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Dec 25, 2006 02:32 AM

Roasting Pan: Le Creuset vs. Stainless Steel

Looks like I'll be cooking a standing rib roast for Xmas. Looking at the current roasting pan I know it's time for a new one. I cook probably 2-3 turkeys &/or roasts a year so it's not a high priority item but I do want it to function well.

I narrowed down my choices to stainless steel or a Le Creuset... (maybe a Calaphalon hard-anodized). I know all three are more difficult to clean compared to non-stick but I don't like non-stick from de-glazing.

My preference is Le Creuset because it can double up for some uses and be put on the table and look okay. My main question is how well does Le Creuset work on the stove top for de-glazing and making gravy? I assume you can put it on the stove top. Thanks for any info.

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  1. I own a large LC roasting pan (Yay for closing down sales otherwise it would have been unaffordable) that I use for all my roasts. It being cast iron it performs equally well on the stove as in the oven. Remember that stainless steel is a lousy heat conductor, you'll be far better off with either anodized aluminum or cast iron.

    The only issue you might have with the LC is weight. For me that's not a problem but my wife finds the pan heavy.

    1. CI rates the All Clad #1, but who wants to pay $250 for a roasting pan? Whatever you do, do not buy non stick that comes with the rack, not prudent as the surface disintegrates.

      For quality, LC is always first rate, but the weight is an issue for a pan that size to some. Good pans are all expensive, but you definitely want something you can use metal utensils in.

      You can also use this pan for lasagna, hence you'll want to be able to cut the thing without damaging a non stick surface. I lent my Costco non stick roaster to a neighbor, and it promptly came back scratched after instructing them not to use a knife on it.

      1. Sur La Table used to have an outstanding fully clad stainless/aluminum/stainless roaster that was only $100 for the large and $80 for the small--half the price of All Clad's all stainless roaster.

        For some reason, they're discontinuing it. It's no longer on their website, and both Chicago stores were sold out of the large pans and only had the small ones left.

        If you can find one left in stock at your local SLT, it definately would be worth a look.

        1. I'm curious about this roasting pan issue. I use an old, 11x16x2", seems to be aluminum or
          some junk metal, pan that was probably originally sold to cook lasagna. This is what I roast
          meat in. It's big enough for most reasonable sized turkeys, a leg of lamb, and any beef
          roast I could possibly afford. It seems to work just fine.

          My question is, and I'm not trying to be sarcastic here I genuinely would like to know,
          am I missing something by roasting in this 20 year old, $5 pan from Woolworths?

          The part of my brain that remembers the thermodynamics course in college tells me
          that heat conductivity is not an issue in a standard roasting situation. And I can
          toss it onto the stove afterwards for some gravy production. And if something bad
          happens I can scrape real hard and shoot it with some Easy-Off oven cleaner and throw
          it into the dishwasher next day, all with the impunity that comes with a $5 pan. What does a
          $250 All Clad get me?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

            The benefit is in the initial sear and the gravy making. A pan that heats evenly will make both tasks easy. I also want a sturdy pan for the roast to be secure in.

            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

              As Andreas mentioned it helps w/ searing or gravy making/de-glazing.

              Today I used a porcelain enamel roasting pan for the rib roast. (I don't even recall how I came to own it.) Any way, tt worked fine in the oven but on the stove you could see the pronounced hot spot where the burner was underneath.

              In a LC or multi-layer All Clad the heat would dispurse evenly, heat slower, give you more control and thus be less likely to burn. With the hot spot I couldn't turn it up as high and I had to constantly be stirring in that area to keep from burning Not a huge deal but I was doing three things at once so more control is better.

              Any way, I did some searching on the web and you can get a large LC enamel/cast iron roasting pan for $100. I'd rather have LC over stainless because you get the benefit of looks and you can put it on the table.

              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                OK, so the advantages of the extremely-high-priced roasting pans are on the
                stovetop, not in the oven? And the note below about "radiant energy from the sides of
                the heavier pans improved browning." ? That's voodoo, isn't it? The "radiant energy"
                is more accurately called "heat". And in an oven, the source of heat is not the pan
                it's the oven. 90% of the roast is not in contact with the pan anyway, the main job
                of the pan is sitting there catching drippings.

                OK, so color me dubious about these extremely-high-priced slabs of metal.

              2. The NY Times tested roasting pans in 2003 and put KitchenAid first, followed by All-Clad and Bourgeat. If price is critical, they recommended Tramonitina.

                The story said that radiant energy from the sides of the heavier pans improved browning. I'm not so sure of that, but certainly the heavier pans conduct heat more evenly and can be deglazed on the stovetop without hot spots.

                The Times story is at but you have pay a $45/year fee for access.

                I got the large All-Clad, which is great for turkeys and other huge items, but I don't use it very often. I get equal results roasting chickens in a heavy metal-handle 12" WearEver skillet.

                Offhand, I think a Le Creuset pan big enough to hold a standing rib-roast would be almost too heavy to handle just by itself, let along with the roast in it, and I would worry about whether it would produce a good fond or, being cast iron inside, would deglaze without hot spots.

                1 Reply
                1. re: KRS

                  But one of the main benefits of cast iron is that there'll be no hot spots and perfect deglazing. That's the entire point of using a heavy cast iron pan. We had a rib roast for 12 this evening and the LC pan performed admirably, both for the roasting and the fond. We'll be making stock from the bones and leftovers, for the traditional New Year's Eve French onion soup.