Roasting pans and roasting racks are usually pulled out for the holidays. Unfortunately we often put them away after the holidays are gone. Roasting pans are great all year long for a variety of foods, whether it’s lasagna, casseroles, or chicken. This roasting pans review covers both stainless steel roasting pans and nonstick roasting pans. I looked at a lot of pans and awarded 2 as “The Best Roasting Pans with Roasting Racks.” Many magazines and other cooking authorities liked a particular model, but I found problems with it. I’ll tell you my picks and what I didn’t like with a popular media favorite.
Criteria for Roasting Pans with Roasting Racks
Roasting pans have the ability to serve many functions. There are several things I look for in a quality roasting pan with a roasting rack:
- A good one will be thick enough so as not to warp. The key here is not as much warping when roasting, but warping when you are deglazing the pan on the stove top. All those juices that drip into the pan make a great starter for a sauce. Once the roast or chicken is removed, any veggies removed and the rack removed, then it’s time to put it on the stove top and deglaze the pan. This will often use a direct heat that is higher than what it sees inside the oven. Some roasting pans don’t have a flat bottom. Some chefs prefer a ridge to separate foods. I prefer a flat bottom. The ability for a roasting pan to handle good heat inside the oven and on top of the stove is essential.
- The next feature I look for is adequate size. While the larger sizes may not fit ovens in smaller apartments or homes, they serve a great purpose being large. The larger size accommodates larger foods and handle huge casseroles.
- Handles that flare outwards rather than straight up or inward. I’ve used pans that are straight up or inward and I burn myself more often on those than the ones that flare outward. Also, if the handles don’t flare out, you will mess up your mitts on the surface of the roast. Please note this makes the overall dimensions even larger.
- Lastly, I look at heating abilities. When roasting, most of the heat comes from the top. There is still a good amount of heat coming from the bottom, especially if the pan is not full of veggies. When using a roasting pan for casseroles, the heating qualities are critical. Multi-ply and sturdy pans heat better without the hotspots.
Best Roasting Pans with Roasting Racks Review
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Roasting Pan with Roasting Rack
My award for the best stainless steel roasting pan with rack goes to the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro with Stainless Steel Rack. (Amazon incorrectly advertises it as having a nonstick rack. It’s stainless steel.) I have other Cuisinart Multiclad Pro cookware and absolutely love them. They clean up easily, they are dishwasher safe, and heat exceptionally evenly. The triple ply construction assures even heating and durability on top of the stove and in the oven. It is induction ready also. With a street price around $75.00, it’s a real bargain.
Emeril Nonstick Roasting Pan with Roasting Rack
I have a love hate relationship with nonstick roasting pans. While I like how they clean up, I hate having a traditional nonstick surface around my food. I’m not a health nut, but I take precautions every place I can. The Emeril hard anodized nonstick roasting pan and rack, made by All-Clad, is the exception to the rule. It is a very sturdy pan, scratch resistant, and PFOA free. Nonstick surfaces are going to have the PTFE’s, but at least this one doesn’t have the PFOA’s. I love how sturdy this pan is and the anodized aluminum heats very evenly.
February 2014 Update: At this time it is difficult to find the Emeril roasting rack. I will be looking for a new nonstick rack to recommend.
Why I Didn’t Choose a Media Favorite
There is a Calphalon stainless steel roasting pan many in the industry love and give it high marks. I have it and use it. I didn’t award it because it has a raised bottom in the middle of the pan and it has handles that flare inwards. I’ve burned myself too many times to award it. I can see the advantage of it flaring inside as it allows better balance of heavy items, but I still prefer the handles flaring outward.
Finally, I urge you to use your roasting pan beyond the holidays. Use it for any large items and for casseroles.
This article was updated February 2014.