If the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal is a turkey, then you’ll want the meat to be cooked to perfection. But how do you cook a turkey to perfection? For starters, you’ll need a high-quality roaster pan. Using the right pan can make the difference between dry, overcooked meat and juicy meat with delicious, crispy skin. Here are the basics for buying the best roasting pan for your Thanksgiving turkey.
How to Buy the Best Roasting Pan for Turkey
Although it’s not necessary to spend $300 on a roasting pan, it is a good idea to make at least a small investment (around $40). You don’t want to use the disposable aluminum pans from the supermarket. These pans aren’t sturdy enough and will allow your turkey to sit in the juices, which will make the skin soggy on the bottom of the turkey (yuck!). You’ll also lose a lot of valuable juices, which you’re going to need to prepare a delicious gravy.
When buying a high-quality roaster for Thanksgiving, here are a few things to consider:
How often you use the pan will determine your budget.
Before you go out and buy the most expensive roasting pan, we suggest thinking about how often you’ll use it. If you only plan to use the pan to cook your Thanksgiving turkey, then select a roaster that is priced under $50.
However, if you’re an avid home cook, then an investment in a high-quality roaster pan could add more variety to your monthly menu.
Did you know that your roasting pan can be used for more than just the Thanksgiving turkey? Cook a chicken mid-week, indulge in a slow cooked brisket on Friday night and prepare a succulent rib roast on Sunday. If you use the pan frequently enough, spending over $50 will be well worth the expense.
How much turkey do you need to roast?
The size of the pan you need will largely depend on how many people you need to feed. Here are some general guidelines for the size of turkey you’ll need if you want moderate leftovers:
- <10 pound turkey feeds 4 people
- 15-20 pound turkey feeds 10 people
- 25 pound turkey feeds 20 people
After you determine the size of turkey you need, you’ll want to select a pan size. The larger the turkey, the bigger the roasting pan you’ll need. General guidelines for pan size are as follows:
- Roaster Size 14 x 10 x 2-3/4 inches for up to 12 Pound Turkey (4-5 people)
- Roaster Size 15-3/4 x 12 x 3 inches for up to 16 Pound Turkey (6-10 people)
- Roaster Size 16 x 13 x3 inches for up to 25 Pound Turkey (10-20 people)
Another option you might consider, especially if your oven is small, is an Electric Roaster Oven. An electric roaster oven sits on your counter like a crockpot. This is a great option if you need to free up some oven space, feed a lot of people, or have a small oven.
Our Top Picks for Roaster Pans
Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel
Made with a heavy-gauge aluminum core, this pan will cook with superior heating for excellent browning.
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless
This roaster pan is 16-inches, making it perfect for roasting up to 25 pounds of turkey. The MultiClad design makes for perfect browning.
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless
The Classic roaster does not include an aluminum core, which lowers the price. This pan will work well for your occasional holiday meal.