How to Broil without a Broiler Pan | Broiler Pan Substitutes

Much like grilling, broiling is another method of cooking that involves exposing food to direct heat. Using high heat directly from a flame helps in cooking food surfaces very quickly.

When you’re craving for cheesy casseroles, perfectly cooked steaks, or beautifully roasted potatoes, getting just the right color and crust without overcooking them can be a challenge on its own.

In most cases. these delicious treats are best made with a broiler pan.

But what if you don’t have a broiler pan? Lucky for you, you can prepare these foods just right with the broiler in your oven.

In this article, we will cover how to broil chicken without a broiler pan.

Broiling without a Broiler Pan

A broiler pan, also known as an oven roaster or broiler roaster, is a piece of cookware that’s used for broiling foods like roasts, steaks, vegetables, poultry, and much more in the oven.

It features slats that help circulate air so that the food is cooked evenly.

It’s typically made of heavy gauge steel or stainless steel and has two sections; a pan section with low walls and an upper cooking surface that’s called the broiler plate lid.

This lid is meant to hold the food as it gets broiled and the pan underneath it catches any fat drippings.

If your oven didn’t come with a broiler pan, there’s no need to fret because you can broil foods and separate the meat from the drippings by using other methods.

If you’re in the mood for broiled chicken, you’d be happy to learn that you can broil chicken breasts in your broiler without needing to use a broiler pan.

Let’s take a look at how to broil chicken and some tips you need to keep in mind while using an oven broiler, so you don’t mess up a perfectly good recipe.

Keep in mind that you can use this method for any other chicken dish as well, whether you’re thinking of broiling chicken drumsticks or preparing tasty kabobs.

How to Broil Without a Broiler Pan

You’ll be surprised to learn that broiling chicken takes almost no time at all and it’s incredibly easy to do.

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to prepare your favorite chicken dinner in a broiler using a broiler pan substitute that gets the job done just as well.

Prepare the Chicken

The first step involves preparing the chicken for the broiler.

You can remove the skin if you want before sprinkling it with pepper and salt. Make sure you’ve preheated the broiler for at least 5-10 minutes.

You can also brush it with cooking oil if the recipe calls for it.

Turn on the Broiler

As we’ve established, a standard broiler typically takes somewhere between 5 to 10 minutes to get preheated.

Most ovens have a simple on or offsetting for the broiler but if your oven doesn’t have this option, simply set it to high heat (about 500 degrees Fahrenheit) and make sure you’ve left the oven door a crack open so it doesn’t get overheated and get turned off.

Choose Your Pan

Since you don’t have a broiler pan, you can consider using a baking sheet as long as you remember to rotate the food as it gets cooked.

It’s advisable to avoid using non-stick or Teflon cooking pans as they may release toxic chemicals when they’re exposed to higher temperatures.

Place the Pan Carefully on the Broiler

Transfer your food to the cooking vessel of your choice and place it carefully either directly under or above the broiler heating element.

If you’re placing it under the broiler, make sure the surface of the chicken is at least 4 to 5 inches from the heat source. This only applies to chicken and Cornish game hen.


Turn the chicken over when it has turned brown on one side.

This is usually done after half of the broiling time has passed.

Brush the other side with oil. A general rule of thumb is to turn chicken halves or other meaty pieces after 20 minutes of broiling.

Brush with Sauce and Serve

You’ll know the chicken is done broiling when you notice that the meat is no longer pink, and all the juices run clear.

If the recipe requires it, brush the chicken with the sauce you’ve prepared separately before at least the last five minutes of cooking.

Chicken thighs and drumsticks should be cooked at 180 degrees Fahrenheit, patties for 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and breast meat for 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Best Broiler Pan Substitutes to Consider

Fortunately, there are several broiler pan substitutes that are not too expensive.

But from all the options you can choose from, a roasting pan definitely takes the lead!

Roasting Pan

A roasting pan looks like a broiler pan; however, some roasting pans do not have a tray underneath to catch the food drippings. Some roasting pans even come with lids, which helps trap the heat and cook the food evenly.

These pans are usually made of materials like oven-safe metals, aluminum, and stainless steel. They are also available in different sizes to accommodate your cooking needs and style.

If you can get a roasting pan with a lid, your life in the kitchen will be much easier. The best part about this cookware is that it is highly versatile, and you can cook everything, from meat to vegetables, in it.

Using this pan, you can braise meats, and the lid prevents the liquids from evaporating easily.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Using a Roasting Pan

Some tips to keep in mind when using roasting pans for broiling:

Use a lid

Since some roasting pans do not have a lid, most people have to use aluminum foil to cover the pan.

Whatever method you choose, make sure you cover the food while it is cooking. The food in an uncovered pan takes more time to cook and is not as flavorful.

The lid prevents the food from browning or burning too soon and traps the heat efficiently.

Preheat the oven

Placing the roasting pan in a preheated oven not only saves time but also helps with heat distribution.

Experts also recommend placing the roasting pan on the middle rack, so that the food gets the same amount of heat from the top and bottom.

Other than that, you can follow the steps of the recipe to get the perfect flavor.

Let it rest

Once the meat is done and the roasting pan is out of the oven, some people waste no time in shifting it to a dish.

However, it is better to leave the food in the pan for a few minutes, once it is out of the oven.

By letting it rest for a while before transferring it onto a platter, you allow the natural juices to distribute evenly throughout the meat. So, if you are looking forward to a delicious meal, follow this advice.

Cook leaner meat

This cookware is ideal for leaner meat like fish and skin-on chicken. Larger cuts of meat also cook perfectly in a roasting pan.

As for vegetables, you can go for starchy vegetables like turnips and potatoes. To get that perfectly seared look for the food, all you need to do is to evenly brush the meat with oil before putting it in the oven.

Do not prick the meat

It is a common practice to raise the lid on the pan to check if the meat is done or not. Once the skin on the meat breaks, it can lose flavor.

Why? Because the skin of the meat, the caramelized crust, helps seal in the moisture. The juice inside the meat is what gives it the taste that you love.

So, the next time you use this broiler pan substitute, let the food cook slowly, without puncturing it.

Getting a roasting pot and learning how to use it will definitely change the way you cook. With the convenience it provides, you can host large dinner parties with your family and friends.

Once you learn how to use it properly, nobody will be able to resist a homemade feast by you.

Cast Iron Pan

We have sung enough praises for the roasting pan, and now it is the time to appreciate all that a cast iron pan can do.

Since iron is a great conductor, you never have to worry about unevenly cooked food. Be it lean meat or vegetables, cast iron pans are great for broiling.

The best part about this cookware is that it is readily available in most households, so you do not have to spend extra on buying one.

However, you will need some aluminum sheets to serve as a cover if your iron cast pan does not have a lid. This provides the food with a consistent temperature that adds flavor to the recipe.

Other than that, this is an ideal utensil to fulfill all your broiling needs.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Using a Cast Iron Pan

Some tips to keep in mind when using cast iron skillets for broiling:

All-natural material

People who are concerned about their health and want to use natural materials love cast iron cookware.

They provide a clean cooking experience that is unrivaled. They are also extremely durable, which means small scratches will not ruin them.

They are easy to clean so just wash them properly after each broiling session to keep them fresh and rust-free.

Grease the pans

It is always a great idea to grease the iron cast pans, whether you are using them or not. The frequent routine helps keep the polymerized layer intact to prevent it from flaking.

The step also makes sure that your pans are never dry, and always look perfect. The trapped oil in the pans helps broil the food perfectly and makes sure that the food does not burn easily.

Watch the amount of oil

Since cast iron pans are not non-stick, excess fat can ruin their surface. The pans do have a layer of polymerized fat to prevent the food from burning.

However, excess fat can peel it off after some time and you will start to get some flakes of the black layer in your food.

To prevent this, make sure you use moderate quantities of oil. It also makes cleanup a hassle-free process.

Baking Tray

Yes, you have read this correctly! A baking tray is useful for more than just baking cookies.

It may not be as effective a substitute as a roasting pan, but it does get the job done when you have no other option.

Since baking trays have no depth, most people think they are not up for the task. However, you can use them to broil lean and thin-sliced meat and a whole lot of vegetables.

When using a baking tray as a broiler pan substitute, you have to improvise a bit, but it is surely worth it in the end.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Using a Baking Tray

Some tips to keep in mind when using the baking tray for broiling:

Grease the tray

The cooking juices, fat and the food can easily stick to the tray, especially when you use the wrong material.

Fortunately, there are ways you can minimize this risk. Just brush the pan and the cooling rack with a high-temperature oil. You can also use high-temperature pan sprays.

There is also the non-stick foil that works well here. So, use any of these methods to make a baking tray the perfect broiler pan substitute.

Use a cooling rack

All the taste in broiled meat comes from the fat that drips during the process. You can get the same taste when broiling in a baking tray by using a cooling rack.

Line the rack with aluminum foil and then poke a few holes in it to let the fat drip down.

Place the rack on top of the baking tray, add the meat and pop it in the oven. This simple improvisation will help you use a baking tray to its full potential.

Heavy-sheet baking tray

If you use a baking tray made of flimsy material, it will most definitely warp because of the oven’s heat. If the sheet buckles, it can ruin the food.

So, the best option to avoid this mess is to go for heavier sheets. However, if you are on a strict budget, make sure you go for an inexpensive baking tray so you can easily discard it once you are done broiling.

Now that you know about the best broiler pan substitutes, you will never have to rely on one cookware.

You can experiment with all of these substitutes to find the ones that work best for your favorite recipes. Explore your culinary skills with these broiler pan substitutes and discover a whole new world of flavors!

Also read: What Are the Different Types of Baking Pans? All you need to know

Tips to Keep in Mind

Here are some tips you should remember when you’re using an oven broiler:

  • It’s advisable to preheat your baking sheet or your broiler pan (if you have one) by putting it inside your oven as your broiler gets preheated. This will help your food sear evenly and lock in all the flavors.
  • Don’t forget to use oil or nonstick spray to lubricate the baking sheet or pan before adding the food to it. This will allow you to lift the food easily after it’s done cooking. If you’re using an aluminum foil, you can also drizzle it with a little bit of olive oil.
  • Avoid using parchment paper to line the baking sheet because it has a tendency to burn at high broiling temperatures.
  • Arrange foods in a single layer. To ensure even cooking and browning, spread your food out so that the surface of every piece is exposed to the flame or heating element.
  • Remember to watch your food closely as it broils to make sure it doesn’t start smoking or get burnt. Make sure to keep the oven light on and stay nearby throughout the cooking process.
  • For even cooking and browning, you should arrange the food in a single layer and spread it out on the surface so that every single piece is exposed to the heat.
  • Since each oven is unique, you may have to try broiling food a couple of times before you can truly get the hang of it. Consider using an instant-read thermometer to monitor the broiler temperature at all times and increase your chances of getting the results that you’re looking for.
  • It’s important to note that you must not broil foods for longer than 10 minutes as this could result in a burnt finished product or a fire in the worst-case scenario. If you’re cooking food that requires longer cooking time, you should only use the broiler to create a crispy crust. You can do this either at the start or end of the cooking process, so you don’t end up overcooking it.
  • Remember to go light on marinades, especially ones that are oil-based, because the drippings can significantly increase the chances of fire. However, you can go heavy on the spices. You can use black pepper, stalks of thyme, oregano, or rosemary sprigs to pack the meat full of flavor.
  • You can use ceramic containers as a broiler pan substitute as well if they’re specially designed for broiling.

Warning when Using Broiler Pan Substitutes

  • If you’re broiling in a gas oven, make sure you’re using the right appliances and referring to the manual so that the grease or juices don’t spill onto the gas flame.
  • Avoid using glass dishes or casseroles to broil as glass can’t withstand high temperatures. You can use a metal pan as long as you know for sure that it won’t warp under high heat. Don’t use pans with wooden or plastic handles as well.

Final Words

Broiling is a healthier option for cooking meat because it gets rid of most of the fat from the food.

It’s also a great method to get the perfect char on your meats and vegetables.

However, you should always keep a close eye on them to prevent smoke or burning and trim excess fat from the meat before broiling them to reduce the chances of fire.

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