Infrared Cooking: Tips, Safety, and Benefits

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  May 31, 2022

Always the latest smoking tips & tricks?

Subscribe to THE ESSENTIAL newsletter for aspiring pitmasters

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Infrared (IR) is invisible radiant energy, electromagnetic radiation with longer wavelengths than those of visible light, extending from the nominal red edge of the visible spectrum at 700 nanometers (frequency 430 THz) to 1 mm (300 GHz) (although people can see infrared up to at least 1050 nm in experiments).

Most of the thermal radiation emitted by objects near room temperature is infrared. Infrared radiation was discovered in 1800 by astronomer Sir William Herschel, who discovered a type of invisible radiation in the spectrum beyond red light, by means of its effect upon a thermometer.

It’s used in traditional cooking methods like grilling and baking, but it’s the way it’s used that makes it special. In this article, I’ll explain how it works, what it’s good for, and how you can use it to cook some delicious food.

What is infrared cooking

Get Cooking with Infrared Technology

Infrared technology uses an element that heats up when gas or electric power is applied. This element then produces infrared radiation, which hits the grates and radiates intense heat to the food. The heat transfer is direct, meaning that the food is cooked by the infrared waves rather than by convection or contact with a hot surface. This results in faster cooking times and more even heating.

What Are the Benefits of Infrared Technology?

Infrared technology has several benefits when it comes to cooking food:

  • Faster cooking times: Infrared technology can cook food up to 50% faster than traditional methods.
  • Even heating: The heat produced by infrared technology is evenly distributed, resulting in food that is cooked evenly throughout.
  • Powerful heating: Infrared technology (here are the best grills that use it) can produce temperatures of up to 900°F, making it ideal for cooking large cuts of meat or searing food quickly.
  • Efficient use of energy: Infrared technology uses less energy than traditional cooking methods, making it a more environmentally friendly option.
  • Retains moisture (which can be hard to do in a smoker): Infrared technology does not rely on hot air to cook food, which means that it does not dry out the food as much as traditional cooking methods. This results in food that is juicier and more flavorful.
  • Natural cooking: Infrared technology does not require the use of oil or other cooking mediums, making it a healthier option for cooking food.

Get to Know Infrared Cooking: The Hot New Way to Cook Your Food

Infrared cooking is a type of cooking that utilizes electromagnetic radiation to heat and cook food. It is considered a faster and more powerful way of cooking compared to traditional methods. Infrared cooking is similar to the process of heating food in a microwave, but it heats the food in a different way.

What Types of Appliances Use Infrared Cooking?

Infrared cooking can be found in several types of appliances, including:

  • Infrared grills: Infrared grills use an infrared element between the grates and the flame to heat the food.
  • Infrared burners: Infrared burners are commonly found in gas stovetops and can be used for sautéing or boiling water.
  • Infrared skillets: Infrared skillets use an infrared element to heat the skillet, allowing for even cooking.

How Can You Utilize Infrared Cooking in Your Kitchen?

Infrared cooking can be a good way to add convenience and speed to your cooking process. Here are some ways you can utilize infrared cooking in your kitchen:

  • Grab an infrared grill: Infrared grills are the easiest way to start cooking with infrared technology.
  • Add an infrared burner: If you have a gas stove, consider adding an infrared burner to help speed up your cooking process.
  • Use an infrared skillet: An infrared skillet can be a great way to cook food evenly and quickly, especially when sautéing or frying.

What Are Some Examples of Infrared Cooking in Action?

Here are some examples of how infrared cooking can be used in your kitchen:

  • Cooking garlic in an infrared skillet: An infrared skillet can be heated to a high temperature quickly, making it perfect for sautéing garlic in oil.
  • Grilling a large cut of meat: Infrared grills are powerful enough to cook large cuts of meat quickly and evenly.
  • Boiling water on an infrared burner: Infrared burners can heat water faster than traditional gas burners, making them a good choice for boiling water.

Is Infrared Cooking Right for You?

Infrared cooking is definitely a hot new way to cook your food, but it may not be for everyone. If you value convenience and speed in your cooking process, infrared cooking may be a good fit for you. However, if you prefer the traditional feel of cooking with direct heat and contact with the grates, infrared cooking may not be the right choice. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and the types of food you like to cook.

Why Infrared Radiation Might Be the Best Way to Cook Your Food

Infrared radiation is a type of electromagnetic energy that is given off by any object with a temperature above absolute zero. When this energy is incoming, it causes the molecules in the area to vibrate and heat up. This process is what creates the hot surface that we use for cooking. Infrared radiation comes in different forms and wavelengths, but the type used for cooking is usually located in the red area of the spectrum. According to the current scientific research, infrared radiation is not powerful enough to alter the molecular structure of the food cooked using it as a heat source, making it safe for human consumption.

The Difference Between Infrared and Traditional Cooking

The main difference between infrared and traditional cooking methods is the way that heat is delivered to the food. In traditional cooking methods, heat is delivered indirectly through the air or a cooking surface. Infrared cooking, on the other hand, delivers heat directly to the food. This allows for faster cooking times and better flavor.

Is Infrared Cooking Safe? The Truth About Using Infrared Technology for Cooking

Infrared cooking uses electromagnetic radiation to heat food, which means it relies on a different process than traditional cooking methods. Infrared radiation is a type of energy that is incredibly powerful and can heat food at a faster rate than other methods. However, the question remains: is it safe to cook with infrared?

The Truth About Infrared Radiation and Food

The truth is that current research shows that infrared radiation is not powerful enough to alter the molecular structure of food cooked using it as a heat source. This means that the food results are safe for human use and consumption. In fact, infrared cooking is a perfectly normal way to cook food and is becoming increasingly popular among home cooks and outdoor grill makers.

The Safety of Infrared Grills and Devices

Infrared grills and devices are perfectly safe to use for cooking food. They work by getting incredibly hot, with temperatures reaching up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the surface of the device remains relatively cool, which means that it is safe to handle and use.

The Importance of Sensible Use

While infrared cooking is safe, it is important to use the technology sensibly. Prolonged exposure to infrared radiation can pose a risk, just like with any other cooking method. However, studies performed by the National Institutes of Health have shown that the risk associated with infrared cooking is no higher than with other cooking methods.

Grilling with Infrared: A Faster, More Efficient Way to Cook

Infrared grills work by using a special element that produces short electromagnetic waves, which are then absorbed by the food being cooked. This form of radiation hits the food directly, providing a faster and more efficient cooking process. The infrared element is usually found between the gas burner and the grilling area, allowing it to fully heat up and produce incredible heat.

What Makes Infrared Grilling Different?

The main difference between infrared grilling and other types of grilling is the way that heat is produced and distributed. Infrared grilling uses a more advanced technique that allows for a higher temperature, hitting a specific area with a lot of power. This means that the resulting dishes are cooked faster and with a little bit more moisture, making them ideal for meat and other types of food.

Why Use an Infrared Grill?

There are several reasons why an infrared grill is a good idea for anyone who loves to cook outdoors:

  • Faster cooking time: Infrared grills can achieve higher temperatures faster than traditional grills, making them perfect for quick meals.
  • More efficient use of power: Because infrared grills use less air and gas to produce heat, they are more efficient and require less fuel to cook.
  • Convenience: Infrared grills are simple to use and require little maintenance, making them a great option for anyone who wants to cook outside without a lot of hassle.
  • Better results: Infrared grilling produces dishes with a unique flavor and texture that can’t be found with other methods.

How to Cook with an Infrared Grill

If you’re new to infrared grilling, here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Check the manual: Each type of infrared grill is a little different, so it’s a good idea to read the manual before you start cooking.
  • Preheat the grill: Infrared grills take a little bit of time to heat up, so make sure you preheat the grill before you start cooking.
  • Use the right temperature: Infrared grills can get very hot, so it’s important to use the right temperature for the specific item you’re cooking.
  • Use a meat thermometer: Infrared grilling can be sensitive to moisture, so it’s a good idea to use a meat thermometer to make sure your food is fully cooked.
  • Experiment with different techniques: Infrared grilling allows for a lot of flexibility in cooking methods, so don’t be afraid to try new things and see what works best for you.

Mastering the Art of Cooking with Infrared Burners

Infrared burners are a type of burner that emits radiant heat to cook food. They are commonly used in grills, ovens, and other cooking appliances. Infrared burners work by heating up a large metal box encased in layers of stainless steel emitters, ceramic tiles, or other materials that emit infrared radiation. The heat is then transferred to the food through the air, determined by the airflow and the type of barrier that isolates the flame.

How do Infrared Burners Work?

Infrared burners work by heating up a large metal box encased in layers of stainless steel emitters, ceramic tiles, or other materials that emit infrared radiation. The heat is then transferred to the food through the air, determined by the airflow and the type of barrier that isolates the flame. Infrared burners put out a lot of heat in a small area, making them ideal for searing and cooking food quickly.

Things to Consider When Cooking with Infrared Technology

Cooking with infrared technology takes some learning and skill. It’s not as simple as putting a piece of meat on the grill and turning it over a few times. You need to know the right way to cook each type of food, the right temperature, and the right amount of time to cook it. It takes a little bit of time to get used to cooking with infrared, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a convenient and efficient way to produce high-quality food.

Storage and Size

Infrared grills and burners can be quite large and take up a lot of space in your kitchen or outdoor area. If you have a small kitchen or limited outdoor space, you may not be able to accommodate an infrared grill. Additionally, if you purchase a commercial-grade infrared grill, you may need a dedicated storage box to keep it safe and secure when not in use.


Infrared grills and burners can be more expensive than traditional gas or electric grills. However, they offer a lot of benefits that traditional grills don’t, such as the ability to cook delicate meats and fish without burning them. If you’re willing to spend a little extra money, an infrared grill is a great investment.


Infrared cooking is a specific method that works best for certain types of food. If you’re looking to char and broil steaks or cook solid pieces of meat, infrared may not be the best option. However, if you’re looking to cook delicate fish or produce a perfect finish on vegetables, infrared is the way to go.


Infrared grills and burners get very hot, very quickly. This can be a problem if you’re not used to cooking with such high heat. You need to be careful not to burn your food or overcook it. Additionally, the heat is often directed directly at the food, which can be a problem if you’re cooking something that needs to be cooked slowly and evenly.

Short Cooking Time

Infrared cooking is known for its short cooking time. While this can be convenient, it also means that you need to be able to cook your food quickly and efficiently. If you’re not able to keep up with the pace of the cooking, your food may end up overcooked or burnt.

Plate Material

The plates on an infrared grill can be made of a variety of materials, including steel and ceramic. Steel plates are great for producing a lot of heat quickly, but they can be difficult to clean. Ceramic plates are easier to clean, but they don’t produce as much heat. It’s important to choose the right plate material for your needs.

Gas vs. Electric

Infrared grills can be powered by either gas or electric. Gas grills are more convenient and offer a lot of flexibility in terms of temperature control. Electric grills (best ones here) are more energy-efficient and offer a more consistent heat source. It’s important to choose the right type of infrared grill for your needs.

Quality of the Product

Not all infrared grills and burners are created equal. Some offer a lot of features and high-quality components, while others are lower quality and may not last as long. It’s important to do your research and choose a high-quality product that will last for years to come.

Mastering Infrared Grill Cooking: Tips and Techniques

  • Thaw your meats and seafood thoroughly before grilling to ensure even cooking.
  • Pat your food dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  • Brush a light layer of canola oil on the surface of your food to help it hold its juices and protect it from sticking to the grill.

Optimizing Your Infrared Grill Settings

  • Preheat your grill on high for 10-15 minutes before placing your food on the grids.
  • Use the high setting to sear your meats and seafood for a steakhouse finish.
  • Use the medium setting for delicate foods like vegetables and fowl.
  • Use the low setting to finish cooking your food or to keep it warm.
  • Keep the hood covered as much as possible to maintain a consistent temperature and achieve optimum performance from your grill burners.

Cooking Techniques for Infrared Grilling

  • Use a forked brass bristle brush to clean your grids before and after cooking to minimize excess fat and achieve those perfect grill marks.
  • Use a fork or tongs to turn your food instead of a regular spatula to avoid piercing the surface and losing juices.
  • Use a secondary burner to produce a glaze or sauce for your food while it’s cooking.
  • Remove excess fat from your meats and seafood to avoid flare-ups and intense heat that can burn your food.
  • Use a spray bottle filled with water to control any flare-ups that may occur during grilling.


So, that’s how you can use infrared technology to cook food faster and more efficiently. It’s a great way to get the most out of your cooking equipment and a great way to get the most out of your cooking experience. Plus, it’s a way to get delicious, crispy, and juicy food. So, go ahead and give it a try!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.