A friend of mine asked the question that’s the title of this post on Facebook the other day. I thought I knew—roasting is for higher temps and baking is for lower temps. Nope.
You can roast a pork, for instance, at 350 degrees, which is also the typical temperature at which you bake a cake. So what’s the difference?
What is Roasting
Roasting is generally done without a lid so that air circulates during cooking. Also, when you roast meat, it’s likely you do so in a roasting pan, which has a rack to suspend the meat and allow even more air circulation. This stems from the original way we roasted things (and still occasionally do)—over an open fire with a spit.
While baking rarely requires temperatures over 400 degrees F, roasting frequently does, and it does so with a specific goal: to caramelize or crisp up the exterior of what you’re cooking so that the juices stay inside.
Finally, items that are roasted often have fat to help with the cooking, and roasting is generally done to foods that already have substance such as vegetables and meats.
What is Baking
Baking is usually reserved for things that are mixed and need leavening, such as cakes, breads, muffins, and the sort. The cooking process for these items more likely requires them to be covered. For instance, a casserole is baked, although this isn’t true 100% of the time.
I’m a big fan of both types of cooking, but probably do more roasting myself. I love thick-cut veggies brushed with olive oil, a little salt, and roasted to perfection. They still have a little bit of tooth to them and the flavors really come alive. I also love a good roast pork; I’ll cook one on Sunday and then eat it all week long in various other dishes. Yum.
Did you know the difference between baking and roasting? I have to admit I wrote this post so I could figure it out! Let us know any good roasting or baking tips that you have.