What is a Shallow Roasting Pan?

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A whole chicken in a shallow roasting pan ready to be grilled.
A whole chicken in a shallow roasting pan ready to be grilled. (Image: Jill Chen/iStock/Getty Images)

While some foods can be successfully prepared in several styles of pots and pans, others need special containers to turn out right. A shallow roasting pan is the best choice for roasting whole poultry and large cuts of meat.

Basic Structure

By definition, a shallow roasting pan has short sides. It normally has no lid and is oval or rectangular in shape. Handles on both short ends of the pan enable safe transport from oven to counter.

Preferred Material

The roasting pan should be heavy gauge enough to resist bending or buckling under the weight of heavy meat and poultry cuts. Materials like anodized aluminum, stainless steel or cast iron ensure even heat conduction. Roasting pans with nonstick surfaces are generally not preferred because they resist the formation of caramelized drippings, and the pans cannot be heated high enough for deglazing without burning the drippings.

Cooking Process

The size of the item being roasted should allow only 1 or 2 inches of open space between it and the pan’s edges. This permits even browning without drying out the food. The sides of the pan should be no more than 2 inches high, to expose as much of the food’s surface as possible and still catch the accumulated juices during roasting.

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