We all want to whip up a storm in the kitchen and as long as you have the right tools, there’s no reason why you can’t. However, having the right tools is one thing, learning how to use them is entirely something else.
You might think that roasting pans with lids are a relatively simple piece of kitchen equipment, and for the most part, you’d be right. But did you know that in order to get the most out of your cookware, you have to take the right approach?
If you’ve ever battled a roaster pan with lid then you’re in the right place. Whether it’s knowing how best to cook with them or learning how to maintain them, this guide will tell you everything you need to know and more. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and let’s spend a few minutes getting to know your roasting pan a little better.
Table of contents
Why Do Roasting Pans Have Lids?
In the United States, it’s not uncommon for a roasting pan to go months between uses. For occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, almost all households will get the roasting pan out the back of the cupboard. Look somewhere like the UK, and people get a lot of heavy use out of their roasting pan because of the traditional Sunday Roast Dinner.
But no matter where you are, the concept remains the same when it comes to roasting pans with lids. Not all of them come with a lid but if you need one, and yours doesn’t have one, it’s still possible to cover the pan using some tin foil.
There are a lot of chefs that would argue that a roasting pan should never have a lid. After all, if it’s covered over, then you’re not roasting, you’re braising or steaming. For this reason, a lot of people will only ever employ the use of the lid if they’re making something like a pot roast, for example. That said, there is no denying that the use of a lid will boost the speed at which your food cooks so you won’t have to wait as long for your dinner!
Many roasting pans come with lids to allow you a little extra versatility when cooking. Imagine cooking meat that’s considerably drier than others, like turkey, for example. The use of a lid here can be very advantageous as it will lock in moisture since as it rises, it’ll stick to the lid and then drip back down onto the meat. You could say it makes the whole set up self-basting!
Lots of people opt for roasting bags but these do no more or less than a lid so buying a roasting pan with a lid seems the more sensible option. Moreover, you have to consider the fact that a lid will reflect heat back to the food, and this is why it cooks more quickly. But this also means that the food will cook a lot more evenly which is great when you’re cooking large joints or whole birds.
Practically speaking, using a lid with your roasting pan means less mess in your oven. It’s no secret that meat spits and spatters during cooking and this can leave your oven in quite the state. But with a lid in the way, you only have that to clean and not the entire appliance. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll avoid cleaning your oven at all costs! It’s one of the worst jobs in the kitchen. Secondly, in terms of practicalities, you often get a clear lid which allows you to see what’s going on inside.
Do I Need A Lid For My Roasting Pan?
Whether or not you need a lid for your roasting pan is largely down to personal choice. There are some people who will swear by not using one while others couldn’t do without their favorite oval roasting pan with lid.
If you regularly make large dishes like batches of beans or casseroles then a lid is essential. Not only will it ensure even and quick cooking but it’ll save mess. Plus, when you’re done, using the lid will ensure that heat stays inside, keeping your food warm until you are ready to eat it.
What’s more, if you require more cooking space, then there are a lot of roasting pan lids with dual function. Yes, they will serve as a lid but when the moment calls for it, you can flip them over and you’ve got a second roasting tray or pan.
So, deciding whether you need a roasting pan with a lid comes down to how you’ll use it. If you do decide that this is the right piece of cookware for you, just make sure that you choose one that is the right size for your needs. The last thing you want is something that cannot comfortably house your Thanksgiving bird.
How To Use Covered Roasting Pan
If you have been wondering how to use a covered roasting pan then we’ve got some great tips for you. Do keep in mind that you won’t always need to use the lid with your roasting pan so pay attention to what the recipe calls for and this will help you to make the right choice.
Start by putting the roasting rack into the roasting pan. It is important to follow this step as this rack helps to ensure that the meat will not overcook. Moreover, it will stop the meat from sticking to the inside of the pan which can then be very difficult to clean.
Secondly, you will need to place the meat onto the rack being careful to locate it as centrally as possible. You should always choose a roasting pan that is an adequate size for the piece of meat you are cooking. Generally speaking, you’ll want around two inches of space between the edge of the meat and the side of the pan. The reason that this is so important is that it will allow for much more even cooking.
When your meat is in place, it’s now time to put your roasting pan into the oven. Always preheat it and aim to place the pan on the center rack as again, this leaves space all around it and means that the food will cook more evenly. Be sure to note the required cooking time, although it does pay to remember that this can vary so you’ll need to keep an eye on things.
Now comes the bit you have all been waiting for; the lid. When you are roasting meat in a roasting pan, you will need to use the lid. If your pan doesn’t have one then aluminum foil will work just as well. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough as it will ensure that the flavor is locked in as well as keeping the meat juicy. Moreover, the heat will be far more even so the food will cook more evenly.
You may wish to brown the outer part of your meat towards the end of cooking and this is vastly easier without the lid. Keep the lid on during the cooking process and then remove it just 10 or 15 minutes before you’re ready to remove the food. This should be enough time to give it a nice golden brown appearance.
When you’re totally finished cooking, you’ll need to wait a little longer before your food is ready to eat. Allow the meat to rest in the pan for up to ten minutes. This will help the juices spread through the meat making for a more moist and tasty final result.
How To Clean and Maintain A Roasting Pan With Lid
Roasting meat is an excellent way to cook. It helps to retain flavor, keeps the meat juicy and ensures that everything cooks evenly. The problem is that roasting can get a little messy so it’s always worth educating yourself on how to keep your roasting pan with a lid clean and hygienic for the next use.
If your roasting pan is very caked with baked on grease then you will need to employ a little more thorough cleaning techniques. But don’t worry, it’s actually pretty easy to get your roasting pan with a lid sparkling clean again. Just follow these simple steps.
Soak it First
You stand a far better chance of getting your roasting pan looking as good as new if you allow it time to soak first. You will need to run a sink full of hot soapy water and place the pan inside. Alternatively, you can fill the inside of the roasting pan with a soap and hot water mix. This typically works better if your sink is too small to contain the pan.
Whichever method you use, you will need to leave it to soak for at least thirty minutes. If the baked on grease is a little more stubborn then you might need to leave it for an hour.
Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
It can be notoriously difficult to remove burnt on marks on your roasting pan but it’s by no means impossible. In fact, you’ve probably got a few things lying around the kitchen that are perfect for the job. Baking soda and vinegar are exactly what you should be reaching for.
Start by sprinkling some baking soda all over the inside of your roasting pan. If the lid is also marked then flip it over and sprinkle this too. Next, pour over some vinegar and watch the bubbles begin. This chemical reaction will dislodge even the most stubborn marks but you will need to leave the solution to work for around thirty minutes.
After the time has elapsed, simply take a scrubbing brush to remove any leftover debris and rinse the whole thing with fresh water. You’ll be amazed at just how spic and span your roasting pan looks.
The only exception to this method is if you are using a stainless steel roasting pan. In this case, you will need to skip the vinegar and rely solely on the cleaning power of baking soda and a little elbow grease. This will prevent damage to the pan and keep it looking its best for longer.
A roasting pan with a lid is an essential for any kitchen. While you might not use this piece of cookware as often as something like a skillet or saucepan, when you need it, it’ll do an amazing job. But without the lid, your food won’t cook as evenly and the flavor and juices won’t as easily be retained.
That’s why so many roasting pans come with lids and even when you’re not using the lid to cover your dish, it’ll double up as a spare baking tray; who knew!