How to Find the Best Roasting Pan + 5 Options We Love

roasting turkey

Every Thanksgiving, I run around the house like a crazy person while looking for my roasting pan. I can never remember where I stored it because I only use it once a year! And, every year, I tell myself not to shove it in storage. This piece of cookware is essential for regular cooking, especially for cooking whole chickens, preparing pot roast, or even just to bring smoked meat inside from the grill. The real problem? I didn't really like my pan until I went on a quest to find the best roasting pan.

If you're only using your roasting pan for special occasions, you might be missing out. We take a look at the reason why you should be using it for regular, weeknight cooking before giving you options of the best roasting pans available on the market today.

Why Use a Roasting Pan?

Roasting pans are designed to allow heat to circulate around your food. Some of them come with a built-in rack, but even the ones without a roasting rack are conducting superior air circulation. You might immediately think about a large roasting pan big enough to hold a 20-pound turkey or a prime rib. Would it surprise you to learn that they can vary in size? Large roasting pans are ideal for a large cut of meat, whereas smaller roasting pans are perfect for vegetables.

They also vary in shape, so they don't have to take up too much storage space. Some roasting pans are rectangular roasters, but others are circular or large oval shapes. Choosing the correct shape isn't just about browning your meat while cooking, but it's also about how easy it will store when it's not in use.

As an added bonus, roasting pans are much easier to clean. They're made from durable materials, like aluminum, stainless steel, or with nonstick coating. This makes it easier to scrub out any cooked-on juices after hours of roasting. The high sides also prevent any juices from splashing out onto your oven as you cook, protecting it from built-in grease stains.

Which Is the Best Roasting Pan?

If you do a quick search on Amazon, you'll find a staggering number of roasting pans on the market. They're made from all kinds of materials, too - cast iron, graniteware, heavy-duty aluminum core, try-ply stainless steel, and high-quality carbon steel. You will also find them in many shapes, from covered oval roasters to rectangular roasting pans.

To help you find a good roasting pan, we've identified some of the best options on the market. We looked for those with even heat distribution, a nice cooking surface, and a secure grip to help you remove it (using oven mitts, of course) from the oven.

1. All-Clad Stainless Steel Roaster with Nonstick Rack

All Clad Stainless Steel Roaster

All-Clad is the number one leader in all-clad stainless steel cookware. This material is heavy and durable, so it leads to even heating and nice heat distribution. As a bonus, this roaster is completely dishwasher safe and broiler safe to 600 degrees.

2. Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel Roasting Pan with Rack

Contemporary Stainless Steel Roasting Pan

The handles on this roasting rack are seriously heavy-duty - they're triple-riveted and rated to hold up to 25 pounds. This pan also comes with an oven-safe, clear tempered-glass lid so you can heat your food more quickly (and cook it faster). This also allows you to get a sneak peek at the final dish as you go!

3. Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Steel Roaster Pan

Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Steel Roaster Pan

Amazon reviewers love this pan - it has more than 10,000 reviews! This large roaster has a removable stainless steel rack, so you can use it when you want and store it when you don't. It is dishwasher safe and it certainly doesn't hurt that it comes with a lifetime warranty.

4. KitchenAid Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Roaster

Kitchen Aid Tri-Ply

If you're looking for a super thick, heavy-duty roaster, this is the one. It has a huge amount of space for larger roasts, and the lip is slightly tapered to make it easy to pour out the juices. Talk about gravy making made easy! The contoured handles are comfortable to hold and the nonstick rack is easily removable.

5.Williams Sonoma All-Clad Stainless-Steel Flared Roaster

Williams Sonoma

This roaster doesn't come cheap - it clocks in at a whopping $250 - but if you are looking for a top-performing pan, this is the one. It has a hybrid shape - half rectangular, half oval - for improved heat distribution. This means you'll have super brown skin all the way around your turkey! It heats quickly and it's crafted from all USA made materials.

This post was originally published on March 19, 2018.

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