If you plan to purchase a roasting pan for your kitchen, you might like to know what is considered a shallow roasting pan. Because shallow pans can be versatile for both roasting and baking a variety of foods, we’ve researched the dimensions of roasting pans to find out what is a shallow depth.
The sides of a shallow roasting pan are typically 3 inches. Depending on the size and shape of the pan, larger roasting pans usually have a greater depth of between 5 and 12 inches.
Keep reading, and we’ll talk about how to use your shallow roasting pan.
How Do You Use a Shallow Roasting Pan?
Using a roasting pan is so simple that your oven does most of the work. A shallow roasting pan can be useful, particularly for cooking:
- Small portions of meat and fish like whole chicken, pork loin, and salmon filets.
- Homemade bread.
- Large casseroles.
- Re-heating leftovers.
First, you will want to select the right pan for the job, and then follow your recipe to prepare food for roasting. Remember to preheat the oven, so it will be hot when you insert the roast. Placing the roasting pan on the center shelf in the oven will prove the best location for even airflow.
The Size of the Pan
Select a roasting pan that is large enough to accommodate your food so that the food does not touch the sides of the pan. Shallow roasting pans allow hot air to circulate evenly around food. If the food is touching the sides of the pan, it comes into direct contact with heat, and those edges of the food can either overcook or burn.
The Shape of the Pan
Rectangular roasting pans are commonly found in domestic kitchens because they are a versatile shape, with more surface area than oval-shaped pans. A rectangular roasting pan can accommodate a roast and usually has room to spare for adding evenly spread vegetables. Widespread sides allow air to circulate evenly throughout the contents of the pan.
Oval roasting pans are excellent for large cuts of meat, whole fish, and whole poultry. But, the narrowed sides of oval pans can prohibit the circulation of air around the food, especially if the pan is too full.
Using a Roasting Rack in the Pan
You can use a shallow roasting pan either with or without a roasting rack. Using a rack will elevate your food to keep it away from direct heat and draining juices at the bottom of the pan. The rack can help to prevent the bottom of the roast from overcooking, by allowing air to circulate beneath the food.
Likely, your roasting pan came equipped with a rack. If not, you can purchase a rack to fit your pan because racks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. When you set the roast on top of the rack, make sure the base of the rack is big enough to accommodate the entire roast, so it does not bulge over the sides of the rack.
Using the Lid
Roasting with the lid on will expedite cooking and also keep your food moist while it is in the oven. If your roasting pan does not have a lid, you can cover the pan with aluminum foil instead.
When your roast is nearly done, removing the lid (or foil) will allow the outer edges of the roast to become golden brown for a crisp finish. Because the cooking time will vary, your recipe will likely specify whether to cover food while roasting.
You can also use a shallow roasting pan to set-up a bain marie, or water bath. Check out our blog, “Is a Double Boiler (Bain Marie) Supposed to Touch the Water?” to learn about this cooking technique.
What Can I Use Instead of a Roasting Pan?
You do not have to haul out that bulky holiday roasting pan for everyday use. Try any of our recommendations for alternative pans, readily available in your kitchen, to use for roasting:
- Cast-iron skillet.
- Bakeware (casserole dish).
- Dutch oven.
- Sheet pan.
- Broiler pan.
- Braising pan.
Get expert tips on how to roast using these alternative pans, and many more, at our blog, “8 Roasting Pan Alternatives.”
What is the Difference Between a Roasting Pan and a Baking Pan?
Although roasting pans and baking pans (or bakeware) can be used interchangeably for many recipes, these types of pans do have their differences. Sizes, shapes, and materials make roasting pans, and baking pans each unique for their specialty.
As we’ve briefly discussed, roasting pans are typically either rectangular or oval-shaped. Sizes of roasting pans are larger and deeper than most bakeware, ranging lengthwise from 11” to 18,” and heights range between 3” and 12.”
Baking dishes are available in more diverse shapes like square, rectangular, oval, and circular. Sizes of bakeware range lengthwise from 6” to 13,” and heights range between 1-1/2” and 4.”
The best roasting pans are usually made from metals like stainless steel, copper, anodized aluminum, and Tri-ply stainless/aluminum.
Baking dishes are made from the aforementioned metals. In domestic kitchens, bakeware materials also include silicone, tempered glass, enameled cast iron, non-stick carbon steel, and ceramic.
Lids & Racks
Roasting pans are likely to be equipped with a roasting rack and lid.
Baking dishes are likely to be equipped with lids, handy for transporting and storing food. Whether the lids are oven-safe depends on the manufacturer.
Now that you know how to use a roasting pan get sized-up, and start roasting!