Even if you only use it once a year for the Thanksgiving turkey, a heavy-duty flameproof roasting pan is worth having. It’s made of thick metal (sometimes more than one layer) with a flat bottom, so it won’t warp in the oven, and you can put it right over your stove burners to make gravy from pan drippings, or use it as a pancake griddle in a pinch. It also has sturdy handles and sides that are about 3 inches high, so taking the pan out of the oven is not a perilous act involving visions of your beautiful golden turkey rolling across the floor.
I don’t like roasting pans with nonstick interiors. Sure, nonstick makes cleanup a little easier, but it also means you have to be careful about how you treat the pan in order to protect the nonstick surface. A roasting pan should be a workhorse, not something that needs a lot of coddling.
In the test kitchen, our favorite roaster is the All-Clad 16×13-inch stainless-steel roasting pan. At about $200, it’s pricey, but so durable that your great-grandchildren will probably inherit it. But if an All-Clad isn’t in your budget, Calphalon and Cuisinart both make good roasters for about half that price.