How to Baste

Basting adds flavour to your meat and helps prevent it from drying out while cooking. This how to baste article offers some basic basting techniques and tips to get you started.

Basting 101

A little bit of basting will help keep your roast or turkey tender and succulent from oven to table. Basting is the process of pouring or drizzling liquid over your meat as it cooks, either by using some of the meat’s own juices, melted fat, a sauce or marinade. All meat that is exposed to heat for long periods of time should be basted. Basting keeps meat moist, adds flavour, and — for turkey and other poultry — makes it look as good as it smells by turning the skin brown and crispy.

Basting Techniques

Basting is used for oven roasting, pan frying, or rotisserie and barbecue cooking. After you season meat and poultry for cooking, don’t begin basting until the meat starts to look dry or form a crust. That way you won’t wash away all the seasoning. Then, depending on the type of meat and its cooking time, baste every 15 to 45 minutes. For pan cooking, thoroughly coat the meat using liquid from the pan, add more as needed. 

Basting Tools

The basic requirements for basting include a mixing bowl or measuring cup for preparing your basting liquid. You could also use a sauce or condiment bottle to prepare for basting by adding your seasonings and liquid, replacing the lid and giving it a shake. Keep the basting liquid accessible during the entire cooking process and use a spoon, ladle, baster or a basting brush to drizzle or brush the meat juices, marinade or sauce over your meat.

Basting Sauces

A good basting sauce can help you turn an old recipe into a new one by experimenting with flavours. Whether using melted butter, pan drippings, or broth to baste, try adding different seasonings and encourage feedback from your family. Lemon juice, soy sauce, dill, garlic and butter can add zest and flavour. You can also transform prepared barbecue sauces and marinades by adding herbs, fruit juices or hot mustard

Basting Tips:

  • Baste chicken parts every 15 to 20 minutes
  • Baste roast beef every 30 minutes
  • Large birds such as turkey, duck or goose should be basted every 30 to 45 minutes
  • Baste meat on the barbecue every 15 minutes
  • Be sure you remove the pan with the meat from the oven and close the oven door while you baste to keep the oven temperature consistent
  • Keep some of some marinade or sauce aside in a separate container to serve with the meal
  • Never reuse marinade or basting sauce because it will have been contaminated by raw poultry or meat by repeated basting during the cooking process
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