What Is a Broiler Pan?

Broiler pan

And, for that matter, where is the broiler on an oven located?

As a baby boomer, I grew up with broiling and the 2-piece broiler pan. Although charcoal grills were becoming popular, many families didn’t own one. Instead, we used our oven’s broiler for steaks, burgers, and so much more.

One of my vivid cooking memories is watching mom remove the hot broiler pan with its sizzling, crisp-on-the-outside and medium-rare-on-the-inside steaks. She’d lift away the top part of the broiler pan, checking to see if there were any fat drippings or meat juices in the bottom half. I would get excited if there was juice because it made a wonderful steak pour-over. Any leftover fat went into a used coffee can we kept in the fridge.

Today, with charcoal and propane grills so readily available, the broiler—and the broiler pan—has largely been ignored. And that’s a shame. Because the broiler provides a quick and easy way to cook thinner meats, fish, chicken, and veggies as well as toast garlic bread and add a quick browning to cheesy dishes.

So, to bring you up to speed on this wonderful means of cooking that’s built right into your oven, let’s take a closer look at broiling—and the indispensable broiler pan.

Is Broiling the Same as Grilling?

As you can see from the comparison chart below, it’s understandable why many have likened the broiler to an upside-down grill—or the grill as an upside-down broiler!

Both use intense, direct heat to crisp and brown foods on the outside. They require careful monitoring to avoid burning foods. And both are a healthier way to cook because unlike pan frying, meats don’t cook in their own fat.

grilling vs broiling

Unlike an outdoor grill, broiling requires the use of a broiler pan or some other cookware that can withstand the oven’s intense heat without flexing or melting.

The Broiler Pan

Not all cookware or bakeware are suitable for broiling. You need something that can handle the 500°F+ temperatures.

Sure, a cast iron skillet would work, but unless you add a rack inside it that can handle the high heat, everything will sit in whatever fat cooks out. And you might have some bakeware that can take broiling temperatures once you remove handles, etc. But that’s an extra step and, again, you’ll need to add a broiler-friendly interior rack.

NEVER broil with Teflon-coated nonstick ovenware! It will off-gas dangerous chemicals at those temperatures. Nor should you use oven-safe glass dishes. Although they can be also used in microwaves and freezers, they are not designed to handle broiling.

That’s the beauty with a 2-piece broiler pan set—it’s purpose-built to handle the high temperatures associated with broiling.

broiler pan

2-piece porcelain-on-steel broiler pan
Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

However, today’s broiler pan is no one-trick pony. Besides broiling, you can use it in the oven for roasting. The bottom half can be used for baking or as a shallow roasting pan. And it can even be used as a grill pan on charcoal or propane grills for those smaller items that might fall through the grate.

Back in the day, a broiler pan was included with a new oven. Now, they aren’t. If you have an older oven that came with one, examine the pan carefully. If it’s too dirty to clean, damaged in some way, rusted, or has a dull finish, purchase a broiler pan replacement. And if you don’t have one at all, get one! You can easily buy them through our Certified Appliance Accessories website.

Broiler Locations

If you’ve never broiled before, you may be wondering where the broiler is on your oven—or if you even have one. It’s easy to overlook as a standalone cooking method because the broiler component is also used for preheating and baking.

Electric Oven

On most electric ovens, the broiler is the top heating element.

electric broiling element

Electric broiling element

Until you turn on the broil function using the appropriate knob or digital control, the top element will only be used in conjunction with the bottom element to help preheat your oven. It may also activate on occasion to help maintain an oven’s temperature. And, if the feature is available, it turns on during an oven’s self-cleaning cycle.

But broiling is that top element’s time to shine—literally. It will be fiery in its glow while the bottom element remains off.

To broil, the wire rack and the broiler pan are placed on one of the top two slots.

If for some reason your oven doesn’t have a knob or control that says Broil, simply turn your oven to the hottest setting.

Gas Oven

Gas ovens may have one or two sources of flame. Those with two sources have one at the top of the main compartment and one underneath the bottom floor. When it comes to broiling, the top one is used. Broiler pans should be placed on the top rack near the flame.

If a gas oven only has one heat source, it’s underneath the main compartment and is used for both baking and broiling. It’s accessed by a separate hinged door that opens to reveal the broiler compartment.

Bottom-only gas heating element

Bottom-only gas heating element

In a bottom-only flame oven, there are just a few slots for the rack. And when you add in the height of the broiler pan, foods will be quite close to the flame. You may have a choice of High or Low Broil settings, which can help offset the tight space.

Toaster & Countertop Ovens

And let’s not forget toaster ovens and countertop ovens. Even the small ones have a broiling function! Although only the top elements are used for broiling, they also activate for other functions.

toaster oven broiler elements

Toaster oven broiler elements

Unlike today’s ovens, most toaster and countertop ovens come with a broiling pan. Many can be flimsy and warp under high heat. As heavy-duty broiler pans are available in several sizes, you may be able to find a heftier replacement. Be sure to measure before purchasing to ensure it will fit.

How to Broil

Broiling is a cooking technique. It is not difficult, but it does takes practice, an eagle eye, and your undivided attention. Because the food is so close to the heat source, it cooks very quickly. Depending on what that food is, you may not even need to flip it.

The chart below from Maytag gives you an idea of what to expect. Your oven’s manual may also have a broiling guide as well as some recipes.

Maytag broiling guide

Courtesy Maytag

Note how the chart indicates the food’s distance from the broiler. So be sure to calculate the proper distance before you get started. Don’t forget to incorporate the height of the broiler pan!

MissVickie.com also has a list of foods suitable for grilling that’s an excellent supplement to what Maytag suggests:

  • Sausages
  • Chops
  • Burger patties
  • Kebabs/kebobs
  • Steaks such as rump or fillet
  • Fish fillets
  • Halved chicken or turkey fillets
  • Soft fruits like peaches, bananas, pineapple, apricots
  • Vegetables (like zucchini or squash), mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, onion rings, pepper strips

Generally, you want to be close to the heat for searing. In those instances, the rack and pan are in the uppermost spot. Foods that take longer to broil or are thicker should be placed in the lower spot.

Step One—Food Prep

steak and potatoes on Certified Appliance Accessories broiler pan

Steak and potatoes!
Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

The following tips make common sense, given the proximity of the heat source to your food:

  • Do not broil frozen foods; the result will be unevenly cooked
  • Blot away any excess liquid for less splatter and better charring
  • If you want to add a topping like ketchup or barbecue sauce, either wait till the last minute or apply when the meat comes right out of the broiler—otherwise, due to the high sugar content, it will burn
  • Make sure the food is in a single layer; there’s no room for stacking
  • Trim any excess fat; this is super important as you don’t want smoke in your house, much less set off the smoke detector; in fact, if your oven or range has an exhaust fan that vents to the outside, turn it on. 
  • Broiling should be done with meats that are not too thick—lean, thin cuts are ideal, or you can butterfly thicker cuts; if need be, you can always sear the top with the broiler and finish cooking it lower down in the oven—or vice versa

Step Two—Preheat the Broiler and the Broiler Pan Together

preheating gas broiler with broiler pan in position

Preheat gas broiler with broiler pan in position

Not only do you need to get the element glowing brightly or the flame visible, but you also need to get the broiler pan hot. So, place the broiler pan at the distance you want BEFORE you turn the broiler on. Whether you have an electric oven or a gas one, allow at least 5 minutes of preheat time.

If you have an electric oven, keep the oven door slightly ajar. There should be a detent position that will hold it partially open. This keeps the oven from shutting itself off as the temperature rises.

For a gas oven, if it has been installed properly and vented, you should keep the door shut. However, if you have a lower compartment broiler, most of those small doors don’t have a window. So, you may choose to keep it open to better monitor the broiling process.

For toaster and countertop ovens, be sure to read the instruction manual. The manual for my little toaster oven calls for NO preheating and to keep the door closed.

Step Three—Add Food and Place Broiler Pan Back under the Broiler

slide food on preheated Certified Appliance Accessories broiler pan under the broiler

Slide food on preheated broiler pan under the broiler
Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

Carefully and quickly, slide out the hot broiler pan as far as you can, arrange the food, and immediately put it back in under the broiler. That way the pan won’t cool down.

By removing the pan, you won’t burn yourself under the sizzling heat when you place the food on top of the broiler pan.

Step Three—On the Grill!

kabobs on a Certified Appliance Accessories broiler pan on top of a grill

No more worries about losing kabob pieces!
Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

You can also use one or both parts the broiler pan set on an outdoor grill. They are a great way to grill foods—like veggies and kabobs—that might otherwise slip through the grates. 

Step Four—Stay Alert and Check Internal Temperatures

checking on food while its broiling on top of a Certified Appliance Accessories broiler pan

Keep an eagle eye on food and check often
Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

Do NOT allow yourself to be distracted. Broiling is a very fast process. Food can go from beautiful to burnt in a matter of seconds.

Be prepared to flip foods, adjust the rack setting, or pull it out altogether. Have your instant-read thermometer handy or a broiler-safe thermometer inserted into the side of the food.

You cannot be too vigilant! Be paranoid. Check often.

Step Five—Remove and Enjoy! 

Steak and potatoes being removed from Certified Appliance Accessories broiler pan

Steak and potatoes are ready to plate
Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

Immediately remove your food from the broiler once it’s done. There’s no wiggle room because of the high temperatures and rapid cooking time.

melty cheese bread on Certified Appliance Accessories broiler pan

Melty cheese goodness!
Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

Plate and enjoy.

Step Six—Clean up and Store

Washing Certified Appliance Accessories broiler pan in hot sudsy water

Clean using hot sudsy water and soft sponge
Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

Pour off the fat, let the pan cool, then get it into the sink with hot soapy water. To prolong the life of the finish, don't use harsh abrasives. If you’re going to run the dishwasher, you can pop it in there too. 

Certified Appliance Accessories broiler pans are dishwasher safe

Broiler pans are also bottom-rack dishwasher safe
Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

Once it’s dry, don’t stack other pans on top of it. Instead, store it vertically, hang it from its holes, or place it flat by itself. The surface may be super tough, but the bottoms of pots and pans are a scratch hazard that’s easily avoidable.

Certified Appliance Accessories Broiler Pans for Ovens and Grills

For decades, most of the 2-piece broiler pans that came with ovens were porcelain-coated steel. They had a slotted grill upper half and a shallow pan lower half. The slots drained the fat and drippings down to the lower pan.

The pan and grill sets offered by Certified Appliance Accessories follow that tried-and-true broiler pan design. However, they feature a double coating of porcelain and can handle temperatures up to 1,050°F. This makes them ideal for broiling, baking, roasting, and outdoor grilling.

Certified Appliance Accessories broiler pan set

Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

The PFOA- & PTFE-free porcelain finish is also nonstick for easy cleanup using hot water and mild soap with a soft sponge. Or the pans can go in the dishwasher. Harsh abrasives and coarse, scratchy scrubbing pads should be avoided.

Some brands’ 2-piece sets have a thin wire rack and a shallow pan, but they are not as heavy-duty and may warp. Others have a porcelain coating, but it’s not as thick as what is used on Certified Appliance Accessories’ broiler pans nor can it withstand the same high temperatures.

And, unlike other broiler pan for oven sets out there, only Certified’s mention a 5-year limited warranty.

The broiler pan-and-grill sets from Certified Appliance Accessories are available in two sizes:

  • Large: 16 in. L x 12-3/4 in. W x 1-3/4 in. H. It’s ideal for ovens and larger outdoor grills.
  • Small: 13 in. L x 8-3/4 in. W x 1-3/8 in. H. It’s also ideal for ovens and grills and will fit in many larger toaster ovens and countertop ovens.

Always measure the inner space of your oven or grill before ordering. To paraphrase the carpenter’s mantra, “measure twice, buy once.”

Certified Appliance Accessories broiler pan set

Courtesy Certified Appliance Accessories

So, what are you waiting for? Decide your size, then buy your 2-piece oven broiler pan set today at Certified Appliance Accessories!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Certified Appliance Accessories is not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.