Broilers don’t get a lot of use anymore. In fact, most new ranges Consumer Reports tests no longer come with a broiler pan, even though the manuals suggest using one. But done right, broiling can give food a nice char, searing burgers and steaks, and browning casseroles quickly. Here’s how to do it right.

Electric ranges are typically better at broiling than gas in our tests. That’s because the broiler design of gas ranges doesn’t lend itself to excellent broiling. 

Among electric and gas ranges, an excellent broiling score turned out a tray of nine hamburgers that were nicely seared and juicy. "When a range scored good in broiling, expect that the broiling won't be as fast or as even across a tray,” says Tara Casaregola, the engineer who oversees our tests of cooking appliances. A fair broiling scoring means you’re barely broiling—either the heat is very spotty or it’s more like baking.

Broiling is a bit of an experiment, at first, but it does improve the taste and look of food. Thin, tender meats and poultry are ideal for broiling since they cook faster than thicker cuts. Salmon and other fatty fishes are also great under the broiler. Most electric and gas ovens have variable broil. It lets you adjust the heat from low to high. Moving the oven rack closer or away also alters the heat’s intensity.

Broiler in an electric range.

Hot Broiling Tips

Read your manual for starters. With most electric ranges you’ll need to keep the oven door slightly ajar while broiling for best performance. For gas ranges, you usually have to keep the oven door closed to get a proper mix of gas and air.

  • Preheat for 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Find out where the broiler’s sweet spots are by placing nine slices of white bread on a pan and broiling for a minute. Is some bread much darker than others? Are slices barely broiled? You’ll want to place food where the heat is hot.
  • Check whether your skillet or pan is designed to withstand the broiler’s high heat.
  • Use a broiler pan when cooking fatty meats to let the grease drip, rather than allowing grease to collect, risking a fire.
  • Watch closely. A lot can happen quickly.
  • Flip food halfway through cooking. 
  • If a fire starts, close the oven door to cut off oxygen and shut off the heat.

Ranges for Better Broiling

Here are some of the gas and electric ranges from our tests that were very good or excellent overall, including at broiling.  

Gas Ranges

Electric Smoothtop Ranges

Need a New Range?

Compare all your options in our range Ratings and use the filter to narrow selection by brand and price. The range buying guide is a good place to start.

Send questions to kjaneway@consumer.org.