A roaster pan is a versatile kitchen tool that can be used to cook a variety of foods, from whole chickens and roasts to vegetables and more. With its deep sides, rack, and lid, a roaster pan helps retain moisture and evenly cook foods. But can you safely put a roaster pan in a regular oven? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a Roaster Pan?

A roaster pan is a large, oven-safe pan designed specifically for roasting meats and vegetables. It’s usually made from heavy-gauge steel, stainless steel, or enamel-coated steel. Key features include:

  • Deep sides to prevent grease splatters
  • A rack to elevate food off the bottom of the pan
  • A domed or racked lid to circulate heat and moisture

The deep sides and lid help create an oven-like environment that cooks food evenly while retaining juices. The rack allows the bottom of the food to avoid sitting in rendered juices, resulting in crispy surfaces.

Compared to regular pans like sheet pans or casserole dishes, roaster pans are ideal for roasting whole chickens, beef roasts, pork shoulders, leg of lamb, vegetables, and more. Their specialized design makes them perfect for oven use.

Using a Roaster Pan in the Oven

You can absolutely put a stainless steel or enameled steel roaster pan safely in the oven. They withstand high oven temperatures, allowing you to roast foods using dry heat up to 450°F or higher before needing to worry.

However, the use of a foil pan in a roaster oven situation differs when it comes to disposable foil roaster pans. Their material composition means foil pans can’t withstand oven heat above 400°F.

Here are some tips for safely using a roaster pan in the oven:

Preheat Properly

Roast foods in a fully preheated oven. Preheating ensures the pan and food heat evenly once the food goes in. Bring your oven to the recipe’s specified temperature before adding your roaster pan.

Use Oven Mitts

When handling any hot cookware, protect your hands with thick, heat-resistant oven mitts or potholders. Grab the roaster pan by its handles or lift using sturdy mitts to avoid burns.

Choose the Right Rack Height

Place your roaster pan on a middle oven rack position. The center of the oven sees the most even heat circulation, leading to uniform cooking.

Use a Meat Thermometer

Take the guesswork out of roasting and use a meat thermometer to check for doneness, especially for large cuts of meat. Refer to USDA safe finishing temperatures.

Let It Rest

As with all roasted meats and some vegetables, let your roasted dish rest 10-15 minutes before carving. This allows juices to redistribute inward for a moist, tender texture.

Common Foods to Roast in a Roaster Pan

Below are some of the most popular foods people love cooking in roaster pans:

Whole Chicken

Whole chickens roast beautifully in a roaster pan. The pan catches all the drippings for making pan sauces or gravy. Surround the chicken with root vegetables for a complete meal.

Prime Rib Roast

A special occasion deserves a spectacular prime rib roast. The bones and fat baste the meat from within for impressive tenderness and flavor.


Roast an entire turkey in a roaster pan for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Brining the turkey makes it extra flavorful and moist.

Pork Loin

The tall sides of a roaster pan are ideal for holding a pork loin roast and all its rendered fat and juices. Pork pairs well with acidic pan sauces.


Roast vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and more along with proteins or as a meal itself. Toss them in oil and seasonings for caramelized flavor.

As you can see, a roaster pan serves as a versatile vessel for oven cooking an array of foods. Follow basic safety tips for fantastic roasting results. From whole birds to seasonal vegetables, make the most of this special cookware.