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Why you need it: Use this multipurpose pan to roast or braise vegetables, chicken, fish, and meat (including the Thanksgiving bird); create a water bath for desserts; or put together jumbo portions of lasagna.
What to look for: A roaster with curved corners is easier to clean and “allows you to get into the pan with a spatula without breaking apart what you’re roasting,” says Marcus Samuelsson, chef and co-owner of Aquavit, in New York City. Seek out sturdy handles that can be comfortably gripped with oven mitts, a removable roasting rack (for easier gravy making), and sides at least three inches high. When deciding what size roasting pan you’ll need, consider the size of your oven (there should be at least a two-inch space on all sides of the roaster for optimum heat circulation). Also, choose a pan that has the same thickness all around.
RS pick: The Calphalon One Infused Anodized aluminum 16-inch roasting pan ($150, cooking.com) can go from stovetop to oven and heats up evenly.