The Difference Between Baking and Cooking

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As you may know, both baking and cooking are methods we use to prepare food almost every day. While the purpose of the two can be the same – which is to make decadent dishes – the two diverge in the food that they produce. The main distinction between the two that stands out almost undeniably is that cooking normally involves the upper area of your gas cooker, while baking requires the lower half or a completely separate appliance. Without further delay, let’s take a look at the many differences between baking and cooking.

Table of Contents

What is Cooking Exactly?

Cooking refers to a method of preparing food that involves heating and combining some ingredients to change their chemical composition, deeming them safe for consumption. The basic principle of cooking remains the same throughout history, which is to apply heat to raw food in order to make it edible. To cook, can easily mean that you intend to sizzle, sauté, fry, or broil something.

When exposed to heat these ingredients may alter in appearance, flavour, texture, and even chemical composition. Some become softer and tender as fibres break down while others become firmer. The ingredients used in cooking food are usually living organisms (such as animal meat) or other naturally occurring substances, such as eggs, and dairy products, along with minerals such as salt or water. Some foods may also be prepared using non-living matter such as powdered milk in place of fresh milk, margarine instead of butter, and so on. In order to produce these outcomes, cooking can be accomplished in a variety of ways, depending on what type of outcome you acquire from your dish.

difference between baking and cooking

What is Baking?

The word “baking” has a number of meanings in cooking. It can be used to describe a type of food preparation or cooking method, or it could be referring to the container used for baking cakes and other desserts. Baking falls under the broad umbrella term of cooking. Similar to roasting, it is done in an enclosed environment. When we steam certain foods, it is normally accomplished without excessive moisture.

However, when someone says they’re going to bake something, this usually translates to the fact that they are going to cook something using constant dry heat. The source of this heat can be anything from burned wood to coal, gas, or electricity.

Regardless of how it’s produced, most ovens require some form of heating element as part of their design. It’s this constant exposure to dry heat that distinguishes baking from other types of cooking methods, that tend to use steamy moist air for example. When steady heat travels through something like bread dough, it becomes firmer and the darker liquid batter becomes a soft crust, and scoops of dough start to spread flatly on both sides. Many ingredients can be baked aside from turning dough into bread, you can bake pasta, muffins, cookies, pies, scones meat, fish vegetables, and pizza.

difference between baking and cooking

Baking vs Cooking

Baking and cooking are two different methods of preparing food, but they both require the use of ovens or stoves. The main focus when cooking or baking, is the type of product you hope to finish with. And the equipment you use plays a huge role in this method. From the simplest of kitchen items to larger kitchen appliances, everything has its place for a reason!

Let’s take a look at this list for further clarity:

  • Product
  • Art & Science
  • Equipment
  • Popularity


Baking refers to the process of cooking food in an oven. This can happen at high temperatures or low temperatures. While you might be thinking that baking is just another word for roasting meat or veggies over an open flame, this isn’t true! Most people who think about baking are actually thinking about rising dough and batter as opposed to savoury dishes being cooked in the oven.

And what do you need to rise? Leavening agents! In order for a dish to rise properly, there must be air pockets throughout its mass that allow it to expand into fluffy deliciousness. Common leavening agents include baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate), baking powder (which usually contains both baking soda and cream of tartar), yeast, sourdough starter (if your recipe calls for it), and whipped egg whites (if your recipe calls for those too). Some examples of baked goods include cakes, pieces of bread, rolls, biscuits, croissants, pretzels, bagels, and more!

Art & Science

It’s no secret that many consider cooking an art and baking a science, for instance, cooking can be done without a recipe, as long as you have the ingredients along with some experience in cooking, you can comfortably merge your own combination of ingredients. Try experimenting with cool ingredients in the kitchen to see what you can achieve! Like sautéed onions, with a dash of turkey bacon, and a sprinkle of chilli flakes, just to see if it tastes good or not! If it doesn’t taste great, then maybe you should try something else, like sausage instead of turkey bacon, and black pepper instead of chili flakes.

In this way, cooking encourages improvisation and experimentation because the results are never guaranteed; however, there will always be variations from person to person based on individual taste preferences which make each dish unique in itself even within a single household depending on who cooked dinner.

Baking on the other hand has rules that must be followed strictly, otherwise, you could potentially risk ruining everything! An example of this can be depicted in a scenario, where you were preparing your dough to make some bread. You would need flour that contains gluten proteins, these proteins when mixed with water form gluten strands that trap air bubbles created by yeast fermentation during the baking process thus producing a chewy texture in bread but when over-processed, can result in dense crumbs instead, so you need to make sure that you are paying attention to the recipe at hand, with perfected measurements, to generate the desired outcome.


If you are cooking, it is essential that you have a variety of equipment. You will need pans for frying and boiling, pots for making soups and stews, knives for chopping vegetables, peelers for peeling fruits and vegetables, tongs or wooden spoons for stirring food in pots and pans, and potholders so that you can prevent accidental burns when removing hot items from the stovetop or oven. A grill is also handy if you want to cook meat outdoors without using an oven or cooking over an open flame, and grills require their very own spatula too!

When making baked goods, then an oven is of course essential. You’ll also require some measuring cups, and spoons to measure out ingredients before mixing them together in a mixer or whisking by hand. You’ll also need some cake or muffin pans, proofing baskets, rolling pins, and hook attachments.

The Difference Between Baking and Cooking


Baking, in contrast to cooking, was only popularised around 2600 BC. The first bakers were women who used primitive ovens and hand-held tools such as mortars and pestles to grind grain into flour for bread making. This type of baking was followed by flatbreads, which are still popular today – think bagels or naan! Cooking has been known to man for at least 2 million years, though it’s almost impossible to pinpoint when cooking began because there have been so many different recipes from all over the world that developed over time.

Which is Better, Baking or Cooking?

Both baking and cooking are good in their own separate ways. With cooking, it’s easy to prepare something really tasty and all you need are ingredients and a recipe. Baking allows more room for creativity, but there is less room for mistakes because it takes longer than cooking does.

Baking is considered one of the healthiest cooking methods since it requires little fat such as oil compared to other forms of cooking like frying or grilling meat or fish over an open flame which produces lots of smoke particles that can affect your respiratory system negatively in addition to making food taste less appetising due to excessive use of oil during the frying process.

Is Cooking and Baking the Same Thing?

Now that we have a clear understanding of the differences between cooking and baking, you may be wondering whether there are any similarities. When we are looking at the definitions of cooking and baking, one might assume that yes, they are the same thing. Cooking is a broad term used to describe several different methods of making food. It can be boiled, fried, or sautéed. Baking is also a broad term but it refers specifically to using dry heat in an oven or other enclosed space (such as a smoker). Simply put, all baking is cooking but not all cooking is baking.

Some Baking Recipes

Baking is a cooking method where heat is applied to food for an extended period of time to increase its internal temperature so that it rises in volume or expands – like cakes rising – or changes into a different state like cookies. Here are some delicious baking recipes for you to try:

  • Vintage Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Triple Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake
  • Iced Buns with Cream and Jam
  • Belgian Buns

Vintage Chocolate Chip Cookies

A fairly simple chocolate chip cookie recipe that requires an oven, as well as a precise baker with all of their necessary equipment. For an incredibly squidgy centre, these cookies will have you coming back for more in no time!

Triple Chocolate and Peanut Butter Layer Cake

If you’re a frequent baker, then this should be a piece of cake! This phenomenal triple chocolate and peanut butter layer cake is an incredible work of art, making it the perfect dessert after a hearty meal.

Iced Buns with Cream and Jam

Iced buns for tea anybody? Fill these decadent buns with thick scoops of cream and dollops of jam, for that deliciously hefty afternoon snack, after a long productive day, these little delights will most certainly chase your worries out the door!

Belgian Buns

These Belgian buns happen to be my absolute favourite type of baked dessert. A single bite is enough to have you coming back for another before you’ve even swallowed the first! Indulge in these irresistibly soft buns, with sticky sweet icing, a treat for your sweet tooth indeed!

Cooking Recipes

Cooking recipes are designed to be easy to follow, so you can create delicious dishes without having much experience under your belt. They’re also healthy alternatives that won’t leave you feeling guilty about what you ate earlier that day. Furthermore, cooking doesn’t take nearly as long as baking does: because it’s less hands-on throughout the process, cleaning up after yourself is much easier. Here are some tremendous recipes for you to try:

  • Butter Chicken
  • Teriyaki Chicken
  • Thai Fried Prawn & Pineapple Rice

Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a delicious and comforting Indian dish, but don’t be intimidated by its spectacular versatility. You can pair this delicious curry with some plain boiled rice or naan for an impeccable meal.

Teriyaki Chicken

This is a quick and easy dish that’s packed with flavour. It’s a great way to use up any leftover chicken you might have, or even just quickly marinate some fresh chicken breasts before cooking them in the pan. You can serve this dish with either steamed or sticky rice for that delightfully sticky finish.

Thai Fried Prawn & Pineapple Rice

This easy low calorie dinner is perfect for a busy weeknight. For best results, cook your rice in advance then let it freeze overnight or longer, depending on when you plan to eat it.

Baking and Cooking

Finally let’s gather our obvious findings and point out that the visible difference between baking and cooking, is that baking happens to be a dry-heat method that uses an oven to cook, while classic stove-top cooking is a wet-heat method that uses boiling water or another liquid.

difference between baking and cooking


Is Baking and Cooking the Same Thing?

Baking is fully cooking food in the oven, from bread and fish to meat and vegetables. Baking requires less time and more precision, whereas cooking can be an improvisation with a recipe that can take up to a few hours!

Is Baking a Form of Cooking?

Baking is a method of cooking and is perhaps one of the oldest methods to exist. It is a specific type of cooking where dry heat is exposed to food in an enclosed space, like an oven.

What Does the Cooking Term Baking Mean?

Baking focuses on the elements of food that are to be cooked directly under dry heat, without the aid of cooking spoons for stirring, simply a timer is set, while the baker waits.

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