Roasting pans are heavy, deep (at least 3 inches), usually rectangular pans with handles. They’re fitted with a removable metal rack and are used for cooking whole poultry, fish or large cuts of meat. The rack supports and allows air to circulate completely around the food. It also helps fat drain away during cooking. Without the rack, roasting pans are used to roast vegetables or to hold a waterbath for baking custards.
Heavy roasting pans distribute heat more evenly and safely hold heavier foods. Nonstick roasting pans are easier to clean, but their dark color makes it tricky to tell if juices are running clear, a telltale sign your poultry’s fully cooked. They also keep bits of food that would be stirred into a sauce made from pan juices from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Measure your oven before buying a roasting pan to make sure it will fit.