Which broiler pans are best?
There are some cooking methods that simply bring out the best qualities of meats or vegetables, and broiling is definitely one of them. A blast of extremely hot, dry heat can create a flavorful surface crust while still keeping the interior tender and juicy. For decades, dedicated broiler pans were standard accessories with consumer overs, but modern consumers do have some after-market options to consider.
Broiling pans are designed to withstand both high heat and close exposure to heating elements. They also use channels and holes to wick away excess fats and oils, which makes broiling a healthier cooking method in some ways. Most broiling pans are dishwasher-safe, and a matching drip tray helps keep the oven residue-free. Broiler pans can also be used for baking, oven frying and other cooking methods.
If you are in the market for a new or replacement broiler pan, please read our helpful consumer guide below. We have compared dozens of broiler pan sets on the market today, and have compiled a shortlist of promising contenders. Topping our list is the Whirlpool Porcelain Broiler Pan and Grid, a durable ceramic-coated model designed primarily for Whirlpool brands, but also effective as a stand-alone broiler.
What to know before you buy a broiler pan
Of all the bakeware in a typical kitchen, a broiling pan usually comes the closest to the heating element, in this case an extremely hot electric or gas burner that can reach more than 500 degrees F. The broiler pan and drip tray need to be constructed from metals designed to handle such intense heat.
Aluminum is a popular choice for entry-level and some midrange models, but it does have some drawbacks. It can warp more easily than other materials, and durability can be an issue. Some manufacturers will add a layer of carbon steel to aluminum broiler pans to improve heat resistance and minimize warping.
Stainless steel is the metal of choice for most broiler pan sets, however. It tolerates high broiling temperatures better than aluminum, and often receives an enamel coating for additional protection.
A number of oven manufacturers include a standard broiler pan set in the original packaging. These broiler pans are often a custom size, designed to fit a specific model or brand of oven. Consumers who need to replace a broiler pan may need to order one through the company itself. Other after-market models may be too big or too small to fit in the oven securely.
Other broiler pan sets have a “one size fits most” design. It helps to measure the dimensions of the oven before shopping for a replacement broiler pan. Some broiler pans incorporate handles, which do improve ease of use, but also add to the length. Handles are not strictly necessary when using a broiler in the oven, as long as the cook uses tongs or spatulas to remove the food safely.
A broiler pan essentially duplicates the performance of an outdoor grill in the oven. As the high heat starts rendering fats and oils from broiled meats, the juices are channeled away and fall into a drip tray through a series of holes. Some models feature deeper channels than others, allowing more fats and juices to leave and not pool around the food. These channels also suspend the food, allowing heated air to circulate from both directions.
While these design elements do help with the broiling process, they can create a few issues. Some models have recesses and crevices that can trap fats and oils after cooking, which makes a thorough cleaning more challenging. A separate drip tray is preferable to a single-piece model with limited access to the captured grease and oils.
How much you can expect to spend on a broiler pan
For those whose broiling needs are relatively few and far between, there are disposable aluminum broiling pans on store shelves for around $10 or less. Disposable is the key word here, and they may not handle high heat very well. Most home cooks should find a decent aluminum or stainless steel broiler pan set in the $20-$25 range, but proper sizing is a common concern. Higher-end broiler pans with durable enamel or porcelain coatings often have a price point of $35 or more, largely depending on the manufacturer’s recognition factor in the marketplace.
Broiler pan FAQ
Do I need to buy a brand name broiler pan to use with my brand name oven?
A. In some cases, manufacturers do create specialized broiler pans for specific brands or types of ovens. A suitable broiler pan may already be included with the original oven. If you purchase a broiler pan “off the rack,” be sure to measure both the oven space and the pan to make sure it will fit correctly.
Are all broiler pans nonstick like mine?
A. No, not all broiler pans feature a nonstick surface. You can add a cooking spray, vegetable oil or butter to a broiler pan if food sticking is a concern. You can also use aluminum foil but be sure to create some openings for drainage.
What’s the best broiler pan to buy?
Top broiler pan
Our take: This solidly constructed broiler combination is the best choice as a replacement or upgrade for many Whirlpool models.
What we like: Set includes broiler pan and roasting rack. Grid made of metal. Broiler pan made of black porcelain, which is easy to clean by hand or in a dishwasher. Fits a range of oven brands.
What we dislike: Some users found product more difficult to clean than expected.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top broiler pan for the money
Our take: This affordable stainless steel broiling pan is especially useful for smaller portions of meat or vegetables. We like its stylish, modern appearance.
What we like: Stainless steel construction. Good drainage for grease, oil and other liquids. Diamond pattern suspends food from bottom. Lightweight, easy to store.
What we dislike: Smaller cooking area than expected. Diamond-shaped nodules are challenging to clean.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: A quality, more affordable nonstick broiler pan.
What we like: Made of carbon steel. Comes with base pan and a top rack. Safe for both wood and nylon utensils.
What we dislike: Nonstick performance is variable.
Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s
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Michael Pollick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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