Many different recipes are requiring different ingredients, various methods, but most importantly unique equipment. Apple and herb turkey, baked ham, roast, and braised meats, and many more can be made using a roasting pan. “What is a roasting pan?” is an unavoidable question if you are into the scrumptious art of roasting your meat. This article will give you an elaborate answer to “What is a roasting pan?”, especially focusing on new entrants looking to dabble with roasting.

What Is A Roasting Pan? Here Is The Answer

what is a roasting pan

With so many delicious recipes out there requiring the use of a roasting pan, what is a roasting pan is a question often asked by those fairly new to cooking. So let’s find out what is a roasting pan and the different types of it.

Roasting pans are absolutely essential for hardcore cooking such as roasting. It is imperative for you to get your hands on one, provided that you are planning on throwing an extravagant turkey party if you have not.

Roasting pans are oftentimes large ovular-shaped pans. They are designed to fit your oven, and usually come in all sorts of sizes; a universal size is also available if you hate being finicky. Most roasting pans measure 16 inches, the most popular size.

It is important to know the functionality of one when understanding what is a roasting pan. Roasting pans are made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, and more. They are lined with a heavy layer of material because they need to possess high endurance and durability.

Also, what is a roasting pan without a rack? The rack is what gives a roasting pan practicality. The rack of a roasting pan holds the meat, not letting it touch the bottom of the scorching pan that might burn the meat in the process. The rack has to be particularly sturdy to hold the meat’s weight that is usually quite burdening because turkeys and beef cuts are known to be heavy.

Indents in the rack provide thorough and optimal heating to the whole piece as well. Other than the rack, a roasting pan comes with handles.

Now that you know what is a roasting pan, let’s discuss some of the different but popular types of roasting pans.

Types Of Roasting Pans

Types Of Roasting Pans

The second most asked question after “what is a roasting pan?” is which roasting pan is best for them. Let’s look at some of the popular types of roasting pans on the market.

Shallow Roasting Pan

A shallow roasting pan is important for cooking medium items of meat as compared to a conventional pan. These items can be whole fish, wide fillets, whole chicken, and other similar meats.

They are known for their short sides which go up to a maximum of 2 inches. Other than having shallow sides, they are similar to a normal roasting pan, having an ovular or curved shape.

In essence, if you intend to roast your meat the right way, you need to acquire a shallow roasting pan.

Due to them being shallow, they have loads of applications. The shallower your pan is, the higher the heat distribution. When cooking, or roasting in this case, medium meat items such as a whole chicken, heat management is strictly crucial. The closer your meat is to the bottom, the higher heat management you will get effectively.

Juice dripping below from the meat is collected in the pan. This juice can be easily accessed by simply lifting the rack. Another advantage of this type of roasting pan is its ease of use. There is no need to do any heavy lifting over here.

Roasting Pan With Lid

Roasting Pan With Lid

What is a roasting pan without a lid when cooking meats? A roasting pan with a lid is a large pan that is used in the oven to roast meats. The pan is constructed of stainless steel, aluminum, or other metals, and it can be coated with enamel or nonstick.

Simply, adding a lid to the roasting process adds greatly to the taste of the meat. Not only will the food cook faster in a covered roasting pan than in an open roaster, but it will also transform into a mini-oven

What sets a covered roasting pan apart is that the addition of a cover automatically extends its functionality. This style of cookware can easily accomplish more, making it a valuable addition to most kitchens.

There is a slew of convincing reasons why one should own a roasting pan with a lid. Roasting pans with lids can have many different applications.

For starters, a simple roasting pan would do and there may not be the need for a lid. However, a roasting pan with lid can greatly simplify the process of roasting food. Self-basting covers make it easier to avoid the time-consuming job of spreading all the dripping juices of the meat on the meat itself to keep it succulent and juicy. This makes lids much more convenient to carry around.

Not only does it make the roast taste better, but also the entire cooking can be sped up with the use of lids. Lids are essential for creating a heat trap that helps cook fast and keeps the meat moist. So if you want to cut down on cooking time, it’s a good idea to use one.

Users do not need extra equipment to make braised meats with this type of roasting pan. Braising meats necessitates the use of a cover for the pan. So, if this is what cuts your cooking time and makes some juicy meat, this is the roasting pan for you.

For recipes that require covering, you won’t need to use a lot of aluminum foil.

Covering some meals, such as pot roasts, allows the drippings to collect in the pan and cooks all the ingredients together in their own juices. You won’t need to hack a cover to get the job done if you use a lidded roasting pan. Simply grab the roasting pan’s lid and you’re ready to go. Besides this, a hooded roasting pan can be used all year. There’s no reason to keep this cookware in storage because of its versatility. You won’t have to worry about it taking up room in your cupboards because you may use it for several recipes.

With cooking, comes also the aftermath of cleaning up the kitchen. A roasting pan with lid also makes cleanups easier as you don’t have to worry about burned drippings on your stove or in your oven.

With the question of what is a roasting pan, comes the question of all the features that come with it and one of those is a lid that benefits us in not one, but several ways while cooking.

Roasting Pan With Rack

Roasting Pan With Rack

We have already talked about what a roasting pan with rack is all about. But, let us revisit it in a bit more detail.

A roasting pan and a rack are inseparable. Racks are highly applicable when it comes to roasting. They are directly responsible for cooking the meat without letting it burn by touching the brutally hot surface of the pan.

They are responsible for holding the weight of the meat, hence they have to be sturdy and robust. Racks are usually made from cast iron or stainless steel.

Next, racks on the roasting pan provide the possibility of even heating due to their indentures which provide an increased surface area to which the heat can transport.

They also allow juices from the meat to drip down below, as it collects in the roasting pan.

Roasting pans with a rack offer easy usage to the consumer through ease of sliding the rack away from the pan whenever needed.

Lastly, they provide consumers with the opportunity of cooking vegetables alongside the meat. The meat can be cooked on the rack and the vegetables can be cooked below, dripped in the juice that oozes from the rack onto the vegetables.

Here’s a joke we like to tell in our studios.

What is a roasting pan without a rack? Useless!

Roasting pan with rack is a common sighting since the majority of roasting pans in the market come with racks. Racks are highly regarded as a requisite to roasting pans.

Small Roasting Pan

Small Roasting Pan

A small roasting pan is good for adventures. Due to its portability, you can carry it to your picnic trips, vacations (if you are an avid roaster, obviously), to your friend’s birthday, basically anywhere of your choice.

Coming with a cover or a lid, a small roasting pan is easy to use, and requires little effort. It simply makes roasting a fun process, instead of those tedious long hours of wait and the effort that goes into a proper and conventional roast session.

Although they are limited by their size, not being able to cook larger meat items, it is important to realize that they are not built for that purpose; their purpose is entirely something else, which is discussed above.

You can easily cook a whole chicken, salmon strips, a fillet, a tenderloin, strips, et cetera, on this must-have kitchen utensil.

They are easy to clean due to their small size, allowing high user-friendliness.

If anyone asks you the question: what is a roasting pan? the shape of a large, full of carbon-metalled pan comes to mind. These small roasting pans eliminate that stereotype associated with “what is a roasting pan” imagination.

How To Use A Roasting Pan

How To Use A Roasting Pan

The first thing that comes to mind after we get to know the answer to “What is a Roasting Pan” is how we should use it. As simple as it looks, it’s even easier to use it. The reason it has gained so much popularity and is the go-to thing for so many is also partly because it is so easy to use.

The next question that comes to mind, especially to a beginner in this type of cooking, is “How to use a roasting pan”. Following are simple procedures which you can follow:

Once you have chosen what kind of food item you want to roast, and have decided upon the size of your pan which would fit perfectly into your oven, you are all set to begin roasting.

  1. The very first thing you do is heat your oven. Let it go up to the desired temperature so that you can start with the whole process of roasting.
  2. Now if you have the rack, which in most cases is already there. You put it in the pan very gently and position it for you to then start the process.
  3. Spot the position which is the middle of the rack and you will place your meat on the rack carefully in the middle so that the heat gets evenly distributed throughout.
  4. It is also desirable to leave the extreme ends of the pans for them to be roasted better and to cover the meat with a foil.
  5. After 20 to 25 minutes, once you see the color of it has changed you take it out and put it inside the pan for it to rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Once done, you can present it by putting it properly in a dish.

Although these are a lot of steps if you look at them all at once, once you try doing it you get the hang of it easily and this is what makes a roasting pan even more special, how using it is something you can learn easily.

The answer to the question “How to use a roasting pan” is extremely simple. It is a common misconception that roasting is a tough and complicated process. In reality, it is as simple as putting leftovers in the microwave.

The main instruction of importance, mind you, is the positioning of the meat on the rack. If you get this right, your roasting will go as smooth as a hot knife gliding through butter. If you do not get the positioning spot on, by failing to keep the meat in the center of the rack, your meat will not cook properly; nobody wants that.


Hopefully, after reading this article, you now have a solid idea about what is a roasting pan. They come in all shapes and sizes and have many types. Which type and shape suits you the best depends entirely on the occasion.

But, perhaps the most important characteristic of a roasting pan is its sturdiness. It is our advice to always go for many which are known for being sturdy and robust because these pans take a lot of beating.

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