How to light a gas grill — our foolproof guide to get you up and running this summer

Coleman RoadTrip X-cursion LXE being ignited by writer during testing
(Image credit: Future)
Expert Tip

Want to avoid rookie errors? “The biggest mistake people make when lighting their grill is not cleaning it first. If your grill has excess fat or oil on it, you might have a burst of flame,” advises Richard Looft, inventor of the Looft Lighter X.

Are you excited about hosting summer barbecues and outdoor gatherings? If you plan on cooking with a gas grill, you may wonder how to light it up. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to light a gas grill, covering everything from safety precautions to ease of ignition. Whether you are new to grilling or a seasoned pro, this guide will help you get your grill up and running in no time. 

Although the instructions may differ slightly depending on your grill model, the general steps are similar across all gas grills. We will also give you safety tips to light your grill safely and effectively.

When choosing a gas grill, consider the ease of ignition, size, and price. If you need help deciding on the best gas grill, we have a guide covering all the key considerations.

So, if you want to impress your guests with your grilling skills, read on for our guide on how to light a gas grill.

How to light a gas grill: Quick guide

  • Step 1: Move your grill to a safe area; check gas cylinders are secure
  • Step 2: Open the grill lid (before you turn the ignition!)
  • Step 3: Turn on the gas
  • Step 4: Turn on the first burner
  • Step 5: Ignite the grill
  • Step 6: Check for ignition
  • Step 7: Troubleshoot problems (optional!)
  • Step 8: Preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes
  • Step 9: Clean the grates with a long-handled grill brush
  • Step 10: Adjust the burners and get cooking

How to light a gas grill: Step-by-step guide

Step 1: Safety first

(Image: © Future)

Before you begin, it is essential to ensure that you're not using your grill in an enclosed area. This is a crucial safety measure that helps prevent accidents. Also, make sure that the weather conditions are not too windy. If they are, you may need to move your grill to a more sheltered area.

Next, check that the fittings on the gas cylinders are secure and that there are no signs of leaks. Turn off all burners and slowly turn the valves to release the gas. Wait for about 60 seconds for the gas to travel along the line.

Step 2: Open the grill lid

When lighting a gas grill, it is essential to open the lid first. This step is crucial because if you turn on the ignition before opening the lid, the gas could build up in the grill chamber and cause an explosion. Therefore, always leave the lid open before lighting the grill. Also, avoid lighting the grill in an enclosed space, as this poses a fire hazard.

Step 3: Turn on the gas

Next, turn on the gas in the propane tank. If you're using a natural gas grill, the gas should be constantly pumped into the grill.

Step 4: Turn on the burner

(Image: © Future)

To start your gas grill, begin by turning on the gas. Then, turn on one of the gas burners by using the knob on the grill. After that, turn on the burner that is closest to you. If your grill is a premium model, you can start the ignition by either twisting a knob or pressing a button. The spark from the ignition will create a flame when it touches the gas. You can light your grill with a match if there is no ignition, but use a long-handled match to avoid burning your fingers.

Step 5: Ignite the grill

It's time to light up the grill. If your grill has an auto-light or ignition button, press it. In case there is no ignition button, turn the knobs until you hear a cracking noise and wait for the flame to catch.

Step 6: Check for ignition

After you hear the ignition and see the flame, wait for about 20 seconds. Then, hold your hand about 6 inches over the grill and leave it there until you feel the heat. This will ensure that the burner is lit and stays lit.

Step 7: If the grill doesn't ignite

If your grill fails to ignite, open the lid and air out the cook chamber. Wait a minute, and then try starting it again. If your grill has holes in the bottom, try lighting a match near the burner from that position. If not, you can use a long match from the top. And, if none of those are available, you can throw a game near the burners. However, please be careful while doing so. If you are struggling with the ignition, and it doesn't light within ten seconds, turn off the gas for thirty seconds before attempting to light it again. This pause will prevent excess gas from being released, which could result in a huge flame.

Step 8: Preheat the grill

(Image: © Future)

After lighting your grill, close the lid and let it preheat for 10 to 15 minutes. Wait until the temperature reaches 500°F before proceeding to the next step. Once the first burner is lit, turn on the other burners and wait five minutes before cooking. This will let your grill warm up properly and burn off residual grease.

Step 9: Clean the grates

Clean the grates with a long-handled grill brush to ensure even cooking and to prevent food from sticking to the grill.

Step 10: Adjust the burners

Adjust the burners to reach the grill temperature recommended by your recipe. Your grill is now ready for cooking!

How to light a gas grill: Final thoughts

Grilling is a fun and exciting way to cook during the summer months, but following safety precautions when lighting a gas grill is essential to prevent accidents. Following the step-by-step guide in this article, you can safely and effectively light your gas grill to start cooking delicious meals for your family and friends.

Remember to always open the lid before turning on the ignition and check for gas leaks before starting your grill. Additionally, consider factors like ease of ignition, size, and price when choosing a gas grill. With these tips, you can confidently host summer barbecues and outdoor gatherings while impressing your guests with your grilling skills.

Louise Bond

Louise Bond is a UK-based writer and the founder of The Cove Copy. She has been published in The Guardian, Breathe, Fit & Well, Top Ten Reviews, and more. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her out in nature, whether hiking in the woods or pottering in the garden.