Learn how to bake on the grill and avoid turning on your oven during hot summer months!

How to Bake on a Grill

It’s only the beginning of July, but already this summer is a hot one. I’ve been using our outdoor grill for almost all of our cooking and one day I thought to myself could I bake on the grill? I did a little research, used a little creativity, and did it! And not only was using my grill as an oven successful, but it was actually pretty simple. I may not turn on my oven for the rest of the summer!

Keep reading for all of my best tips and techniques for using your outdoor grill for baking all kinds of goodies, from cookies, cobblers, and bread. 

How to Bake on a Grill

What equipment you’ll need

  • Any kind of covered grill will work, although it is easier to control the heat with a gas grill than a charcoal grill.
  • A thermometer is quite helpful, though not necessary. Many grills come with them. If yours doesn’t, use an oven thermometer.
  • You’ll also need something heatproof to set your sheet pan or baking dish on so that it’s not sitting directly on your grill rack, a buffer. I prefer to use a cast iron pan.

How to Bake on the Grill

In order to use a grill as an oven you need to turn direct heat into indirect heat. Every grill is different, so you’ll need to figure out what will work best with what you’ve got. It may take a few times to get it just right, so be patient. It’s also a good idea to start with something simple like cookies, and then work you way to more finicky baked goods like cakes.

1. Turn on the grill

If you are using a gas grill with only one burner, then turn it on. If you have a gas grill with multiple burners, turn on only some. You’ll do your baking above the unlit burners. Our grill has four burners, so I turn on the outside ones and bake in the middle.

If you are using a charcoal grill, arrange the charcoals so that there is an open area for indirect heat. For example, placing the charcoal in a ring around the outside, leaving the inside empty.

2. Preheat the grill

Aim for up to 25 degrees (Fahrenheit) higher than the desired temperature, as some heat will be lost when you place your unbaked items inside and won’t be regained as easily as it would in an oven. So, if your cookie recipe usually bakes at 375°F, try to get your grill to about 400°F. Getting the temperature right may take a few tries, but keep at it.

3. Insert items you wish to bake

If you are using a charcoal grill or a single burner gas grill, then it is vital you place something on the grill between it and your baking pan. Even though I bake over burners that are off, I still use a buffer just in case. Lift the lid of the grill for only as long as it takes to slide your baking dish or pan inside.

4. Adjust heat as necessary

It’s okay do a little peeking, but try to limit it. Every time you open the grill you’re losing heat. As you get to know your grill, hopefully you will need to peek less and less. If it looks like your baked items are browning too fast or too slow, adjust the heat. I haven’t given any instruction on specific grill temperature settings because every grill is going to be different.

Again, if you’re baking cookies that normally bake at 375°F, try to keep your grill somewhere between 375°F and 400°F, adjusting the grill up or down as needed.

5. Enjoy your baked goods

When your baking is done, remove everything from the grill and enjoy! And take comfort in the fact that you didn’t even need to turn on the oven to enjoy freshly baked goods.

How to Bake on a Grill

What should you bake on the grill?

My favorite things to bake on the grill are simple, “sturdy” desserts like cookies, galettes, and cobblers. Here are a few recipe ideas to get you started:

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Post originally published July 2013.