What kind of baking pan should I get for a turkey? I'm interested in knowing what size would be best as well as what material/brand would be best.
Bethany from SC
I just took a cooking class about this. The pan should be shallow. If it's too deep, the turkey steams, not roasts. It also shouldn't be too big or the same thing happens.
Just a good old fashion standard size 'roasting pan'. You can even get 'disposable' ones but that's a waste for the environment and wasteful economically unless you plan to reuse for something else after. You can find them even in a grocery store but they generally charge more than Target or similar stores.
When I got married 37 yrs ago, I was given a medium sized baked enamel roasting pan. When my MIL died, I was given her large aluminum roasting pan. I don't see any difference in cooking with either one and I like both. Oh yes, there is one small difference, the big one has venting slots to let more steam out, but I usually cook with the slots closed anyway. Find what you like and buy it, expensive ones aren't necessarily the best.
When I roast a turkey, I use a disposable foil roasting pan made to hold turkeys. Just make sure you use a large cookie sheet under it for support. This will be the only time I use disposable foil pans because it saves me clean up time. When I roast turkey, I make different vegetables and other fixings. I have so many other pots and pans to wash after we are done eating. This is one less large pan that doesn't have to be washed. You can usually find them in the dollar store. Keep in mind to make sure the turkey will fit.
I cook for about 16 or more people every Thanksgiving--an love doing it BUT after all the preparation. I don't want to scrub cooking dishes SO we ALWAYS purchase a disposable tin pan (WITH handles). You can get these at the grocery store for around $2.50 or less this time of year. The ones with the handles are harder to come by as the holiday gets closer. I also always cook my turkey using a cooking bag-moist, delicious and perfectly browned! No mess, delicious food and easy cleanup-for which I am ALWAYS thankful!
I always use disposable turkey pans, BUT I use one inside of the other.
I get them at the dollar store or after the Holiday season. So cheap! Learned this the hard way though. One year I used only one pan and with all of the pulling and pushing of the pan to check if it was done, the bottom of the pan started to leak! What a mess! So now I use two and have no problem at all. Hope this helps!
Dark pans absorb more heat, and light pans reflect heat away. So dark will give a better browning effect and cook hotter.
My MOL used a large stainless steel bowl(from Wal Mart) topped with cheese cloth (or you could use foil.) It was so juicy and tender we could barely believe it.
I use one of the old style, oval, dark blue or black (it's hard to tell which it is) white-flecked enamel-coated pans when I cook a turkey. I think they are often called "granite." The pan I use is fairly heavy, at least compared to the modern ones styled after that type. It has handles for easy carry and certainly won't develop a hole in it like the toss-away pans. It also has a lid which is helpful for letting the turkey "rest" after cooking and for transporting to the home where we will be eating it.
I find its size to be perfect for a 15 pound turkey, although a larger one will fit (but not brown as well on the bottom side). I was given this particular pan by my husband's grandmother several years ago, because she no longer cooks large meals. I will not go back to the disposable pans I once used. The old roaster has a much nicer presentation, too, a very classic look.
My mother usually uses disposable pans, but last year she borrowed my old roaster to cook a turkey at Easter. She commented on how quickly it cooked compared to her usual pans, and went out to get one herself. The newer ones are not as heavy and so don't cook as fast or retain heat as well as the older ones, but they still are more efficient than the throw-away pans. I cook the turkey and dressing for my husband's family most years, since his mother passed away 10 years ago and everyone else seemed afraid to try. They enjoy seeing Mamaw's old roaster being used. I enjoy roasting a turkey!
I can't believe no one mentioned using an electric 18 quart roaster. I know it is an expensive (under $100.00) extra. My family has used them for about 70 years. I wouldn't be without one. The take out part is enamel. Mine I chose no -- no stick surface. I didn't want to deal with the roaster surface flaking off before the electric died. In my family they usually last more than 20 years.
I usually use mine for Turkey, Ham, New Years sauerkraut and pork dinners. Also large batches of stuffed cabbage, stuffed peppers, scalloped potatoes, and we've even used it to boil large quantities of corn on the cob. It can also be considered an extra oven.
The roasting pan is great for making Chex mix cereal snack mix. We've used it many, many times for that. Must be done at a low temp.
Also this can be considered a giant slow cooker, as you can adjust the temp.
Using an electric roaster frees up the oven, stove for extra cooking space, for baked dishes and pies and cakes.
You could take it outside to keep the kitchen cooler in the summer.
If anything happened to mine I'd go out an buy another one. And save the roaster and lid part.