In Search of the Perfect Roasting Pan

In Search of the Perfect Roasting Pan

Chefs & Experts

In Search of the Perfect Roasting Pan


Have you looked around your kitchen and realized you are lacking one major tool to prepare Thanksgiving dinner? If you haven’t noticed the big displays at every home appliance store, it appears that roasters are the cookware of the year.

If you are like many of us, you’ve made do over the years with ones made of aluminum foil, or perhaps the bottom of the oven’s broiler set. The old covered graniteware worked for awhile, but now we know better than to cover the turkey. Time to update!

Looking for a roasting pan can be an ambitious project. Note that this article is specifically about oven roasters—this is not about electric roasters.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Shop online first. That way you can read the reviews and see what problems others have had, and which ones rise to the top. In our review we found that the top three appeared to be one made by Calphalon, one from All Clad, and one from Viking. We found less information, but decent reviews, on the KitchenAid and the Cuisinart. So search for “roasting pan” starting with any of those brands and see what you find.
  2. Once you have your research in hand, do a little in-store comparison shopping. Right now a lot of stores have cookware on sale, and you may be able to beat the online price—particularly if you have to pay shipping as well. For the record, we bought in-store for about $25 less.
  3. Look for true tri-ply. Many of the reviews warned about how easy it is to assume a brand is offering tri-ply, simply because many of its products are. The advantage of the tri-ply is that it is triple clad stainless steel. A lot of the online warnings talk about some of the roasters that are made overseas warping—even the All-Clad, which is usually considered a superior brand.
  4. We don’t recommend any brand of non-stick roaster. With the tri-ply stainless, you will get years of quality wear and you can easily scrub it out with a little Barkeeper’s Friend if it gets stained.
  5. You don’t need a cover if what you plan to use the roasting pan for is roasting. A cover will steam the food, which is not what you are going for when roasting.
  6. When you get to the store, check out your favorites, keeping usability and storage in mind, too. Go ahead and pull them out of the box and check the handles, to make sure they are a comfortable fit for you and don’t extend too far if your oven is small.
  7. If you have an induction stove, you already know what to do—be sure you get an induction-capable roaster if you plan to use it on the stovetop for gravy. Turn it over and check the bottom—it should be clearly marked.
  8. You do need the grate that fits into the bottom, since it keeps the meat from sticking and allows you to use the juices to make gravy.  With a tri-ply, you can put the roasting pan right over two burners of your stovetop and get all the flavor from the bottom of the pan! You can’t do that with a throwaway.
  9. Go ahead and get the turkey lifters. Calphalon has a good model that comes with them, or buy them separately if you go up a model. Even if you only use them once or twice a year, they provide a degree of control that could keep your meat from slipping.

For our money, we recommend the Calphalon Tri-Ply 14” Roaster with Roasting Rack and Lifters.  Or, if you plan years of roasting turkeys that are bigger than 18-20 pounds, go up to the 16” (it has the rack, but you’ll have to buy your lifters separately).

Remember, this is opinion based on the research of our culinary experts, but it does not include a full kitchen testing of any of the products. It’s meant simply to help you cut through some of the hours we spent so you can spend more time planning your menu and shopping for the ingredients to make a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner!


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