How to Use a Foil Roaster for Roasting Turkey

Choosing the right pan for the cooking task at hand

Turkey in Oven
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Question: Are foil roasters fine for cooking turkeys? Can I use a foil roasting pan to cook a turkey?

Answer: Yes, if you do not have a suitable roaster, a disposable aluminum foil roasting pan can be used for cooking a turkey. However, you will need to use a certain amount of care with a foil roasting pan and these tips will explain what to do and why:

  • Only use foil baking pans that are designed for roasting. They are larger, thicker and have higher sides to accommodate a turkey and grease/juices that are generated during cooking.
  • When faced with price and foil thickness differences, always chose the heavier and better quality pan.
  • Before using a foil roaster, hold it up to the light and inspect it for flaws (cuts/breaks) and any signs of cuts in the foil from previous use. When in doubt, discard the pan. You should only use bakeware that is deemed to be safe.
  • Always place a metal cookie or baking sheet underneath the foil roaster, for two reasons:
    • Foil bakeware is too flimsy when it contains a heavy turkey; it could buckle and spill its contents when you try to remove it from the oven. A sturdy sheet will make the foil roaster more stable and will enable you to remove the roasting pan (and metal sheet) safely from the oven.
    • If there are any cuts or breaks in the foil that went unnoticed, it could leak and a metal sheet underneath could catch drips and reduce the risk of grease spills in your oven.
  • When testing your turkey to see if it is done, use care with a knife or any sharp utensil to ensure you do not puncture the foil roaster.
  • Poultry racks or lifters should not be used in foil, as they could puncture the foil material.
  • Although foil bakeware can often be re-used, in this case, I wouldn't recommend it. Once you've used one for heavy meats or poultry, any bend in the foil could jeopardize the integrity of the foil pan making it hazardous in the future.
  • After the turkey is removed from the foil pan, I would transfer the poultry juices to a pot in order to make gravy. Foil pans should not be used for stovetop cooking.

It's highly recommended that you use a durable roasting pan for cooking a turkey as opposed to aluminum foil pans which have no handles and require more care with handling. Over time, a purchased roaster will save you money otherwise spent in disposable foil bakeware. Roasting pans are very practical, economical and essential cookware for a variety of cooking needs.

Read More About Roasters & Turkeys