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What Is a Roasting Pan and When Should You Use One?

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You know you need a roasting pan for the holidays. Cooking up a Thanksgiving turkey, a glazed ham or braised short ribs is much easier with a roasting pan in your arsenal. But what about the rest of the year? You don’t have to stuff your holiday cookware in a corner and let it collect dust because a roasting pan is one of those things that you could use on a weekly basis.

What is a roasting pan?

A roasting pan is basically just a large, oven-safe dish fitted with a rack. Think of it as an oversized casserole dish, or a tall-sided baking sheet. You can use a roasting pan without the rack, but the rack prevents a roast from touching the bottom of the pan, promoting even heating and allowing the pan drippings to fall through the rack.

Because they’re usually used for large cuts of meat like a turkey, the most common size is a 16-inch pan, which can be large and heavy. Even though it’s heavier than nonstick pans, we’d recommend investing in a multi-ply stainless steel roasting pan (like our go-to roasting pan). These pans are fantastic at searing meats for braised dishes on the stovetop because they get a harder sear and can be used at hotter temperatures than pans made with nonstick materials (like this one). They also tend to hold their heat better than nonstick, making them ideal for casseroles.

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