What is a Roasting Pan? How to Choose the Right One!

Roasting pans are a kitchen essential, especially if you love having roasted food. While many people don’t prefer having this kind of pan, others swear by it!

Even though roasting pans aren’t too expensive, choosing the right pan can be somewhat of a task.

The main problem with all those who don’t own a roasting pan is that they are oblivious of the purpose it actually serves.

This article covers everything you need to know about roasting pans and how you can buy the best one for your kitchen.

What is a Roasting Pan?

A roasting pan is a huge, high-sided pan. It typically comes along with removable racks, handles, and a ribbed bottom.

Roasting Pan

This pan is large and even with its rack, it fits perfectly in your oven. A roasting pan is usually made out of thick materials, such as aluminum, stainless steel, cast-iron, or non-stick. It is used for cooking turkey and large pieces of meat.

The heaviness of the material it is made out of ensures that it can sustain the weight of the meat being cooked in it.

The purpose of a roasting pan rack is that it helps keep the meat away from the bottom of the pan. Moreover, this also promotes airflow within the pan, encouraging evenly-cooked meat.

The pan is typically present underneath the rack, serving different purposes. First of all, it helps gather the dripping juices of the meat. Secondly, it provides proper space to roast vegetables.

Difference between a Roasting Pan and Baking Dish

Many people remain rather confused between a roasting pan and a baking dish.

They assume that a baking dish serves the same purpose as a roasting pan, but that’s not true at all! It is important to know the difference between the two.

Firstly, a baking dish is usually made out of ceramic or glass, whereas a roasting pan is typically made of metals, such as aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, etc.

Baking Dish

Secondly, baking dishes have lower walls and sides, whereas roasting pans are meant to have high sides to keep the juices from overflowing.

Lastly, baking dishes are meant to be used to cook at low temperatures, while that isn’t the case for roasting pans, which are meant to be cooked at high temperatures to get a stunning brown color on the meat!

Features of a Good Roasting Pan

With so many roasting pans out there, it might be confusing to decide which pan is the best for you.

So, here are some features that make a good roasting pan.

Made of Thick Materials

All roasting pans are made of aluminum, stainless steel, cast-iron, or non-stick materials.

The only difference between a good roasting pan and an average one is that the former is made of a thick layer of these materials. The thickness enables even distribution of heat.

Comes With Handles

If there’s one thing a good roasting pan has, it’s proper, easy-to-hold handles. A roasting pan is supposed to be sturdy so that it remains in one place when placed inside an oven.

Moreover, the handles help you put the roasting pan in and out of the oven in a convenient manner.

Types of Roasting Pans

There are many types of roasting pans. From cast-iron to stainless steel, you can choose the best one for your kitchen.

Moreover, most of these pans come with racks and lids.

Here are the different types of roasting pans you need to know about.

Stainless Steel and Aluminum Roasting Pans

Stainless steel and aluminum are the most commonly used materials in the manufacturing of roasting pans.

These materials do a phenomenal job of distributing heat evenly. However, these roasting pans still have certain hot spots that you need to be careful of.

Moreover, these materials are classic and pretty tough!

Non-Stick Roasting Pan

While stainless steel and aluminum roasting pans are great, there is one major drawback— cleaning them is a pain!

If you are very concerned about the cleaning process, you should opt for a non-stick roasting pan.

Even though the heat distribution isn’t as good as it is in stainless steel pans, you can ensure that your food won’t stick!

Cast Iron Roasting Pans

Cast iron roasting pans are another great option that you can explore. You can use enameled cast iron pans to brown your meat on the stovetop burner and then move it into the oven.

Cast iron pans have thick sides and a tight lid that can help keep your roast warm for longer.

Tips for Choosing a Roasting Pan

Choosing a roasting pan is a rather tough job. However, there are certain factors that you can consider before buying a pan.

Here are some tips that can help you choose the ideal roasting pan for your kitchen.

Pay Attention to their Weight

The first thing you need to pay attention to is the weight of the roasting pan.

While all pans are made out of aluminum or stainless steel, you need to ensure that these materials are of superior quality.

Moreover, a heavyweight roasting pan has some great heat-conducting qualities that help in the cooking process.

Using a disposable aluminum roasting pan isn’t the best option to make a heavy roast. Since they are pretty lightweight, they won’t be able to hold the weight of the meat.

You could end up spilling or breaking the dish and may even harm yourself in the process. So, make sure to invest in a heavyweight, oven-safe, and sturdy pan with strong handles.

Consider Pan’s Size

It is more than essential for you to find a roasting pan that fits your oven perfectly and can easily contain and support the meat you’re cooking.

For instance, the roasting pan should support an entire turkey so that no part of it extends beyond the pan. Moreover, if the roasting pan is larger than the meat you are cooking, the juices within the pan will start burning.

You also have the option of investing in two roasting pans – a big pan and another relatively smaller one.

You can use the small one to cook small pieces of meat and you can use the big roasting pan to cook the occasional turkey or a massive piece of meat.

Choose a Roasting Pan with a Rack

Every good roasting pan comes with a proper rack! The rack allows the meat to cook evenly and properly without sticking to the pan.

Moreover, the delicious juices of the meat drop from the rack into the pan below, which can be used to season the vegetables.

Pay Attention to the Height of a Roasting Pan’s Sides

A proper roasting pan comes with tall and extended sides that make it deep. These are the best kind of pans to roast pieces of meat that excrete a lot of juice.

You can also find shallow roasting pans with shorter sides.

However, these kinds of pans are only suitable for roasting vegetables and other foods that don’t produce a lot of juice during the roasting process.

Consider the Cover

Not all roasting pans come with covers.

However, a roasting pan with a cover is a great asset. A cover makes the pan more versatile as it can be used for making a stew or pot roast.

However, the cover isn’t suitable to be used for roasting as the meat will steam rather than roast. Getting a roast pan with a cover is not a necessity, but it can prove to be valuable.

How to Clean a Roasting Pan?

Once you have bought a roasting pan to cook delicious delicacies, you can expect to face one issue for certain – baked-on grease.

This issue doesn’t only pertain to roasting pans, but almost all kitchen cookware.

If you are searching for different ways to clean your roasting pan without damaging it, we have got some options for you.

Here is how you can clean your roasting pan:

Clean with Hot Water

Hot water is a god-sent when it comes to cleaning dirty dishes. All you need is a stovetop, water, and a wooden spatula to clean up your roasting pan.

First, fill your roasting pan with just an inch or two of water and set it to boil on your stovetop burner. Once the water starts boiling, you need to use your wooden spatula to scrape off the baked-bits.

This cleaning technique helps get rid of the worst and most stubborn food spots from your pan.

Use a Non-abrasive and Non-toxic Powder Cleanser

Look for a non-toxic powder cleanser and a non-abrasive pad to scrub off the food bits and grease from your roasting pan.

This technique is effective at getting rid of the unwanted stuff from your pan while ensuring that it remains scratch-free.

Moreover, you can also use an abrasive powder to clean up your roasting pan, but it can be a bit risky as it can cause scratches.

Use an Oven Cleaner

You can also use an oven cleaner to clean up your roasting pan. The only thing you need to make sure of is that your pan is made of sturdy stainless steel.

Even though this might be a good method, it is important to acknowledge that it isn’t practical for every situation.

Clean it With Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is a home remedy you can use to clean up your roasting pan. Both these ingredients can easily be found in your kitchen and offer their own benefits.

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over your roasting pan and then add vinegar to it. Let the mixture be for a little while before scrubbing it off.


Roasting means ‘to cook with dry heat.’ A roasting pan is the best kind of cookware if you want to enjoy juicy meat with a brown crust.

So, if you’re looking to buy a roasting pan, invest in one by using our above-mentioned guide.

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