The Best Roasting Pan

After roasting more than 190 pounds of turkey, 200 pounds of chicken, and 30 pounds of veggies in 11 pans over the past three years, we decided the Cuisinart MCP117-16BR MultiClad 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with stainless steel rack is again our favorite roasting pan. It not only cooked a 15-pound turkey to golden, juicy perfection, but thanks to its flat bottom, it also performed better than most of its competitors at searing and sauce-making. For less than $100, the Cuisinart offers tri-ply construction throughout; sturdy, riveted handles; and a roomy 16-inch size. And it roasts nearly as well as a pan that costs more than twice the price.

Last Updated: November 18, 2015
Our main pick, the Cuisinart MCP117-16BR MultiClad 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster, is temporarily out of stock. In the meantime, the Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel 16″ Roaster with Roasting Rack or All-Clad Flared Roaster would make great alternatives if you can’t wait to buy. For this update, we tested an additional two roasters, but the Cuisinart (or favorite for three years running) remains the winner.
Expand Most Recent Updates
November 18, 2015: For our 2015 update we brought in the stainless steel Tramontina roasting pan and the Granite Ware 3-Piece Bake, Broil and Grill Pan Set to test against our 2014 top picks. After making turkey and pan gravy in each, we again found that the Cuisinart MCP117-16BR MultiClad 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster has the best balance of function and price. For the money it can’t be beat.
October 30, 2015: For our 2015 update we brought in the stainless steel Tramontina roasting pan and the Granite Ware 3-piece Bake, Broil and Grill Pan Set to test against our 2014 top picks. After making turkey and pan gravy in each, we again found that the Cuisinart MCP117-16BR MultiClad 16-inch Rectangular Roasting Pan has the best balance of function and price. For the money it can’t be beat. Look for our updated guide soon.
November 15, 2014: We did a sweep for new roasting pans, in addition to roasting more than 150 pounds of poultry and veggies last year. The Cuisinart MultiClad Pro is still our favorite roasting pan. For the price and construction quality, there's no other roasting pan we found that can compare.
November 6, 2014: We did a sweep for new roasting pans and found a few that were either too expensive, not tri-ply, or had design quirks that we dismissed. For the price point and construction quality, the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro is still our top pick.
April 4, 2014: Our pick is back in stock at Amazon and many other retailers.
December 12, 2013: Our pick is temporarily out of stock at many retailers, including Amazon. In the meantime, we've added another buy button option as well as a suggestion for what you should get if you need a new roasting pan now (the Calphalon Contemporary).
Cuisinart MCP117-16BR MultiClad Pro Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack
With its sturdy, tri-ply construction, the Cuisinart MultiClad Roaster cooks more evenly than similarly priced roasters and almost as well as one costing more than twice the price.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $68.

If you can’t get the Cuisinart, we also liked the Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel 16″ Roaster with Roasting Rack. While it roasts meat beautifully, it’s about $50 more at time of writing, with a raised middle that gets in the way of stovetop work. It offers large, comfortable handles and a slightly flared lip. Thinner steel caused some scorch spots when searing chicken, but they were small and came off easily with light scrubbing.

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $34.

Granite Ware 19-Inch Covered Oval Roaster
If you just need something to throw the T-day turkey into, this roaster does the job but can’t be used on the stove.

A solid roasting pan is good for a whole lot more than simply roasting a turkey once a year. But if you do only need one once a year, the Granite Ware is a solid, modestly priced alternative (and it also fits in smaller ovens). But it’s pretty much impossible to use on the stove, which makes gravy-making a pain and searing chicken nearly impossible. It’s a third of the price of the Cuisinart for a third of the capabilities—only a good buy if you’re just roasting turkey and don’t plan on using it for other things.

Also Great
All-Clad Stainless-Steel Flared Roasters
If you can afford more, the All-Clad Flared Roaster does everything our main pick does, but a little better.

The expensive All-Clad Flared Roaster is our pick for people who plan on roasting several times a month. Its tri-ply steel construction disperses heat evenly throughout the pan, and a flared lip promotes a bit more heat circulation than in our top pick.

Table of contents

Why you should trust us

I have been in the culinary industry my whole professional life, and roasting large hunks of meat is definitely a part of my skill set. From roasting steamship rounds for hotel buffets to cooking countless turkeys for Thanksgiving magazine spreads (as well as smoking briskets and pork butts all summer), I can confidently say I know what I’m talking about when it comes to meat.

On top of that, I talked to Nick Anderer, Executive Chef at Maialino in New York City; Levon Wallace, Executive Chef at Cochon Butcher in Nashville; Judy Haubert, food stylist and former Associate Food Editor at Saveur magazine; and Jane Lear, former Senior Editor at Gourmet Magazine and food writer based in NYC. I also read existing reviews from well-respected publications like Cook’s Illustrated, Fine Cooking, and Kitchen Daily and looked at highly-rated options on Amazon.

Who should get this

You probably think about a roasting pan as the thing you use for your turkey and maybe the odd rack of lamb a couple times a year, but a good roasting pan can do a lot of other things, too. It can make an extra-large batch of lasagna or casserole to feed a crowd (or freeze for later). It’s roomy enough to accommodate a one-pot meal, which is a real timesaver on weeknights when you don’t want to sully every dish in your kitchen just to put dinner on the table. A roasting pan is also an ideal receptacle for vegetables. Potatoes develop a browned crust and a fluffy, soft middle. Winter squash, carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes turn sweet and tender. A bumper crop of tomatoes? I used my roasting pan at the end of this season to turn 10 pounds of Brooklyn home-grown tomatoes into tomato confit that I will be using throughout the winter in soups and pasta sauces.

Making a dark stock? Throw a bunch of bones in that pan and roast them to a deep brown, then transfer to the stovetop (bones out and fat drained, please) to release all of the delicious fond (the browned bits that form in the bottom of a pan or skillet), because that is valuable flavor. If you like to bake, a roasting pan can come in really handy when you’re making a recipe that requires a water bath like creme brulee or cheesecake. Usually, water-bath baking can be quite precarious, especially when removing the pan from the oven. With the large, sturdy handles on a well-built roasting pan, dealing with that wide, shallow receptacle of steaming water is a bit more manageable.

How we picked and tested

When we looked at roasting pans to test, materials were the first concern. After looking at aluminum, coated cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, copper, tri-ply and 5-ply, we decided tri-ply fit the bill. Tri-ply is simply aluminum sandwiched between stainless steel. Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor, but it’s also reactive; layering an aluminum core with stainless offers the best of both worlds. It’s attractive, non-reactive, a superior heat conductor, easy to clean, and bright so you can see exactly how your fond and pan juices are progressing. Unlike coated cast iron, tri-ply is relatively lightweight, so there’s not as much of a struggle to lift and lower a pan in and out of an oven. It’s also very effective on the stovetop for gravy-making and high-heat searing, which is something a glass or ceramic roasting pan isn’t capable of doing since they aren’t flameproof. The aluminum core ensures that heat is evenly dispersed so that there is no buckling or warping.

roasting pan group

We narrowed our search to heavy-ish, 16-inch-long rectangular pans that are about 3 inches tall and flat on the bottom, as these are most versatile for a variety of roasts and easiest for making stovetop gravy. Photo: Lesley Stockton

Size is a priority. As Levon Wallace, Executive Chef at Cochon Butcher in Nashville, said about his 16-inch rectangular roasting pan: “Size does matter … If I need to do something big, I can do something big.” Necessity of size is up to the individual cook, but since we were cooking turkeys, we thought 16 inches long would be a good size for us to test. That’s big enough to accommodate up to a 17-pound turkey, and that can roast a good amount of vegetables without overcrowding the pan. Also, it’s nice to have a pan that can straddle across two burners for searing and deglazing purposes. If you’re looking for a practical guide to find out how much pan you really need, Nicolas Anderer, the Executive Chef at Maialino in New York City, noted that since a standing rib roast is a popular holiday main, the length of an average full eight-rib beef rack, which can run up to 16 inches long, is a good point of reference when judging what size you need.

A pan that can go from stovetop to oven and vice-versa is essential, but the level of performance is very important.

As mentioned above, versatility is very important. The more you can do with a pan, the more likely you’re going to use it. A pan that can go from stovetop to oven and vice-versa is essential, but the level of performance is very important. When searing on the stovetop, even browning is the name of the game. Scorching is a sure sign of uneven heat distribution, as is the pan twisting and buckling. A pan with some weight to it will ensure its sturdiness on the stovetop as well as even heating. Lighter pans made with thinner sheets of metal have the tendency to underperform in this area. This has a big impact on how your finished product will taste—gravy from a burnt pan tastes like carbon.

roasting pan

The best roasting pans are big enough to fit over two stove burners (and preferably have a flat bottom) for searing meats and making gravy. Photo: Katie Hausenbauer-Koster

In testing, we found a raised middle or a trough around the perimeter of the bottom of the pan makes it quite difficult to mix a smooth gravy or get even oil coverage when searing due to the liquid running into the crevices. Ultimately, this exacerbated a serious scorching issue with one of the pans that we tested, causing black scorch spots in the bottom of the pan to develop within 4 minutes of being over the flame. A flat bottom makes all the difference: It was easier to make roux, whisk a smooth gravy, and sear evenly without a single black spot in the pan.

The shape of a pan is also important when talking about versatility. Both of the chefs that we spoke with said that while oval pans are attractive, the rectangular shape is more practical. You can do multiple smaller roasts or two chickens in a rectangular pan, but it’s also a better shape for purposes other than roasting. A large, rectangular pan is the ideal receptacle for a bain marie (a hot water bath for baking delicate custards such as creme brulee and cheesecake), as well as layered casseroles such as lasagna.

roasting pan

Our favorite roasting pan easily fits two roast chickens, which would be much harder to fit in an oval-shaped pan. Photo: Christine Cyr Clisset

Radiant heat reaching the bottom of of the pan is important. This ensures that whatever you’re cooking caramelizes not only at the points of contact with the pan, but all over. The walls of the pan need to be tall enough to keep accumulated juices in the pan when it’s transferred in and out of the oven, but not so tall that that radiant heat can’t reach the bottom. This sweet spot seems to be at the 3-inch mark, according to experts we spoke with and our personal experience. Levon Wallace said it best: “You want a little more space for air-flow, and when you get those high-wall roasting pans you end up with not so much browning on the sides which isn’t ideal when talking about roasting.”

Large, upright handles made of a single piece of thick metal and riveted into the sides are the preferred choice.

In all of the reviews we read, every single one mentioned handles (for good reason). When pulling a roast from the oven, you need a good grip; it’s a hot, bulky, heavy pan with boiling juices inside. Large, upright handles made of a single piece of thick metal and riveted into the sides are the preferred choice. They need to be big enough to get a good grip with bulky oven mitts. Thin folding handles that are welded into the sides are difficult to grab and feel flimsy—not an ideal situation when carrying a bubbling cauldron of fat.

roasting pan handles

Sturdy, upright handles make gripping the pan much easier. It’s best if the handles are made of a single piece of metal and riveted into the side of the pan. Photo: Katie Hausenbauer-Koster

Roasting racks seem to be a hot-button selling point for roasting pans. Of the pans in our testing line-up that come with racks, most have a V-shaped rack, while a couple come with flat racks. The experts all agree that there is a time and a place for using a roasting rack. A rack allows radiant heat to flow underneath the roast or bird, reducing the risk of pale skin or grey meat.

Jane Lear, food advice columnist at TakePart, admitted that while she has used both a V-rack and flat rack in the past, she usually just places the roast on a bed of vegetables and aromatics. Judy Haubert, food stylist and former Associate Food Editor at Saveur magazine, agreed, as she prefers to place her turkey atop carrots, celery, and onions so that they caramelize and add complexity to the gravy. Both chefs we talked to said that while they wouldn’t ever use a V-rack, a flat rack does come in handy. With these opinions and our personal experience, whether or not a pan comes with a rack doesn’t hold much importance since racks are available for a small price. For people who like to use one, it’s nice to have a pan that includes it.

So what does it cost to get a pan that checks all these requirements? Somewhere between about $50 and $350.

In total, we’ve considered more than 30 pans over the past three years. In 2013, we ended up with seven testing candidates ranging from $60 to $200. All but one were stainless steel, rectangular with large riveted handles,16 inches long, and complete with roasting racks and side walls that didn’t exceed 3½ inches. We also brought in the Granite Ware 19-inch Covered Roaster, which is well-liked by Amazon reviewers and costs only about $30. It was dark in color, oval, ceramic-coated thin steel and had high walls. We were interested to see how it stacked up against the others.

For our 2015 update, we decided to test the stainless steel Tramontina Gourmet Prima 16.5-Inch Rectangular Roasting Pan and the smaller, rectangular Granite Ware 3-Piece Bake, Broil and Grill Pan Set against our prior winners.

To test the versatility of a roasting pan, we made a one-pot meal in each, searing chicken legs and then finishing in the oven with vegetables. With this test, we could see how well each pan distributed heat on the stovetop and in the oven.

We put each roasting pan through the same tests, using the same techniques as much as possible. We tested each pan in a standard-sized oven, using the same oven temperature and same burner settings on a gas stove. Turkeys were roasted uninterrupted at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the internal temperature of the thigh was 160 degrees F. We looked for even browning, radiant heat circulation, and progression of fond development on the bottom of the pan.

We transferred the pans to the stovetop to make gravy, making sure to straddle each pan across two burners. Here, we looked for heat distribution: Were there bubbles throughout, or strictly over the burners? Were there weird indentations in the bottom of the pan that made it difficult to scrape fond or made whisking gravy a daunting task?

roasting pan comparison

Stovetop searing fail in the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 7117-16UR (left) and seared chicken leg quarters in the Cuisinart MultiClad MCP117-16BR (right). Photo: Lesley Stockton

To test the versatility of a roasting pan, we made a one-pot meal in each, searing chicken legs and then finishing in the oven with vegetables. With this test, we could see how well each pan distributed heat on the stovetop and in the oven. We looked at the color of the chicken skin after searing and the color of the vegetables after roasting.

Our pick

Cuisinart MCP117-16BR MultiClad Pro Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack
With its sturdy, tri-ply construction, the Cuisinart MultiClad Roaster cooks more evenly than similarly priced roasters and almost as well as one costing more than twice the price.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $68.

The Cuisinart MCP117-16BR MultiClad Pro Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack is a great value. With tri-ply construction throughout (not just in the bottom) for even heat distribution, this pan seared well on the stove and roasted evenly in the oven. Models with tri-ply only in the bottom (or made purely of stainless steel) buckled and scorched on the burners whether making gravy from pan drippings or searing meat. The Cuisinart’s flat bottom made for easier gravy-making and searing than models with raised middles or ridged bottoms. Along with other features like large upright handles that are secured with heavy-duty rivets, a stainless steel V-rack, and heavy-duty construction that aced both oven and stovetop tests, this pan is an exceptional value.

roasting pan mcp117-16br

Photo: Lesley Stockton

It passed the turkey-roasting test with flying colors: golden skin was evenly distributed all over the bird’s body. However, the same was true for the other pans. Each of the seven turkeys came out almost identical, with impressive, deep golden fond development, regardless of the presence of a roasting rack. It was the stovetop testing that revealed what these pans were made of; here the tri-ply Cuisinart made its mark. When we put the Cuisinart on the stovetop, bubbles were evenly distributed across the bottom of the pan when cooking down pan drippings, a clear sign of good heat distribution. The Tramontina and Granite Ware roasting pans had bubbles centralized over the burners, showing heat was not being distributed at all throughout the pan.

roasting pan

Our winner, the Cuisinart MultiClad MCP117-16BR, roasted a turkey to golden perfection. Photo: Lesley Stockton

When it came time to sear chicken thighs, the MultiClad Pro proved itself again by evenly searing every leg, even the ones that were in the middle of the pan, the part that’s not directly over a burner. Cook’s Illustrated agreed, as they made this pan their number two pick, saying it “… [seared] pork loin nicely without buckling or burning and [put] an even, golden-brown crust on potatoes.” Additionally, after the vegetables were added and the whole thing was transferred to the oven to roast, the chicken continued to turn golden and crisp, and vegetables roasted to tender perfection. This was a challenge with most of the pans tested, as the vegetables only browned at the points that made contact with the pan and nowhere else.

roasting pan mcp117-16br

The Cuisinart pan easily fits over two burners, ideal for making gravy from the pan. Photo: Lesley Stockton

The flat bottom made scraping fond and whisking gravy easy to ensure a smooth consistency. Most of the pans in our testing lineup had a raised middle or ridges that made sauce making difficult. It straddled across two burners on the stove with good coverage. By comparison, the Granite Ware, being thinner and oval-shaped, was not as agile on the stove. When making gravy, the bubbles in the Granite Ware were centralized over the burners, and the pattern in the bottom of the pan made it a bit more challenging to scrape fond and whisk a smooth gravy.

Other features that round out the awesomeness of the Cuisinart roasting pan include big, sturdy handles that are riveted and easy to grasp, even with potholders or dish towels. It comes with a stainless steel V-rack which is good because many V-racks are Teflon-coated and we feel that’s entirely unnecessary. While the rack doesn’t fit as snugly in the pan as the All-Clad’s, it didn’t pose a serious safety risk. This pan is sturdy and well-built. It won’t buckle on the stove and it’ll hold a lot of meat, or casserole, without warping or giving or bending.

roasting pan mcp117-16br

Chicken in our winning pan. The vegetables had only slightly less color than those from the All-Clad Flared Roaster. Photo: Lesley Stockton

The only other pan in the lineup that performed slightly better was the All-Clad Flared Roaster. But at around $200 at time of writing, it does not justify its cost (for most people). It has a bent lip for easier (and less messy) pouring of gravy and pan drippings, and the flared edge allows for more radiant heat circulation for deeper color and caramelization of food (which means more flavor).

With a 4.7-star average user rating on Amazon, a limited lifetime warranty, and the fact that it’s easy to clean and dishwasher-safe, this is a pan that will offer years of service. It is a durable, well-built pan; there isn’t anything that makes us think that it won’t hold up, and we’ve put a lot of pans through the wringer in our time.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

This pan has one drawback. When we roasted whole chickens with five halved lemons recently, the acid from the lemons slightly discolored the inside of the pan. But there wasn’t any weird flavor and the discoloration hasn’t had any effect on the way the pan roasts or sears meat.

Long-term test notes

We really like this pan. The more we use it, the more we like it. It’s sturdy and can take a beating. It’s still the second best roasting pan to sear on the stovetop (All-Clad being the best). We used this pan to roast chicken and lemons recently and it did a fantastic job, producing golden skin on the chicken and making the lemons soft and pulpy. And after comparing it again in our most recent round of testing to the all-stainless Tramontina roasting pan and the Calphalon Contemporary, we’re reminded why we chose it as our top pick. It’s strong, sturdy, and conducts heat well.

Runner-up with thinner steel

If you’re having problems finding the Cuisinart MultiClad Pro roasting pan, as they seem to be flying off the shelves, we think the more-expensive Calphalon Contemporary roasting pan is a suitable back-up option. It’s also tri-ply throughout, but it’s thinner and scorches a bit when searing on the stovetop. Its raised middle makes stovetop work a little less seamless than in the flat-bottomed Cuisinart, but its curved sides allow more heat circulation around your food, and a slightly flared lip makes pouring off pan juices easier and cleaner. Throw in sturdy construction and big, roomy handles and you have a roasting pan that will turn out beautiful turkeys and large roasts every time.

Cheap pan for the annual turkey

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $34.

Granite Ware 19-Inch Covered Oval Roaster
If you just need something to throw the T-day turkey into, this roaster does the job but can’t be used on the stove.

Granite Ware’s 19-Inch Covered Oval Roaster is a good pick for those who only want something to use for roasting the annual turkey. Our testing found that it was capable of roasting a turkey well, but not much else. It may only cost a third of the price of our top pick, but it’s also only capable of doing a third of the tasks.

At 19 inches long, the Granite Ware is large, but the shape allows the pan to be placed diagonally in an oven, which allows it to fit in smaller ovens. The Granite Ware Bake, Broil, and Grill pan, on the other hand, could barely fit a 12-pound turkey (while the description says the pan measures 14 inches long, the actual cooking area is 13 inches). The oval roaster was one of only two that fit in a tiny apartment oven. The handles were a bit small but still grab-able with confidence. The pan is super-lightweight and thin. It comes recommended from Kitchen Daily for its versatility—you can use it to roast and braise, thanks to the fitted lid that comes with it. We didn’t test braising ability since this guide is about roasting pans.

roasting pan granite ware 0510-4

We successfully made gravy in the Granite Ware oval roaster, but it required serious effort and a lot of finesse. Photo: Lesley Stockton

As far as roasting performance goes, there’s little to complain about. The Granite Ware does not have a rack, but the turkey roasted really well regardless. It came out golden brown all over, except the bottom, which stuck to the pan and shredded when we lifted it out (which isn’t really a huge deal). If this is all you want it for, then this is a good choice. Just don’t expect to do much else with it.

Making gravy on the stovetop was serviceable but far from ideal. There is a type of vine pattern in the bottom of the pan that makes it difficult to scrape fond and whisk a smooth gravy, and the heat is centralized over the burners due to the lack of a heat-conducting aluminum core.

The lack of a core also lead to a complete failure in the chicken leg test. The pan is so thin that we would not advise searing anything in it—indeed, it started to warp within 2 minutes of heating it up. When we eventually got it to work, the chicken legs developed unappetizing scorch spots and, in addition to producing little caramelization and coloring, the vegetables stuck to the bottom of the pan. We had to use so much force to scrape them up that they smashed.

This pan was also difficult to clean. Because of the dark color, you can’t really see baked-on stains. We thought we had cleaned it well, but a once-over with Bar Keepers Friend revealed that a lot of baked-on grime was in the crevices that we couldn’t see.

All in all, if you want a roasting pan that can produce a golden turkey with crispy skin and adequate gravy-making abilities that you don’t plan on using very much, this is a solid buy. But most cooks would benefit from a bit more versatility.

Expensive, but best for frequent roasting

Also Great
All-Clad Stainless-Steel Flared Roasters
If you can afford more, the All-Clad Flared Roaster does everything our main pick does, but a little better.
While the Cuisinart MultiClad can do it all (and do it all well), the All-Clad Flared Roaster does it all slightly better.

While the Cuisinart MultiClad can do it all (and do it all well), the All-Clad Flared Roaster does it all slightly better. However, at approximately more than twice the price of the MultiClad at time of writing, we only think it’s worth it for people who plan on roasting at least four times a month. That’s at least one all-in-one-pan meal a week or a Sunday roast, if that’s your thing.

Like the Cuisinart, the All-Clad has tri-ply steel construction that disperses heat evenly throughout the pan. What gives the All-Clad its slight edge is its, well, slight edge flare that promotes ever so slightly more heat circulation.

Instead of a V-rack, which really is specific to poultry, the All-Clad comes with a flat rack which lets you prop up rib roasts, whole fish, pork shoulder, or whatever you want, for all-over radiant heat contact. It comes in two sizes—large (16¾ by 13¾ by 2½ inches) and extra-large (18¾ by 14¾ by 3 inches), so you can decide how much pan is right for you. We tested the large, and it was plenty big for a 15-pound turkey and the chicken test. The pan was a bit small to completely straddle two burners, but it wasn’t at all a problem because it still deglazed evenly. The flat bottom made it easy to scrape fond and whisk roux and gravy.

The pan excelled at searing chicken, making each piece consistently golden. While the chicken roasted with the vegetables, the skin continued to crisp and brown, and the vegetables roasted evenly and caramelized all over, not just in spots that touched the pan. The flared edges allowed more radiant heat to circulate in the pan. The Cuisinart MultiClad was a very close second with the chicken test, producing chicken skin that was only slightly less rendered and crisp and vegetables with less caramelization. This was the best batch of chicken and vegetables of the seven pans that were tested.

roasting pan all-clad flared

Chicken and vegetables in the All-Clad Flared Roaster. Photo: Lesley Stockton

It was easy to clean; no extra work was needed to remove water spots, and no discoloration occurred. It barely needed any Bar Keepers Friend to remove stubborn spots—there were only a couple and they weren’t that bad. The All-Clad Flared Roaster is dishwasher-safe and comes with All-Clad’s limited lifetime warranty.

Care and maintenance

Stainless steel is relatively easy to care for. Hot water and soap will clean up cooking messes. If you happen to scorch your pan, there are a few ways to clean it up. Bar Keepers Friend has a huge following with people who are devoted to keeping their stainless steel cookware clean. It’s a powdery cleaner that still requires some elbow grease to lift tough stains but it works.

One method we really like is boiling water and baking soda. Cleaning expert Jolie Kerr also recommends this method. We like it because it’s always on hand, and it’s just as effective as BKF. Again, it takes a little bit of elbow grease and the green side of a Scotch Brite sponge, but it’s very effective.

The competition

The Tramontina Gourmet Prima 16.5-Inch Rectangular Roasting Pan is 100 percent stainless steel, which is its downfall. On the stovetop, it scorched and buckled and left chicken skin half burnt and half raw. Even though we really liked the flat roasting rack, lower 2½-inch sides, and riveted handles, the heat conductivity is so poor that we can’t imagine searing meat in it. Also, it has a raised middle that made gravy-making very difficult.

Granite Ware 3-Piece Bake, Broil, and Grill Pan Set is very small. At 14 inches it just barely squeaked into the testing round. Also, we’re suckers for a flat rack, and this pan comes with a good one that sits pretty high. A 15-pound turkey barely fit, we had to shove the wings in so they wouldn’t hang over the sides. Since the turkey was mostly raised up, it browned nicely, but the pan is too small to be versatile. If you roast chicken instead of turkey, this might be the right pan for you.

The Williams-Sonoma Stainless Steel Ultimate Roaster is a roomy stainless steel tri-ply pan with large upright handles close to the pan so it can fit in a small oven. The roaster also comes with a flat rack. It lacked heat distribution and came with a perilous raised middle. Searing chicken leg quarters took 13 minutes without any significant browning, leaving the chicken skin pale and soft.

While the handles of the Cuisinart 7117-16UR Chef’s Classic Stainless 16-Inch Rectangular Roaster with Rack were sturdy (and the pan itself was very roomy) it was also very thin with a raised middle. Pan drippings and oil were concentrated on the perimeter; gravy-making and searing were quite challenging. While the turkey results were on par with the other pans, the stovetop performance was lacking. Three scorch spots developed within 4 minutes of the pan being over the flames, and the smoke and buckling were so bad that we had to proceed without getting a proper sear on the chicken. We didn’t want to run the risk of setting off the smoke alarm, as the apartment was filling with smoke pretty fast.

America’s Test Kitchen rated Calphalon’s Contemporary Stainless Steel Roaster with Rack as their favorite, praising its flared shape for whisking and excellent searing on the stovetop. Real Simple noted that the large handles made the pan easy to maneuver. It gets an average of 4.8 stars from Amazon users and is an attractive pan with sturdy construction and heavy weight. We agree that it’s a fine pan, roomy and comfortable to carry. The non-stick coated rack seemed small for the pan, as it slid around significantly. This could be a safety hazard when dealing with hot pan drippings and a heavy turkey.

roasting pan calphalon contemporary

The Calphalon Contemporary Roasting pan with turkey and pan drippings. As shown here, the rack is small for the pan and moves around quite a bit. Photo: Lesley Stockton

Although the sides are flared with a curved edge, the raised middle was a bit of an obstacle when whisking. Searing chicken was below average. Some of the chicken pieces stuck severely to the pan, ripping off the skin and making an undesirable finished product. The vegetables roasted adequately, with caramelization isolated to parts that had contact with the pan. It comes with a lifetime warranty and is dishwasher-safe.

We were excited to see how Calphalon’s AccuCore Stainless Steel Roaster with Rack would stand up to the All-Clad Flared Roaster, and we have say it was underwhelming. When cooking down the pan drippings on the stovetop, it was visible that the heat was centralized over the burners. Chicken seared unevenly, leaving heavily darkened spots in places while other parts remained pale. The roasting rack, like the Calphalon Contemporary, was small for the pan and had a tendency to slide around, but even more so since it didn’t have the raised middle to somewhat control it.

The flat bottom made gravy and searing easy and it had the same turkey results as the others. There was no buckling and spitting of hot grease. The fond development was on par with the favorites. At the end of the day, this pan was an average performer, and it just didn’t justify the approximate $200 pricetag that comes with it.

The rest

Le Creuset Stainless Steel Roasting Pan Set: At the time we were researching this story, this pan cost $350; it has since gone on sale for $200. This pan didn’t have anything that really stood out to us that justified the high price tag. It checked all the boxes in what we look for in a roasting pan, but had the second-highest price tag of the pans we gave serious consideration. Even the handles didn’t seem as sturdy as other less-expensive models.

KitchenAid Gourmet Distinctions Polished Roaster with Rack: A recommended pick by America’s Test Kitchen, it came at a decent price but is no longer in production.

Martha Stewart Collection Stainless Steel 15″ Roaster with Roasting Rack: We ultimately decided not to test this one because there weren’t a lot of reviews online for it.

Sur La Table Tri-Ply Stainless Pan: We sat on this one a while, but came to the conclusion that people really like their roasting racks, and this doesn’t have one, despite its high price. It also has that meddlesome raised middle that makes deglazing on the stovetop a pain.

Mauviel M’Heritage Tri-Ply Copper Roaster with Rack: This pan got a glowing review from Saveur.com, as well as another mention in the November 2013 Saveur magazine. Copper is a high-maintenance material and is difficult to care for. We don’t think this is the workhorse pan we’re looking for.

Williams-Sonoma Thermo-Clad Stainless Steel Flared Roaster with Rack: Of the two flared roaster offerings, we decided to go with the All-Clad because the handles seemed flimsier on this model.

All-Clad Roti Combo with Rack: Single-ply stainless steel, no aluminum core, and made in China, too (which wouldn’t be an issue for most companies, but All-Clad customers expect their products to be made in the USA).

Viking Stainless Steel Roasting Pan: Viking just reissued their tri-ply roasting pan, only now it’s made by a new company, the Clipper Corporation, with production in China instead of Belgium. While there is a single listing for the old version of the pan on Amazon for a whopping $420, we can’t find it for any price at any other online retailer. Even at the $200 price quoted to us by the company at time of writing, it’s too much to be our top pick. If we can find a reliable retailer, we’ll consider testing it in a future update.

Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 14-Inch Roaster: Too small.

Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Rectangular Roaster: Made of coated cast iron, we can see it performing superbly on the stove and in the oven. And it’s attractive. And it also weighs 15 pounds empty (only a bit less than 2 gallons of milk!), which was sufficient to knock it out of consideration. We believe if a pan is heavy, people will be less likely to use it regularly.

Tramontina Professional Deep Roasting Pan: Made of only stainless steel, not tri-ply with an aluminum core, which means poor heat distribution.

To send this guide via email, fill out the fields below:
Message Sent!
Oops! Please try again
Send

Sources

  1. Jane Lear, Food Writer and Editor, Interview
  2. Roasting Pans, Cook's Illustrated, December 2013
  3. Martha Holmberg, Picking a Roasting Pan to Use All Year, Fine Cooking, Issue 29
  4. Garth Clingingsmith, Test Drive: Roasting Pans, Fine Cooking, Issue 113
  5. Jane Lear, Choosing the Best Roasting Pan, Kitchen Daily

Originally published: November 18, 2015

We actively moderate the comments section to make it relevant and helpful for our readers, and to stay up to date with our latest picks. You can read our moderation policy FAQ here.