What is the Right Roasting Tray?

It seems simple enough: you need a pan big enough to fit your leg of lamb or whole turkey. But choosing the right roasting pan for your next Sunday roast can prove slightly more complicated than just finding one with adequate dimensions.

To begin with, there’s the material from which it’s made. Non-stick roasting trays are increasingly popular for their ease of cleaning, but this effect can actually be counterproductive. Small pieces of food that would caramelize on (and come easily off) a stainless steel or aluminium tray can burn into the surface of non-stick pans.

Alternatively, stainless steel pans, though slightly harder to clean, are perfect for deglazing– a common technique whereby alcohol, stock, vinegar is added to the roasting tray to ‘collect’ the remnants that have caramelised, creating the base of a rich sauce that perfectly matches what you were roasting.

You also need to consider what attachments, if any, your roasting pan has.

Does it have handles? Are they substantially attached? Do the handles mean a smaller pan so that it still fits your oven?

What about a roasting rack? These often sit neatly inside the tray and allow the fat and other liquid to drip from the meat, preventing it from ‘boiling’ in the pan.Much better to chop some vegetables and sit the meat/poultry on these.

When it comes to the size of the roasting pan, there are many factors to consider. It should be large enough that your roast fits inside without touching the sides. This is essential for airflow, ensuring your meat is cooked evenly.

Obviously, while it’s important to buy a tray larger than the food that is to be cooked in it, the tray still needs to fit inside your oven. Measure not just the width of the oven, but the maximum depth so you can still get the oven door closed when the time comes to roast.

Consider also the height of the tray. Too deep and air can’t get inside to brown the lower half of your roast. Too shallow, and you risk spilling the juices when removing the tray from the oven.

Finally, think about the shape of the tray. A rectangular tray with radiused corners, which circulates air just as well, can serve many other purposes and come in handy much more frequently and are easier to clean.

As with most cookware, it’s important to find the right match for your needs. At The Cookware Company, we not only stock a wide variety of the highest-quality roasting trays, and we are happy to explain the benefits of each to help you choose the perfect match.