Cooking School

5 roasting pans tested with roast chicken and potatoes

By: Christine Picheca / Photography by Colleen Tully

Author: Canadian Living

Cooking School

5 roasting pans tested with roast chicken and potatoes

By: Christine Picheca / Photography by Colleen Tully

Today's home cook is faced with myriad roasting pan options - from inexpensive foil roasting pans to gorgeous stainless steel roasters worth hundreds of dollars. But do fancy materials and sleek styling really make a better roasting pan?

Online editors Christine Picheca and Colleen Tully took over the The Canadian Living Test Kitchen for a day and put 5 roasting pans to the test with a classic comfort recipe: roast chicken and potatoes.

The roasting pan test
Each pan was tested in an oven set at 375ËšF with a trussed chicken on a "rack" of parsnips, carrots and onions and 2 pounds of potatoes. Here is the recipe we used:

Roast Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary

3 heads garlic
1/4 cup (50 mL) vegetable oil
1 tsp (5 mL) dry mustard
1 tsp (5 mL) dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tsp (5 mL) each salt and pepper
3 potatoes (about 2 lb/1 kg)
3 large carrots (about 1-1/2 lb/750 g)
3 large parsnips (about 1-1/2 lb/750 g)
1 large onion
1 chicken (3-1/2 - 5 lb/1.75 - 2.2 kg)
2 lemons, halved
1/4 cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) chicken stock
Continue reading Roast Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary >>

Roasting pan results
Canadian Living staff were thrilled to have tons of succulent roast chicken and potatoes for lunch, regardless of which roasting pan did the job. While a good recipe and attentive home cook are the keys to great roast chicken, here are the results from each individual pan:

Roasting pan #1: Generic foil roaster - $5 for two pans (approximately)
The claim
  • "Bake and take" convenience
  • The most inexpensive roasting pan on the market
  • Easy to find everywhere
  • Disposable/recyclable
The result
A convenient choice if you don't have a roasting pan or space to store a roasting pan. Disposable, there is no cleanup although it holds up well enough to reuse once or twice. However, this pan was the least successful at browning potatoes, and the chicken was cooked through before it had a achieved a golden crust.
Roasting pan #2: Emile Henry ceramic pan, $90 (approximately)

The claim
  • Mineral-rich Burgundy clay is unsurpassed for even heat distribution
  • Naturally non-stick surface
  • Goes directly from freezer to hot oven; guaranteed from 0 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Won't scratch from use or cleaning, stays looking new

The result
This vessel was a bit too small for the chicken and potatoes, but not too bad at browning potatoes. If you are stuck for a roasting pan and only have a ceramic casserole, it actually worked quite well. It would be best to roast potatoes separately so everything has enough room to cook. This pretty pan also looks quite nice if you wanted to serve from the dish.
Roasting pan #3: Generic Speckled Roaster, $10 (approximately)

The claim
  • Enamel on steel features the classic speckled easy-to-clean, heavy-glaze enamel finish that is kiln-dried for lasting quality
  • Heats up quickly, cleans easily and does not retain food colours, tastes or aromas


The result
The dark colour of this pan did a great job of achieving a nice, golden colour on the chicken and made crispy potatoes. This pan is the best value for the dollar, however it does not come with a rack.
Roasting pan #4: Calphalon One Infused Anodized roaster, $200 (approximately)
www.calphalon.com

The claim
  • Heavy-gauge, highly conductive Calphalon One Infused Anodized sears food quickly and evenly.
  • Versatile vessel shape.
  • The infused anodized cooking surface releases food as easily during clean-up as it does while you cook.
The result
The dark colour of the anodized aluminum attracts the heat and makes for a beautiful crispy skin on the chicken and nicely coloured potatoes. This pan is roomy and shallow enough to roast both chicken and potatoes together, and leaves room to release and turn potatoes from the bottom of the pan. Comes with a sturdy rack that would be great for turkey roasting. Also left nice drippings for gravy.
Roasting pan #5: Paderno Multi-Roaster with rack, $360 (approximately) - a Canadian product
www.paderno.com

The claim
  • Made from solid stainless steel with an encapsulated pad on the bottom and lid for heat conduction.
  • Versatile lid can also be used on the stove as an au gratin or even as a serving dish.
  • 25 year warranty. Oven and dishwasher safe.
The result
Beautiful stainless steel design, this pan is really two pans in one - the bottom piece is a very deep vessel that comes with a full rack that is easily lifted out. While such a deep design left the chicken and potatoes less golden in colour, the lid can work equally well as a shallow roaster or casserole dish complete with serving handles.

The larger pan is large enough and heavy-bottomed enough to work well as a stock pot, or for a corn or lobster boil
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Cooking School

5 roasting pans tested with roast chicken and potatoes