Broiling Is the Easiest Way to Make Crispy, Beautifully Browned Food—But You're Definitely Doing It Wrong

It’s one of the fastest cooking methods, too.

Want to achieve that perfect char on meat, veggies, or homemade pizza? Your oven's broiler setting is a great way to add a crispy finish to your favorite foods, but it's often misused or unused, thanks to a bad rap and an undeserved intimidation factor.

Think of your broiler like an upside-down grill—broiling is a method of cooking that directly exposes your food to super-high heat, only (typically) from the top rather than the bottom. This makes it perfect for browning or quick-cooking dishes, but one misstep and you'll be left with a dried-out steak or burnt pizza crust.

Whether you're hoping to brown potatoes into crispy perfection, cook juicy snapper or salmon, or nail the perfect nacho cheese pull, here's the proper way to use your broiler, according to Kait Capone, Whirlpool brand manager.

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First, locate the broiler in your oven.

While it's typically near the top of the oven cavity, some ovens have separate broiler drawers located under the main oven.

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Use the right cookware.

If you don't have a broiling pan, use a shallow metal baking pan and your baking rack to hold your food. Avoid using glass cookware, as the intense heat can cause it to crack or shatter.

RELATED: This Simple—and Very Common—Mistake Is Ruining Your Cookware

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Adjust your oven racks.

In general, aim to have a 3- to 5-inch gap between your broiler and the top of your meat. Place thinner cuts and foods that benefit from heavy browning and caramelization closer to the broil element. Thicker cuts and bone-in meats that take longer to reach their required cooking temperature benefit from a position farther from the broil element, which allows them to cook to the center and reduce the chance of burning. Overall, the closer you place your food to the broiler, the faster it will cook. Check your recipe to find the right rack placement for your particular dish.

Also, check your oven's manual to see if the door should remain open or closed when using the broiler.

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Preheat your broiler.

Preheating times vary, depending on your oven; so check your user guide to see how much time you need. While most broilers operate via an on-off switch, some ovens have a low-high function or allow you to set a particular temperature.

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Watch your food.

Since broiling uses such a high heat, it's important to stay close and monitor your food. Use your oven light or open the door to frequently check on your food's progress.

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