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Free up the oven for side dishes and make your roast turkey in a roaster oven! We give tips for the juiciest turkey recipe with fresh herb butter…and how to get that golden brown skin on your turkey. You may also love our slow cooker turkey breast.
Who is ready for Thanksgiving dinner? I’ve been married 20 years but can probably count on one hand the number of turkeys I’ve had to prepare on Thanksgiving day (Thank you moms!). I’ve cooked plenty of turkeys on normal every days, though. The thing with Thanksgiving is that if you are preparing the meal, you usually have A LOT of food to put through the oven. Make your life easier (and your turkey taste better) with this roast turkey recipe made in a roaster oven. Let’s talk about how to do it?
In order to make a turkey in a roaster oven, you have to have a roaster oven (obviously!). So which electric roaster is the best? We love our Oster 22 quart roaster oven. It boasts a “self-basting” lid and has a “warm” setting to keep your turkey perfectly warm. You can find it by clicking here.
Yes, you can just throw a turkey in the roaster and have it come out fork tender, but for the best flavor, rub it down with herbed butter. Take a stick of butter and add in freshly snipped poultry herbs. We buy a package of fresh herbs called “poultry seasoning” in the produce section of our grocery store. It is a mix of sage, rosemary and thyme. You can buy all 3 herbs separately if you need to. Mix these fresh herbs with butter. Do the day before serving or at least 2 hours in advance so the flavors have time to develop.
*Note….we use salted butter. If you don’t have salted butter, add a touch of salt to the butter mixture.*
Now the turkey is ready to roast!
While you are preparing the turkey, set the roaster to the highest temperature it will go. Our roaster goes up to 450 degrees F, but you can set yours for higher if it goes higher. You’ll roast the turkey for 30 minutes at the high temperature, then lower the temperature to 325 degrees F for the remaining time.
The exact time it takes to cook a turkey depends on how big the turkey is, and whether the turkey is stuffed or unstuffed. You’ll want to plan about 8-10 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird at 325º Fahrenheit. You should always read your instruction manual because each roaster may be different.
Also, the roaster has a “warm” setting that you can use in case the turkey is done a little more quickly. And it is always good to let meat rest for at least 20 minutes before carving to seal in the juices.
One of the questions we get asked most often is how to get that golden brown look in the toaster. The truth is, a roaster turkey will not be as golden brown as an oven roasted turkey. However, here are a few tricks:
We’ve found that it isn’t 100% necessary to baste a turkey. And especially with this roaster. The steam rises from the turkey, hits the lid and falls back on the turkey, soaking the skin with all that turkey steak and juice. If we’re oven roasting, I often baste the turkey, but I don’t worry about it with this method.
The temperature in the thickest part of the turkey thigh should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Often times people are used to turkey that is cooked just a little more than this. We cook ours to about 170 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a matter of preference!
**We LOVE our Thermoworks ThermaPen to quickly test meat temperatures. This probe thermometer is AMAZING. Get it here.**
No. You should not use oven bags in electric roasters. The bag could easily touch the sides, bottom or top of the roaster which could cause it to melt.
Read our article here if you want to cook turkey in a bag.
Have leftover turkey? Try this turkey pasta bake!
I am a 77 yr old guy, I have always done 90% of the cooking for our family. About 20 years ago I discovered the roasting oven and would never cook a turkey any other way. It’s much faster and the bird comes out so moist and juicy. My wife, kids and grandkids all remark that it’s the best. I always have lots of juice for the gravy. I usually let the turkey rest covered with foil for 45 minutes to and hour while finishing up the mashed potatoes, gravy, dinner rolls etc.
Can you cook a turkey overnight in the roaster at a low temp?
Aw snap the Oster is working over time this year!!! Bring on the bird!!! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Use these recipes and you will no doubt have the best bird in the neighborhood!!! Gobble Gooble!!!!
How long do you cook a 22pound STUFFED turkey in the roaster oven
Do you cook this roaster turkey on the roaster rack or just on the bottom of the roaster?
Just wanted to let everyone know that roaster ovens are perfect for cooking a big batch of baked beans
My roaster had little holes in the lid, is that normal? Do I need to cover them up?
Absolutely love this recipe. The electric method works great, as well as freeing up the oven for everything else. Thank you for sharing!
I have a Bella Roaster. This is my third time using a roaster and it takes time to trust the process. I cooked a Shadybrook fresh turkey 20 pounds unstuffed and it took 2 1/2 hours…more like 6-8 minutes per pound.
Next year I will make sure the timer is faced to the front where you open the lid because I missed when the timer popped and the turkey overcooked. I did not put any liquid in the bottom and using this recipe helped it brown and there was plenty of juice for gravy.
I too have used a roaster for years to free up oven space. My question concerns the preheating. If I preheat that high the roaster how do I safely lower the turkey without getting burned? I already use oven mitts (usually only preheat to lower setting) but the rack handles are not that tall. Any suggestions for getting it lowered without burning my arms on sides of roaster?
I am actually cooking pre-smoked Turkey legs in the Electric Roaster. Should I wrap them in foil and just rub them in the butter mixture and add a cup or two at the bottom? With them being per cooked, should I pre heat it on the highest temperature? I would think with them already being cooked that may dry them out. What is your thoughts? I would think maybe 350 degrees.
My friend ordered me a turkey roaster (Oster 18 qt)- never used one before! But I’m going to Nashville TN where one of my daughters lives. We have rented a house and the other two will be coming there plus 2 boyfriends! We are all cooking and all I know is that we will need the regular oven for all the sides. Your recipe looks great and it is the one I will follow. I am excited to try the roaster out AND your recipe!!
Are you ready for some TURKEY!!!!!
I dry brined a fresh 12lb turkey for two days and followed your recipe for cooking in my roaster. I basted it a couple times because it didn’t get very brown, but when I checked it at the 8min/lb mark, my thermometer read 185 at the breast and 200 at the thigh! I was terrified I had ruined my first turkey, but it was INCREDIBLE. Moist, tender & tasty – I am still getting compliments on the leftovers! I’m glad Amazon never delivered my wired thermometer or who knows how it would have turned out had I turned it off… Read more »
I cooked a 16.50 lb Turkey in our 18 qt electric roaster oven just how your recipe said, after lowering the heat to 325 the thermometer read 165 within 30 minutes we knew the Turkey couldn’t be done in an hour so we used a manual thermometer and it read 165f also but we cooked for another hour and the Turkey felt done the legs were loose and juices were clear but the Turkey was tough and stringy when eating. Can you tell me what happened? Thank you in advance.