Our kitchen experts bought and tested 8 of the best roasting pans available on the market in a side-by-side comparative analysis. Choosing a roasting pan is a committing decision. Unlike some kitchen purchases, a good roasting pan can last generations and you don't want to be stuck with one that doesn't suit your needs. We evaluated these pans based on their overall construction and design, their heat distribution abilities, and their versatility. Below you will find the results of our tests. Hopefully, this information will guide you in the right direction toward the perfect roasting pan to suit your culinary needs.
The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 16-Inch roaster pretty much does it all when it comes to roasting, de-glazing, and gravy making in the oven and on the stovetop. This burly pan is an excellent option for a year-round roaster, even if you only use the rack on Thanksgiving. We loved this pan for cooking meat and main courses and also found ourselves roasting vegetables in it sans rack for weeknight meals. It's easy to clean and very versatile. Its handles work well with oven mitts or a dish towel, and it's certainly sturdy enough to hold a 20-pound bird for the whole family. Though many pans came close and have very similar designs, the Cuisinart has the most reasonable price tag of the bunch, landing it our highest honor.
The main, small design flaw we saw with this roaster is its sharp edge and lack of lip. Many of its competitors have a rounded lip, making it easier to pour liquids from the pan when making gravy. However, this isn't a deal-breaker when considering the pan's impressive performance in heat distribution, ease of cleaning, and overall design.
Length: 17 Inches | Materials: Steel with Non-Stick Coating
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight, compared to other roasters with rack
Non-stick construction is easy to clean
REASONS TO AVOID
Less impressive heat distribution scores
Less durable construction
Larger than most
The Circulon Nonstick Roaster is a unique model in the realm of full-sized roasting pans as it's made from PFOA-free nonstick-coated steel. This means it's significantly lighter than the triple-ply stainless steel roasters in this review. This construction makes the Circulon lightweight, easy to clean, and considerably less expensive than these other models, earning it recognition for its outstanding value. We appreciated how light it was, especially for those not willing to lift a 30-pound holiday meal out of the oven. The Circulon also has a rounded shape that separates it from the rest of the pack.
We were a little turned off by the slightly less durable construction that is unique to this pan. Compared to the other hefty, stainless steel pans we've used, the Circulon feels somewhat less durable. The thin coated steel also ranked lower in our heat distribution metric since it didn't hold heat as well as others. Storage was another minor issue with this pan — its 17-inch length, plus its tall walls and even taller rack height, make it a pain to store in tight kitchens.
The Cuisinart Cast Iron Lasagna Pan is a hefty yet aesthetic pan perfect for side dishes or single pan mains. The pans come in various colors and have a sleek, simple style that makes them look nice in the center of a table for meals served family-style. The pan is deep enough for one-pot meals but not so deep that your lasagna has to be 15 layers thick. We found this pan to be versatile and relatively easy to store, despite its weight. Where it really shines is in its heat distribution capabilities. The cast iron heats up and cooks its contents evenly. We also appreciated how the pan continues to hold its heat long after being removed from the oven. Our first test meal in this pan was a baked cabbage dish that ended up adhering to the bottom of the pan fairly significantly. Much to our surprise and delight, the charred bits of cabbage, onion, and garlic came off easily, leaving the pan sparkling clean after its abuse.
The biggest downside to this pan is its weight. Perhaps an Olympic weight-lifter could get this pan out of the oven one-handed, but this was impossible for us. Its appearance can be deceiving, too — at first glance; you'd never know it was made entirely out of cast iron. We appreciated its heft and durability, but be warned; this pan weighs a lot!
Length: 15 Inches | Materials: Steel with Non-Stick Coating
REASONS TO BUY
Only roaster with lid
Easy to clean
REASONS TO AVOID
Lid is not a tight fit
Not the most durable
The Granite Ware Covered Oval Roaster turned out to be a versatile, lightweight roasting option ideal for weeknight cooking. We loved how light and easy to clean this pan was. It fits a small chicken or a roast easily, and has the option for covering, which adds to its versatility. Its non-stick construction makes it easy to clean and is dishwasher safe. In addition to its size, versatility, and ease of cleaning, the Granite Ware roasters are very affordable. These reasons all added up to land this pan as our go-to for simple meals.
We appreciated having the lid option but found that it could have fit a little bit better — we often struggled with it sliding around and falling off when bumped. This is not a major issue, but certainly a red flag in terms of the pan's overall construction. The loose lid made the whole set-up feel like it lacked durability.
This triple-layer stainless and aluminum pan is up there with the rest of the top-performing heavy-duty roasters in this review. The Analon Triply is a substantial pan with large, easy-to-grab handles, plus a solid rack that fits securely inside. The Analon is also easy to clean, with a non-stick coating on the rack. The stainless steel base has a small ridge, which makes whisking gravy a bit more challenging.
The Analon is quite similar to our top choices for traditional roasters, but it is heavy and a bit more expensive than our overall favorite, the Cuisinart. For those who are concerned with weight, this one may not be the best option. We also experienced similar performance with more reasonably priced roasters.
Length: 17 inches | Materials: Stainless Steel with Non-Stick Coating
REASONS TO BUY
Convenient fold-out handles
Easy to store
REASONS TO AVOID
Doesn't work on stovetop
Handles are small
This small roaster is perfect for meat-cooking enthusiasts who want to use a smaller pan when cooking for themselves. The Farberware Nonstick Steel Roaster is fairly small in size but has all the same features as a traditional roasting pan. Its rack is lightweight and easy to remove and store, plus it has fold-out handles on the ends that make it easy to lift in and out of the oven. These small features make it feel like a more compact version of the full-sized, triple-ply pans out there. Because it is smaller, non-stick, and way less burly, the Farberware is also very affordable. We were impressed by its versatility, ease of cleaning, and compact size for storage.
While the Farberware offers all the functionally of a traditional oven roaster, it is not designed for stovetop use. This puts a slight damper on versatility, but most folks won't be bothered by this since cooking via stovetop isn't their intended use for this product. The handles are also reminiscent of a more traditional roasting pan, which are hard to grapes with oven mitts and smaller than we prefer. We found it challenging to get our hands into the handles when the pan is hot.
Length: 13 Inches | Materials: Stainless Steel with Non-Stick Coating
REASONS TO BUY
Great for one or two people
Versatile as a baking dish
Good heat distribution
REASONS TO AVOID
Rack design is not our favorite
The Chicago Metallic Professional Roaster is yet another non-stick, compact roaster with a removable rack. This one is a bit smaller than the previous pan mentioned, and doubles as a brownie or sheet-cake pan. We used this one for roasting small meals, like chicken breast, fish, and vegetables. It is easy to clean and very easy to store since it is so small. Its small size helped cook its contents evenly, especially during our potato-roasting test. This small, lightweight pan's heat distribution exceeded some of the larger non-stick options out there because it was small enough to cook evenly.
The rack's design was a bit disappointing, especially in comparison to the burlier racks we reviewed. We didn't like the fold-out handles and found them to be a bit difficult to use and not super durable overall. We preferred to use the pan without the handles as a vegetable roaster or a baking pan.
Length: 16.75 Inches | Materials: Stainless Steel with Non-Stick Coating
REASONS TO BUY
Effective heat distribution
REASONS TO AVOID
Difficult to store
We tend to shy away from broiler pans in day-to-day use, since they lack versatility and are a pain to store, but we do see that they have their place. For those instances, we found the General Electric Large Broiler Pan to do the job. It has a removable top plate with plenty of slots that allow juices and fat to drip through. The slots are shaped such that food doesn't fall through to the pan below, which we appreciated. The pan provided good heat distribution across the board and cooked our test foods evenly. In a pinch, the catch pan below is deep enough to use on its own, but we wouldn't recommend it.
The biggest drawbacks to this pan are its size and shape. We found the General Electric broiler to be a pain to store — its two parts often sliding around and causing a ruckus when trying to finagle them into position in the cupboard. The top piece also has sharp edges that could be a hazard when handling this set.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead tester, Jane Jackson, has been an amateur chef for over a decade. She loves hosting dinner parties, cooking elaborate meals, and testing out the latest in kitchenware. In addition to being a passionate (amateur) chef in her free time, she is a seasoned product reviewer with testing experience ranging from water bottles to mixing bowls to dishware. When she's not working, you can find her in the kitchen, working on her next culinary creation.
In order to provide you with a comprehensive analysis of the top roasting pans on the market, we had the oven cranking for weeks — churning out batches of roasted chicken, potatoes, and veggies. Our test period was a combination of Thanksgiving and Groundhog Day for those nearby our test kitchen, as we have imposed rounds of roast-chicken test dinners on them. We cooked dozens of batches of roast potatoes to compare the heat-distribution abilities of each pan. Additionally, we cleaned, stacked, and stored all eight of these models to figure out which ones are easy to use and which fall short. Below you will find the results of our testing.
Analysis and Test Results
Roasting pans are required to be versatile and durable — often, this piece of kitchenware is passed down through generations. To test the pans in this review, we considered the following rating metrics to come up with our final results. First, we assessed the versatility of each pan. For this test, we made one-pan meals and cooked large roasts. Next, we tested the heat distribution abilities of each pan. Finally, we made notes on their design and construction, and considered the ease of cleaning for each roaster. Below you will find a detailed analysis of each pan's performance in these metrics.
A versatile pan should be able to not only hold a 20-pound turkey but should also function as a weeknight cooker for more simple dishes. In addition to the oven capabilities of these pans, we also made note of which pans worked best for stovetop use. Though it is less frequent, it's convenient to be able to make a gravy in the roaster. Finally, we considered the storage capabilities of each pan. Some of the options we reviewed are so massive that they end up being a pain to store, especially if you have a smaller kitchen that lacks storage space.
The traditional-style Cuisinart Multiclad ranked at the top of the list in this metric because it's large enough to accommodate a big meal while still functioning well for smaller productions. It's also easy to use on the stovetop thanks to its flat base, which makes whisking gravy much easier. Another top performer in this metric is the Granite Ware Covered Oval Roaster. Its lid and small size make it easy to store and ideal for 2-pot meals and smaller roasts. It can also be used for side dishes.
Proper heat distribution means that all the contents of the pan are cooked evenly. This is especially important when cooking large platters of roasted vegetables, as they can brown unevenly if left unattended. Also, when cooking meat, it's important to have plenty of heat circulating so that it cooks evenly and doesn't get too brown on top. Pans with lower sides allow for more heat to get to the sides of, say, a roasting chicken, allowing it to brown evenly. We tested this metric by roasting batch after batch of potatoes. We felt that observing the light-colored potatoes turn brown with heat was a great way to see the distribution of heat in action.
The outstanding performer in this category was the cast iron Cuisinart Lasagna Pan. This hefty enameled cast iron roaster holds heat impressively and cooks its contents with impressively even heat. We also appreciated how this pan continues to heat and even cook its contents when removed from the oven due to its heat-conduction abilities. Close behind was the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro, which browned the inner and outer potatoes at the same rate. Pans with non-stick coatings tended to present a wider range of results. Similarly, the Chicago Metallic Professional didn't brown the potatoes at all and instead left them a bit soggy.
Design and Construction
Though roasting pans may appear simple, they actually have many features and nuances that we delved into in this test metric. Here, we considered each product's depth and weight and the performance of the handles and rack. It was important to be able to remove the pan from the oven with ease — which is where handles come into play. We appreciate pans like the Circulon Nonstick for their massive handles that are easy to use with an oven mitt. Others, like the Farberware Nonstick, have tiny handles that are less than confidence-inspiring.
The rack design varied greatly throughout this review. Some pans, like the Farberware and the Chicago Metallic, have tiny racks that are somewhat hard to remove when loaded down with a chicken or a roast. Others, like the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro, have large, sturdy racks that are easy to remove but tough to store. There is also variability among these traditional pans — some racks, like the Analon, are U-shaped, which holds a single bird well. Others are flat with a small lip, which is better for roasts, but less ideal when cooking a chicken upside down — it rolls around more easily.
Ease of Cleaning
You'll find this section important if you've ever been left with the dishes after a big holiday meal. Scraping the remnants of a delicious roast from the pan can be a bit of a buzzkill, which is why our final metric considers each pan's ease of cleaning. In general, non-stick pans were easier to clean. However, this comes with some drawbacks, like durability and longevity of materials, which we had a harder time assessing during our short test window. Some pans are dishwasher safe, but we recommend hand washing most of these roasters when possible to extend the life of the materials used.
Surprisingly, the Cuisinart Cast Iron Lasagna Pan was easy to clean, even after we burned cabbage into it. We were convinced that this one would be a challenge to clean, but we were pleasantly surprised. The other surprise in this category was the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro, which has a sturdy stainless-steel base that cleaned fairly easily. The downside to traditional roasters with racks is that the racks are a pain to clean, even with their non-stick coatings. The General Electric Broiler was the most challenging to clean, as the slots in the upper rack trap food particles, and the material itself seemed to stain after a few uses.
Looking for a new roasting pan is no easy task. We spent hours roasting all types of food items in these pans to narrow in on the top performers and those that fall short. Each pan in this review is slightly different, and each excels at different tasks. Our findings here should be a road map to guide you toward the right pan to suit your needs.
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