Your Definitive Guide to the Best Roaster Ovens in the Market
We are seeing a lot of innovations in kitchen appliances. What once were merely dreams of home cooks and pro chefs have now come true. What used to take a full day of work can now be completed in a matter of hours, minutes even.
One of these amazing innovations is the roaster oven - which has led us to create this guide post, so that first-timers can familiarize themselves with what it is, why it can benefit any kitchen, how to use them properly, and how to pick the best ones in the market.
There are many benefits that come along when using roaster ovens, and it’s not just about cooking great food.
It’s more common to see households use roaster ovens for turkey, chicken, and other meat products. But the truth is that you can do SO MUCH more! For instance, you can bake puddings, cakes, and various other desserts and treats.
The difference from cooking meat, however, is that baking usually involves very particular time frames. So before you start your timer, allow it to heat up a bit - just like you would with your regular oven. This will allow you to enjoy your roaster with making treats that are perfect every time.
You have probably noticed that people turn to their roasters when a big holiday or gathering is coming up. These are handy appliances to cook a lot of food - especially if you’re whipping up different dishes at once. Using your roaster oven will free up room in your regular oven, so you can roast and cook at the same time. But more importantly, roasters save energy.
This is because they are smaller in size than regular ovens, which means that they have to use heat efficiently. In fact, they use 36% less energy and take up 30% less time on average in terms of cooking, when compared to a traditional oven.
Of course, we can’t forget about one of their main features - cooking bird. Despite what naysayers say, roaster ovens are very much capable of browning your turkey the same way that a regular oven can. The secret lies in proper basting and using the right temperature from start to end... and voila! You’ve got yourself a roasted turkey that is juicy on the inside, and brown and crispy on the outside - just the way you like it.
But it doesn’t end there - did you know that roaster ovens can baste on their own? This means you won’t have to keep checking up on your turkey and baste every so often. Most roasters include a self-basting lid which is designed for this very feature. The lids have grooves at the top which catch the condensation from the food’s own juices and later rain it back down on the food, creating a naturally moist environment. Just put the lid on and let it do the rest.
Here’s another feature that roasters are known for. You can remove the inside compartment. Basically, this means that you can easily take that part out and wash it as you would a normal pan or tray. You don’t have to rinse and clean the entire roaster oven. Plus, there are some brands that use non-stick surfaces for these compartments, which make it even easier to clean them.
One more thing - roasters are built to be compact. And as we mentioned earlier, they are able to heat more efficiently. This will come as a sweet surprise if you’ve been using more conventional ovens in the past. This is because you won’t have to use a hotter temperature for a longer period of time. You cook your food on point, precisely as your recipe requires you.
Here are some tips to guide you on properly using your roaster oven. If you’re a first-timer with the appliance, don’t worry because with just a few pointers, you’ll soon be using your oven like a trained pro.
1. Before using it, be sure to wash the roaster after receiving it / buying it from the store. Simply give the lid and inside compartment a nice wash using warm and soapy water.
2. After washing, turn on the roaster oven (without any food inside) and let it heat up. This lets the fumes dissipate. You can check your instruction manual for specific recommendations about this from your product brand. Don’t panic, because fumes are normal when you turn the roaster on for the first time.
3. Ensure that you have inputted the right temperature for your recipe. You’ll notice that they use similar heat ranges to those of regular ovens. This means you can also bake and slow cook with your roaster.
4. Be sure to utilize the pan and rack appropriately. If you want to roast meat, the roasting rack will help you make sure your meat won’t swim in its own fat. When baking, use the pan to cook your dish evenly.
5. Most roasters include chafing dishes. Use these to keep side dishes warm. Simply fill the insert with water, and then use the chafing dishes to keep your food warm. They are perfect for dinners and parties, especially around the holidays. Note that if yours doesn’t include chafing dishes, you can purchase them separately.
6. You can also check your manufacturer’s website for online instruction manuals if you misplaced or lost yours. There are often some recipes there, too.
Our Top 5 Picks: Which of these Best Roaster Ovens is Perfect for You?
Check out this quick chart on our top recommendations. For more information, scroll down to read our comprehensive reviews, complete with pros and cons.
Our Overall Rating
Home cooks who are serious about roaster ovens. This is pretty much in the middle of the price range. And we can overlook some adjustments that you’ll have to do initially, because once you’re set, you can enjoy this one for a long time.
Someone looking for the best deal RIGHT NOW (only a few units left). We would place this on top of our list, but it has sadly been discontinued by the manufacturer.
This is great for cooks without kids - because it gets hot and can be quite dangerous. It’s also up there in the price range, but the included cookwell makes up for it. The unit is durably made and can perform lots of functions on top of roasting.
We LOVE this unit. However, we can only recommend it for cooks looking for a compact and portable roaster. It is pretty small, but if that’s what you’re looking for, then this is the unit to get. If you only cook small to medium quantities of dishes, or need to cook while away from home, it’s a pretty good deal. Plus, it’s very cheap.
Anybody looking for a small secondary oven that doesn’t cost much. It has its kinks, but it does the job well enough.
This roaster from Oster can roast, bake, and slow cook your food. It has a 22-quart capacity and includes a self-basting lid. You can make sure that your dishes are kept moist and juicy until the timer is done. It uses the natural steam to lock in the flavors coming from the food’s own juices. This oven can accommodate up to a 26-pound turkey but takes up little counter space.
- The self-basting feature really cuts your time and effort in half.
- You can cook a turkey as big as 26 lbs.
- The package includes a roasting pan and rack, both made of enamel-on-steel for fast clean-up.
- You can set the temperature from 150 to 450 degrees so you can bake or slow cook your dishes.
- The exterior metal case can be really hot during use. So be sure to place it out of children’s reach. Make sure adults are aware of it, too, to avoid any burns and injuries.
- The cord can be somewhat of a hassle. Because it’s designed as a magnetic rip-away plug, it’s easy to trip on it or unplug it from the outlet without noticing. You may have spent hours not knowing your oven hasn’t been cooking all that time.
It is a huge shame that this unit has been officially discontinued by Hamilton Beach to make way for newer models, because it is truly an awesome find. If you hurry, you may still catch the last few units for sale online.
This oven gives home cooks a great secondary unit. Even big entrees can fit in its 22-quart interior. You can be sure that you’ll always get perfectly juicy and moist results because it cooks the meat while surrounding it with its own steam. You can roast, bake, and slow cook with this roaster.
- It features a simple control dial that goes up to 450 degrees.
- You also get a removable lid for perfect steaming and self-basting.
- Clean-up is easy because of the removable insert. You won’t have to slave for hours cleaning the whole thing up.
- The unit features cool-touch sides - something we REALLY love, because this is a common problem with most roaster ovens out in the market now.
- You can use your OWN bakeware or cookware, so if you want to, you don’t have to place the food directly on the oven’s surface. This is an even easier way to clean.
- It is big enough to roast a whole turkey. It is also great with making big casserole batches.
- The instruction booklet is pretty useful. You’ll learn how to make the most of your oven by switching it into a three-tiered buffet server!
- The cord is too short, which may be an issue. You’ll have to use an extension cord.
- The booklet is useful, but only includes a couple of recipes to experiment on.
This Nesco offering boasts of its own Circle of Heat technology. This involves heating elements that keep your food moist. The heat envelops the food to create evenly cooked dishes. You also get automatic temperature control, with variable input from 200 to 450 degrees. It includes a cookwell that is coated with porcelain enamel, ideal for cooking big volumes of food.
- This roaster is capable of doing pretty much everything - except broil food.
- You can use it to roast, steam, bake, slow cook, and keep food warm. You can even leave it on to keep your food warm while you attend to your guests.
- The included cookwell is pretty convenient and is a breeze to clean in the dishwasher.
- We recommend this unit for cooking roasted bird, lasagna, veggies, chilis, stews, and even soups.
- When using it for the first time, be sure to take it outdoors (just this one time) and remove the cover. This is important before using it with real food.
- Also, users have complained about the sides of the roaster because they get really hot (even if you try to place some insulation on them) - and this can pose some safety issues especially if you have kids.
This portable offering from Proctor is a great deal if you’re used to feeding crowds. Of course, it is able to roast, bake, and slow cook, but it can also be handy in whipping up desserts. Still, the best feature is its compact size - making it a perfect unit to have when traveling, or if you have to cook away from home.
- It’s really compact, so you get more countertop and kitchen space.
- You can use it to make side dishes and desserts if your primary oven is cooking your main course.
- The cooking pan is removable - you can use it to directly serve food from the roaster to the table. It’s also pretty easy to clean.
- You can go as high as 450 degrees, which is impressive for such a compact unit.
- You’ll notice that it can be discolored after using it for a while. The heating element found around the side can cause this, but it doesn’t affect the cooking itself.
- There is no indicator light to tell if it’s on or off. You’ll have to check for heat coming off of the unit.
This appliance from Rival gives a good alternative for home cooks who want to have a second oven in their kitchen. While it may not take over the tasks of your primary oven entirely, it is good enough to cook turkey and roasts. If you aren’t whipping up anything too fancy, you can enjoy its energy-saving features. This oven requires 77% less energy and can finish cooking 30% faster than regular ovens, for dishes up to 18 pounds. Plus, it’s pretty compact and can sit quietly on your countertop.
- You can cook a full turkey or two hams in a single go. This can help free up your main oven to cook other dishes during feasts and holidays.
- It’s particularly effective in keeping your food warm and ready.
- You can cook other food aside from turkey. Try baking hams, making pot roast, chili, and even stews.
- Because it’s more petite, you won’t experience problems with heating. Other ovens can cause the entire kitchen - and house - to be hot and humid.
- It is a lot safer than outdoor cookers, because you won’t have to worry about grease fires.
- You get extremely juicy and moist dishes. Once you slice into your meat, you’ll get really tender and flavorful results.
- The machine’s cord is too short. You’ll need an extension cord to plug it in where you want to.
- Users report that it can be quite challenging to clean.