Menu Icon Menu Print Icon Print Email Icon Email Reading List Icon Reading List Product Icon Product Fire Icon Fire Grill guide Icon Grill guide Beef Icon Beef Poultry Icon Poultry Chicken Icon Chicken Pork Icon Pork All Icon All Country Icon Country Seafood Icon Seafood Fruit and Veggies Icon Fruit and Veggies Vegetables Icon Vegetables Hamburger Icon Hamburger Spatula Icon Spatula Thermometer High Icon Thermometer High Thermometer Medium Icon Thermometer Medium Thermometer Low Icon Thermometer Low Tree Icon Tree Nose Icon Nose Picnic Table Icon Picnic Table Smoke Icon Smoke Table Clock Icon Clock Clock 10 Icon Clock 10 Clock 15 Icon Clock 15 Match Icon Match Grill Icon Grill Clean Grill Icon Clean Grill Arm Icon Arm Oven Icon Oven Charcoal Icon Charcoal Charcoalpile Icon Charcoalpile Charcoalpile 2 Icon Charcoalpile 2 Search Icon Search Right Arrow Icon Right Arrow Left Arrow Icon Left Arrow Down Arrow Icon Down Arrow Facebook Icon Facebook Twitter Icon Twitter Instagram Icon Instagram Pinterest Icon Pinterest Google Plus Icon Google Plus Youtube Icon Youtube Cloudy Weather Icon Cloudy Weather Sunny Weather Icon Sunny Weather Snow Weather Icon Snow Weather Rain Weather Icon Rain Weather Partly Cloudy Weather Icon Partly Cloudy Weather Charcoal on fire icon Charcoal on fire has moved to Kingsford Country. The all-new features how-tos, recipes, product info and news about the latest in BBQ. Slow down and BBQ with Kingsford. OK, got it
Skip to content

How to: light the coals

Get fired up! Your guide to lighting up Kingsford® Charcoal with a chimney, lighter or just a match.

Lighting the coals is easy when you know the basics. Fire is contagious. Keeping the briquets close together will help the fire spread from coal to coal easily so they’re ready to use faster.

Method 1: Lighting the coals with a chimney starter


This simple device uses paper — most commonly newspaper — to light the coals, which are held within the confines of a metal cylinder. The coals sit above the flames, so the edges light quickly and help ignite neighboring coals.


Step 1. Fill the chimney with charcoal.

Fill the chimney with the appropriate amount of charcoal. A standard chimney holds about 100 briquets. But you may not need that many. Learn more at our Coal Configurator.


Step 2. Add newspaper and light it.

Add one or two sheets of newspaper, following the instructions on the chimney. Light the newspaper in several spots. As the newspaper burns in the chamber below, the flames light the edges of the charcoal above. Peek through the vents of the chimney to check if the coals have started and the edges of the coals have turned gray. If the coals have not started, burn another piece of newspaper. You can also drizzle the newspaper with cooking oil before lighting so it burns longer.


Step 3. When you see flames up top, pour out the coals.

After about 10 minutes, you will see the coals starting to glow through the vents and flames starting to flicker over the top layer of coals. Pour them out into a pile and wait until the coals are mostly covered in ash and gray in color. Then spread the coals out. The entire process takes approximately 15 minutes.

Method 2: Lighting Kingsford® Original Charcoal with lighter fluid

The tried-and-true method that works well to get your charcoal started. Here are some tips to use lighter fluid safely.


Step 1. Arrange the coals into a neat mound.

Piling the coals into a mound or pyramid will help increase coal-to-coal contact and help the fire spread.


Step 2. Add lighter fluid to the pile of unlit coals and light immediately.

Carefully squirt lighter fluid on the top and sides of the charcoal mound, following lighter fluid directions. Light immediately after applying the fluid. Never squirt lighter fluid onto flaming or hot coals.


Step 3. Coals are ready when covered with gray ash.

After the fluid burns off, the edges of the coals will turn gray. As the coals continue to burn, the ash spreads to cover each briquette. Once mostly covered in ash, the coals are ready to spread out and use. The entire process takes approximately 15 minutes.

A drizzle of cooking oil on the newspaper makes it burn longer — much the same way the wick of a candle burns for a long time.

"You only need about 1.6 ounces of lighter fluid per pound of charcoal."

Each Kingsford briquet features Sure Fire Grooves® to help them catch fire faster.