Difference Between Roasting and Grilling

Did you know the concept of grilling and roasting, as we know it today, originated millions of years ago when humans cooked in an open fire?

Of course, this was all before civilization, and today we come to recognize such methods of cooking food as grilling and roasting. Now, these two concepts have been used in close relation for years. However, both methods come with vast differences.

So, have you ever wondered what the key difference is? Continue reading to find out. We’ll be covering various questions, including:

  • What is roasting?
  • What is grilling?
  • Is grilling healthier than roasting?

Let’s get started! 

What is Roasting?

From the historical angle, roasting meant cooking foods, usually meat, over an open fire. But then came the invention of the oven, and subsequently, the entire method of roasting changed as well. 

Today, roasting means cooking the food in a well-insulated box under a set temperature – which in most cases is an oven. Through the hot air blowing inside the box, the box evenly cooks the meat until delicious meat juices flow.

What is Grilling?

On the other hand, grilling is a cooking method that involves cooking food over a charcoal or gas flame. The food is cooked by placing it atop a grill rack in an open flame, whereby the intense heat is utilized to help break down the food and cook it precisely. Grilling is also considered an early food cooking method. 

People often consider the grilling method as much more suitable for various reasons (which we will be uncovering in a bit). So, make sure you keep reading. 

Key Differences in Roasting and Grilling

Considering how the two terms are often used in close relation, the two techniques share many similarities. But the final verdict is that: the two are very much different from each other in plenty of ways. 

Grilling and roasting have specific differences ranging from heat/temperature to cooking duration – all of which will be explained in detail below. 

Use of Equipment

Material-wise, it’s pretty easy to locate the materials needed for cooking. However, it’s equally important to understand the equipment used for both grilling and roasting. As hinted through its name, a grill is needed for grilling. Although, a griddle or a gridiron will also suffice. 

The roasting method will require either an oven or even a closed-lid grill to form an entirely closed-off atmosphere over the meat. 

Cooking Time

Now, for the cooking time, each method varies quite a bit as one can generally expect grilling to take around 3-10 minutes, depending on how rare you want the meat to be. The rarer the meat, the lesser time it will take to grill, especially for people with high-powered grills. 

Unfortunately, roasting food takes considerably more time. The cooking time can range anywhere from an hour to three hours. The cooking duration also depends on the portion of the meat you’re planning to cook. 

The time difference between the two is mainly due to how grills can get hotter in a faster time as compared to an oven. Generally, good grills backed by an excellent fuel source can exceed 500°F temp within minutes. 

As one can imagine, this instantly assists in cooking most meats at a quicker rate. However, ovens don’t usually reach this level of temp in cases of simple roasting. Instead, the temperature generally stays somewhere between 200°F & 400°F. Roasting also takes time to reach the desired/required temperature. 

Cooking Method

Now that we’ve covered the temperature aspect of each method, you may be thinking, what about the technique on how it cooks the food? 

Let’s start with roasting. Roasting happens typically in a low, indirect heating environment, which keeps the food cooking pleasant and even. This direct heat prevents the method from having any direct heat source touching the food; instead, the general hot air surrounding the food is precisely what cooks the food. Grilling, on another note, involves the use of high, direct heat that touches the food, which is what often gives the food its smoky flavor. 

Here’s a highlight of the main differences between roasting and grilling: 

  • Grilling food involves direct exposure to flame, while roasting involves indirect exposure.
  • Roasting takes longer than grilling.
  • Grilling generally requires a higher temperature than roasting. 
  • Grilling is carried out on a griddle or a grill, while roasting is primarily done in an oven. 
  • Roasting makes the food more tender, while grilling makes it crispier. 


Is Roasting the same as grilling?

The short answer is no. One significant difference between grill and roast is the process of cooking. The former allows the food to be in direct contact with heat, while the latter allows the food to be cooked without direct contact with heat. 

Is grilling healthier than roasting?

Yes, grilled meats generally tend to be much healthier than roasting as fats can easily drip away while grilling. The grilling method can capture the flavor of the meat without the need for a high amount of fats, marinades, sauces, or salt. Hence, it can reduce your caloric intake. 

Can I copy grilling in an oven?

Yes. In fact, mimicking the grill in an oven is a viral technique that people often employ. Are you wondering how? Think of the oven’s broiler as some upside-down grill. It chars and cooks the food quickly through the intense, direct heat. Proper use of a broiler can lead to a delicious, caramelized crust similar to an outdoor grill. 

Is it better to grill or roast vegetables?

Cooking vegetables in a roast or grill generally depends on the food’s expected outcome and the time. If you’re looking for a smoky char, you probably won’t get that from an oven. Hence, it will be better to grill the vegetables. If you want the vegetables to be cooked tenderly, then roasting is the way. Moreover, grilling takes a shorter time if you’re looking to cook the vegetables faster.