When it comes to cooking methods, roasting is among the most popular in my kitchen. Roasting is a great way to bring out flavor in meats and side dishes alike.
However, waiting for a large oven to heat up is time-consuming. And if you have a turkey to roast? Forget about cooking other dishes simultaneously, unless you have a double range.
The solution? An electric roaster oven. A smaller electric roaster oven is excellent for saving time and energy. It also frees up the oven for other dishes, which is great for holiday cooking.
That’s why I like the Oster Roaster Oven. Oster is a trusted brand, and this electric roaster oven has decent reviews and several must-have features.
But it’s not the only option on the market. You also have to consider the features, the appearance, and if you want your electric roaster oven to have multi-functions. For this reason, it’s good to have a breakdown of several top roaster ovens on the market.
So the question is, which one is the right electric roaster oven for you? Read on to find out.
What Should I Look for When Buying an Electric Roaster Oven?
What size roaster oven should I buy?
Roasters come in a range of sizes and capacities, from 4 quarts (3.8 liters) all the way to 22 quarts (20.82 liters). Common sizes also include 18-quart (17.03 liter) and 20-quart (18.9 liter) ovens.
Use the guide below to determine what size electric roaster oven is best for you:
|Electric Roaster Oven Capacity||Maximum Turkey Weight|
|10 quarts (9.5liters)||12 pounds (5.4 kg)|
|18 quarts (17 liters)||22 pounds (10 kg)|
|20 quarts (18.9 liters)||24 pounds (10.9 kg)|
|22 quarts (20.8 liters)||26 pounds (11.8kg)|
What does this mean? Firstly those turkey weights are maximum and it will depend on the roaster and shape of the turkey as to whether the turkey will fit inside. I recommend leaving at least a couple of pounds of margin.
Secondly the rule of thumb is 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person. So even a 10 quart electric roaster is enough to feed a large family.
What temperature range should an electric roaster oven have?
Although a typical oven has a temperature range of 500°F (260°C), you probably don’t use it at that high a heat very often, if at all. If you plan to roast meat and veggies, you will want a turkey roaster that can go above 400° F (206°C). Many electric roaster ovens heat all the way up to 450°F (232°C), which means you can handle almost any dish.
Most electric roaster ovens go as low as 150° to 200° F (65.6° to 93.3°C). That temperature will keep food warm after cooking is complete, until it’s ready to serve. The lower temperatures can also come in handy when slow cooking. The nice thing? Even though it requires time to preheat, a roasting oven will heat more quickly than a conventional oven, saving you time in the kitchen.
How much does an electric roaster oven weigh?
Roasters are great for those who want a portable oven, but the weight can influence portability. While electric roaster ovens range in weight, many of the roasters on our list weigh about 17 pounds (7.7 kg).
A lot of the weight depends on the materials. Ceramic inner pots can be quite heavy. Most roasters have an enameled aluminum or an enamel-on-steel internal pan, making them lighter than ceramic. Also, don’t forget about cleaning. The heavier the roaster pan is, the more difficult it is to wash.
Hate having to continually baste a turkey during the cooking process? With a self-basting lid, you can kiss that baste goodbye. A self-basting lid is helpful in a turkey roaster oven because it allows moisture to collect and drip onto the food, meaning you don’t have to worry about dry turkey.
The important thing is to make sure the self-basting lid fits nice and snug. If there’s room for moisture to escape, that defeats the purpose.
A domed lid helps increase the capacity of the electric roaster oven. We all know turkeys can be quite “lumpy,” so having that extra oven space at the top is worthwhile. Another plus? A domed lid helps the food cook evenly, since it gives the heat room to circulate.
Multiple Cooking Functions
Simply put? You want an electric roaster oven that performs well and cooks delicious meals. But it’s a nice bonus to have the ability to slow cook, air fry, or bake. Having a versatile oven means you can replace multiple appliances with one roaster.
Is it vital? No. Is it a nice perk? Absolutely
Removable Roasting Pan
A removable pan is essential for practicality. Lifting roast turkeys goes from impossible to manageable with a removable roasting pan. Some oven roasters include a steel roasting rack with handles, making it easy to lift even a large turkey.
How easy is it to clean an electric roaster oven?
Electric roaster ovens can be a little tricky to clean, simply because of their girth. If an oven roaster has a non-stick coating, cleaning is easier. It’s also easier if you have a single sink, as opposed to a divided sink.
Many roasting pans are not dishwasher-safe, due to their size. For most pans; simply wash with dish soap in the sink and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Pro tip? Use foil between larger foods like whole birds. This barrier prevents the poultry from burning or sticking to the pan. Hooray! You just saved yourself some time and elbow grease.
Best Roaster Oven Reviews
Oster Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid: Best Overall
Want a brand synonymous with kitchen appliances? Look no further. From Oster comes this 22-quart (20.82 liter) roaster oven in a stainless steel housing. It’s large enough to handle a turkey up to 26 pounds (11.8 kg).
This Oster Roaster Oven includes a removable roasting pan, stainless steel rack, and self-basting lid. In addition to roasting, this electric roaster oven also slow cooks and bakes. It has a temperature range of 150°-450°F (66°-232°C).
Customers loved how the Oster roaster oven performed. Several recommended placing foil between food and roasting pan walls to prevent sticking or burning, especially with meats like turkey.
Several users loved the basting lid, although a few did end up basting anyway. Make sure to use oven mitts when handling this roaster. It gets pretty warm while cooking.
One helpful suggestion was to invest in a meat thermometer with a wire, so you can check the inside temperature without removing the lid. This should ensure safe cooking temperatures while making sure heat stays trapped inside.
The biggest complaint about the Oster roaster was the removable rack. Several people complained it was flimsy, and others said the handles were too short to easily lift out food.
Overall, the Oster 22-quart roaster is a high performer while being very comparable to other options in terms of cost.
- Large capacity, fits up to 26-pound (11.8 kg) turkey
- Performs well
- Can also slow cook, bake
- Includes removable roaster pan and rack
- Has self-basting lid
- Complaints of flimsy rack
- Gets very hot to touch
- Would be nice if it came with a meat thermometer
Hamilton Beach 22-Quart Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid: Best Bargain
This 22-quart roaster oven (20.82 liters) by Hamilton Beach comes in a stainless steel finish and can handle up to a 26-pound (11.8 kg) turkey. It comes with a self-basting lid and a removable steel rack.
The enamel-on-steel roasting pan is removable and lighter than ceramic options. The enamel helps cut down on sticking, too. Although several customers still recommended foil to line the pan.
As far as performance, this one is similar to the Oster Roaster oven. Customers loved using this oven as a turkey roaster. But they also had success with baked beans, spaghetti sauce, and spiral hams. The removable steel rack has high handles, so it’s easy to lift.
With a temperature range of up to 450° F(232° C), there isn’t much this Hamilton Beach can’t handle. There is one glaring flaw, though. This model does not have an indicator light, so you don’t know precisely when the roaster has reached the desired temperature. This was the most significant customer complaint.
Many users suggested a longer cooking time than the manual suggested. You might have to do a little trial and error to figure out the perfect times. Still, with such outstanding performance at a budget-friendly price, the Hamilton Beach 22-quart electric roaster offers a lot of bang for your buck.
- Self-basting lid
- Insert is easy to lift
- Performs well
- Cooking times can be tricky to figure out
- No heat indicator light
Sunvivi Electric Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid: Best for Slow Cooking
Slightly smaller than the previous options, the Sunvivi Electric Roaster offers two sizes: a 20-quart (18.92 liters) or an 18-quart electric roaster (17.03 liters). That’s large enough for a 22-pound (9.98 kg) turkey. It comes in a white or silver color option.
Like the others on our list, this electric roaster oven has a good temperature range, going up to 450°F (232°C). One of my favorite features about the Sunvivi is the adjustable thermostat. It has a keep warm setting to keep food warm before serving, as well as a defrost setting.
The stainless steel roasting rack permits you to easily lift a whole turkey after cooking. The high-dome lid is self-basting and gives you extra cooking space. Users had good results with turkeys, chicken, ham, and chili. Some mentioned it didn’t brown as well, though. While that’s not unusual for a cooker, you might go with another option if browning is important to you.
A few users mentioned the smell upon the first use. This is fairly typical of electric kitchen appliances, but I would contact customer service if it continues.
- Easy temperature settings
- Removable rack and pan
- Easy to clean
- Doesn’t brown as well
- Reports of smoking smell on first use
NESCO MWR18-14 Roaster Oven: Best Tried-and-True
NESCO is responsible for the original roaster oven in 1931. They’ve been turning out popular roaster ovens ever since. This 18-quart roaster oven (17.o3 liters) can handle up to a 22-pound (9.98 kg) bird. It has a classic, attractive appearance, coming in a color choice of black or white.
One nice feature of the NESCO? The indicator light, which tells you when the cooker has preheated. The lid gives you extra cooking space, although it does not appear to be self-basting.
Thie 18-quart version can go up to 450°F (232°C), although its minimum temperature is only 200°F (93°C). That may not be low enough for some dishes.
This versatile roaster oven includes a removable pan and roaster rack. Some reviewers did mention it was a little challenging to clean. There were some reports of the porcelain enamel chipping easily, as well.
Users loved how the NESCO handled turkey, chicken, ribs, and brisket. The food was cooked evenly and tasted great.
However, don’t expect to get the same level of crispy browning with this roaster as you would with conventional ovens. NESCO recommends using a browning sauce with sugar (for caramelization) to get that nice golden color.
- Time-tested brand
- High-dome lid
- Hot surface indicator light
- Class appearance and color option (black, white)
- Lid is not self-basting
- Reports of chipped enamel
- Minimum temp only 200°F (93°C)
NutriChef Convection Countertop Toaster Oven: Best for Multi-function
The NutriChef 18-quart roaster oven (17.03 liters) is a genuinely multi-functional appliance. While primarily advertised as an air fryer, it can also roast, grill, broil, steam, and bake.
This cooker can hold up to a 22-pound (9.98 kg) bird. It includes a roasting rack and broiling rack, along with a stainless steel extension ring. It also heats up to 450°F (232°C).
One feature that’s unique to the NutriChef is the glass bowl and lid. A glass bowl means you can easily monitor food while cooking without having to lift the lid. Another bonus? The bowl is dishwasher safe.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. The number one complaint about this model? Cracking and shattering glass.
One tip is to let the bowl cool before washing. Extreme shifts in temperature are more likely to result in cracked or shattered glass. There is also a one-year warranty so that you can rest easy about potential damage due to shipping.
The Nutrichef ‘s heating element is at the top, attached to the bottom side of the lid. It works much like a convection oven, swirling around heated air. This is great for even heat distribution. The downside? The lid gets super hot. When removing the lid to lift out food, you’ll want to put it on a baking pan or another surface that can handle high heat.
Overall, users loved how this appliance performed and cut down on cooking time compared to a conventional oven.
- See-through glass bowl to monitor food
- Glass bowl is dishwasher safe
- Quicker cooking time
- Reports of glass shattering/cracking
- Heating element makes lid very hot
Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven: Best Small Capacity
Instant Pot has been producing multi-cookers for several years now. This 7-in-1 is an air fryer, but it can also function as an oven roaster. In addition, it can bake, toast, broil, dehydrate, and rotisserie.
The Vortex Plus has a smaller capacity of 10 quarts (9.4 liters). It can only cook a bird up to 4.5 pounds (2 kg). It has a stainless steel exterior and is more compact than traditional roaster ovens.
It also comes with several accessories, including a stainless steel rotisserie basket, rotisserie spit and forks, retrieval tool, drip pan, and two cooking trays.
Like the Nutrichef, the Instant Vortex Plus has a single heating element at the top, which is great for browning. Although you can manually set the cooking temperature and time, it does have a preset button for roasting that includes automatic temperature control.
Although it’s the most expensive option on the list, it’s also one of the most versatile. Reviewers raved about how their chicken wings, roasts, and potatoes turned out.
- Performs well
- Smaller capacity
- More expensive
Roaster Oven vs. Conventional Oven
What are the advantages of a roaster oven?
Compared to a traditional oven, the roaster oven packs a lot of utility per square inch. Let’s look at a few of the advantages this appliance brings to the table:
Better at Roasting Birds
A roaster oven provides a tight-fitting space for your turkey, much like a covered pan in a traditional oven. However, because the roaster is smaller, the steam remains closer,, translating to a moister bird. A conventional oven is more likely to dry out your turkey.
Picture it: It’s Thanksgiving at your sister’s place. Everyone has to bring a dish. Your dish is roasted sweet potatoes, which are best served when warm. But you know your sister will have the turkey in her oven. What to do?
Bring your roaster oven to cook your sweet potatoes. Problem solved! A roaster is more portable than a regular oven, which is great for holiday meals away and camping.
Quicker cooking time
I use my oven all the time, but it takes forever to heat up. Okay, it’s probably like 20 minutes, but it feels like forever. Not so with a roaster oven. They take less time to heat up. And since they are smaller, they also cut down on cooking time.
Easier to Clean
Cleaning a traditional oven is quite the chore. Even if you have a self-cleaning oven, be prepared for it to take all afternoon and stink to high heaven. An electric roaster oven, however, is much easier to clean. Most roasters have removable pans, which makes it even better. Simply wash with soap and water in the sink.
You will easily drop hundreds of dollars for a run-of-the-mill conventional oven. That’s not even getting into higher-end models. However, a roaster is a small fraction of the cost, making it great for people who want extra oven space without breaking the bank.
What are the disadvantages of a roaster oven?
Limited Cooking Space
A roaster is smaller than a regular oven. Even the larger capacity models won’t hold multiple dishes at the same time.
If you’re planning to cook your entire Thanksgiving meal in the roaster oven? You might be sorely disappointed. You’ll want to stick to roasting a bird or one dish at a time.
It’s difficult for roasters to deliver the same crispy, brown finish as conventional ovens. The dry heat of a regular oven is more conducive to browning. The best roaster ovens can cook food to perfection, but don’t be disappointed if the meat is lighter in appearance.
Roasters are great for any kitchen, but they aren’t as versatile as a conventional oven. A roaster might double as a crockpot, but that’s usually about it. If you want multiple functions, you might consider a multi-cooker that has a roast option, like the Instant Pot Vortex Plus.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a roaster oven?
You can think of your roaster oven as a pan housed inside a countertop electric oven. It has an outer shell, a heating element, and an inner roasting pan. It’s best for cooking meats and whole birds. You can also bake with some roaster ovens, although they’re generally not well-suited for baking.
What size roaster should I get?
When it comes to buying a tabletop roaster, getting the right size is important. If you go too small with the oven roaster, you won’t be able to fit enough food inside. If you go too large, you might not have enough countertop space.
Are you planning to roast a whole turkey? If so, you’ll want to factor in the size of the bird. Generally, 5-quart roasters will handle a small bird, approximately 3-5 pounds (1.36-2.27 kg). An 18-quart roaster (17 liter) can take an 18-22 pound (8.16-9.98 kg) turkey. If you want to cook large birds of 24 pounds (10.88 kg) or more, you should opt for a 22-quart (20.82 liter) roaster.
As a very quick rule of thumb, allow 1 quart per pound of turkey and one pound of uncooked turkey per person.
Another consideration? The dimensions of the roaster. Many of the large-capacity oven roasters will run almost 2 feet (cm) in length. They can range in depth anywhere from 15 to 17 inches (38.1- 43.18 cm), and they have a height of around 10 inches (25.4 cm).
Just for reference, the standard countertop depth is 24-25 inches (61-63.5 cm). If you are concerned about counter space, I would measure your available space to see if your roaster will fit comfortably.
Are roaster ovens worth it?
That really depends on your cooking habits. Are you a frequent traveler and camper who wants to cook healthy meals on the go? Do you need additional oven space for holidays and family meals without having to shell out hundreds of dollars for a double oven? Do you frequently make delicious roasted meats and veggies? Do you hate heating up your kitchen in the summer and want to roast without using so much energy?
If you answered yes to any of those, you should consider getting a roaster oven.
What is a self-basting roaster?
A self-basting roaster circulates moisture during the cooking process. These roasters have a specially designed lid with ridges that collect and drip moisture onto the food. This means you don’t have to manually baste the turkey or other meats during the cooking process.
What is the Difference Between a Roaster Oven and a Rotisserie?
A rotisserie uses a spit or forks to continually rotate food, circulating its juices. A rotisserie is also suitable for manual basting.
In an electric roaster oven, however, the food is stationary. The moisture that evaporates from the food is released as steam, which then keeps the food moist.
Both appliances are designed to cook tender, delicious meat and poultry.
What is the Difference Between an Electric Roaster Oven and a Slow-Cooker?
A slow cooker, or crockpot, is for slowly simmering food at a low temperature for long periods of time.
An electric roaster oven is designed for roasting and has a higher temperature range, although you can use your roaster to slow cook.
Both appliances have a housing, an inner pot, and a heating element. If you can’t decide between the two, I would go with a roaster and use it as a crockpot when needed. Although they don’t work exactly the same way, you can get similar results with an electric roaster oven.
Best Electric Roaster Oven: In a Word
Ready to do some healthy cooking with the best roaster oven? Go with the Oster 22-quart Roaster Oven. In terms of overall performance, reliability, and value, it is one of the best roaster ovens on the market.