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I’m just going to say it, roasters are an essential pan. Most people think of them just as a holiday or special occasion pieces only taken out of storage for that one moment, and then returned to its dark corner until next year, but they can be so much more. Think one-pan meals, multi-night casseroles, even vessels for water baths when making cheesecake.
Once you’ve decided you need one, there are a few things to consider. Roasting pans come in a variety of materials and finishes. What is most important for your cooking life: easy cleaning, uniform browning, or maybe versatility to go from oven to table?
"Most people think only of using roasting pans for meat, but my favorite way to prepare many vegetables is to roast them. I love roasting asparagus—it makes it taste just like candy. If you have a picky eater in your family, try roasting the vegetables instead of blanching or boiling or sauteing," says Jeanette Hurt, recipe developer and author of 12 cookbooks, including "The Unofficial ALDI Cookbook." "And while you could roast them on a cookie sheet, if you're spritzing them with olive oil or balsamic vinegar, a regular cookie sheet will cause dribbles to slip off of the sheet and onto the bottom of your oven, and then you have to clean your oven."
Yes, you could go for the disposable aluminum models, but take it from somebody who had one split in half while removing a 15-pound turkey from the oven, a reliable option is worth the investment. From vintage, covered, lightweight models that are naturally nonstick, to versatile modern pans that easily go from oven to stovetop, these are the best roasting pans.
Best Overall: Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack
What We Love: Durable, heats evenly, roomy handles, affordable, easily straddles two burners
What We Don’t Love: Easily discolors with dishwasher use
You would be hard-pressed to find a roasting pan as durable, capable of even heating, and ergonomically designed as my top pick. Add to that its reasonable price and the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Roasting Pan is a no-brainer. An aluminum core offers optimal heat conductivity while fully-clad stainless steel delivers even roasting, searing, and deglazing. Plus it's a cinch to clean.
There is more to love though! The flat cooking area easily straddles two burners, which makes it simple to whisk gravy or other sauces with those tasty bits of drippings. The included stainless steel V-rack affords good air circulation and ease of cleanup. The winning features though are the riveted, upright handles. They are roomy enough to comfortably grip while wearing oven mitts.
"I am a big fan of heavy-duty roasting pans that can go on the stovetop," says Christine Pittman, cookbook author and founder of COOKtheSTORY.com. "I avoid non-stick coatings because when I make gravy in a roasting pan, I use a wire-flat whisk to really get in there and mix the ingredients together. This eliminates the concerns over non-stick plastics and wire scratching the surface up."
Like other stainless steel pans, discoloration can occur, but a little soak in warm soapy water, a squeeze of Bar Keeper’s Friend, and some elbow grease cleans it right up. The Cuisinart Multiclad Pro is a versatile choice that manages everything from roasted chicken and vegetables to Pork Pernil to stovetop lemon-herb pan sauce, and it is oven-safe up to 500 degrees. Its large capacity easily holds a 20-pound turkey, two whole chickens, or a complete one-pan meal. And, it is compatible with any cooktop, including induction.
Length: 16 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Includes Rack: Yes
Best Budget: Circulon Nonstick Roasting Pan
What We Love: Affordable, good surface area on rack, easy-to-clean
What We Don’t Love: Only oven-safe to 450 degrees
This affordable model combines the ease and security of PFOA-free nonstick coating with a cavernous up-to-24-pound poultry capacity. The 6.5-inch depth also allows for large casserole baking, and the extra-wide, riveted handles make it easy to transfer between the oven and cooktop.
The Circulon Nonstick Roasting Pan has a U-shaped rack rather than the common V-shaped, which provides more surface area, ensuring whatever you are roasting has a more even browning. The one caveat with nonstick-coated pans like this is it is better to hand wash for longevity. The harsh detergents and high-speed spray of a machine can cause the coating to chip or peel.
The durable steel construction provides balanced heat distribution, and the rolled edges serve to strengthen the overall pan. The pan is heat-safe up to 450 degrees, and the nonstick coating makes cleanup a snap. This versatile, large-capacity roaster makes a great choice for holiday meals, as well as weeknight dinners.
Length: 17 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand wash recommended | Includes Rack: Yes
Best Nonstick: GreenPan Reserve Nonstick Roasting Pan with Rack
What We Love: Excellent heat retention, durable, easy-to-clean, attractive handles
What We Don’t Love: Pricey
If nonstick is your choice, this is the pan. I bought my husband some GreenPan skillets to cook his eggs in the morning without dealing with my stainless steel cookware, and they were so exceptional we bought a saucepan and 4.5-quart lidded saute pan. They are heavy-duty, clean up easily, and the anodized aluminum delivers optimal heat conductivity and retention. And, the GreenPan Reserve Nonstick Roaster comes with all those bells and whistles.
The pan is oven-safe up to an enviable 600 degrees and is coated with GreenPan’s proprietary Thermolon Diamond Advanced ceramic nonstick which features layers of diamonds for optimal durability. It is hefty at almost 8 pounds and reliable on any stovetop burner except induction. And, when it comes to nonstick one of the most important considerations is covered. GreenPan is manufactured without the use of PFAS, PFOA, lead, or cadmium, so no fumes will be released even if something burns in the pan.
Plus, it is drop-dead gorgeous with its matte black body and elegant brass handles. The V-shaped rack easily lifts roasts from the bottom to keep everything juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and the duo-forged construction makes it extra scratch-resistant. Like other GreenPan products, this roaster is dishwasher safe, but the manufacturer recommends hand washing to maintain aesthetics long term. Take it from me, even the toughest food debris washes off GreenPan products easily with a sponge and some warm, soapy water.
Length: 16 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, but hand wash recommended | Includes Rack: Yes
Related: The Best Nonstick Cookware
Best Splurge: All-Clad Stainless-Steel Flared Roasting Pan
What We Love: Excellent heat conductivity, flared sides promote heat circulation, comfortable handles, lightweight, roomy
What We Don’t Love: Pricey
This is my go-to pan for holiday get-togethers. It holds my enormous 25-pound honey ancho turkey at Thanksgiving and an 8-rib coffee-rubbed standing roast at Christmas. It is a beast, but only clocks in at a little under 6 pounds in heft, which makes it easy on my weak wrists. Plus the flared sides allow better air circulation resulting in that evenly browned, crispy golden turkey skin.
All-Clad’s Stainless Steel Flared Roasting Pan has an aluminum core surrounded by 18/10 stainless steel, that delivers superior heat conduction and cleans up easily. And, their signature starburst finish prevents food from sticking, like that gravy you make with pan drippings on top of the stove. The stainless steel handles never get hot on me, and they are extra roomy for easy transfer from oven to stovetop. This model has a flat rack rather than the common V-shaped racks which helps when you are roasting a spatchcocked chicken or even a whole fish.
If you are looking to level up your roasting pan, The All-Clad roaster is a great choice. It is oven and broiler safe up to 600 degrees, compatible with all stovetops, and comes in two sizes, though I say go for the extra-large if you ever entertain. It delivers superior roasting performance whether it is a one-pan pork roast and caramelized vegetables for dinner or a holiday feast. It is dishwasher-safe, but I always give it a quick hand wash with hot water and dish soap—everything comes off easily and you save putting your expensive roaster through the harsh detergent or spray of a machine.
Length: 18.75 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Includes Rack: Yes
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Best for Serving: Le Creuset Signature Roaster
What We Love: Excellent heat retention, versatile, variety of colors, easy to clean
What We Don’t Love: Heavy, pricey
There is a lot to love about Le Creuset’s Signature Roaster. The company has produced individually crafted, enameled cast iron cookware since 1925, and inspired a deep fan base among chefs and home cooks for their durable, attractive pieces. The enameled finish cleans up easily, and the cast-iron foundation delivers exceptional heat retention.
Like other Le Creuset products, the roaster is hefty at close to 10 pounds, but what it lacks in lightweight design, it makes up for in attractiveness and reliability. The enamel exterior resists chips and cracks, the ergonomic handles make for easy lifting, and the vessel delivers excellent heat distribution. If you're wondering why I'm bringing a pan's handles so much, it's for good reason.
"Handles are an important consideration. Make sure it has handles to make it easier to grab out of the oven, and they are secure with enough space for you to grab onto when wearing oven mitts," says Pittman. "Oftentimes with roast pans, you'll have a very heavy pan and the ingredients will make it even heavier so handles are essential."
This Le Creuset is safe up to 500 degrees and can be used on the stovetop. It does not come with a roasting rack, but it does come in a variety of colors. My Caribbean roaster looks elegant on the table full of golden, family-size French toast casserole.
Length: 16.7 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Includes Rack: No
Related: The Best Ceramic Cookware Sets
Best with Lid: GraniteWare Large Covered Oval Roasting Pan
What We Love: Porcelain-coated nonstick, lightweight but sturdy, affordable
What We Don’t Love: Not suitable for stovetop burners
Granite Ware has been crafting porcelain-coated, speckled enamel roasters for the last 150 years. The vintage-looking vessel is thinner and more lightweight than its stainless steel counterparts, and fused porcelain-to-steel construction produces a naturally nonstick cooking surface that does not absorb food odors. The steel core offers even heat distribution built to last for generations.
Speaking of generations, my great-grandmother gifted me her Granite Ware roaster when I moved into my first home and started hosting Thanksgiving. Now my husband uses it to marinate and par-bake his racks of Dr. Pepper Ribs before kissing them on the grill for a little char. Everyone at Simply Recipes is a fan of low and slow cooking before turning up the heat. "One of my go-to techniques for roasting is the reverse searing method: a roast is cooked low and slow in the oven, and then toward the end, the temperature is kicked up to around 500 degrees," says Pittman,
This roaster easily holds 2 racks of ribs and a 2-liter of Dr. Pepper, even with the cover on. The raised channels on the bottom of the pan elevate meats slightly out of juices, but they also make it difficult to produce a smooth roux for gravy. The Granite Ware Covered Oval Roaster is an affordable, easy-to-clean, reliable model destined to be a family heirloom.
Length: 19 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Includes Rack: No
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With a fully clad stainless steel construction, consistent heating, and flat surface for smooth whisking of gravy and pan sauces, the affordable Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack (view at Amazon) is my top choice. If you are looking for a nonstick option, go for the GreenPan Reserve Nonstick Roasting Pan with Rack (view at Amazon). Its durable ceramic coating cleans up easily, the anodized aluminum delivers excellent heat conductivity and retention, and it's a showstopper with its matte black finish and brass handles.
What to Look for in a Roasting Pan
There is a sweet spot in roasting pan size that falls somewhere between 12 and 16 inches. In this range, you can comfortably roast a good-sized holiday bird, a standing rib roast, or a one-pan meal of chicken and vegetables. If you are thinking of making gravy or sauce with pan drippings, check the distance between your stovetop burners against the pan length to be sure it can straddle them comfortably.
Overcrowding is a consideration as well. I like a larger pan so nothing is touching the sides, and good airflow is achieved during the cook. By the same token, you don’t want lots of exposed pan bottom where drippings can scorch. The rule of thumb is to evaluate your purpose for the pan and buy based on what you need.
The landscape is wide. Stainless steel is durable and an excellent heat conductor, which makes it a popular choice. Usually, it can transfer to most stovetop burners adding to its appeal. It is not as easy to clean as nonstick coated, but it is not difficult either. Copper also has superior heat conductivity and it does transfer to stovetop burners, but cleaning is challenging, and it is quite pricey. Enameled cast iron cleans up easily, the heat retention is excellent, and most choices in this category are elegant additions to any tablescape. But it is a heavy design so may be challenging for those with mobility issues.
Glass and ceramic are lightweight options, but cannot be used on a stovetop and many are susceptible to thermal shock. Even my most durable glass pans have cracked with heavy use. Nonstick-coated pans are easy to clean but fumes can occur if overheated and the coating can deteriorate. Another issue with nonstick coatings is they are often dark or black, which makes it difficult to see food (caramelized brown bits in the bottom of the pan that make the most delicious gravy and sauces). Tri-ply aluminum, long known for its superior heat conduction, layered between durable stainless steel is the best of all worlds. It goes from oven to stovetop, disperses heat evenly, does not warp or bend, and is easy to clean. It has the advantages of enameled cast iron without the heft. The only disadvantage is it can stain or discolor, but that's an easy fix.
Depending on the construction and finish of your pan, cleanup is relatively easy. Some roasters are dishwasher safe, though many manufacturers recommend hand washing to preserve the life of the pan. Nonstick coatings make easy cleanup with warm soapy water and a sponge. Steel construction is tougher to release food debris, but can handle more rigorous cleaning. If your steel-constructed pans have stuck-on or burnt-on bits there are a couple of options. Often if you put some water in your pan and return it to the oven, the heated liquid will “deglaze” the pan and lift stubborn bits.
If that does not work, I employ Bar Keeper’s Friend (BKF). But, in the absence of BKF, a bit of acid helps. Make a paste of white vinegar and baking soda (1 cup vinegar to 1/4 cup baking soda ratio) and let it sit in the pan for about 30 minutes. Scrub with your sponge in hot, soapy water and the abrasive from the baking soda combined with the acid of the vinegar should banish stubborn stains.
Maintenance is not really a concern other than with stainless steel finishes, be sure to dry your pan thoroughly once cleaned. This will keep water spots at bay, and ensure a beautiful long-lasting finish.
Do you need a rack for a roasting pan?
A rack allows optimal air circulation when roasting a large protein. It ensures your meal cooks and browns evenly. But, do you need a rack? No. If your task is a one-pan weeknight pork loin and vegetables, a rack is unnecessary. Basically, racks are a nice-to-have, especially when holiday feasts roll around. They aid in consistency, but are not required.
There are a couple of DIY options if you want a rack, but don’t have one on hand. The best choice is to utilize your potatoes and vegetables as props for the protein. This allows the meat to get optimal air circulation while drenching the veggies and potatoes in delicious drippings. You could also make some aluminum foil “trivets” to keep the poultry away from the pan bottom.
If you own a toaster oven, chances are the rack will fit in your roasting pan, or you can even use metal cookie cutters to elevate your protein in a pinch.
Can a roasting pan be used on a stovetop?
The quick and dirty answer is, check your manufacturer’s label. Many roasting pans are designed specifically to be taken from oven to stovetop so you can take advantage of all those tasty drippings. But, some models are thinner construction and would not do well on a stovetop. And, then there are many types of burners. Induction burners are particularly complicated when moving roasters to stovetops.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who owns an embarrassingly obscene number of roasting pans, including four from this list that all live in her Cave of Wonders cabinet. As a restaurateur and avid home cook, she has roasted hundreds of turkeys, and baked thousands of casseroles—she knows the importance of having the right pan for the job. Her work has appeared in many publications including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.
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