The 10 Best Roasting Pans
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in June of 2015. If you and your family enjoy a full bird or large joints of meat, your kitchen needs a decent roasting pan. Here you’ll find a selection of models that include some so easy to clean and chef-friendly that you won't want to wait until the holidays roll around to use them. A few will even make an elegant addition to a well-laid table, too, giving each meal a touch of refinement. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best roasting pan on Amazon.
What Makes A Roasting Pan Unique
Roasting pans are also deep to give one the option of skipping the rack, and simply laying their meat over layers of vegetables.
A roasting pan is, first and foremost, made to go in the oven rather than just on a stovetop. So it is made from materials that are oven-safe like clay, which is ideal for browning food, cast-iron, which is a wonderful conductor of heat, stainless steel, and non-stick coated enamel. These can all be subjected to high temperatures for prolonged periods of time, without leaking into the food or posing a fire hazard. Oven baking is, overall, less hazardous than stovetop baking, with the latter being a major cause of fires and burns.
Roasting pans are also much deeper than other types of pans because they’re designed so that a rack can sit on the top, with plenty of room below. You can place meat on the rack, and let the fats and juices fall down to the pan beneath. Having the juices trapped under your meat will keep it moist. Roasting pans are also deep to give one the option of skipping the rack, and simply laying their meat over layers of vegetables. This method lets the juice from the meat marinate the vegetables. Roasting pans are not only deep, but they’re also wide and long because they need to hold large poultry like turkey and entire roasts.
Another special use of the roasting pan is creating a water bath. Some more complex recipes like custard require very specific cooking conditions; they usually need constant moisture while inside the oven and also cannot handle the direct heat of the actual oven. For this, one makes a water bath, which is essentially a large basin in which the small custard dishes sit, surrounded by water, in the oven. A roasting pan is the perfect tool for this.
Understanding Roasting Techniques
There are several ways you can cook food in an oven and they make a big difference in the flavor and consistency of your food. A baked chicken will come out quite different from a roasted one. While baking and roasting both use dry heat to cook food, that’s almost all they have in common. When you roast food, you want the end result to have a brown, flavorful crust. In order to achieve this, you need a higher temperature than you would for baking, and you must brush the outside of your food with some sort of fat, like olive oil.
While baking and roasting both use dry heat to cook food, that’s almost all they have in common.
Baked foods usually call for lower temperatures than roasted ones. Baking is more commonly used for foods that are not solid on the inside to begin with — like cake or muffins — but will harden while they cook. Baked goods go through complex processes that turn them from batter to something edible. Roasting is best for foods that start with a solid interior, like a thick post roast or a whole turkey.
Broiling is best for thin cuts of meat; using this method on thicker cuts can result in risky undercooked meat. This technique utilizes very high temperatures in the oven, but for only a short period of time. When one sets their oven to broil, it sends heat into the food from above it. This both sears and cooks the food at the same time. One can look at broiling like reverse grilling because it directs heat from above rather than below the food.
Why Roasting Your Food Is Easier
The various cooking methods you can use to make your food not only affect the flavor of your ingredients, but also their nutritional content. Roasting food, for starters, does not call for as much calorie-dense oil and fats as other foods. You typically just brush a small amount of oil on the outside of your food to begin the baking process, rather than smothering your food in oil the way one does with frying or sauteing. It is still important to know which fats are best for each cooking method — rapeseed oil is best for roasting — or you can end up with overly greasy baked food.
Not to mention that baked foods are always lower in calories and fat content than the fried version of the same food.
Roasting your vegetables actually increases their bioavailability, which means your body can better utilize their vitamins and other nutrients. Roasting is also a much healthier means of preparing vegetables than boiling, which can deplete the food of water-soluble vitamins.
Roasting is certainly healthier than one of the more popular cooking methods today, that of deep-frying food. The extremely high temperatures required to deep fry foods causes the ingredients to release a compound called advanced glycation end products, which can lead to carcinogens in your food. Not to mention that baked foods are always lower in calories and fat content than the fried version of the same food.
A final unexpected benefit of any sort of oven baking is the simple time one must put into it. Studies have found that the more time a person spends on making their food, the more conscious they are of what they eat and how much they eat. That awareness is not as high when deep frying or microwaving food.
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