The Burning Crusade provided two 10-player and seven 25-player raids. The introductory raid Karazhan lies in Deadwind Pass, with Magtheridon's Lair and Gruul's Lair in Hellfire Peninsula and Blade's Edge Mountains, respectively. Serpentshrine Cavern is underwater in Zangarmarsh, and Tempest Keep is in the Netherstorm. Black Temple is in Shadowmoon Valley, Mount Hyjal in the Caverns of Time and the Sunwell and Zul'Aman lie in the Blood Elf starting zones.

The Burning Crusade raids were not the first introduced to World of Warcraft. Earlier raids in the pre-expansion game included Molten Core, Naxxramas, Onyxia's Lair and the dual-wing Ahn'Qiraj raid, but these required a group of 40 and were difficult for casual players to experience. In The Burning Crusade, Blizzard attempted to make raids more accessible by reducing the player requirements, with Karazhan and Zul'Aman suitable for groups of 10 players.

The raids in the Burning Crusade were carefully gated, requiring players to experience the content in order. Players were intended to visit Gruul, Magtheridon and Serpentshrine Cavern early to earn gear to keep them alive in Tempest Keep and Black Temple. Mount Hyjal and the Sunwell were the final raids of the expansion, requiring players to collect the best gear to survive and triumph.