Are you shopping for a roasting pan but can’t decide which size to buy?
This quick guide will help you determine the right roasting pan size for your needs and budget. You’ll learn what’s available and the key factors to consider.
I also reveal what cookware brands and retailers say on this topic.
Use the links below to navigate the guide:
- Roasting Pan Sizes: What’s Available
- Roasting Pan Sizes: Comparison Chart
- Most Important Factors to Consider
- What Cookware Brands and Retailers Say
- Bottom Line: Which Roasting Pan Size Should You Choose?
Roasting Pan Sizes: What’s Available
Roasting pan sizes are determined by measuring the pan’s length (long side) from rim to rim. A pan that measures 16 inches long will be advertised as a 16-inch pan.
Remember that the widths and depths of roasting pans vary across brands. For instance, all 14-inch roasting pans will measure 14 inches long, but the depth (the height of the walls) and width (the short side of the pan) may differ.
Unlike skillets and sauté pans, roasting pans are only available in a few sizes.
The three most common roasting pan sizes are 14 inches (small), 16 inches (medium), and 18 inches (large). Of the three, 16-inch pans are the most popular.
You can find 15- and 17-inch roasting pans, like this Farberware one, but those measurements are uncommon.
Larger roasting pans over 18 inches long are mainly used in commercial kitchens. Before buying one for your home, be sure that your oven can accommodate the length, including the handles. The average oven is about 25 inches wide.
The chart below shows the exact measurements of several top-rated roasting pans so you can get a better idea of the sizes available:
|Roasting Pan||Length||Width||Depth (Wall Height)|
|All-Clad Gourmet||14 inches||11 inches||2.8 inches|
|Le Creuset Stainless Steel||14 inches||10 inches||3.5 inches|
|All-Clad HA1||16 inches||13 inches||3.25 inches|
|Calphalon Classic||16.5 inches||13.5 inches||3.75 inches|
|Viking Culinary||16 inches||13 inches||3.0 inches|
|HexClad Hybrid||16.8 inches||14.5 inches||2.3 inches|
|Circulon Non-Stick||17 inches||13 inches||3.9 inches|
|Made In Blue Carbon Steel||18 inches||10 inches||2.5 inches|
Roasting Pan Sizes: Comparison Chart
The comparison chart below shows how many people you can feed and the amount of food you can fit in each roasting pan size.
I used a turkey and medium-sized potatoes as examples since what size roasting pan do I need for Thanksgiving? is a question I get often.
|Roasting Pan Size||Serves||Turkey Size||Medium-Sized Potatoes|
|14-inch||10 people||12 pound||8 to 10|
|16-inch||13 people||16 pound||10 to 12|
|18-inch||16 people||20 pound||12 to 14|
Most Important Factors to Consider
These are the most important factors to consider before deciding which roasting pan size to buy.
The most important consideration when choosing roasting pan size is your household size — how many pounds of meat you intend to roast and how many people you plan to feed at once.
Your roasting pan should be large enough to fit the entire cut of meat, with room left around it on all sides. If the meat touches the edges, the sides could overcook or burn while the rest is still cooking.
But how much space do you need? Aim for at least an inch of space between the roast and the roasting pan on all sides. That will allow enough air to circulate and prevent juice and drippings from splattering over the sides.
While you don’t want to overstuff the pan, you also don’t want too much unused space. If the pan is too large, the drippings from the meat will evaporate quickly, and parts of the food will burn on the dry pan.
Another key factor to consider is the depth (or wall height) of your roasting pan.
If the walls are too shallow, juices can splash over the sides when you pull the pan out of the oven. Lack of depth makes braising and liquid-heavy dishes difficult to cook without creating a mess.
On the flip side, pans with walls that are too high prevent air from circulating, and you’ll end up with a steamed meal rather than a roast.
So what depth is best for roasting pans? The ideal depth is 3 to 4 inches.
In general, larger roasting pans are heavier, but the pan’s thickness, material, and the additional weight of a rack or lid play a role.
You need to be able to handle not just the weight of the pan but the pan and the food.
Before you buy, go to the store and practice lifting the pan up and down as if you were taking it out of the oven.
Can you lift it comfortably without strain on your arms or back? Would you be able to lift it with the addition of a 12, 15, or 20-pound turkey?
On average, 16-inch roasting pans weigh eight pounds, but that number varies by brand. To give you a better idea, below are the weights of several popular roasting pans.
|Roasting Pan||Pan Material||Size||Weight|
|Calphalon Premier||Hard-anodized aluminum||16.5 inches||3.6 lb|
|Made In Blue Carbon Steel||Carbon steel||18 inches||5.6 lb|
|Demeyere Stainless Steel||Stainless steel||17.5 inches||8 lb|
|All-Clad HA1||Hard-anodized aluminum||16 inches||8 lb|
|All-Clad Gourmet||Stainless steel||14 inches||8.2 lb|
|Le Creuset Signature||Enameled cast iron||16.5 inches||10.6 lb|
Since large roasts tend to be quite heavy, choose a roasting pan with sturdy, secure, and wide handles so you can safely move your roasting pan with pot holders.
If you’re shopping online for a roasting pan and don’t have the chance to hold the pan and feel it for yourself, scan for reviews that mention the handles are loose, difficult to grab, or uncomfortable.
Many roasting pans have handles that angle upward, which makes the total length measurement of the pan slightly narrower. Others have handles sticking directly out to the side.
Just be sure to account for the extra 2-3 inches up or out (depending on the design), and make sure that the entire pan will fit comfortably in your oven.
Although the three most common roasting pan sizes (14, 16, and 18 inches) fit comfortably in standard ovens, it’s essential to double-check yours before you buy.
Since you’ll most likely be cooking multiple dishes while roasting a turkey, chicken, or large beef roast, consider the width of your oven and how much space you have between racks.
Standard ovens measure about 30 inches wide, but the actual measurement of the oven interior is slightly smaller. Most home cooks will likely only need a 14 or 16-inch pan but make sure to take measurements of your oven if you’re considering an 18-inch pan (or larger).
When taking measurements of your oven, factor in the length and depth of the pan, along with the handles and rack. There should be enough room to easily slide the roasting pan into the oven without bumping the racks or sides of the oven with your hands.
Whether you’re buying your roasting pan in-store or online, take note of the length, width, and height, and make sure it will fit into your desired storage space. Remember to include measurements for the handles.
The best places for roasting pans are on lower shelves and cabinets that can handle more weight. Position them at the bottom of the cabinet, so you don’t risk damaging other dishes and pans.
Avoid storing heavy pots or pans on top of your roasting pan’s rack — too much weight can cause the rack to bend, making it less effective.
Roasting pan prices vary widely between brands and collections.
However, the larger pan will always cost more within the same brand and collection.
To get a better idea of what you can expect to pay, the chart below shows the current prices of top-rated roasting pans broken out by size:
|Roasting Pan||Price||View Details|
|All-Clad Gourmet 14-Inch Roasting Pan||Amazon|
|Le Creuset 14-Inch Roasting Pan||Amazon|
|Farberware 15-Inch Roasting Pan||Amazon|
|Cuisinart Chef's Classic 16-Inch Roasting Pan||Amazon|
|All-Clad HA1 16-Inch Roasting Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Classic 16-Inch Roasting Pan||Amazon|
|Calphalon Premier 16-Inch Roasting Pan||Amazon|
|Viking Culinary 16-Inch Roasting Pan||Amazon|
|Tramontina 18.75-Inch Roasting Pan||Amazon|
|Made In Carbon Steel 18-Inch Roasting Pan||Amazon|
I spoke with several cookware brands and retailers to get a broader perspective on roasting pan sizes.
The product specialist at Williams Sonoma said, “Our best-selling roasting pan size is 16 by 13. It’s great for everyday family meals and big enough for holidays because it can cook up to 25 pounds of food at once.”
When I spoke to a product expert at Calphalon, he told me, “We only make 16-inch roasting pans. We used to sell smaller sizes, but those have been discontinued. For most people, a 16-inch roasting pan is the best choice.”
All-Clad’s product specialist said, “It all comes down to what food you plan to cook and how many people you plan to feed. A 14-inch roasting pan will work if you’re cooking for two or three people, but I recommend a 16-inch pan for entertaining and holidays. Getting a bigger size is better because you don’t want to overcrowd the pan and steam the meat.”
I spoke to the cookware concierge at Sur La Table, and she said, “The size depends on the size of meals that you are planning on cooking. If you are using your roasting pan for a whole turkey, a 14-inch pan can typically accommodate a bird of up to 12 pounds. But 16 inches is the most common size. With a 16-inch roasting pan, you can cook meats and vegetables together, not just the meat.”
Now that you know how different roasting pan sizes compare, it’s time to decide which is best for you.
Before I offer my recommendation, let’s quickly recap the key points:
- Roasting pan size is determined by the length in inches. So a 14-inch pan would measure 14 inches along the longest part of the pan.
- The main factor you should consider when choosing your roasting pan is the number of people you’re feeding. A 14-inch roasting pan is ideal for sides and up to a 12-pound turkey. A 16-inch pan can hold a 16-pound turkey along with vegetables like potatoes and carrots. An 18-inch pan can roast a 20-pound turkey plus a significant amount of vegetables.
- Roasting pan prices vary significantly between brands, but larger pans within the same brand and collection will always cost more than smaller ones.
- Measure your oven before you choose the pan size, and make allowances for handles, lids, and racks.
Ultimately, the right size roasting pan depends on your needs and budget. A 16-inch pan with a depth of 3 to 4 inches is the best choice for most kitchens. It’s large enough to roast for a group but still compact and lightweight enough to fit comfortably in your oven and be handled without much strain.
A 14-inch roasting pan works well for smaller roasts, like chicken and pork tenderloin, and side dishes, like potatoes and lasagna. But you might regret buying that size when you host a larger gathering. Plus, those smaller dishes can usually fit in a skillet or sauté pan.
An 18-inch roasting pan is helpful for large parties and holiday gatherings, but it’s not necessary for most homes.
If you’re ready to buy, I recommend this Calphalon Classic 16-inch roasting pan. It features a non-stick interior for easy cleaning, and the handles are large and secure. It’s also lightweight, so you’ll have no trouble lifting it in and out of the oven.
If you’re looking for a larger pan, I highly recommend the Made In 18-inch roasting pan. It’s made of carbon steel, which combines the heat retention of cast iron with the food release of non-stick. I like how the handles flare up and out, so juices don’t splatter on your oven mitts.
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