Can You Boil Water on a Grill? (4 Easy Ways to Raise the Heat Outside)

A tornado plowed through town three years ago, knocking out our power for five days. Luckily, we had a generator, but it was busy keeping our fridge and freezers going. We have all electric appliances, so boiling water on the indoor stove wasn’t an option. We needed our morning coffee fix! Can you boil water on a grill when the electricity is out?

You can boil water outside using charcoal, natural gas, propane, or flat-top grills. Boiling water on a grill isn’t as efficient as boiling on an indoor stove or in a microwave, but it is a great option when camping or when the power is out.

Read on to learn tips and tricks for boiling water on a grill!

Can you use a grill to boil water?

Grills are a summer staple for burgers and hotdogs. Did you know they can also help out with basic cooking needs too? When forced to look for outdoor cooking alternatives, can you boil water on a charcoal grill, gas grill, or flat-top grill? Yes, on all counts!

You can use a grill to boil water as long as it is used outside. Grilling can release dangerous gases and fumes if used indoors.

Let’s discuss the different types of grills and how they perform when boiling water.

Can you boil water on a grill?
Can you boil water on a grill? Yes!

Charcoal grill

A classic charcoal grill can be used to boil water. This grilling method will take longer than the other methods since you need to let the charcoal briquets reach a hot enough temperature before boiling the pot of water. However, once the water is boiling, the charcoal grill will sustain the temperature as long as the coals are hot.

Natural gas grill

If you have an outdoor kitchen with a natural gas hook up to your grill, consider yourself lucky in the event of a power outage.

You can boil water faster with a natural gas grill than with a charcoal grill. Additionally, gas grills are more cost-effective than your electric stove.

Remember to use a gas grill in an outside area with good ventilation. Even if it is storming outside, never bring the gas grill inside or even onto an enclosed back porch.

Smart tip: Set the temperature to medium-low (300-350 degrees Fahrenheit) when using a gas grill to boil water. 

Propane gas grill

Grills or camp stoves that use a propane tank are great to have in a power emergency. During our aforementioned power outage, a propane camp stove supplied us with boiling water for coffee and pasta.

A propane grill is similar to a natural gas grill when it comes to efficiency when boiling water. Using a propane gas grill gives you more portability than a natural gas grill.

Flat-top grills

Flat-top grills and griddles like the Blackstone line are all the rage today.

A flat-top grill will boil water. Due to the flat, solid top covering the grill grate, the process will take a few minutes longer than with a traditional gas grill.

When the pot surface comes in contact with a direct flame, it will heat to boiling quicker than when obstructed by a cooking surface. Some flat-top grill manufacturers make the solid surface removable for this reason.

How long does it take to boil water on the grill?

The type of grill you’re using determines how long it will take to boil water. In addition, the type of pot you use, the amount of water, and the coals’ temperature or the flame’s strength will also factor into boiling time.

Using a charcoal grill will take the longest amount of time to boil water from start to finish. Once the coals are hot enough, reaching the boiling point can take another 10-15 minutes. Gas grills will take 5-8 minutes to reach boiling, while a flat-top grill can take 10 minutes.

Smart tip: Covering the pot with a lid will also speed up the boil time.

How to boil water on the grill?

Now you know it is possible to use your grill to boil water. The next question is how to do it.

Boiling water on a grill includes filling a pot with water, building the fire or igniting the flame, waiting for the water to reach 212 degrees F, and carefully removing it from the grill.

Let’s discuss each step:

Step 1: Fill the kettle or pot with water

We’ll talk about specific pot materials in a minute, but typically any pot or kettle you would use on an electric or gas range will work to boil water on a grill.

To speed up the boiling process, only fill the container with the amount of water you intend to use and keep it covered. Covering the pot speeds up the boiling process and also protects the contents from taking on a smoky flavor.

Step 2: Build a fire/Turn on the grill

You always want to start with a hot surface. This means building and heating your fire for a charcoal grill or igniting the flame on your gas grill before boiling your water.

Step 3: Exercise patience

If you usually put a cup of water in the microwave to boil, the boil time on the grill will be an adjustment. Remember the saying, “a watched pot never boils?” Well, you must always keep an eye on the grill for safety’s sake but think of it as a good time to cuddle the dogs or get in some squats.

Smart tip: When using a charcoal grill, ensure the coals are hot before placing the pot on.

Step 4: Take the kettle off the grill

If you’re using a pot or kettle, please be careful. There’s a good chance the pot or kettle’s handle could be hot since the grill grate is larger than a stove eye. Use a pot holder for extra protection against burns. If you are using an open pot, take special care not to splash the boiling water.

What can you use to boil water on the grill?

If I’m planning to use boiling water for a drink or Ramen noodle soup, my preference for a container is my trusty aluminum kettle. I like to use a pot if I plan to make a pasta dish. Different

You can use a metal kettle or oven-safe pots and pans on a grill. The most popular metals are stainless steel, aluminum, and cast iron. Different metals and thicknesses will affect the time to achieve a boil.

Let’s look at popular types of pots suitable for boiling water on a grill:

1. Stainless steel

Stainless steel pots are good heat conductors and do well on a grill. They heat evenly and can withstand the high heat from an open flame.

2. Aluminum

Aluminum is readily abundant and is an industry-standard when cooking. Professional and amateur chefs love it for its even heat distribution and ability to heat up fast. Aluminum kettles and pots are ideal for boiling water.

3. Cast iron

Cast iron takes a while to heat up but retains heat well. It can withstand high heat and has been used for centuries to cook over campfires. Because of cast iron’s seasoning, it can leave behind an oily, black residue. This adds to the flavor of foods but can be undesirable in a drink.

4. Enamel-coated

Many stainless, aluminum, and cast iron pots are enamel-coated. You can successfully boil water on the grill using an enamel-coated pot. Beware that vintage enamel pots can be contaminated with lead. Best to display any heirloom enamel pots and use more recent versions for cooking and boiling.

Can grills blow up if it gets wet while boiling water?

Propane tanks have been known to blow up, but thankfully that isn’t due to water contact.

No, grills will not blow up if they get wet while boiling water. Grills are meant to withstand wet elements like rain in the great outdoors. When water touches an open flame, you will hear crackles and may even douse the flame.

Always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions to avoid burns and injuries when dealing with fire and gas.

Ways to boil water without electricity

Blackouts, brownouts, natural disasters. Every week, we seem to hear of circumstances where alternative living comes in handy.

You might also find yourself outside your home and in an area without electricity. How can you boil water in any of these circumstances?

Use any of the tips below:

  • Boil water on your grill. Propane, charcoal, or gas grill would work fine. 
  • Use a gas stove. You can use a pot or kettle.
  • Boil water using candles. Just light them under the kettle or pot and wait patiently. 
  • Boil water on your fire pit 
  • Boil water using a solar cooker

Summary of “Can you boil water on a grill?”

Yes, you can easily boil water on a grill but know that it will take longer than boiling it in a microwave. Kettles or pots made of stainless steel, aluminum, and cast iron can be used with confidence.

Charcoal grills will take the longest to boil water due to the time needed to build a fire. Solid flat-top grills will take a little longer to heat to boiling than traditionally-designed gas grills.


How long does it take to boil water on the grill?

The time it takes to achieve a boiling temperature is determined by the grill method, the volume of water, the type of pot used, and the temperature. As a general rule, a charcoal grill will take the longest because of the fire setup and time to reach hot coals. Flat-top grills will take a few minutes longer than traditional gas grills.

Can you boil water on a flat grill?

Yes, you can boil water on a flat grill. It will take a few minutes longer to boil due to the solid top. If your flat grill has a removable solid surface, the underlying grill grate will reduce the time.

Can you use a grill as a stove?

Yes, you can use your grill as you would a stove. This is a great option if you need an alternative to electricity.

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