What is the Best Roasting Pan for Holiday Cooking?

Seeing as how we're hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year, we've felt justified in treating ourselves to a few new kitchen tools. One of the splurges we've been considering is an actual, for reals, like-mom-has roasting pan. But we're a bit stumped: How big? What brand? Do we even need one at all?Our criteria for pans is that they have handles for easy lifting, be not non-stick (for deglazing and making gravy!), and be made of stainless steel with an aluminum core for its superior heat conductivity. With this in mind, we set about looking for a pan.

Calphalon and All-Clad seemed to keep coming out on top in the reviews we read. All-Clad tends to be the more pricey option, but Calphalon had a nice range of expensive and inexpensive models.

We'll be honest: up until now, we haven't done all that much roasting. What roasting we have done was usually smaller cuts that easily fit in a casserole dish or even a sheet pan.

We'd like to think that a new roasting pan would motivate more of this type of cooking, but...we all know how likely that will be! With this in mind, we were thinking of purchasing a smaller roasting pan that would accommodate the 10-pound turkey we're planning on buying, the other small-scale roasting we do throughout the year, as well as other non-roasting dishes like lasagnas and casseroles.

We've spotted these:

Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel Roaster, $79.95 from Williams-Sonoma
All-Clad Oven-Ware Oblong Baker, $99.99 from Amazon.com

Also, add to this that Cook's Illustrated recommends the Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel Roaster as the best inexpensive roasting pan.

Or is it better to just pony up for a larger, regular-sized roaster? After all, this roaster could also be used for things like bain maries for custards and double-batches of casseroles. These are the ones we've been considering:

Calphalon Classic Anodized Roaster (all aluminum), $59.99 from Amazon.com
All-Clad Stainless Steel Roaster with Rack, $199.95 from Williams-Sonoma

Help us decide! What kind of roasting pan do you use? Or do you use something else in place of a traditional roasting pan?

Related: What's the Best Kind of Cutting Board

(Images: Amazon.com and Williams-Sonoma)

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