The most iconic piece of cookware in the kitchen at Thanksgiving is the massive roasting pan needed to cook the bird. Yes, a roasting pan is a must — sheet pans are too shallow to hold the drippings, and a baking dish is generally too small. But you don't have to splurge on a fancy roaster unless you think you'll use it beyond the holiday. This relatively inexpensive roaster has done the job for me year after year, and it has quite a few features I like.
I confess I didn't do any research on this pan; I was cooking a turkey for a photo shoot a couple years ago and realized literally that morning that I didn't have a roaster big enough. (Oops!) My husband ran out to Target and picked this one up. But it was a happy accident, as this roaster has done the job for at least half-a-dozen turkeys since.
I like how light this pan is; it's made out of anodized aluminum, which means you can still swing it around, even when loaded with a 14-pound bird. (Try that with a stainless steel roaster! Oof.)
And while I don't usually go for nonstick cookware, the anodized interior means this pan cleans up like a dream. There's no thin coating to scratch off; it's just a smooth and easily cleaned surface.
The handles on the rack mean it's easy to lift your turkey out while you put the pan back on the stove to scrape up drippings for gravy. The rack is a little narrow — that's the only thing I don't like about this pan — so if your bird is over 14 pounds or so, you may lose a little skin off the sides when wedging it in. But the narrow handles do mean that this will fit in a smaller oven. (And yes, the rack goes in the dishwasher and cleans up beautifully.)
Two thumbs up from me; it's a pan that doesn't break the bank, and has everything you need to cook your holiday feast. Of course it works year-round, too — it's great for pork shoulder, lamb roast, and other big cuts of meat, not to mention roasting vegetables.