Roasting Pan Buying Guide
Things to Consider
There are some things that you want to ask yourself when it comes to choosing the right roasting pans. We have outlined these questions below. The purpose of asking yourself these questions is so the choices you have to sort through is much smaller and you can find the roasting pan that will fulfill your cooking needs.
- Do you want a roasting pan with a rack?
- How much will you be using the roaster?
- Do you want a roasting pan with a nonstick coating?
- What material do you prefer?
These questions will help give you an idea of the type of roasting pan that would be good for your needs.
What You Can Do with a Roasting Pan
If you only think of using a roaster at Thanksgiving, you are missing out on many wonderful opportunities to use it to create incredible meals all throughout the year. If you have a large family or having a get together for any reason, a roasting pan is perfect for making a large batch of baked spaghetti, a casserole, or other one pot meals.
Roasting pans are also great for cooking vegetables, whether you want them roasted or you’re making a large beef roast and want to cook carrots, potatoes, and other vegetables alongside it. It can also be great for making dark stock, and for helping with water-bath for baking things like cheesecake and crème brulee.
As you can see from above, you don’t have to bring out the pan only one time a year, you can cook with the roasting pan all year long and do certain tasks much easier due to the space and size that the roasting pan offers.
Materials for Roasting Pans
There are several different materials that are used to make roasting pans. Which one you choose is largely a question of personal preferences. The materials you have to choose from include:
- Copper lined with stainless steel
- Stainless Steel with a thick aluminum base
- Enameled cast iron
- Plain cast iron
The main objective when looking for a roasting pan is that the pan be manufactured well, from quality materials, with study, strong handles that can hold the weight of the pan when filled. Brand name can matter as well, so look for good brands that you know. A good quality roasting pan can last a lifetime.
The Benefits of Nonstick
Choosing a nonstick pan isn’t a necessity but many people really prefer it due to the fact that it is a lot easier to clean and the food comes out much easier as well with no sticking. Another benefit to using nonstick roasting pans is that much less oils or fats need to be used to cook the food which makes the food much healthier.
Teflon is a well known non stick coating and has become much more durable over the years. The problem with Teflon is that it can release toxic gases when it is heated above 350 degrees. Cheaper Teflon pans can even flake and have pieces of the Teflon can come off into the food.
Another problem that is encountered with nonstick roasting pans is that the browning usually isn’t as good. If you love well browned foods, you may want to opt for the pans that don’t have nonstick surfaces. Even if there is food stuck onto a nonstick pan, soaking it immediately after cooking will usually make cleanup fairly easy.
It is better to use silicone or hard plastic utensils when using a nonstick roasting pan so the surface doesn’t get scratched or damaged. Sometimes you may have to use a metal utensil to turn a large piece of meat, but if you are careful not to scrape the bottom of the roasting pan, you should be able to flip it without damage.
The Importance of Strong Sturdy Handles
Not having handles on your roasting pan can make removing it from the oven very difficult. You want those handles to be super sturdy and strong. Flimsy handles can cause a lot of problems and even safety hazards if the handles break while you are in the middle of removing the pan from the oven.
You want to look for roasting pans that have metal handles that are securely riveted on. Welded handles will not be strong enough. Some roasters have fold down handles that make storage a little easier since they take up less room. Don’t forget to use oven mitts when removing the roaster from the oven.
The Benefits of Roasting Racks
Not all roasting pans come with racks but there are a lot of benefits to cooking your meat and poultry on a rack. One of the biggest benefits is that the juices drip off the meat or poultry and pool in the bottom of the pan. This means less grease on the meat itself.
Another reason that racks are popular is that they provide better browning. The rack enables the heat to circulate all around the meat and that enables even browning and cooking. Others think that browning is better when using the bottom of the pan. You can try cooking the meat once with a rack and another time without the rack to see if you have preference of one over the other.
There are a few different types of racks that a roasting pan can have. One is the flat rack which fits in the bottom of the pan and holds the meat off the bottom of the pan. Other types of racks include the V-rack and the basket rack, both of which cradle the meat between the two sides of the rack.
Depending on the pan and rack, some v racks can b e adjusted which makes them good for many different kinds of meats. V racks also hold the meat in one place so the meat doesn’t shift every time you take the roaster out to check the progress of the cooking.
Another form of rack is called a chicken rack. This type of rack looks like a cone and is meant to allow the chicken to be stood up in the pan and will cook the bird from the inside out. Vertical poultry racks are very popular when you want to cook the chicken on the grill rather than the pan as well.
Roasting pans are a must have for anyone who loves to cook and that has a family. Thanksgiving, Christmas, holidays and other gatherings are all reasons and times where having a good quality roasting pan can make cooking holiday meals and large dishes for get togethers a real pleasure.
Even though all roasting pans are similar in what they do, there are differences in size, construction, materials used, depth and many other factors. Now that you understand the different choices you have when it comes to choosing a roasting pan, you will be able to look at the different ones that are available and make a decision that will work really well for the type of cooking you do.
Roasting pans are always a joy to cook in because there is no danger of greases and drippings messing up the bottom of your oven from putting a piece of meat or chicken in a pan that really doesn’t fit.
Although there are disposable roasting pans, these are typically very flimsy and over time you can spend money that you wouldn’t have to spend if you had your own permanent roasting pan. It is an investment that you will use and enjoy time and again.