This holiday season, get delicious turkey without using valuable oven space by making electric roaster oven turkey! The turkey cooks separately, and you can enjoy a juicy, perfect roast turkey with golden brown skin.
One of the big problems home cooks face at Thanksgiving is fitting everything in the oven! You have pies, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, scalloped potatoes, rolls, and more, all fighting for precious oven space.
And a turkey will take up most of the space. I’ve never had a house with a double oven, so my solution is to cook the turkey in an electric roaster oven. A separate roaster oven cooks the turkey and contains all the juices and mess.
And your holiday bird cooks even faster in an electric turkey roaster than a regular oven, so you don’t have to get up at 7 am to start dinner!
For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below
- Turkey – If you bought a frozen turkey, ensure it is completely thawed before roasting. You can find thawing instructions here.
- Melted butter
- Poultry seasoning
- Black pepper
🦃How to Cook Turkey in an Electric Roaster Oven
- Optional – Brine: Brine the bird for 12-24 hours before roasting. Get turkey brining instructions here.
- Preheat: Preheat the roaster to 450 degrees F.
- Prepare Turkey for Roasting: Take the turkey out of its wrapping and rinse it. Pat it dry with paper towels and remove the neck and giblets from the body cavity.
- Season: Put the bird on the roaster rack. Use a pastry brush to brush the melted butter over the skin. Sprinkle the poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper evenly on the outside.
- Optional – Add Fruit: Add some apple slices or oranges to the body cavity. I don’t recommend adding stuffing to the body cavity, but a little fruit in the cavity can infuse it with extra flavor.
- Cook: Roast it at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes.
- Reduce Heat: Without lifting the lid, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Roast it for the remainder of the cooking time. Allow about 15-20 minutes per pound for cooking time. See the timing section for more information.
- Check Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to test the meat’s internal temperature. It is safe to serve at 165 degrees F.
- Rest: Lift the turkey out of the roaster. Cover the bird with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.
⏱️How Long Do you Cook Turkey in an Electric Roaster?
Cooking time depends on the size of the bird and whether or not it was thawed completely. In general, an electric roaster will cook faster than a conventional oven.
When calculating the expected cooking time, allow 15-20 minutes per pound. The cooking time will be longer if you stuff it and shorter if you brine it. I like to brine my turkey and never stuff it, so mine is ready at the lower end of time estimates.
The best way to ensure your Thanksgiving turkey is fully cooked but not overcooked is to use an instant-read thermometer and test the temperature. Do not guess, and do not just rely on the tiny popup thermometers in the bird.
Meat thermometers aren’t expensive, and food poisoning is never fun, but it is worse during the holidays! So be safe and invest a few dollars in a thermometer.
Roast turkey makes a fantastic center of a holiday meal. Serve it with classic side dishes like cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, or broccoli salad.
Or follow your own family traditions! My family insists on macaroni & cheese and chocolate chip pumpkin bread for the holidays. When my sister visits, she brings sauerkraut and collard greens. Turkey goes with everything!
Leftover meat can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days. We love to use the leftovers to make turkey and bacon BLTs the day after the holidays! You can also use the carcass to make stock.
My other favorite turkey leftover recipes are Instant Pot Turkey Soup, Thanksgiving Handpies, and Leftover Turkey Pizza.
Find More Thanksgiving Recipes!
❓How Do I Make my Turkey Golden Brown?
A turkey cooked in a regular oven will be a little more brown and crispy than one cooked in a roaster. You have to do a little extra if you want perfectly golden brown turkey in a roaster oven. Here are some options:
- After cooking the turkey, put it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp the skin.
- Brush browning sauce on the bird before roasting. This is used to add color to roasts and gravy. You can find it in the gravy aisle at most grocery stores or buy it online.
🍲What Else Can I Use My Turkey Roaster Oven For?
An electric roaster oven is like a large slow cooker. You can roast other things in it, like prime rib at Christmas or ham at Easter. But you can do other things besides roast meat.
It is convenient any time you want to make a lot of something. Some things I have made in mine are chili, beef stew, and applesauce. The roaster oven is very helpful if you cook for a crowd.
⭐Tips for Making the Best Turkey
Be sure to check out the step by step instructions
- Know the size of your electric roaster before you buy a turkey, or you might end up with one that doesn’t fit.
- Keep the lid on the roaster as much as possible. If you have a wireless thermometer, you only need to open the cover once it is done.
- Every time I’ve had a disappointing holiday dinner, it was due to the turkey not being completely thawed. So thaw the turkey completely and safely!
- Don’t skip the resting time. The bird will be juicier and easier to carve after resting.
📝FAQ About Cooking Turkey in a Roaster Oven
Maybe, but I don’t recommend it because it increases the chance of undercooked food. An electric roaster frees up oven space, so use some of that space to bake the stuffing or make slow cooker stuffing.
I’ve had a Nesco 18-quart roaster oven for years, which holds up to a 22-pound turkey, and it works great. The Oster 22-quart is also very popular and can hold a bird up to 26 pounds. You can’t go wrong with either.
Start at 450 degrees F. Then after half an hour, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. This allows the skin to brown quickly at the start of the cooking time for a golden brown color.
No basting is necessary. The smaller size of the roaster oven keeps the turkey moist and juicy. There is also no need to add water to the bottom.
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Electric Roaster Oven Turkey Recipe
- 16-22 pound turkey thawed
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 2 teaspoons salt use less if the turkey is brined
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons browning sauce optional
- Preheat the electric roaster to 450 degrees F.
- Take the bird out of its wrapping and rinse it in the sink. Use paper towels to dry it off, and then remove the neck and giblets from the body cavity. You can use the giblets for homemade gravy or discard them.16-22 pound turkey
- Put it on the roaster oven rack. Brush it with melted butter all over.1/4 cup butter
- Browning sauce will make your turkey a richer golden brown but doesn’t change the taste. If you are using it, brush it over the bird now. Then sprinkle on the poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper.1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons browning sauce, 1 teaspoon black pepper
- If desired, add some fresh orange or apple slices to the body cavity. This adds some extra flavor. I do not recommend putting stuffing inside the body cavity.
- Put the lid on the roaster oven and cook at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes. This helps make the turkey skin brown and crispy.
- Without lifting the lid, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Roast it for the remainder of the cooking time. Allow about 15-20 minutes per pound for cooking time.
- Do not just rely on suggested cooking time; always check the temperature with a thermometer. The size of the turkey and whether it was previously frozen or brined can affect the cooking time. At least half an hour before you expect it to be done, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
- The meat has to reach 165 degrees F for food safety. Check the temperature in the thigh and the breast.
- Lift it out of the pan using the rack when it is done. Cover it with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.
- Make sure the turkey is thawed completely. Check out this resource for thawing instructions.
- Brining will make it taste even better. Check out my apple cider turkey brine for directions.
- Know the size of your electric roaster before you go grocery shopping, or you might end up with a turkey that doesn’t fit.
- Keep the lid on the roaster as much as possible. Lift it briefly to check the temperature.
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Nutrition facts are estimates.