Although the two terms might seem similar at first, when you come across them in a recipe, there is certainly a difference between roasting and baking. There are some crucial elements that define the two which can help you decide whether to roast vs bake in various cooking scenarios. The main differences between roasting and baking are the types of foods you roast vs bake and the temperature of the oven. When it comes to temperature, roasting requires a higher oven temperature of above 400°F for the cooking process, while baking takes place at lower oven temperatures around 375°F and below.
Roasting involves cooking foods, like meat, potatoes, chicken, and vegetables, that already have a solid structure before you begin cooking. Baking, however, refers to foods without initial structure, like cupcakes and cookies.
Also, roasting tends to be done in an uncovered roasting pan, whereas baked goods may sometimes be covered.
When it comes to temperature, roasting requires a higher oven temperature of above 400°F for the cooking process, while baking takes place at lower oven temperatures around 375°F and below.
What Is Roasting?
Roasting is a cooking method that uses dry heat and hot air to surround the food and cook it evenly on all sides. Food can be roasted over an open flame, an oven, or additional heat sources. Once roasted, foods such as meat and vegetables will have a flavor that is enhanced through caramelization and browning.
What Is Baking?
Baking, on the other hand, is cooking with dry heat without direct exposure to a flame. Typically, this is done in a conventional oven or on a hot surface.
When to Roast vs Bake?
When making foods that have a solid structure (vegetables or meats), you should roast the food. If you’re making foods that aren’t solid before cooking (cake, bread, etc), you should bake the food.
While both methods use dry heat, the process and the temperatures can vary due to the structure of the food. Roasting gives more firm foods a crispy outer texture and caramelization, whereas baking is better for foods that start out soft, such as batters and doughs.
What’s the Difference Between Convection Baking and Roasting?
The convection bake and convection roast settings simply use the fan to circulate the air and heat in an attempt to distribute the heat around the entire oven. If you’re deciding whether to purchase a new convection oven vs a regular oven, you should know that they are mostly the same, aside from a few settings.
If you’re looking for a couple staple roasting recipes that will help you perfect the art of roasting, start off by experimenting with these two dishes that star roasted fish and vegetables.
Late Summer Vegetables and Salmon
For the Vegetables:
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Orca Beans
6 slices Bacon, chopped
3 ears fresh Corn, shucked and trimmed
2 cups Butter Beans
1 Serrano Pepper, seeded and small diced
1 Zucchini, small diced
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, sliced
1 Tbsp fresh Basil, chopped
Kosher Salt and fresh cracked Pepper to taste
For the Fish:
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp onion Powder
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Dry Oregano
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 ½ tsp Kosher Salt
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 (10 oz) Salmon fillets, skin removed
Serves 3 to 4
Vegetables: Cook the Bob’s Red Mill Orca Beans according to the instructions on the back of the package and set aside.
In a large sauté pan on medium-high heat, cook the bacon until it becomes brown and crispy. Remove the bacon and roast the corn, beans, pepper, and zucchini until browned and cooked.
Next, fold in the drained cooked orca beans, tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper, and keep warm.
Fish: On a large plate combine the spices and olive oil.
Add the fish and coat it in the rub mixture on all sides and marinate for 30 minutes.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the salmon and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked throughout.
Serve the fish overtop the roasted vegetables.
Roasted Beet and Tomato Salad
1 bunch Red Beets, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
1 bunch olden Beets, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
2 cups assorted Cherry Tomatoes
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Pecans
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Pumpkin Seeds
6 to 8 Beet Greens
2 cups Kale Microgreens
1 bunch Chives, long cut
1 cup Goat Cheese, crumbled
8 oz Burrata Cheese, sliced
1/4 cup reduced Balsamic Vinegar*
Kosher Salt and fresh cracked Pepper to taste
Serving recommendation: toasted baguette slices
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the sliced beets and tomatoes evenly on one or two large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, drizzle them with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Roast them in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the beets and tomatoes are softened and lightly browned. Cool.
Toss together the pecans and brown sugar in a medium size sauté pan and cook over low heat, constantly stirring until the sugar has melted onto the pecans. Spread out on parchment paper once finished.
Add the pepitas to a medium size sauté pan and toss over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the seeds become browned and crunchy.
Arrange the roasted beets and tomatoes on top of the beet greens and microgreens. Evenly sprinkle with the candied pecans, pepitas, goat cheese, and add the burrata. Lastly, drizzle on the reduced balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with toasted bread.
From casseroles to cupcakes and breads, there are a many recipes that require the art of baking. Here are a couple of our favorites.
Cheesy Polenta Casserole with Gorgonzola
4 cups Water
2 cups Milk
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits/Polenta
2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups Yellow Onion, chopped (about 1 large)
4 Eggs. whisked
1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 cup Green Onion, chopped (about 1 bunch)
Preheat oven temperature to 350°F; butter a 9 x 13-inch dish and set aside.
In a medium pot, combine water, milk, polenta, salt, and pepper. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently until creamy but still very loose, which should be about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
While the polenta cooks, heat oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add chopped yellow onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
To the cooked polenta, add the sautéed onions, whisked eggs, ½ cup Parmesan, Gorgonzola, and green onions. Stir well to mix evenly, then pour into the prepared dish.
Bake until set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup Parmesan over the top and bake until cheese just begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool about 15 minutes before slicing.
Coconut Lime Banana Bread with Lime Glaze
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Organic Cane Sugar
3 Tbsp Butter, room temperature
4 Tbsp Coconut Oil. room temperature
2 Eggs, room temperature
3 very ripe medium Bananas, mashed
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tbsp Lime Juice
Lime zest from 2 Limes
1/2 cup shredded Coconut
For the Lime Glaze:
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1-2 Tbsp Lime Juice
Lime zest from half a Lime
1/3 cup Toasted Coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Whisk until well combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and coconut oil. Mix on medium-high speed until well creamed using the whisk attachment, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.Then, add the mashed or pureed bananas, vanilla extract, lime juice, and lime zest to the batter.
Remove the whisk attachment and switch to the paddle attachment. Add the dry ingredients, 1 cup at a time, and mix on low speed until just combined. Stir in the shredded coconut by hand using a spatula or wooden spoon.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake at 350° F for 40-55 minutes, or until done in the center and a nice browned crust has developed on top. Check in the center using a toothpick.
Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely before covering with the glaze.
In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lime juice. Stir until combined and liquid. Then, stir in the lime zest.
After the bread has cooled completely, place the wire cooling rack with the bread over a piece of parchment paper. Pour the lime glaze over top, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.
If desired, sprinkle the glaze (while still wet) with toasted coconut. Let the glaze harden completely before slicing the bread.
In addition to roasted fish and salads, you can also try roasting whole chickens, brussels sprouts, sausages, and more. When it comes to baking, the sky's the limit. Try your kitchen magic by baking pies, cakes, cupcakes, casseroles, and breads.
As with all things in the kitchen and in cooking, the more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become. As you begin to roast more fish or bake more cakes, you’ll find these two techniques (different though they may be) will begin to feel like second nature.
Have any favorite roasting or baking recipes you use as a go-to when in the kitchen? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below. At Bob’s Red Mill, we love gathering pieces of inspiration from our community of fellow food lovers.
Happy roasting. Happy baking. Give both these cooking methods a try. And most importantly, happy and healthy eating!