Roasters: Our Guide to Roasting Pans!

All-Clad Petite Roti PanIt’s the time of year…when SO many thoughts turn to FOOD!  Amazingly, Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away.  Are you ready?  I’m not.  This year, I need to get a real roasting pan.  Here are a few questions that can help you (and me) find the right roaster:

How big of a turkey do I need to make?

No. of People Moderate Leftovers Lots of Leftovers
4 people < 10 pounds, unstuffed or a 2-3 pound turkey breast < 10 pounds, unstuffed or a 3-5 pound turkey breast
10 people 10 -15 pounds, unstuffed 15 -20 pounds, unstuffed
20 people 25 pounds, unstuffed 25-30 pounds, unstuffed or, consider 2 smaller turkeys, equaling this weight

What size of roaster will my turkey be comfortable in?

Turkey Size Minimum Roasting Pan Size
Up to 12 pounds 14 x 10 x 2-3/4 inches
Up to 16 pounds 15-3/4 x 12 x 3 inches
Up to 20 pounds 16 x 13 x 3 inches

In general, roasters with inside dimensions of approximately 16 x 13 inches will hold a 25 lbs. bird.  For example the All-Clad roaster set with turkey lifters and a roasting rack.  Smaller birds, 15 lbs. and less fit nicely into a roasting pan that measures approximately 14 x 10 inches such as one of these Mauviel stainless steel roasting pans made in France.

How big is the oven?
Some roasters, especially the big ones for 25 pound roasts, don’t fit into all ovens. Check the interior dimensions of your oven so you get a roasting pan that works for your dinner and oven!

What about roaster handles?
You also want to make sure handles are strongly riveted to the roasting pan.  Stainless steel handles tend to be a bit cooler than cast iron handles, but in either case, be sure to use an oven mitt, since all handles, even those called “stay cool,” will get hot in the oven, too hot for hands without mitts!   Be sure to think about the additional width handles add when you make your roasting pan decision.

What type of roasting pan can help minimize splattering while baking or sloshing when moving?
When cooking a larger roast or turkey, be sure the roasting pan sides are high enough, 2 ½ to 3 inches deep. But, be sure the sides aren’t too high as they’ll prevent an oven’s hot, dry air from reaching the bottom of the bird or roast.

What else might I cook year round that would work well in a roasting pan?
I don’t like to buy cookware that can only be used for one thing.  Multi-functional is key!  Lasagna, large quantities of macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole and so many more items work great in a rectangular roaster.

Do I want a roaster that can go on the stove top?
Definitely a yes for me — love that stovetop gravy!  Nothing better than stuffing with gallons of gravy.  Just be sure to use it on a non-induction burner as most roasting pans are not magnetic and will not work with induction.  (The one exception to this is the Viking roasting pan, which can be used on induction burners, like these portable induction cooktops.)

Have any good tips for roasting for Thanksgiving?  Please leave them in the comments!

Creative Commons License photo credit: ilovebutter

  • anonymous

    First time cooking the bird for Thanksgiving.
    My questions were answered – Great info – Thanks :)

  • Liz

    Can you recommend a roaster that holds a 40 pound turkey?