips for Broiling Successfully on Low
Here are some tips to help you effectively use the low broil setting:
- Preheating is very important before low broiling to allow the coils to get hot enough. Preheat for at least 5 minutes on low broil before cooking.
- Flip and rotate food midway through cooking for even browning and cooking on both sides.
- Keep a close watch to prevent burning. Use a lower oven rack position closer to the heat source for better browning.
- Allow a few more minutes compared to high broil since the heat intensity is reduced. Be prepared for slightly longer cook times.
Best Foods for Low Broil
These foods are all great candidates for low broil:
- Boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- Pork chops or tenderloin
- Fish fillets or steaks
- Kebabs or meatballs
- Vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, onions, mushrooms
- Fruit crisps or crumbles
- Toast or cheese melts
The key is to choose foods that benefit from gentle, even browning. Delicate seafood, bone-in chicken, whole roasts, and anything that requires very high heat to char or blacken would not be good choices for low broil.
For example, if you only have a high and low broiler, low broil would allow you to cook chicken thighs thoroughly without burning the outside.
Advantages of Low Broil
Why might you want to opt for low over high broil? There are a few good reasons:
- Less chance of burning food unevenly
- Thorough, gentle cooking inside and out
- Better for larger cuts of meat
- Allows fat to render slowly from proteins
- Can be left unattended briefly without ruining food
- More forgiveness if exact cook times are uncertain
The lower heat helps prevent the exterior of meats from becoming blackened or overly crisped while the inside remains undercooked. It brings food up to temperature more slowly for better control and consistency.
While high broil delivers extreme heat for searing, low broil provides more moderate, even heating. Typical low broil oven temperatures range from 350-450°F. The lower heat lets you broil items like chicken, pork, fish and veggies gently without burning. Pay attention to cook times, preheat sufficiently, flip foods midway, and use a lower rack position for best results.
So next time you are broiling those pork chops or salmon fillets, consider using your oven’s low broil setting for tender, evenly cooked results.