How To Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid?

You can light charcoal without lighter fluid in three different ways, although all of them are pretty similar in how they work.

How To Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid?
  • The easiest way is to simply light the charcoal and then place it on the grill to cook. You will want to place a piece of foil over the top of your lit coals for about 5 minutes before placing your food on top of it, as this will help keep the heat from escaping through the sides. You definitely don’t want any heat escaping from under your food!
  • Another way you can get away with using no lighter fluid is by making a chimney out of some kind of hard material, such as a baking sheet or baking stone (ask your local grocery store for one), and then placing your lit charcoal over the top of that. Make sure there is enough room above the lit charcoal to allow airflow underneath it, otherwise you’ll have a fire. You can also add some kind of added structure (such as a metal grate) to create a chimney, which will help direct the heat back up into the chimney as well.
  • The third way to light charcoal without lighter fluid is by using a tried-and-true method that has been used for centuries by pitmasters all over the world, and that is known as “chimney” lighting. This method involves creating a vertical hole from your base grill grate to your top charcoal grate/hearth area with something like aluminum foil or aluminum pans or baking sheets. Once you have this vertical hole in place, you can place your lit charcoal on top of it and put the rest of your coals around it in any way you like. This method works best if you have a long piece of aluminum foil on hand, as it will allow for more airflow underneath the lit charcoal than if you were to use a baking sheet or baking stone.

The Electric Charcoal Starter

The electric charcoal starter is a great way to start your charcoal in no time. This method is also known as the instant start method, and it will only take you about 30 seconds to get your charcoal going.

To use an electric charcoal starter, simply plug it into a power outlet and turn it on. Let the coals burn for 30 seconds until they are completely white-hot.

Then, carefully place a handful of coals on top of your charcoal grate (or if using a chimney, place them in the hole you created), and wait for them to ignite. Once they have started to burn white-hot, add more coals around the lit ones until your total amount of coals reaches about 3/4 of an inch below the top edge of your grill grate.

You can also use an electric charcoal starter by placing some metal skewers (available at most grocery stores) between two pieces of metal that are spaced at least 2 inches apart from one another (such as a wire coat hanger). The metal will act as a heat conductor and allow for the coals to start burning faster.

The Looftlighter Method

The Looftlighter method is a great way to start up your charcoal quickly. What you will need for this method is either a chimney starter or a large piece of aluminum foil.

The Looftlighter Method

First, make sure that the bottom of your grill grate is covered with some kind of heat-resistant material (such as aluminum foil) so that it doesn’t get too hot. Then, place a small handful of coals on top of the grate and let them burn for about 5 minutes until they turn white-hot. Then, pour the rest of your coals around the lit ones until there are about 1/3 of an inch above the top edge of your grill grate.

Final Thoughts

Once you have decided on the method that you want to use to light your charcoal, make sure that it’s completely out of the way before lighting it. If not, it will continue to burn and heat up the area where your food is sitting.


Q: Why do I need to add charcoal to my charcoal grate?

A: When you are grilling with charcoal, it is important that the coals be heated up until they are white-hot. This is so that they will burn for a long time and provide you with a good amount of heat.

Q: Why do I need to use a chimney starter when starting my charcoal?

A: A chimney starter is used when you want to start your coals very fast, but it’s not as efficient as a chimney starter.

Leave a Comment