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What size roasting pan would you recommend?

I'm looking to finally get a good roasting pan. A few years ago I made the mistake of getting a non-stick roasting pan and soon discovered it wasn't very good for sauces or gravy. So I'm looking at getting a heavier duty stainless steel pan. My big question is how big of a pan should I get? Normally, we'll roast chicken, rack of lamb or a beef rib roast. But I doubt we'll be roasting a turkey each year. I was initially thinking that its better to get a bigger 16"x12" pan just in case we want to do something bigger. But when I saw the size of it, I started thinking that it would be too big for a smaller roast. Any suggestions on the size? If I do go with the larger pan (but get a good heavy duty one), do you think I'd having any issues burning the juices on the bottom of the pan? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Hello,
    Here is a link that you might find useful. There are a couple of pans on sale. Hope this helps.


    1. I'd get a nice, heavy duty roasting pan that I could also use on the stove to make a nice gravy. I'd get the size that I would accommodate what I normally cooked. See, for me, I don't like heating up a huge roasting pan for a small bird or rack of lamb because I've actually warped a pan before (kind of like when you heat up a baking sheet and only use like 1/3 of it and rest overheats or something and warps ).It also becomes an issue of the drippings/juices. I've found that the larger the pan, the greater the surface area, which means the juices of my normal sized bird/roast really spreads out on the bottom of the pan and because its a thin thin layer, it either burns on or evaporates. It also becomes a storage issue, too. So for these reasons, I pitched out my super huge what if I roast a 20 lb turkey every 7 years pan in favor of a pan that accommodates my normaI cooking habits. I have a really heavy duty pan, and I love it.

      1. One that fits in your oven. I got a nice roasting pan from my mother-in-law beacuse it was too big for her oven.

        1 Reply
        1. re: suburban_mom

          Sweet! Yup, pan's gotta fit in the oven...

        2. Don't bother with getting roasting pan for smaller roasts and chickens.

          I use my 11" diameter saute pan or my 10" fry pan to roast chickens, partial/single racks of lamb and most roasts. Usually the choice of which I use depends on if or how thick a bed of vegetables I plan to put down to flavour the fond and what I need on the cook-top to prepare the other dishes of the meal. They won't fit a large turkey or a standing rib roast, but those are not smaller roasts.

          IMHO, for roasting, you want to use the smallest vessel that will suffice, so even smaller items could go in smaller fry pans/saute pans if you have them

          4 Replies
          1. re: khuzdul

            Thanks for the great reply. Never would have thought of using a fry pan for roast chickens or racks of lamb. You mentioned that a rib roast is a larger roast and would be too big for a saute/fry pan, how big of a pan do you think you'd need for a 7-10 lb roast? I still tended to think of that as a smaller roast.

            1. re: leisterbrau

              Just to be sure that we are on the same page, I believe that a 7 to 10 lb rib eye roast should fit fine in a 11" saute/fry pan, though I haven't cooked a 10 lb rib eye roast myself so I can't be positive on the high end. If you can fit the roast in to the pan without crowding in order to sear it, you can fit it in the pan to roast it in the oven.

              The larger roast that I was talking about was a full standing rib roast (a bone-in hunk of meat spanning rib 6 to rib 12, 7 ribs total, usually in the 16-18 lb range but can go well above 20lbs) is a large beast and can be over 17 inches long.

              I do have a large copper oval roasting pan that I bring out perhaps twice a year in a busy year to roast turkeys for holidays. Even that would not large enough for a full standing rib roast or a 25 lb turkey.

            2. re: khuzdul

              Thanks for the great reply. Never would have thought of using a saute/fry pan for roasting chickens or racks of lamb. You said that rib roast were larger roasts and wouldn't work in the saute pan. How big of a pan do you think you'd need for a 7-10 lb rib roast?

              1. re: khuzdul

                I was going to suggest using a cast iron skillet. If you want to use a rack, you can buy a stainless round cake "cooling" rack that will easily do the job of keeping your smaller roast lifted off the bottom.

              2. Also look into big gratin dishes / gratin pans. They are beautiful in the kitchen and on the table. The oval shape is perfect for the things you mentioned. They come in all kinds of material - porcelain, ceramic, copper, stainless, enameled cast iron... I have been drooling over one of those for quite some time now because they are so pretty, but I too have been roasting little things in an appropriately-sized skillet with a small roasting rack and have been happy with the result.

                I would also look into one of those low wide braisers with lid. The shape of the cooking area is almost like a skillet. Instead of one long handle and the optional loop handle, these braisers have 2 loop handles, which are convenient when you take them in and out of the oven.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cutipie721

                  I have used my 13" braiser to roast mid-sized fowl that did not fit well in my saute pan before and I thought that there was too much dead space in the pan. I prefer to use a 15"/16"oval roasting pan over a 13" round braiser (about 430 sq inches to 530 sq inches) when the occasion calls for it. As you say with the gratin dishes, an oval roasting pan often is a perfect shape for many roasts. I've seen some 9" and 11" gratin pans that would work marvelously for most DINK and small family roasting needs.

                2. Yeah everyone should be aware of buying a non-stick pan and trying to make gravy in it. What was I thinking, besides how cheap could I get one. Still not ready to spend $150 on a great stainless pan yet, since I only do really big roasts twice a year. A 25 to 30 lb turkey at Thanksgiving, and a bone in leg of lamb that I buy on sale at Easter and make for gyros when we have company in the summer.

                  But just ordered a 18.5x12 pan for $25, the kind that is speckled, from Cooks Catalog, made in USA; because I couldn't stand another year of weak gravy. If anyone wants my old thick aluminum, non stick, roasting pan which is about the same size, let me know, or I'm throwing it out!

                  PS I have a few 13x9 roasting pans for everyday, this is a special occasion pan but when I need it, I need it.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: coll


                    I understand some of argument for stainless steel roasting pan over Teflon coated one, like physical durable, temperature durable...but what it has to do with "I couldn't stand another year of weak gravy"? Teflon roasting pan makes weak gravy?

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Most likely it's that the non-stick finish doesn't allow the browning needed for a more flavorful darker gravy. Found that out myself when I first started cooking.

                        1. re: breadchick

                          Exactly, thanks. Very disappointing when I realized my mistake! My new pan is arriving Fedex on Saturday, I may celebrate early and make a roast beef or something.

                    2. I'm in the camp that uses saute/skillet for small roasts - mostly my re-purposed calphalon tri ply everyday pan which now sees more roasting action than any other. Fantastic on stove top for gravy too. I actually did manage to roast a turkey in it last year and that worked out well.
                      I bought a Cuisinox roasting pan but it warped and was disappointing because of the stove top warping. Now I'm thinking I'm not in any rush to buy another as most of what I will roast does quite well in the Calphalon tri ply

                      1. We also use skillets a lot for roasting in our household. If you're getting a traditional rectangular or oval roasting pan, I'd get the largest thing you can afford that will fit in your oven - probably roughly 16" x 12" for a rectangular roaster. For roasting vegetables that you're not going to need to deglaze, a larger aluminum sheet pan might be better - even a 16 x 12 is not that big, and with vegetables, you can end up crowding the pan.

                        If you're shopping for a large stainless roasting pan, keep in mind that there are both plain stainless and stainless with aluminum core. The latter will generally be expensive (probably $150-200, though there are some bargains out there), but there may be some benefit, especially if you'll be deglazing on the stovetop. If you can afford it, All-Clad makes an extra-large roaster that's 18 3/4" x 14 3/4".

                        If storage space is a concern, do factor in the placement of the handles when considering what to purchase.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: will47

                          I'm finally going to get the Mauviel m'cook large roasting pan, after using - for a couple decades - a graniteware roasting pan. The ergonomics factor kicked in: no handles on the old pan, and I now need a sure grip, and the surface of the graniteware (maybe it's called speckled) has gotten dull and hard to clean. My hands are useless after scrubbing so long.

                          I'm hoping this roaster is similar to my All Clad with clean up. A short soak or de-glaze and done!

                          Anyway, finally glad I'm taking the plunge.

                          1. re: breadchick

                            Just out of curiosity, are you getting the deep or the shallow pan? We started with the deep, and then bought the shallow and have found them to be very good performers in the oven and on top of the stove.

                            1. re: dcrb

                              I'm getting the deep roaster. Just shipped from MetroKitchen today, so I'm excited to get it. I did see the shallow version (a bit smaller too.) So, if this roaster performs as I think it will - and based on your experience - the shallow one will be next!

                              1. re: breadchick

                                I think you will enjoy it and like buy the others as well. We have had no regrets.

                            2. re: breadchick

                              Graniteware, I called it speckled because I couldn't remember the correct name. Thanks for jogging my memory!

                              Haven't received it yet, but the one I'm getting is deep with a roasting rack that sits up pretty high. It does have handles. Hope it's all I'm dreaming of......

                          2. I don't roast the same things that you do because I am a vegetarian, but, i have been on the lookout for a stainless steel roasting pan for a while now because for one thing I want to be able to use it as a waterbath for baking when I need it. So, my suggestion is to see what other uses this pan could have for you and go for a larger one if you think that you could use it.

                            Other uses for a bigger pan would be roasting large amounts of tomato for oven tomato sauce, roasting veggies to make into stock so that you can deglaze in the pan.

                            i am not saying to get more pan that you need, just think about what else you could use it for.

                            1. One way to save money on a SS roasting pan is to go to a kitchen supply store and get a full size tray for a steam table. About $25-30. They are 12 3/4 by 20 3/4 and about 4" deep and heavy gauge SS. The lips along the edges make lifting easy but not as easy as the handles on an AC. Of course you still need a rack but they're readily available.

                              1. My problem (and maybe the OP's too) is dealing with 3-6-lb fryers or roasters, especially at 400 degrees or higher. I have a few large (14-16" X 9-12") roasting pans that work well enough, but if I put a small or medium-sized chicken in it the bottom will burn if I don't have a lot of liquid in the pan. Do I need a smaller pan or are the pans I have not thick enough?

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: chefMolnar

                                  Have you thought of using a Spanek Vertical Roaster in your pan? We have used them for years with good results. Spanek has a web site and the roasters are still available, though pricey.

                                  1. re: dcrb

                                    At this point I still want to try traditional methods. But I am not above trying to make beer-can chicken with my new gas grill.

                                    1. re: chefMolnar

                                      I do beer can chicken frequently. Chicken leg in one hand, can of beer in the other.

                                      Actually I have never tried this technique and might give it a shot sometime.

                                        1. re: breadchick

                                          Don't encourage him. :P Next thing you know, he will try the double beer chicken technique. Come to think of it, I am making Scotch Whiskey Cod.

                                  2. re: chefMolnar

                                    I'd use a smaller pan, because of the burn issue. I either have to use a ton of veggies in the bottom with a bunch of water, meaning my gravy isn't so great, or a smaller pan. And over the years, I've found that using the right sized pan does a great job. I kind of, quite frankly, got tired of buying kitchen equipment and storing it for the "what if I need to roast a 20 lb bird?" kind of scenario. With our kitchen reno a couple of years ago, I ditched all that. If I have to do a big turkey I'm going to get a foil disposable roasting pan. Not ideal but seriously, it'll do just fine. Just make sure that if you are using a small bird in a big pan, its sitting on a rack, because at that temperature, I think anything sitting against the bottom of the pan without enough liquid is going to burn...

                                    1. re: freia

                                      They make the foil ones sturdier these days, but I'd still put a half-sheet pan under it just to be sure! ;-)

                                      1. re: breadchick

                                        I've gotten a couple of perfectly good large roasting pans at the local Goodwill or Volunteers. They're in good shape and cost maybe $5.

                                        1. re: breadchick

                                          Having done turkey in the foil pans before, I would never do it again. Even a small turkey is heavy enough to be unwieldy. An enameled steel graniteware pan is pretty cheap (less than $20, for sure - they often have them in dollar stores, in fact, for less than that) and much, much sturdier. Even if you only use it for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it'll be worth it to not worry about struggling with a foil pan on a cookie sheet.

                                      2. re: chefMolnar

                                        Hi, chefMolnar:

                                        It is best to have a batterie so that you can size the pan to the joint, but if you put a bit of oil in the roaster to start (maybe 1/8" deep) you will not have much burning with a too-large pan. You may have to separate fat from jus later for your sauce/gravy, but this is no big problem.

                                        I am a big fan of using skillets and gratins for smaller birds. Cheaper and more versatile!


                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                          Thanks for the tip! I will try putting some oil in. I have a decent 12" cast-iron pan, so I might try that too. I just picked up a Corningware oval baking dish from the 90s. It's made of Pyroceram, which is supposed to sustain higher temperatures. It's just the right size, but I'm wary of getting it too hot.

                                          1. re: chefMolnar

                                            I'm looking for a Corningware large baking dish, they are wonderful for just about everything. Clean it with baking soda and it will be your friend for life. You can use it under a broiler, over a gas flame, and I'm pretty sure I used mine on electric burners in the 70-90s when I had that type of range. I think the best ones are the ones with the old blue flower on the side, the French White may not be as sturdy but ya never know until you try. Like most pans, be careful about adding large quantities of cold liquids to a really hot pan all at once and you should be fine.

                                      3. The roaster is just about my least used pan; I roast most meats in a big gratin or a saute pan. Don't have a rack, but instead sit fowl on cut-up vegetables (oiled or buttered a bit). My oven is small (24"), so the roaster is on the small side as they go, 10"x15". Still, it worked fine and I was glad to have it for roasting a goose last Christmas. [Inch and a half thick disks of apple, onion, and potato were the "rack", adding flavor to the pan juices and thick enough to hold the bird above the fat,]

                                        I'm with an earlier poster: if you get along fine without it most of the time and are considering one just for a big turkey, save your money for a piece of cookware you really want, and for the big bird use an aluminum disposable set on a half sheet.

                                        1. There is only one roasting pan I would (and did) get. It is the de Buyer and it is 16" x 13".