There’s something awe-inspiring about a juicy, perfectly roasted turkey. All that crisp outer skin, moist, juicy meat when you slice into it, flavorful gravy – it’s all reminiscent of Thanksgiving gatherings of the past as well as the anticipation of ones to come.
Memories aside, regardless of the recipe or skill of the cook, smart chefs know that the key to a perfectly roasted turkey – or any food – is in the pan.
Roasting pans come in all shapes and sizes, and are made from a variety of materials, all of which can affect the final outcome of your carefully prepared recipe. No matter what you’re roasting – from turkey and chicken to pork, beef or vegetables – there really is a science to choosing the roasting pan that will do the job right.
We narrow down the four best roasting pans you can buy online. Read on to find the one that’s right for your cooking needs.
Top Pick Best Rectangular Pan: Cuisinart 7117-16UR Chef’s Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster
Holidays are a big deal in your house, from Christmas and Easter, to Thanksgiving and even Halloween. With extended family and close friends dining at your table, roasting up a juicy bird or joint of beef with vegetables and gravy is on your typical menu. Lately, you’ve been wanting another rectangular-shaped roaster and you prefer one that comes with a rack, since you don’t want the food to sit in the fat and drippings. If you’re looking for a long-lasting medium-sized roasting pan that consistently produces an evenly cooked, crispy-skinned turkey, then this is the model for you.
For an essential piece of cookware you can use for family dinners, parties and holiday celebrations, we recommend the Cuisinart 7117-16UR Chef’s Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster. Made from stainless triple-ply construction, this sturdy pan will be a part of your kitchen arsenal for many years to come.
Designed to hold turkey, chicken, and large roasts, the riveted stainless steel handles of this roasting pan make putting it into the oven, and lifting it out, safe and hassle free. The convenient U-shaped solid stainless steel rack provides heat-surround technology that allows the heat to circulate under the food for a juicy, evenly roasted piece of meat.
The rack, which is removable, lets meat or poultry drain as it cooks. Take out the rack, and you can use the pan to make other foods such as lasagna, mac and cheese or veggies.
Easy to clean, when you’re done enjoying your delicious meal just put the pan into the dishwasher and you’re done. Did we mention that it also comes with a lifelong limited warranty?
- Sturdy construction
- Easy to clean
- Comes with a rack
- Includes a warranty
- Does not come with a lid
- May be too small for a large turkey
Top Pick Best Versatile: Mr Rudolf 18/10 Stainless Steel 17-inch Multi-Use Baking and Roasting Pan
You have a large family, so when it comes to holidays and celebrations, you need large-sized kitchenware to accommodate all the food that’s served around your table. You already have a rectangular roasting pan, but now want one an oval one with a lid and a rack that can be used in the oven or on the stovetop.
For a quality stainless steel large roasting pan with lid and a superior cooking surface, we recommend the Mr. Rudolf 18/10 Stainless Steel 17-inch Multi-Use Baking and Roasting Pan. Measuring 18.4 x 13.9 x 9.2 inches, you’ll be able to cook a large bird to satisfy everyone at your family feasts.
The performance of this roasting pan is truly impressive. The 18/10-mirror finish exterior surface will not discolor, react with food or alter flavors. The triple-ply construction aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and spreads the heat evenly, eliminating hot spots.
With a specially crafted rim that is smoothly tapered, you can forget sloppy drips and spills while pouring that delicious gravy from the pan. Solid stainless steel welding handles mean no worries putting the roaster into the oven or taking it out.
And talk about being versatile. You can roast your turkey or joint of beef with the cover on, or take it off and use it as another roasting pan, perfect for those huge family gatherings when lots of food needs to be cooked at the same time.
This roasting pan is oven safe to 550 degrees F, you can use it under the broiler and it’s designed to be used on all conventional stove-tops including electric, gas, induction stoves, ceramic and a glass stove top. And when you’re done, just stick it into the dishwasher for easy cleaning. It will come out looking like new. What else could you ask for?
- Large-size capacity
- Has a lid that can also be used as another roaster
- Comes with a rack
- Dishwasher safe
- Can be used on all conventional stovetops
- More expensive than other models
- May be too large for smaller turkey and meat
- Heavy, weighing almost 13 lbs.
Top Pick Best Compact, Budget: Wilton 696750136801 Recipe Right Medium Roasting Pan
You love the idea of roasting chicken, ham, turkey and pork, but everywhere you look you see large roasting pans, many with covers and racks, things that don’t interest you. Not only are you on a budget, but you have a small family and don’t cook large birds or meat. You’re looking for an affordable roasting pan that is versatile enough for roasting meat, but for cooking other foods as well.
We recommend the Wilton 696750136801 Recipe Right Medium roasting Pan for all of your roasting and cooking needs. Constructed from heavy-gauge steel, you’ll get even heating to give your roasts a beautifully browned finish. Perfect for roast chicken, pork tenderloins or roast beef.
Measuring 2.09-inches deep x 12.05-inches wide x 16.05 inches long and weighing 1.7 lbs., this lightweight roasting pan can also be used as a lasagna pan or a pan for freezing frozen desserts.
With this roasting pan, it’s a quick cleanup, too. Before using it the first time, and after each time you cook with it, just wash it in warm soapy water. It’s as easy as that.
- Suitable for a small family
- No handles
- No cover
Top Pick Best Nonstick Square Pan: Anolon 83865 Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick Grill Pan
You like kitchen tools that do double duty, and that includes a roasting pan. After all, why have cookware that does only one task, when it can do two?
If you’re looking for a medium-sized high-performance nonstick roasting pan that has a lid that can also act as a grill pan, then we recommend the Anolon 83865 Advanced Hard Anodized Nonstick Grill Pan.
Enjoy juicy, grilled and roasted meats and fowl with this perfect pair of grill and roaster pans. It features heavy-duty, hard-anodized construction to provide even heat distribution. Also, square pans have been shown to have 27 percent more cooking surface for better searing and browning compared to round, similarly purposed cookware of the same diameter.
You can use the grill pan to sear meats, fish, and vegetables, and then turn it over to become a convenient lid for the square roaster. Both parts have a premium quality non-stick surface inside and out, making cleanup a snap. And, this roasting pan set is safe to use with metal utensils and stands up to the rigors of a professional kitchen.
This roasting pan is oven safe to 400°F, and the grill pan features raised ridges that leave perfect grill marks to foods as they cook. And there’s no fear of dropping the pan. The Anolon SureGrip handles are designed for a comfortable grip and are dual riveted for extra strength. You can put the pan in, or take the pan out of the oven with confidence.
- Non-stick surface
- Comes with lid that is also a grill
- More expensive than other models
- Not lightweight at 7 lbs.
Things to look out for:
Consider these things when looking for a roasting pan so you will choose one that best suits your needs:
Weight and size
The ideal pan is heavy enough not to warp but not so heavy that you can’t lift it into the oven, or take it out when it’s full and hot. Look for a pan that is solid and strong enough to withstand heat from the oven and the stovetop. When it comes to weight, consider a stainless steel or anodized aluminum metal pan.
The depth of the pan is important, too. It can affect the roasting time, since too deep a pan prevents the oven’s hot air from circulating beneath the meat, and too shallow a pan could let those precious juices slosh out. Imagine a turkey that is a tight fit, with the wings or other parts hanging a bit over the edge. You’re going to lose a lot of liquid to the bottom of the oven as it drips out of the pan, instead of into it and you don’t want to miss a drop of gravy.
Ideally, your roasting pan should have about two inches of space on all sides from the meat you want to roast. This ensures the roasting liquids don’t evaporate and burn, leaving you with no gravy, and possibly drying out the meat. Make sure there is enough room so the bird fits in nicely with room around for the drippings to fall into the bottom of the pan.
What it’s made of
Roasting pans come in a range of materials. The following is a list of some of them to help you choose which one would best suit your needs.
- Aluminum is a good heat conductor but on its own, it can be lightweight. Look for anodized aluminum. It’s naturally nonstick and the dark color helps to brown meat as it roasts.
- Stainless steel is easy to clean, since it resists taking on marks. It also helps to create the lovely, sticky fond on the bottom of the pan, which makes for delicious gravy.
- Cast iron is a good heat conductor but it can be rather heavy, especially if you roast large joints and big turkeys. It is efficient, hardy and, if it comes enameled, is super easy to clean. It also retains heat well so it can keep your meat warm if it’s used to serve at the table.
- Stoneware, a fire-treated clay, has great heat transferring and retaining abilities. It also looks great to serve in.
Racks and handles
While these are not necessary to cooking perfectly roasted food, having handles or a rack or both does make it easier to remove the pan from the oven after the cooking is done. A nonstick rack means the meat or bird will not stick, making for an easier cleanup. However, spraying it with cooking oil will do the trick as well.
Using a rack also means the hot air will circulate during roasting. This contributes to even cooking and crispy skin. A removable rack is a good idea, since when you take it out, you can use the pan for other things like lasagna and roasted vegetables.
When it comes to a pan with handles, there’s no doubt that sturdy ones make taking the pan out of the oven easier, reducing the chances that the heavy pan will hit the floor. However, handles do add to the size of the pan, and may make it difficult for it to fit into the cupboard or even the oven. If this is the case, using oven mitts to take the pan out of the oven works well, too.