Browse any selection of roasting pans, and it soon becomes apparent that not all roasters are created equal. While these pans all handle the basic responsibility of roasting a chicken or turkey, roasting pans can also be used for a variety of other cooking purposes, which is why you should choose your pan carefully. With a variety of sizes and a selection of styles available, these pans are not one size fits all. If you are shopping for a new roasting pan at Williams Sonoma, there are a number of different styles to ponder before you choose your new roaster.
The first thing to consider when choosing a roaster is whether you want an open pan or closed pan. Open styles offer plenty of versatility, letting you use the pan for baking and even serving as well as roasting. If you want this flexibility but do envision occasionally roasting a bird, make sure the pan has at least a 3" depth since most open pans are more shallow than their covered counterparts. Open roasters are also easy to store and generally easy to clean. If sealing in juices and getting maximum flavour is important to you, a covered pan will be more your style. Covered cookware not only keeps the flavour in the pan, but it also makes for a neater cooking experience as juices are less likely to overflow in the oven.
Next, think about the size and shape of the roaster you need. If you are routinely going to use the pan to cook a large bird or meat roast for a big crowd, you want a roaster that can accommodate as much as possible. A large pan prevents the bird from browning and leaves room for air to circulate underneath. Keep in mind, however, that if the pan is too big, the juices are likely to burn since they wonʼt cover the whole bottom. If you like to use the pan on the stove top as well as in the oven, make sure it is thick and has a flat bottom. Shape also plays a role in the roasting panʼs cooking abilities. Oval-shaped pans work well for poultry roasts, and their rounded shape makes it easy to whisk the juices into gravy or sauce. Rectangle pans offer more cooking space and the versatility to cook a variety of different items like casseroles or cakes.
The material of the roasting pan also plays a role in its cooking abilities. Stainless-steel and copper both conduct heat evenly, which makes them a good choice for a roasting pan. There are also multiple-ply options, which sandwich aluminum or copper in between stainless-steel, offering a pan that is thick and durable. Cast iron is also a popular choice for a roasting pan, but keep in mind that it can become very heavy, especially when holding a large chicken or turkey. Cast iron also requires a bit more maintenance and upkeep than other materials. If easy clean up is important to you, consider a nonstick option. Some of the nonstick pans are even dishwasher-safe, which makes cleaning quick and easy.
Finally, look at other features that each roasting pan has to offer. If you can see yourself cooking large, heavy items routinely, look for a pan with sturdy handles. If you want the ability to lift items in and out with ease, look for a pan that comes with a roasting rack. V-shaped racks are generally good for poultry while flat racks are ideal for meat roasts. If you routinely deglaze your bird on the stove top after taking it out of the oven, look for a nonreactive pan material that works well on the range, like stainless-steel with an aluminum core. With the right size, material and features, a roasting pan will become a staple in your kitchen cookware lineup.