Everything You Need To Know About Roasting Pans

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If you are serious about cooking, a good roasting pan is an important piece of kitchenware you should never miss in the kitchen. From hosting large dinner parties for friends and family members to summer barbeques, roasting pans will forever be invaluable assets in the kitchen.

Given such needs, the question of the right pan to use comes up from time to time, especially if you have plans to cook some cold smoked brisket, roast, ham or a large turkey. You need a pan that’s versatile, can distribute heat evenly, is strong and can be used frequently through the year.

A good roasting pan should allow for easy transfer between the stove top and the oven when deglazing, without buckling under the heat, or having hot spots. To enhance performance, there are some factors that you should keep in mind, like the material, the weight, shape, size, and design of the roasting pan.

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  • Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Professional Stainless Exterior
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • KitchenAid KitchenAid KC1T16RP 16 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Roaster with Rack
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Ideal for heavy duty holiday use, or everyday use.
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Wilton Recipe Right 17 x 13 Inch Large Roasting Pan
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Perfect for roasting turkeys, chickens or large cuts of meat
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Calphalon Contemporary 16-Inch Stainless Steel Roasting Pan with Rack
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Provides superior conductivity and even heating for excellent browning and control of the cooking process.

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless Rectangular Roaster with Rack

This roasting pan has an aesthetic appeal that complements its incredible design, complete with a fitting professional stainless exterior. It is very easy to insert into the oven, thanks to the stainless steel riveted handles.

When preparing poultry or meat in this roasting pan, it drains properly on the stainless-steel rack. It is 16-inches wide, which makes it large enough to cook large meals like a pot roast, chicken or turkey. Most people would worry about cleaning the roasting pan after use. Since it is dishwasher friendly, cleaning will not be a problem. Besides, you have a lifetime limited warranty on purchase.

For the affordable price, most customers appreciate the rare quality. In fact, most customers are in awe of the ease of cleaning, and the even heat transfer when you are cooking. Incredibly, it is thinner than most of the other pans you might come across, yet still offers quality services you would expect from a heavier pan. Other than that, it comes highly recommended by a lot of customers who have bought it in the past.

Pros

  • Large enough for a big turkey
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Lightweight

KitchenAid KC1T16RP

This is a multipurpose roasting pan, in that once you are done preparing your meal, you can set it on the table and serve from it. At 16 x 13 x 3 in size, its contoured handles are made for proper support and grip, so you can move it around easily. One thing you will love about it is the build. You can heat it up to 500 degrees. To achieve the perfect crisp browning, it has a U-shaped rack that allows heat to circulate evenly. Since it is dishwasher safe, you should not have a problem cleaning it either.

Most customers who have purchased this roaster rate it among the most perfect roaster they have ever used. Durability is one of its strongest features. Other than that, your food comes out properly cooked to taste. At 8 pounds, it might feel rather heavy, but the quality is amazing, and will always do the job the way you want it to. Besides, a lifetime limited warranty is always a good thing.

Pros

  • Durable, heavy-duty roasting pan
  • Good value for your money
  • Does not warp at 500 degrees
  • Easy to clean
  • Polished interior

Cons

  • Relatively heavy

Wilton Recipe Right Large Roasting Pan

In case you barely use the roasting pan often, you would not be comfortable spending too much on one. This is where Wilton’s roasting pan is useful. The heavy gauge steel build allows you to enjoy even cooking. The nonstick coating doesn’t only make cleaning easy but serving food too. You do not have to worry about food sticking onto the surface. Perhaps one of the only problems with this is that you cannot use it in a dishwasher. However, you can simply wash it by hand.

At 17 x 13 inches, this is the perfect size for most family meals. For the incredibly low price, it is one of the best options for preparing turkey, because of the sturdy form. A lot of people are satisfied with the quality and performance.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Ideal size for large meals

Cons

  • The nonstick peeling comes off after a while
  • Size does not include the handle

Calphalon Contemporary Stainless-Steel Roasting Pan

If you need a roasting pan and are not worried about price constraints, this is one of the best options you have in the market. The basic design makes it worth every penny you spend on it. It is made from a heavy gauge aluminum core, with proper stainless-steel lining. This makes it durable and allows for easy heat conduction.

The design is sleek, especially the stainless steel brushed handles and the V-rack. It comes with a tempered glass lid, which is useful with casseroles, and keeps your food warm when you remove it from the oven.

It is durable and versatile enough to be used on a stove, which makes it ideal for preparing baked beans or gravy. The surface is non-porous, which allows you the freedom to use whichever utensil you need. It is dishwasher safe and comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

Pros

  • Impressive design and quality
  • Comfortable weight
  • Relatively affordable
  • Heavy duty
  • Bright, polished interior

Cons

  • Some customers find the rack rather flimsy

Catering Essentials Disposable Foil Steam Table Pan

If you thought disposable plates were the in the thing, a disposable roaster will definitely blow your mind. It is ideal for those days when you need to prepare a meal for a lot of people or even barbeque, but you would not wish to carry your quality roasting pan. However, since it is a disposable roasting pan, do not push your luck with your expectations.

It comes in a set of 15, with each made from 65-gauge aluminum. They can hold no more than 13 pounds of food though.

For those who frequently purchase disposable roasting pans, this is one of the best models you will find in the market. Though disposable, they are made so strong and sturdy, and even when preparing heavy food, you will barely need additional support.

They are also designed to keep your food warm enough for a substantial duration of time. The quality is satisfactory, and most customers who have used it would recommend it to other folks.

Pros

  • Available in half-size in case you do not need them so big
  • Convenient for busy people
  • Sturdy
  • Affordable

Cons

  • They might be fragile, as some customers received their delivery damaged

Cuisinart CI1136-24BG

When shopping for cookware, cast iron is one of the best options you can find. The even heat distribution helps you cook properly without having hotspots. Perhaps one of the only problems with it is the weight, and special care in case you buy uncoated cast iron.

This roasting pan, however, is fully coated. You can, therefore, clean it in the dishwasher. The interior is white but available in two options, either a blue or red exterior. You can use it under a broiler.

It is a very good roasting pot for averagely sized pork roast, beef or chicken, but is not ideal in case you want to prepare a sizeable turkey feast. With a mere exterior dimension of 10.3 x 18 x 3, you should plan accordingly for your food.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Flat shape allows for even heat distribution
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • There have been concerns over the quality of the enamel coating

Granite Ware Covered Rectangular Roaster

Worried about cooking for a very big crowd? This is one of the best options you can get. The porcelain surface and carbon steel build help with even heat distribution. According to the manufacturers, this roaster is safer than foil models and will help you achieve the desired browning better.

You will also love the fact that it barely retains the aroma of previous spices used, because of the inert glass surface. In case you are making plans for Thanksgiving, you can fit in a 24-pound turkey and close the lid, or a 30-pound turkey without the cover on. It is dishwasher safe, so cleaning will not be a problem.

A lot of people appreciate it given that they have probably cooked their biggest ever turkey feast in it. Your food also maintains an incredible taste. For those who usually struggle to steam lobster, with this pan, your steaming problems will be a thing of the past. It is an insanely versatile roaster, with so many uses. You can even use it as a dishpan. If you do not plan on using the pan frequently, it will be a worthwhile purchase.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Nonstick
  • Easy to clean
  • Can double up as a dishpan

Cons

  • Some customers find the quality less satisfactory

Imperial Home Stainless Steel Roasting Pan with Rack

This roaster is all about simplicity. It features a thin wall made of stainless steel, but is quite capable and will be ideal for preparing meals for the family like lasagna. You can also use it to roast some vegetables. If you are making meals during the weekday evenings, this becomes your ultimate kitchen roasting companion. The retractable handles and the insane depth are two of the things that make it appeal to most customers.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean
  • Large handles for easy handling
  • Good depth for cooking a variety of meals

Cons

  • Not recommended for stovetop use

Mauviel M’héritage Roasting Pan

This roasting pan gives you an elegant experience with roasting and serving. The vintage design is a true inspiration from Mauviel, one of the leading French cookware brands. It is built certified for use on a stovetop and an oven, allowing you the versatility you need to roast your food and prepare gravy. The copper finish is sleek, so sleek you will definitely want it to feature in your presentation.

Pros

  • Even cooking and heat distribution
  • Perfect for oven and stovetop use
  • Sturdy stainless-steel handle

Cons

  • Relatively pricey
  • Hand wash only

VonShef Cast Iron Roasting Pan

One of the things you will enjoy when using this roasting pan is the freedom to cook either at low or high temperature. This comes down to the amazing heat distribution and retention feature. Whether you are preparing some lasagna or the conventional pot roast, this roasting pan will never let you down. Besides, you can immediately get it from the oven and use it for tabletop serving, which helps with presentation.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Even heat distribution
  • Easy to clean
  • Perfect for tabletop serving

Cons

  • Enamel might chip off
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Professional Stainless Exterior
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • KitchenAid KitchenAid KC1T16RP 16 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Roaster with Rack
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Ideal for heavy duty holiday use, or everyday use.
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Wilton Recipe Right 17 x 13 Inch Large Roasting Pan
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Perfect for roasting turkeys, chickens or large cuts of meat
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Calphalon Contemporary 16-Inch Stainless Steel Roasting Pan with Rack
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Provides superior conductivity and even heating for excellent browning and control of the cooking process.

What to Consider

For someone who is about to make their first roasting pan purchase, the following guide should help you get the best roaster for your budget:

Size

Before you select a roaster, the following are some useful points that will help you decide on the right size for your kitchen:

Think about the largest meal you will need to roast. The pan should be big enough for this, without the food touching the side of the roaster. You should also consider proper circulation of air because this affects the level of browning, and quality of the roast. Air should circulate properly even on the bottom of the pan.

Remember that in case the pan is too big, you will end up with most of the lower end exposed and unoccupied, which will simply burn the juices produced when you are cooking.

A good option would be to get pans in multiple sizes, but only if your budget allows. However, in case you cannot get them in multiple sizes, you can get a large pan, but learn a workaround for preparing smaller cuts. To prevent burning, you can add some herbs or chunky vegetables at the bottom of the pan. Besides, roasted veggies are always a good addition to your meal.

Take note that in some cases, the size measurements for pans will include the handle, but not all the time. To be certain, crosscheck the measurements to be certain about the quantity of food the pot can hold comfortably. The following is a simple guide for measurements:

  • For 12-pound turkeys, get a small roaster measuring 14 x 10 x 3
  • For 16-pound turkeys, get a medium roaster measuring 16 x 12 x 3
  • For 20-pound turkeys, get a large pan measuring 18 x 13 x 4

Pay attention to the side walls, their depth should also be a guiding factor before you make a purchase. Avoid the ones whose walls are low, because they can easily splash hot soup when you are using it as a water bath or braising.

Walls that are very high, on the other hand, might make your work difficult when you are preparing large cuts. The problem with these is that hot air rises, cooking the top properly, but leaving the bottom meat relatively undercooked.

Shape

You will find roasters in two shapes, either rectangular or oval. Oval roasters are very good for oval shaped roasts. This includes prime rib, ham, turkey, and chicken. Their sleek lines also make them easy to use for breeze saucing or whisking gravy, because there are no corners.

For the best roasting efficiency, try and find a roaster with a Goldilocks mean rating of 3 – 4 inches. The only problem with these is that the loss of surface area might make you struggle when preparing a lot of food, like multiple chickens.

In terms of versatile performance, rectangular pans are your best bet, especially where oval pans fail when cooking multiple items. This is because the right-angled corners add more space. However, the tight corners might give you a difficult time when making a sauce or when you want to clean.

So, what should you choose between the two? If you can find a rectangular pan with round corners, you will have found a gem of a roasting pan.

Weight

The heaviest roasting pan will not always be the best, but this doesn’t mean the lightest is any better. The weight is supposed to be just solid enough to enhance your experience while in use, but not too heavy it becomes cumbersome.

While thinking about the weight, you must also factor in the weight of the food you will be preparing. You should be able to handle the combined weight of the roaster and the roast, especially when oven hot.

Weight matters because of the following reasons: 1. You need to handle the combined weight of the roast and roaster without worrying about twisting, or getting out of shape, or warping. 2. A solid build is perfect for even distribution of heat. Even heat distribution is perfect not just for the roasts, but also to make sure you do not have burnt drippings.

Materials

There are different materials from which roasting pans are made. Enamel carbon steel is one of the most common, though vintage models. Other materials include cast iron, stainless steel, aluminum, copper or clad stainless steel.

Copper

Copper is amazing in terms of even conductivity and heating, which makes it easy to move the roaster from your oven to the stove. Perhaps one of the challenges of using a copper roaster is that it does not come cheap.

You might also struggle to keep it clean. Unless you can get your hands on a hybrid, copper roasters do not work with induction.

Ideally, copper would be perfect for cooking pots you use every other day, just not for the items you use occasionally.

Multi-Ply Stainless/Aluminum

One of the best ways of heating, especially without having hot spots, is using multi-ply cladding or tri-ply cladding. The multi-ply cladding is a situation where you have copper or aluminum stacked between stainless steel layers. This is because of the durable and aesthetic nature of stainless steel.

Perhaps the only challenge you will have with this is the price. It is one of the most expensive options available.

Encapsulated/Spun Disk Bottom

Another option you would be interested in is a stainless-steel roaster, whose bottom is made from either copper or aluminum. These pans are durable, light in weight and are very easy to clean. At the same time, the level of conductivity is perfect, irrespective of whether the inner disk layer is made of copper or aluminum.

Pure Stainless Steel

There are lots of benefits to using stainless steel, hence a good choice for a lot of people. Ease of cleaning makes it stand out. Under high heat, stainless steel is one of the most durable pans out here. You will appreciate the relative lightness, while at the same time, the appearance is something you can look forward to.

Stainless steel is a good option when it is blended together with other metals. On its own, it is not the best for heat distribution, so you might end up burning or scorching food from time to time.

Carbon Steel with Enamel Coating

Carbon steel is good especially if it is coated with enamel, because of the heat conduction capabilities. The concept of enameling has its unique advantages, including ease of cleaning. Such pots are quite affordable, and at the same time, very light in weight.

Perhaps one caveat to this is that enamel tends to chip very easily. You must also make sure that the gauge of the steel is very thick. A thin build has a high likelihood to warp or buckle, especially under intense heat when used on your stove, or in an oven.

Pure Aluminum

Aluminum is one of the lightest materials you can come across. While the conductivity is impressive, it is not a good option when looking for a roaster.

One problem you will have with aluminum is leaching, especially when you are preparing food with acidic properties. Aluminum is also very easy to stain, and because of its natural softness, it will dent and warp even with the lightest impact.

Anodized Aluminum

Anodizing aluminum helps take care of the leaching problem. However, anodized aluminum also has a very dark color, which hinders visibility. You will struggle to see what is happening at the lower end of the pot, especially when cooking under low light setting.

While anodized aluminum might be non-stick, it might not be Teflon-level good. In terms of durability, though, it will serve you for a longer duration.

Cast Iron

One of the challenges with cast iron is the risk of uneven heating. It is a very heavy material. However, if you are keen, you can turn the portion around slowly while it is on the burner, and this will help you cook the food evenly.

With proper seasoning, it forms a unique non-stick coating. To achieve this, however, will require regular maintenance. You must also exercise caution not to leave it on direct heat, especially high heat, because of the tendency to crack.

Enameled cast iron, on the other hand, will make your work easier. The transition between the oven and the stove is very easy. Conductivity is also better than bare cast iron. Perhaps the problem of the weight is one area you will struggle with. Also, even if you are very careful in handling, the enameled coating will always tend to chip or crack after a while.

Glassware

The two types of glass that you should not use on a hot burner are Corning and Pyrex glassware. While glass might be quite heavy, they have a very high tendency to crack, chip and even break. They demand a lot of care and attention.

Nonstick and Teflon

When shopping for roasting pans, nonstick surfaces might not be an ideal choice. The reason here is because they are delicate and demand high maintenance. In order to prevent chipping, peeling or scratching, you must be extra careful with them.

Nonstick material should never be used beyond 400 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the nonstick feature gets destroyed, so they are not safe for broiler use.

Through roasting, you end up with tasty drippings which are perfect for gravy and sauces. However, nonstick coating makes it difficult for the droppings to enhance the color and flavor of your meal.

The obvious problem with the dark color is that you will struggle to see progress at the bottom of the pan.

Other Considerations

Handles

You must also pay attention to the handle of the roasting pan. You will be hauling some serious pounds in weight out of the oven, and at a very high temperature too. The emphasis here should be on the style, shape, and build of the handle.

Bale handles are ideal, especially for storage because of their length. They are rectangular wire handles and can slide in guides, up and down. They, however, might not be reliable when moving a very heavy meal, and usually, tend to be flimsy.

If you need to combine ease of use and superior quality, go for loop handles. These must be riveted in place. Ensure they are wide enough to allow you a good grip, especially when you use oven mitts.

Stovetop

This is all about performance. When you are done the cooking in the oven, you want a pan that you can transfer to the stovetop without any challenges. This makes it easier for you to deglaze your meal or sucs, and prepare a beautiful sauce or gravy.

Sucs is a French term derived from sucre (sugar) and Latin name for sap, succus. Deglazing gives the food an amazing foundation, tasty and evenly browned.

In case you use induction ranges, there are only so few materials that can effectively work with this. The perfect pans for resistive heating are the ones that have a magnetic base. These include carbon steel, cast iron, enameled cast iron and clad in stainless steel. They are the best options you can use for induction stovetops.

Racks

You will come across roasting pans with or without racks, and there are very good reasons for either. Racks tend to raise the roast from the bottom of the roaster, allowing free circulation of air. This is one of the prerequisites for effective meat roasting. Without a rack, therefore, you will essentially be boiling or steaming the food. As a result, you end up with uneven browning at the bottom side of the roast or saggy, soft skin for poultry.

By raising the food up, racks make it easy for the drippings to land on the bottom of your pan. This helps in producing quality juices that eventually make some good sauce or gravy.

While racks are useful, they might give you a difficult time to clean. This happens when a lot of the drippings collect at the bottom of the pan and stick to the wall of the pan. You might also come across racks in roasting pans that are relatively flimsy.

In case you insist on using a rack, make sure you get the ones that have a sturdy handle. This makes it easy to carry. Inspect to make sure they also have sufficient clearance between the end of the pan and the rack, for proper circulation of air.

If you do not have a rack, you can create a false rack of your own. To do this, just prepare enough chunks of fennel, celery, carrots, and onions, thick enough to raise the roast from the bottom of the pan. These give a wonderful flavor to the drippings too.

The only problem with this is that it becomes difficult to lift the roast from the pan, especially for a very large meal. In case you are creating a veggie rack, use the kitchen twine to create a sling. You can cradle the food with it, making it easier for you to lift or lower the roast.

How do you make the sling? Cut twine into two pieces, roughly two times the length of the chicken. Tie the pieces across the roast, wide enough to cover the length of two chicken. You can make 4 – 5 pieces.

Carefully lower the stuffed chicken on your sling, then dip it into the veggies carefully. As a precautionary measure, tie the ends of the sling together, so you can find them easily when you are done the cooking.

Oven Size

Before you buy a large roasting pan, make sure you get the measurements of the inner walls of your oven to guide you.

New oven models tend to have varying measurements on the interior. It is important to get these measurements, to make sure you the size of the roasting pan you buy will fit into the oven. When you are getting the measurements, make sure you factor in the length of the handles too.

V Racks vs. Flat Racks

Flat racks are good because they enable easy transfer of heat under the roast you are preparing. V-shaped racks are very common because they can raise the roast up to 2 inches off the bottom of the pan.

You will also find roasters that have flat racks. The good thing with flat racks is that they offer more space, which is ideal when preparing a large roast. Perhaps one challenge with V-shaped racks is that their shape and size is quite inhibiting. This is because they are made to hold nothing other than the roast.

Flat racks cover the entire area of the roaster. This allows you enough room for aromatics and vegetables. However, for a properly cooked roast, you do not necessarily need racks. Instead, you can create your own false rack with cops of onion, carrot, and celery. They do not just make the food tasty, they also give you an intense gravy.

The best option would be to avoid nonstick coating when looking for stainless steel racks This is because, over time, the nonstick coating tends to peel off, which leaves your gravy with tiny black flecks.

61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Professional Stainless Exterior
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • KitchenAid KitchenAid KC1T16RP 16 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Roaster with Rack
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Ideal for heavy duty holiday use, or everyday use.
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Wilton Recipe Right 17 x 13 Inch Large Roasting Pan
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Perfect for roasting turkeys, chickens or large cuts of meat
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Calphalon Contemporary 16-Inch Stainless Steel Roasting Pan with Rack
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Provides superior conductivity and even heating for excellent browning and control of the cooking process.

Conclusion

A good roasting pan should be one that allows you to cook your meals without worrying about overheating or overcooking. Different foods have different cooking standards. You might need to prepare some foods over high heat, and low heat for others. Bearing this in mind, you need a roasting pan that can withstand such pressure.

One important feature that you will find in a quality roasting pan is the size. You should not have to struggle especially when making very large meals for the entire family. The roasting pan, therefore, should be durable, sturdy, and where possible, versatile enough to allow you a variety of cooking options with ease. This is where Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack comes in handy.

The price, compared with most of the competing brands, is more than fair, considering all the amazing features that it has. Since it is dishwasher friendly, you will not have to worry about struggling to clean it up after preparing a hearty meal. The sturdy handles make your cooking very easy, allowing you transfer food from the oven to the stovetop painlessly. To top it up, this is the kind of roasting pan that can be used for presentation too. Surely, if this does not check all the boxes on your list, none ever will.

 

 

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