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How Long Does A Grill Take To Heat Up?

Preheat time will vary depending on the sort of grill you’re using. Typically, a gas grill preheats and reaches the perfect temperature for cooking in about 10 to 20 minutes. A charcoal grill needs only five to ten minutes. How long your grill takes to heat up will also depend on the prevailing weather. 

Unevenly cooked food was one of my worst nightmares when I started grilling. When I hosted a group of friends, a friendly whisper from one of my guests revealed that I most likely hadn’t preheated my grill. Thanks to that kind guest, I now know the importance of preheating my grill, and all my guests have complimented me for my tasty grilled dishes. You could say I am now an expert when it comes to grilling.   

In this article, I explain how long your grill should take to preheat, why you should preheat, and how to use a propane grill. Find out why your grill is taking so long to heat up by reading to the end. As a bonus, I also answer the most frequently asked questions about preheating your grill. 

How To Preheat A Grill

how long does a grill take to heat up

The fuel type – natural gas, propane, charcoal, pellets, or electric – determines how long it takes for a grill to heat up. Please do not mix up grill lighting and grill preheating. Lighting is starting a grill with a match or an electric light. Preheating is the period it takes for the grill to get hot enough to cook food. 

A charcoal grill heats up in 5 minutes, but the lighting procedure takes longer, as you’ll discover in more detail below. You’ll need less time to light a gas grill, but it takes 15 minutes to heat up. 

As a result of the abundant radiant heat produced by the hot embers, charcoal grills can heat up more quickly than gas grills. The hot coals cause the walls and cooking grates of the charcoal barbecue to heat up quickly. 

Unfortunately, gas grills don’t produce as much radiant heat as charcoal grills. Therefore, most gas grills contain metal bars and ceramic rods between the grates and the burners to transfer heat uniformly. Radiant heat forms after several minutes of gas flame conversion.

Here are the simple steps on how to preheat a grill. 

Preheating A Charcoal GrillPreheating A Gas Grill
To light your charcoal, use an auto-ignition or chimney starter.By opening the gas grill’s cover, confirm that all the burners are off.
Let the charcoal lumps burn until they have a thin gray ash coat. Set the burner to a low, medium, or maximum temperature, depending on how hot you want your grill.
Transfer the hot charcoal lumps to your grill if you’re using a chimney starter.Put the lid on.
Wait till the cooking chamber heats up.Wait till the cooking chamber heats up.
Adjust the temperature to the setting you require to begin cooking.Before you begin cooking, adjust the temperature.

Why Preheat Your Grill? 

how long does a grill take to heat up

Always preheating your grill before using it is one of the most crucial parts of cooking. We all know that preheating your grill cooks your food evenly. But why else should you preheat your grill?  

  • Some food or fat residue might remain even after thoroughly cleaning your grill. Preheating dissolves the leftover fat, allowing you to clean the tough fat before the grill becomes too hot. Your new food might soak up the leftover fat, giving the food an unpleasant flavor.
  • Both charcoal and gas grills use radiant and conductive heat to cook food. However,  your grill needs to reach a certain temperature for that to happen. To achieve the perfect grilling temperature, pre-heat the grill to prevent food from burning. 
  • Preheating helps to avoid unevenly cooked patches due to inefficient heating. The first side of the food will cook at a lower temperature and might not cook evenly. Preheating your grill makes it possible for all sides of the food to cook at the same temperature for the same time.
  • Insufficient heat increases the likelihood that food will stick to the grates on your grill. Flipping the food over so the other side can cook is challenging if the food sticks. 
  • Not preheating your grill means your food won’t get those flavorful grill marks. Preheating prevents food from sticking to the grill and not getting the browned marks. 

How To Use A Propane Grill

The simplest grills to use are gas grills, despite their lengthy preheat time. You can opt for natural gas or propane gas grills. But how long does it take a gas grill to preheat? The average time for a gas grill is 10-15 minutes. Several burners in a gas grill will heat up more quickly than a single burner. 

Your grill might need more time to heat up in cold weather. Here is how to use a propane gas grill if you’ve recently bought one.

  1. Place your propane grill at least five feet away from the house in a well-ventilated area. Along with being on level ground, the grill should be far from any furniture. Proceed to open the grill’s lid. 
  2. Turn the valve on the propane tank. 
  3. The burner control that is most near the ignition switch should be set to high.
  4. If your gas grill is manual, you can start it with a match. For an automatic propane grill, use an automated switch to light it. 
  5. If the grill doesn’t light, turn off the gas and the burner. Give the gas some time to evaporate and try again. 
  6. Continue to the other burners if you can successfully light the gas burner on your second attempt. Before pacing your foods, heat the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. 

How To Turn Off The Propane Grill

You must be extra careful when cooking with propane and not leave it unattended. The propane gas is a fire risk. It’s best to turn off your propane grill once you finish grilling your food. 

Here is a quick method: 

  1. Increase the grill burner’s heat after removing the meal. Any food residue left on the grill grates will now burn into a white-grayish ash. When the grill is still hot, you can use a grill brush to clean the grates.
  2. Turn off the propane valve first, stopping the flow of propane before you can continue to turn off the burners. Doing this prevents any gas from being caught in the hose. An explosion could result from any gas stuck in the hose and cause a flashback. Turn off all the burners. 
  3. The grill should be cool before you close the lid. 

What Causes  A Grill To Take Long To Heat?

how long does a grill take to heat up

You might have observed that your grill takes longer to heat. Here are the primary causes behind that problem: 

The temperature gauge is not working.Temperature sensor failure due to damage.Repair by refilling the coolant level.
A loose locking nut.Tighten the locking nut.
Replace the temperature gauge.
Propane connectionsAre clogged and loose.Tighten the connections.
Replace the hose in case of a propane leak.
Empty propane tankNo gasRefill gas
Faulty grill regulatorLeaking, low pressureReset the regulator
Damaged, frozen, submerged in water, agedReplace the regulator
Gas grillCracked, broken, corrodedBuy a new one.
Burner obstructions.Food drippings or small insects cause the obstructions.Remove everything on top of the burner.Use a stiff metal brush to remove the debris from the burners.
Rust and corrosion cover the burner outlets.Use a thin wire to unclog the burner holes.


While a charcoal grill will take five to ten minutes to heat up, a gas grill will take ten to 20 minutes. It is essential to preheat your grill to get rid of any persistent fat residue and prevent food from sticking to a cold grill. Another reason for preheating your grill is to avoid uneven cooking. 

There are several causes for the prolonged heating time of your grill. Problems in the burners include a faulty grill regulator, an empty propane tank, and many more. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my charcoal grill heat up faster?

Before attempting to start another fire, the first step is to clean your charcoal grill. Ashes will hinder the airflow inside the grill. 

Use high-quality grease charcoal. Lower-grade charcoal will take longer to heat up and maintain a steady temperature. Charcoal that is old or damp will burn more slowly. Don’t reuse partially burned charcoal since it will burn out more quickly, even before the grill heats up.

How does meat caramelize?

When you heat meat at a high temperature, it caramelizes and turns brown. The meat’s natural sugar and amino acids react to give the color and flavor. 

How long to preheat the gas grill? 

Preheating a gas grill should not take more than 20 minutes. However, in cold weather, preheating might take longer. 

What happens if you leave a grill on too long?

If you leave your grill on for too long, even with the lid closed, there is likely to be a carbon monoxide build-up. This can be extremely dangerous to everyone. The leftover fat might catch fire as a result of the heat.  

Where can I get information about a grill that’s not working properly? 

Several other articles about a poorly functioning grill are available on our site, including the following. 


  • Raoul Hayes

    Raoul Lobo is a seasoned expert in the realm of home appliances and environmental comfort. As a prominent author at, Raoul's passion and expertise shine through in his insightful articles and guides. With years of hands-on experience, he has become a trusted source for readers seeking advice on pools, washers, dryers, and a wide range of other appliances.

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