Roasting/Baking - Baking/Roasting

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that enjoys cooking.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
49,842
Location
Massachusetts
To Roast or to Bake? That is the question.
One of the side effects of being retired is that I often have idle time. That's when my mind wanders. Today it wandered into a gray (grey) area. What's the difference between roasting and baking in a home oven.
I did some reading and found some common threads:
  1. Roasting is typically done at temps 400ºF or higher while baking is done at 375ºF or less.
  2. Foods with a set internal structure (meat, vegetables) are roasted while foods without a set internal structure (batters and doughs) are baked.
  3. There's more but they are less common and sometimes sketchy.
So I can understand that you bake cake batter and bread dough and that you roast beef and vegetables. But there are exceptions. For example, one roasts a whole chicken but if it's cut up into sections, it is baked chicken. WHY!?!?!? Both methods use dry heat in an enclosed space (the oven).
There are exceptions to the low vs. high temp. rule such as slow roasting a pork butt @ 225ºF or baking no knead bread at 500ºF.
My limited research on the "confounded inter web" reveals that definitions seem to include weasel words such as 'typically', 'usually', 'often' and 'in some cases'. This gives them an out if someone calls them out on their definition. "I said 'usually!' ".
Any thoughts?
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
29,308
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
I was wondering about this just recently too. I didn't wonder hard enough to go hunting for answers though.

And then there are potatoes. To me, a baked potato is a potato that is cooked in the oven. It is whole and has its peel still attached when it is put in the oven. A roasted potato is usually peeled and often cut into largish pieces before going in the oven.
 
Last edited:

Aunt Bea

Master Chef
Joined
Mar 14, 2011
Messages
7,880
Location
near Mount Pilot
In my experience it’s more of a generational thing and has little to do with the method of preparation.

The old timers in my family roasted beef and baked ham. High temp vs low temp, maybe. 🤔

To me, roasting conjures up visions of a piece of meat on a spit cooked slowly over a bed of hot coals.
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,998
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
To me it is simple... you roast meats and vegies because there is usually an outside moisture.
Dry roasting becomes baking - such as the potato in it's skin.
All other explanations are just figments of your respective imaginations. ;):innocent:
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
29,308
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
To me it is simple... you roast meats and vegies because there is usually an outside moisture.
Dry roasting becomes baking - such as the potato in it's skin.
All other explanations are just figments of your respective imaginations. ;):innocent:
So, is it still a baked potato if you oil or grease the potato before putting it in the oven?
 

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
49,842
Location
Massachusetts
I see it differently. It's not dependent on the food that's in the oven, except for batters and doughs, it's the heating method. In my mind there is no need for the term "baked chicken". It's all roast chicken.
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,998
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
Silver, I was going to reply 'apples and oranges' - but then realized your statement makes absolute sense.
Chose bake and oven drop temp. on it's own.
Chose roast and oven tells you it is done earlier with the air current.
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,998
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
Andy, is not "baked" chicken usually inside a sauce or encased in something? Then it is baked. Exposed the meat is then roasted.

Ahhh,, semantics! gotta love it.
 

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
27,101
Location
Southeastern Virginia
This is right up my alley - food history and semantics 😁

Not that long ago, there were no home ovens - most people cooked over live fire, either outside or inside a hearth with a chimney. Roasting was done directly over live fire. Baking was done with indirect heat, either on a hot stone or other flat surface (for flatbreads) or inside a vessel, either a baking dish or, in old England (maybe other places, too), in a pastry case that wasn't edible.

In many places in Europe, for hundreds of years, villagers took their bread dough to the village bakery. After the bakery's work was done, they would bake the villagers' bread. They each had a family design that they cut into the dough, so they could tell which was theirs.

With modern equipment, there's not a lot of difference between baking and roasting, although I think these days we tend to think of roasting as a way to cook savory ingredients and baking is cooking sweets in the oven.
 

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
49,842
Location
Massachusetts
I am aware of the "roasting over an open flame" definition of roasting but didn't want to include that as part of the discussion so I mentioned ". . . in a home oven."

If you google 'baked chicken recipes', pretty much all you'll see is cut up chickens.

It seems to me that over the years people have gotten sloppy with the terms and used whatever they thought sounded good or made sense.

The one difference factor that makes the most sense to me is the "internal structure vs. "no internal structure" argument.
 

GotGarlic

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
May 9, 2007
Messages
27,101
Location
Southeastern Virginia
I am aware of the "roasting over an open flame" definition of roasting but didn't want to include that as part of the discussion so I mentioned ". . . in a home oven."
I was responding to the conversation, not just your opening ;)
If you google 'baked chicken recipes', pretty much all you'll see is cut up chickens.

It seems to me that over the years people have gotten sloppy with the terms and used whatever they thought sounded good or made sense.
I think most people just use the same terminology they heard growing up and don't think about it much.
The one difference factor that makes the most sense to me is the "internal structure vs. "no internal structure" argument.
Agreed.
 

cookiecrafter

Senior Cook
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
309
Location
Chicago
I see the point. Put the chicken in a roaster and cook until well browned. Cover and bake until internal temp of 165 is reached. Do you serve roasted or baked chicken. Unless there is a $$$ difference on the menu, I go for the one with the best sides. Roasted and french fries or baked and mashed potatoes. See why I do not volunteer to order chicken when I dine out?
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom