Baking on the Grill: Cookies, Brownies, Cakes, and More!

It’s the middle of summer and you’re craving a warm, fudgy brownie. Or one perfect, gooey chocolate chip cookie. Or, heck, a freshly frosted cupcake.

But you don’t have air conditioning and there’s no way you’re turning on the oven to bake one single thing.

So why not try baking on the grill instead?

baking cookies on the grill
Photo: Casey Barber

In my quest to use my grill as an oven for ev.er.y.thing when it’s hot outside, I’ve developed a foolproof strategy for baking on the grill.

It doesn’t require any fancy equipment, either. Seriously, nothing special—just the basic stuff you already have in your house if you already like to bake.

Yes, you can put a baking sheet on the grill. Or a baking pan. Or a muffin tin. Any oven-safe baking dish can work on your grill.

There are just three important things to keep in mind:

The Secret to Baking on the Grill

The key to baking on the grill is to elevate your baking dish or sheet above the grill grates so air can circulate around it.

The grates themselves, especially if they’re cast iron like on my Weber, are meant to conduct heat into the food and hold onto a lot of heat themselves.

That’s how you get those fantastic sear marks on everything from steaks to zucchini strips, but it means that delicate baked goods are prone to burned bottoms and overbaking.

baking cupcakes and cake on the grill
Photo: Casey Barber

But if you elevate your baking pans, you can cook whatever’s in them with indirect heat.

It’s easy to do with one or two cooling racks. If yours are low-riders, you may need to stack them.

You can also make a snake shape out of balled-up foil and use it in a pinch. Be careful with silicone trivets on the grill, unless you know for a 100 percent fact that the silicone you have is rated up to 600 degrees F.

baking brownies on the grill
Photo: Casey Barber

My personal favorite elevation device for baking on the grill is this weird taco grill rack—who knows why I bought it, because I have never once used it for tacos.

But as a grill rack, it’s fantastic!

Mind Your Temperature

The other key to baking on the grill is to watch your grill temperature.

As grills are basically designed to get really hot really fast, and then maintain their heat, you need to make sure you’re not overdoing it.

Try to keep your temperature as close to 350 degrees as possible to mimic your indoor oven.

cake and cupcakes baked on the grill
Photo: Casey Barber

The temperature will fluctuate because you’ll be opening and closing the grill, but as long as you have it in the ballpark, you’ll be fine.

For my gas grill, this means turning my knobs down to the lowest setting. Every grill is different (just like every indoor oven has its quirks!), so experiment with what works best for yours.

Underbake your desserts on the grill

Because the grill temperature can be variable and slightly higher than an indoor oven, I find it best to remove my cookies, cakes, and other baked treats from the grill a few minutes before they would normally be done.

These s’mores brownie bites, for example, will continue to cook in their tin as they cool, so you’ll want to pull them early.

s'mores brownie bites
Photo: Casey Barber

Start checking about 10 minutes before the specified time in your recipe, and use a toothpick or other cake tester as necessary.

Even if your cookies aren’t quite as browned as they would normally be in an oven, I bet you anything they’ll already be golden on the bottom before 11 minutes are up.

Follow these three guidelines and you’ll find that baking on the grill is a piece of cake. Or brownie. Or cookie. Or whatever.

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