What Size Roasting Pan Do You Need?

A definitive guide to picking the right size roasting pan for your kitchen.

By Team Made In
Aug 3, 2022
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A quality roasting pan should be a staple in any kitchen. In fact, roasting pans are one of the most versatile cookware items out there. Sure, they come in handy at Thanksgiving if you plan to roast a turkey鈥攂ut they're also great for roasting vegetables, meats, and even baking lasagnas and other complex dishes.

In the market for a roasting pan? One of the first things you may notice is that these pans come in a wide range of sizes. How can you know which size is right for your needs? We've got a few practical tips to help you select the right size roasting pan for your kitchen.

What Sizes Do Roasting Pans Come In?

Typically, roasting pans for residential kitchens come in three sizes: 14, 16, and 18 inches. It is worth noting that these measurements are taken width-wise, not diagonally, so make sure you plan accordingly when shopping for one.

14 Inches

14-inch roasting pans are usually the smallest size you'll find in most home good stores and similar retailers. These are great to have on-hand for roasting smaller portions of foods, such as sides of vegetables or potatoes. They're also ideal for smaller ovens that may not be able to accommodate larger pans.

If you'll be using your roasting pan for a whole turkey, a 14-inch pan can typically accommodate a bird of up to about 12 pounds.

16 Inches

The next size up is the 16-inch roasting pan, which is a medium-sized option that will work well for most home cooks. These pans are ideal for roasting larger batches of food at once, including sheet pan meals that may involve roasting meats and vegetables on the same pan for convenience (and fewer dishes to clean up afterwards).

For a Thanksgiving turkey, you can expect a medium 16-inch roasting pan to fit a bird of about 16 pounds.

18 Inches

If you tend to cook for larger crowds, then you'll want to go large with your roasting pan. Specifically, an 18-inch roasting pan is typically the largest size available for a home kitchen. These pans are great for roasting multiple sides at once. Many people will even use rolled up aluminum foil to divide a large roasting pan into several "sections'' for roasting different ingredients.

An 18-inch roasting pan will fit a turkey up to 20 pounds, but you'll want to measure and make sure that a pan this large will fit in your oven properly.

How to Choose the Best Size Roasting Pan

There's a lot to keep in mind when it comes to selecting a roasting pan. If you have the space and the means, it's generally best to keep a variety of roasting pan sizes in your kitchen. This way, you'll always have access to the size you need. If you don't have a lot of space to work with or simply want to stick with one pan, then most home cooks will find that a medium-sized (16-inch) pan works well for most recipes.

Choose the Right Material

Aside from picking the right size roasting pan, you'll want to select a quality material as well. Copper and Stainless Steel are two popular options that provide steady heat without being too heavy. Cast Iron is another option, but they do tend to be on the heavier side and can thus be more difficult to work with and maneuver in and out of the oven.

We prefer Carbon Steel. Not only does it conduct heat well, but it is oven safe to higher temperatures, lighter weight, and pretty much indestructible.

Watch the Depth of the Pan

It's not just about the size of the pan, but its depth as well. If your pan is too deep, you won't be able to get a nice roast on your food. On the other hand, a pan that is too shallow will be prone to spillage, especially if you're doing any braising or cooking with liquids.

Make Sure You Have a Rack

Last but not least, choose a roasting pan with a built-in rack. This will keep your ingredients slightly raised from the bottom of the pan, preventing them from getting soggy and ensuring more even roasting. For added convenience, look for a removable rack.

Ready to Shop?

With these tips in mind, you can choose the right roasting pan for your needs and budget. Check out our Carbon Steel Roasting Pan, which comes with a roasting rack to ensure even heating and is sure to be your go-to roasting pan for meals all year round.