Difference Between a Broiling & Roasting Pan

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Roasting and broiler pans are ideal for cooking turkeys.
Roasting and broiler pans are ideal for cooking turkeys. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Broiling and roasting pans are very similar types of cookware but each specializes in a different area. Roasting pans generally hold larger cuts of meat and cook meat more slowly than a broiling pan. There are differences in the way the heat is distributed to these types of pans as well.

The Design

Broiler and roasting pans vary in their designs. Broiling pans are shallower and have a slotted base, while roasting pans are deeper in size. Broiler pans allow food to cook more quickly and allow drippings of the meat to drain underneath the meat itself; while roasting pans allow meat to cook in its own juices. A broiler pan has two separate pieces to it. It has a lower pan which is called a drip pan and it also has an upper pan which is slotted. Roasting pans are generally a single deep pan that sometimes comes with a metal rack used for elevating the meat.

Materials

Both roasting and broiler pans are made out of the same materials. The most common materials are stainless steel and hard anodized aluminum although other materials such as enameled steel or cast iron are also used. Roasting and broiler pans come in several different sizes to accommodate the food that is being cooked. People desiring disposable roasting or broiler pans can purchase ones made of aluminum foil.

Heat Distribution

A broiler pan is used to cook food under very high temperatures from heat coming from the top of the oven. Roasting pans also are designed to cook food with high temperatures, but the heat is distributed from the bottom of the oven. A broiler pan is usually placed in the oven and the broiler setting is selected. This setting distributes the heat from the top. When using a roasting pan, the oven is set on the temperature desired.

Uses

Both types of pans are used for cooking the same types of food including meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables. Foods that must baste in their own juices cook well in roasting pans, while broiler pans allow the meat to drain of its excess fat. Roasting pans generally cook meat more to a more tender and juicy state.

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