Looking to roast some turkeys, chickens or other meats, and need a good roasting pan to do it in? Whether you’re cooking up a Thanksgiving turkey for the entire clan, or just really enjoy roasting meat and do it quite a often, a roasting pan can make all the difference in helping you create a juicy, flavorful bird every time.
Roasting pans are simple and affordable, and like most cookware, there’s a plethora of high-quality options out there. To help you make sense of it all and find the right roasting pan for your budget and preferences, we’ve gone and rounded up the best pans out there.
Keep reading to see our picks for the best roasting pans of 2019.
What is a Roasting Pan, and Why Get One?
A roasting pan is a simply a large, deep pan with a roasting rack that sits in the middle for placing the meat – usually chicken, turkey or beef roast. Getting the meat up and out of the juices allows it to actually roast, instead of boiling or frying in the liquid. It also helps air circulate evenly around the entire hunk of meat. Throw some vegetables under the rack and you can roast them at the same time, too.
Can you roast meat without one? Of course – but the added rack and specific design can be worth it if used often.
What’s the Best Material For A Roasting Pan?
The most common materials for roasting pans include stainless steel and aluminum.
Stainless steel is stronger and more durable than aluminum, as well as easier to clean (and shinier!). It doesn’t conduct and retain heat very well for cooking but can be simpler to use and clean up afterwards.
Aluminum, on the other hand, isn’t as tough and durable as stainless steel, and can be more difficult to clean – but heats more evenly and consistently than stainless steel does. It’s also cheaper, and a lot lighter.
However, aluminum is also reactive with acidic foods, such as tomatoes and lemons, which means the metal can leach into the food. This is not harmful but can affect flavor negatively.
Most aluminum pans are hard anodized – treated with heat to make them much harder and stronger, as well as smoother and more non-stick. This also eliminates any reaction between food and metal.
The best roasting pans use a combination of the two, usually an aluminum core surrounded by two layers of stainless steel. Such a design creates a durable outer layer, an even-heating core with excellent conduction, and a tough, scratch-resistant, easy-to-clean cooking surface on top.
Another material you might find is carbon steel. Carbon steel is strong, like stainless steel, naturally non-stick when properly used, and super easy to clean. It’s not that great at conducting heat, but retain sit well and can be used on the stovetop, in addition to the oven. Like aluminum, carbon steel can also react with acidic foods.
You might also see roasting pans made of copper, and even cast iron. Both are great materials for general cookware, but not very popular; they are too expensive (copper), too heavy (cast iron) and unnecessary.
Best Roasting Pan for 2019: The Reviews
Best of the Best: KitchenAid TriPly Stainless Roaster Pan 16”
An all-around excellent roasting pan for everything from turkeys to roasts, this stainless-steel roasting pan from KitchenAid looks a bit different but packs all the features and quality found on the best roasting pans. It’s our Top Pick for a roasting pan.
The tri-ply stainless steel construction is strong and durable, consisting of two layers of stainless steel surrounding an aluminum core. This means it excels at even heating and cooking, while still being easy to clean. KitchenAid says it’s great for the dishwasher, too, so cleanup is never much work. The contoured stainless-steel handles are designed to keep a low profile in the oven, unlike many of the very bulky handles out there. The removable rack has an abrasion-resistant, non-toxic PFOA- and PTFE-free nonstick coating, and a unique U-shape that allows heat to circulate evenly underneath for uniform browning.
Not too much not to like here. Some people find the handles too small for using with oven mitts, a legitimate concern when they’re hot. The corners under the handles are also quite sharp, and can scrape your hands badly if you’re not wearing mitts (especially if you have large hands).
Value Buy: Circulon Non-Stick Bakeware 17” Roasting Pan
This 17”, non-stick roasting pan from Circulon is an excellent value. It’s large enough to fit most turkeys and other large cuts of meat, but does have some issues with the non-stick coating and durability. For those of us on a budget, however, it’s easily the best choice.
The carbon steel construction is strong and durable. It’s also excellent at conducting and distributing heat from the oven throughout the entire pan. Rolled rims add extra warp-resistance. The handles are wide enough to work with bulky oven mitts, making it easy to carry the pan around.
The non-stick coating is excellent, making it easy to remove food without sticking and making it super easy to clean up. It’s also PFOA-free. The heavy-duty, curved steel rack sits firmly in the center of the pan, and at 17” long, you can easily fit a 20-25-pound turkey.
The non-stick coating is only oven-safe up to 450F, which isn’t very high hot. While the metal construction is strong, it sometimes feels thin – meaning it dents easily and may not radiate heat as well as thicker pans. The non-stick coating bubbles up and peels off.
Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel Roasting Pan
Calphalon is known for quality cookware, and this pan is no different: a premium roasting pan built to last decades. At 16” long and 13” wide, it’s large enough for a 25-pound turkey and virtually any roast beef or a ham. It’s pricey, but worth the investment for a piece of cookware that will last a long, long time.
The brushed stainless-steel construction is quality, built to Calphalon’s expected standards of quality and smoothness. An aluminum core for even heating sits between the two layers of stainless steel, bonded together with what Calphalon calls “high heat, high pressure impact bonding.” Stainless steel itself is easy to clean and non-stick when properly heated and oiled. The riveted loop handles are sturdy and make it easy to move the pan as needed. The included v-rack for roasting is also non-stick coated, so food can be easily removed. It’s dishwasher safe, too, and comes with a full lifetime warranty.
The tri-play stainless steel construction, while smooth and quality, is a bit thin, and dents and scratches easily. The handles get very hot in the oven, and some people complain about them getting in the way of large turkeys or chickens. The non-stick coating on the rack isn’t great and tends to peel off. The pan is also one of the more expensive out there.
All-Clad Hard Anodized Roasting Rack
When it comes to premium quality, All-Clad is usually at the top of the list. This 13”x16” roasting pan features a hard-anodized aluminum construction with non-toxic coating, and a reasonable price tag considering its quality craftmanship. If long-lasting build and reliable quality is what you’re after in a roasting pan, All-Clad delivers.
The hard-anodized aluminum build is strong, smooth and makes for even heating and cooking, and has an anti-warp base. Two stainless steel handles are securely fastened on by means of stainless-steel rivets. The non-stick coating is PFOA-free and oven safe up to 500F. It’s also scratch-resistant, and of generally higher quality than your average non-stick coating. The entire pan and rack setup is dishwasher-safe (though they recommend handwashing). All-Clad also includes a limited lifetime warranty. Overall, quite a sturdy piece of metal.
Not too much not to like. It’s heavy – at 8 pounds – making it difficult to lift and carry, especially when full. As with a lot of roasting pans, the rack is also the weak point – the first to chip or have coating flake off.
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 16” Stainless Steel Roasting Pan
The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic is another quality stainless steel roasting pan at a great price, making it an excellent value.
The tri-ply stainless steel construction is quality, featuring three layers of stainless for thicker, longer lasting build. Cuisinart uses what they call Heat Surround technology, which helps distribute heat evenly throughout the pan. There are riveted stainless steel handles, and a stainless-steel rack that makes it easy to clean. With no non-stick coating, there’s no fear of flaking and peeling. It’s also dishwasher-safe. Cuisinart includes a lifetime limited warranty.
It’s not induction-ready, as it doesn’t have a flat bottom and is made from non-magnetic stainless steel. The handles are also large and awkward, at about 5” tall, taking up lots of space in smaller ovens; some people have even removed them in order to fit. If you want an induction-ready roasting pan, look at the Cuisinart MultiClad model.
Cuisinart MultiClad Roasting Pan
The Cuisinart MultiClad Roasting Pan is a lot like the Chef’s Classic above, with a stainless-steel body built to some of the highest standards of cookware craftsmanship. The main difference, however, is the MultiClad construction, which includes an aluminum core for even better heat conduction and retention.
As mentioned, the MultiClad Roasting Pan uses two outer layers of stainless steel surrounding one aluminum inner core. It’s super strong and does a great of distributing heat throughout the entire pan. Stainless steel is, again, easy to clean (and dishwasher safe). The riveted handles are sturdy and inspire confidence, and the solid stainless-steel rack does as well. You can fit a 20-25-pound turkey in to the large size. Finally, it’s induction-cooker compatible, thanks to the magnetic stainless steel used. Cuisinart backs it up with a limited lifetime warranty.
The stainless may be induction compatible, but the bottom isn’t flat – making it difficult to use on burners. As with the Chef’s Classic model, handles are quite large and awkward, and can easily get in your way, especially in smaller ovens. The rack is also known to pit over time and with washing. And again, the pan is quite heavy, at nearly 10 pounds.
Other Things To Keep In Mind When Choosing A Roasting Pan
Is it Non-Stick? A non-stick roasting pan certainly isn’t a necessity, but most nicer pans will at least have a non-stick roasting rack. This way, removing food is easy, as is cleanup. You’ll likely want to make sure the non-stick coating is non-toxic and PFOA- or PTFE-free, so you’re enjoying your food and not worrying about chemicals in there. At the same time, make sure the non-stick coating is oven safe, good quality and doesn’t flake off over time or during cleaning.
How Large Is It? Most roasting pans are 16”-18” long, and large enough to hold a 20-25-pound turkey or roast as well as some vegetables, potatoes (or whatever!) underneath. There are smaller roasting pans if you prefer, and a few larger ones. Just remember that the larger it is, the heavier – and more expensive – it is.
How Are The Handles? Handles might seem like an afterthought, but handles that are too large, too small or too weak can ruin an otherwise good pan. Some larger pans have handles so big, they get in the way of large roasts or very small ovens. Other handles are so small that you can’t grasp them firmly with oven mitts.
How Expensive Is It? Good roasting pans range in price from $30-40 for a basic, lower-quality one, to $100 to $200 for a premium model. We think you can pick an excellent roasting pan for $50+, one with a quality build, decent non-stick rack that doesn’t flake, and comfortable handles.