If you're looking for the best roasting pans, you'll find that there is no one "best" type. That's because the type of roaster you should use depends on what you're cooking and how you intend to cook it. A pan that's good for broiling a bunch of steaks is far different than one that's good for cooking a recipe that demands a covered pan and hours of time.

Both my mother and grandmother used huge porcelain-covered roasting pans that could hold enough meat to feed about 10 people. These deep pans were much like the Granite Ware Covered Roasting Pans on Amazon, which can hold a roast up to 25 lbs. In reality, there weren't that many people to feed. Instead, the tradition was to cook enough for one on-the-spot dinner for 5 people, and enough leftovers to make AT LEAST one more dinner for the next night. Thanks to the addition of plenty of stuffing, vegetables, and other filler, there was usually enough food for two extra dinners and a lunch.

If you're cooking for fewer people or don't want as many leftovers, you'll probably want to go for a smaller roasting pan. Fortunately, there are plenty of options. There's a basic oval Granite Ware pan that'll hold a chicken, and there are plenty of shallow rectangular ones for foods that don't need to be covered during baking.

Open, rectangular roasters usually come with racks, and this is great for keeping your food from ending up in a pool of grease during and after cooking. Making food with one of these is a bit different than using a lidded roasting pan, though. It takes longer to cook things in an oven without a lid, but doing so will make the outside of your food crispy. This is great if you want a crispy shell on your meat, but if you don't, go for a closed pan.

For many people, it's a good idea to get a couple of roasting pans: a small one for everyday or weekend use, and a big one to use for holidays. This will allow you to avoid having to fuss with large cookware when you're only feeding two or three people, while ensuring that you can entertain a decent crowd if you host a gathering.

One of the best places to buy a roaster is at Amazon. Here's a link to their huge selection of roasting pans. Below, check out our selection of some of the best sellers:

Granite Ware Covered Rectangular Roaster 21.25 by 14 by 8.5-Inch
This is a rectangular version of the type of pan that's been in use for about 100 years. It's made of steel and coated in ceramic for great durability and easy cleaning. It can hold a roast up to 25 lbs., so you won't have to worry about running out of room. Best of all, it's extremely affordable!
Granite Ware 13-Inch Covered Oval Roaster
This small Granite Ware roaster is good for one or two people, and will be perfect for everyday dinners in your new home. Reviewers on Amazon say that this size is good for chickens or a couple of Cornish game hens. At about $10, it's a steal!
Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Roaster with V Rack

This open roaster comes from Calphalon, a top-rated name in cookware. It's a tri-ply made of stainless steel with an aluminum core. The dimensions are 16.2 x 13.8 x 4.2 inches, which gives you plenty of space to cook any kind of food you want.

The V-shaped rack makes it very easy to get your roast out of the pan with nothing but a pair of oven mitts. This certainly comes in handy when trying to heft a piping-hot turkey or a standing rib roast!