You're Probably Baking and Roasting in the Wrong Part of Your Oven—Here's Why

Did you know your oven has zones that are the key to perfect baked goods and roasted veggies?


Moving into your first place with your partner is very exciting. You are both learning so much from each other and creating new experiences. For me: Witnessing my partner's lack of kitchen knowledge is adorable at best, especially seeing a perplexed face at a broiler drawer (no, not a storage drawer) beneath the oven.

A recent TikTok video shows the placement of oven racks in a standard oven based on what you are baking. They used alphabetical labeling to help them remember.

  • "A" (lowest level) is for angel food cake and anything tall.
  • "B" (below center) is for biscuits and brownies
  • "C" (center) is for cakes and cookies
  • "D" (top) is for "do not use"

Now, I do not agree with avoiding the top placement (hello to broiling), but everything else makes sense. Making sure your food is correctly placed in the oven will determine what finish it will have. Let's just hope, the finish was intentional. Here are the oven zones to use for every cooking situation:

Which Oven Rack Placement to Use When Broiling

Broiling is just like grilling, where direct heat or open flame is what's cooking your food. What makes broilers different is grilling has the heat or flame below the food, whereas broiling has it over the food. Broiling creates a char on meats, vegetables, or anything covered in cheese. In most ovens, the broiler is at the very top of the oven. You need to place the rack at the highest setting, closest to the heat source. This method requires close attention, though, because it can easily go from perfectly golden to burnt in no time. Note that some gas stoves have broilers in the bottom drawer compartment, so do not use that drawer for storage if that's the case.

Which Oven Rack Placement to Use When Baking

Baking is perhaps one of the oldest cooking methods ever. It is a dry heat method that uses air as the heat transfer. Baking needs even cooking, which is great for baked goods like cakes and cookies. So the center rack placement is key to making sure the air is circulating evenly.

Which Oven Rack Placement to Use When Roasting

You may think roasting and baking are the same. However, would you ever say you are "roasting" a cake? Nine times out of ten, it is never. Roasting is for thrill seekers. This high heat method ensures a nice golden crust on your food (think veggies or a whole chicken ), but also cooking it thoroughly. To get those results on large cuts of meat like chicken or turkey and on sturdy vegetables like potatoes, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, use the lower third of your oven (as that's normally where the main heat source comes from).

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