Last Thanksgiving, I was put in charge of making the turkey for the family.
I was very excited to take on the challenge until I realized, the day before Thanksgiving, that I didn’t have a roasting pan. Luckily, there are quite a few roasting pan substitutes to use!
I started researching all the roasting pan substitute options and found quite a bit of information. I know you will find this useful, too!
The best roasting pan substitute is a casserole dish. They are sturdy, large and cook foods evenly. A large cake pan can also work as a roasting pan for cooking chicken, turkey or as a water bath for a cheesecake. If you just need a roasting pan replacement rack, a cookie cooking rack or some simple aluminum foil strips will work well.
- Roasting Pan Substitutes
- 1. Glass Casserole Dish – Best Roasting Pan Substitute for Chicken
- 2. Sheet Pan
- 3. Pie Pan
- 4. Round Cake Pan – Best Roasting Pan Substitute for Cheesecake
- 5. Large Tart Pan
- 6. Disposable Foil Roasting Pan – Great Roasting Pan Substitute for Turkey
- 7. Broiler Pan
- 8. Cookie Cooling Rack – Best Roasting Pan Replacement Rack
- 9. Vegetables As A Bottom Layer
- 10. Aluminum Foil – Best DIY Roasting Pan
- 11. Oven Safe Skillet
- What is a Roasting Pan?
- Are Roasting Pans Necessary?
- Uses for a Roasting Pan
- Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey
- Final Considerations
Roasting Pan Substitutes
1. Glass Casserole Dish – Best Roasting Pan Substitute for Chicken
Can I use a casserole dish instead of a roasting pan? Can I use a glass pan as a roasting pan? The answer to both of the frequently asked questions is yes!
If you have a nice glass casserole dish, then you already have the perfect roasting pan on hand!
A glass casserole dish is big enough to fit a full sized chicken. It is also strong enough to hole the chicken without breaking or bending.
Use a glass casserole dish exactly as you would use a roasting pan. You can place the chicken right in the bottom of the pan.
If you have a cookie cooking rack that will fit in the casserole dish, place it under the chicken to help air circulation as the chicken cooks.
A casserole dish is also a great roasting pan substitute for ham or for pot roasts. The size and durability of a casserole dish is ideal for these mid-sized roasts.
So can you use a baking dish instead of a roasting pan? Absolutely!
2. Sheet Pan
Ever think about a roasting pan vs baking sheet pan? I sure have! The main difference is the rim.
A sheet pan has a much shallower edge which does make it a great shallow roasting pan substitute.
A sheet pan is also an easy substitute for a roasting pan. Most of us already have sheet pans which makes them extra convenient!
Choose a rimmed sheet pan so the drippings from the meat are caught in the pan.
You may want to check the chicken once or twice as it roasts to make sure the drippings do not overflow out of the sheet pan.
Use a baster to suck up and remove some of the drippings if it gets too high. Be sure to save them to make some tasty chicken gravy!
3. Pie Pan
A regular pie pan is perfect for roasting a small chicken. You can use a glass, ceramic or metal pie pan- all will work great!
Pie pans have a good, tall rim that will capture all the chicken juices that stream off during the cooking process.
They are also compact so they won’t take up too much space in your kitchen. Most of us already have a pie pan so it is a convenient substitute for a roasting pan as well!
A 9” pie pan will fit a small chicken. This makes it a good roasting pan substitute for chicken but not for any larger birds.
4. Round Cake Pan – Best Roasting Pan Substitute for Cheesecake
Use a cake pan that is larger than your cheesecake pan as a water bath. The water bath cake pan should be at least 2 inches larger than the cheesecake pan.
This will allow for a little space for the water to evaporate and make it easier to take the cheesecake out of the pan once it has baked.
You may want to check the water level of the water bath once or twice during the baking process.
Since a cake pan isn’t quite as big as a roasting pan, it will hold less water which will evaporate faster during baking.
If your water level is running low, carefully add a little more to the pan.
5. Large Tart Pan
A large tart pan can work well as a cheesecake water bath. Most tart pans are 9 to 10 inches wide while a standard cheesecake pan is only 8 inches.
This means a cheesecake pancan nestle right into a tart pan!
Tart pans have a rim that is at least an inch or two high. It can hold a decent amount of water for a water bath.
Be sure to use a tart pan with a solid bottom rather than one with a removable bottom. You want that water to stay in!
6. Disposable Foil Roasting Pan – Great Roasting Pan Substitute for Turkey
The best roasting pan substitute for a turkey is a disposable aluminum roasting pan. If you don’t have a “real” metal pan to roast your turkey, just grab a disposable one at the grocery store.
They are inexpensive, involve no clean up (you can just throw it away afterward!) and they usually come with a metal rack insert.
Use a disposable foil roasting pan to cook turkey exactly as directed in any recipe. Give our perfect Thanksgiving turkey recipe below a try!
Just be aware that a foil roasting pan can bend easily under the weight of a big turkey. Be sure to lift the pan using two hands!
7. Broiler Pan
Many ovens come with a broiler pan. It is a pan that is about 2-3 inches deep with a cover that works as a rack.
The cover has slats all the way down the metal which helps foods cook evenly.
The metal roasting rack of a broiler pan does sit higher up in the pan than in a roasting rack where the rack is deep inside the pan.
However, it will work just about the same! A broiler pan is definitely sturdy enough to hold a full sized turkey.
A cookie cooling rack is a perfect replacement rack for a roasting pan. They are typically made of metal and oven safe.
Cookie cooling racks come in a variety of sizes so be sure to choose one that will fit into your roasting pan.
Place the cookie cooling rack in the roasting pan just as you would use the regular roasting rack.
Add your pot roast, turkey or chicken right on top. Cook as directed in your recipe and you will have perfect results!
Want to make an entire meal in a roasting pan without a rack? You definitely can! Chop up some roasting veggies and spread them across the bottom of your roasting pan.
Place your turkey, chicken or pot roast right on top of the veggies and then bake!
The layer of vegetables will keep the meat from touching the bottom of the pan, allowing the whole thing to get crispy and golden brown.
The veggies also add flavor to the roast as it cooks. It is the perfect solution to a missing roasting pan rack!
10. Aluminum Foil – Best DIY Roasting Pan
Strips of aluminum foil can make a perfect DIY roasting pan rack. Foil is cheap and very convenient- you probably have a roll in your house right now!
Tear the foil into thick strips and compact them so the foil is tight.
You want the foil strips to be as long as your roasting pan and about 1 inch thick so the turkey or chicken will not touch the bottom of the pan.
Place the roast right on top of the foil strips and cook as directed. The foil will keep the meat from touching the pan and allow air to circulate perfectly.
11. Oven Safe Skillet
A large, cast iron skillet works wonderfully as a roasting pan for chicken. It is completely oven safe and has nice, high sides so you can even toss a few vegetables into the pan to roast, too!
Many of us already have an oven safe skillet making it a convenient substitute as well.
Preheat the skillet first and then add the whole chicken or roast. This will sear the bottom of the meat and give it a golden brown color before going into the oven.
Be sure to use a pot holder to take the skillet out of the oven. The handle will be very, very hot!
What is a Roasting Pan?
A roasting pan is a large baking pan that has deep sides and a rack that fits inside the pan.
The rack prevents meats or large roasts from touching the bottom of the pan. This allows air to circulate around the roast, cooking it evenly.
Roasting pans are perfect for collecting drippings from the meat as it cooks. The drippings in the pan can then be used to make gravy.
You can also fit some chopped veggies under the roasting rack, cooking a whole meal at once!
Roasting pans are usually made of thick aluminum or stainless steel. They need to be strong enough to hold large turkeys and whole pot roasts!
Are Roasting Pans Necessary?
Roasting pans are not always necessary. They do cook large meats very evenly and being able to cook veggies under the roasting rack is a great feature.
However, you can definitely cook a turkey, cheesecake or pot roast without a roasting pan.
Uses for a Roasting Pan
There are many ways to use a roasting pan which is why they are often worth the investment. Here are a few ways I use my roasting pan:
- Making sheet pan/one pan dinners
- Roast a whole chicken or turkey
- As a water bath for a cheesecake
- Roasting large quantities of vegetables
- Huge lasagnas
- Cooking Enchiladas for a group
- As a casserole dish
- Use the rack as a cookie cooling rack
A roasting pan is essentially a great, extra big pan to have on hand. If you choose to buy a roasting pan, I promise you will use it often!
Roasting Pan Substitute for Chicken
One of the most common ways to use a roasting pan is to cook a whole chicken.
You need a pan that is big enough to hold a full sized chicken and sturdy enough to not collapse under the weight of the meat.
Roasting Pan Substitute for Cheesecake
A roasting pan is often used as a water bath for baking cheesecake. The pan is so large that it can hold a good amount of water and also a big cheesecake pan.
Roasting Pan Substitute for Turkey
The most common use for a roasting pan is to make a whole turkey. Everyone gets their roasting pans out at Thanksgiving time for this exact reason!
- 15 pound, fully thawed turkey, giblets removed
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup butter, soft
- ¼ cup minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 Tbsp freshly chopped thyme
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
- Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel and sprinkle it with some salt and pepper.
- Fill the turkey cavity with the onion, lemon, rosemary and thyme sprigs. Place the turkey on a roasting pan rack.
- In a small bowl, blend the butter, garlic, chopped rosemary and chopped thyme. Add a little salt and pepper and mix well.
- Spread the butter over the turkey evenly, coating the bird in the herby butter.
- Roast the turkey in the 325 degree oven for 3 hours and 45 minutes (15 minutes per pound of turkey). If it starts browning too quickly, place a piece of foil over the top loosely to block the direct heat. The center of the turkey should be 165 degrees F on a thermometer.
- Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes and then carve
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 846Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 2246mgSodium: 608mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 113g
Roasting pans are great kitchen tools with many uses. However, there are quite a few fantastic substitutes for roasting pans!
So if you’re wondering what can I use instead of a roast pan, the answer is above!
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