The big advantage of a roasting pan is that it's big, literally. A standard roasting pan can fit a 16-pound turkey with no problem. But many of us don't actually need to be roasting a 16-pound turkey, and a smaller turkey will fit quite easily in some of the cookware we already have.
Look for an oven-safe dish that has sides tall enough to catch the drippings from the turkey but not so tall that it steams the turkey instead of roasting it. Here are some ideas:
1. Cast Iron Skillet
2. Stainless Steel Skillet
3. Large Casserole Dish
4. Broiler Pan
5. Paella Pan or Other Extra-Large, Special-Purpose Pan
Even a basic baking sheet would serve in a pinch, though be careful of splashing those pan drippings when you take it out of the oven. A dutch oven will also work, but its high sides mean that you might not get as nicely browned and crispy skin as you would otherwise.
And what about the roasting rack to lift the turkey off of the pan? You can fashion a make-shift one out of aluminum foil. You can also simply rest the turkey on a bed of potatoes and onions as we do for roasting chickens.
And there's one more option that we haven't mentioned yet: borrowing a roasting pan. Ask your dinner guests if anyone has a roasting pan they wouldn't mind loaning you for the holiday, and chances are that at least one of them will have just what you need.
Any other suggestions for roasting pan alternatives?
(Image: Emma Christensen)