Perfect Turkey in an Electric Roaster Oven

"I never found good information on making a great whole roasted turkey in an electric roaster oven and thought I'd share my tried and true tips for making your holiday turkey moist and beautiful and delicious! I've read that roaster ovens effectively 'steam' the turkey making the meat come out ... well, steamed. This is not true. Follow these tips and your holiday turkey will get rave reviews!"
Perfect Turkey in an Electric Roaster Oven created by anniesnomsblog
Ready In:
4hrs 20mins



  • Take the insert pan out of the roaster and pre-heat the roaster to its highest setting. On mine it's 450, but use 500 if your oven goes that high.
  • Do not wash the turkey! The USDA says that washing it could cause a spread of salmonella poisoning. Sprinkle salt in the cavities. Stuff if desired. Don’t pre-stuff your turkey; mix and stuff ingredients immediately before roasting. Tossing in a few pieces of cut fruit or herbs is not considered 'stuffing.' Stuffing usually means filling up the cavity with about ¾ cup stuffing per pound of turkey.
  • Rub the entire bird with olive oil or butter. Doctor up your bird with whatever special seasonings you wish. I always use poultry seasoning. Finish with a good sprinkle of seasoning salt and black pepper.
  • I highly recommend using a wired thermometer so you can watch the temperature without lifting the lid. Your turkey will be done much earlier than the estimated cook time, so keep a sharp eye on that thermometer. If using a pop-up turkey plug type thermometer, those little pop-ups stick sometimes so you should really use two of them.
  • Put the rack into the insert pan and make sure the handles are up, not tucked below. Put the bird in the insert pan on top of the rack. Don’t add water to the pan. Put the insert pan back into the roasting pan. If your roaster doesn't have an insert pan, it's ok - just be very careful putting the bird into that hot oven, you don't want to burn your hands on the sides of the oven! Cover.
  • Roast at highest setting for 30 minutes. The butter/oil, seasonings and the searing time will make the skin beautifully browned and perfect!
  • After 30 minutes, turn the oven temperature down to 325.
  • The turkey will self-baste if you do not lift the lid, so you don't have to baste it every 20 minutes like you do in your conventional oven. DO NOT LIFT LID during cooking time! Lifting the lid will increase cooking time because roaster ovens lose their heat unlike regular ovens. I've read that roaster ovens effectively 'steam' the turkey making the meat come out -- well, steamed. This is not true as you will find out. Similar to the roasted chickens you can get at your supermarket, the bird will come out moist and perfectly roasted. Why do you think they call it a Roaster Oven?.
  • Figure your total cooking time from the time you first put the bird in the roaster. The Butterball website has a great calculator:

  • Check your turkey EARLY. Really start watching the temp an hour before it's supposed to be done. Your turkey will almost certainly be done before the suggested cooking time. Watch your wired meat thermometer. If using a pop-up turkey plug type thermometer, check by lifting the lid quickly so the oven doesn’t lose its heat. If necessary, check after another 30 minutes, but I doubt you'll have to do that. I say check after 30 minutes because it's really OK to let the bird roast a little extra - you won't dry it out using my method if you let it go for 1/2 hour.
  • When done, remove the turkey from the roaster, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. This allows the juices to really seep into the meat, so they say.
  • If you try this method, please let us know your results!
  • Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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  1. oceanseaship
    Do you melt the butter?
  2. oceanseaship
    Do you melt the butter?
  3. cynder1984
    I found this recipe online a couple years ago, and I love it. This is how I make my turkey, and have 1 in the roaster cooking right now! I do however, use my own seasoned butter (garlic, lemon zest, parsley, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper), and I usually choose to put orange slices and bay leaves in cavity. Obviously you can season to taste however you choose. But I will never make a turkey in the oven again. Roaster is the way to go. Super easy, no basting, and doesn't get dried out. Thankyou for posting this recipe. Glad I found it years ago.
  4. luv2flyhnl
    I love using my roaster for cooking my turkey. Always turns out great, but my question is how do you get it to brown so nicely? Mine never browns that's been the only downfall for me.
  5. Cherelle G.
    I've used this for 6 years and I shudder to remember the turkeys that came before it. I've done brined, unbrined, stuffed, unstuffed, fresh, and previously-frozen turkeys and they all came out great (I think it works better with unstuffed though). The key is the wired thermometer and paying attention to the temperature/cooking time, because it WILL be done sooner than you think! After the first 30 minutes on high + about an hour at 325, I always find myself turning the roaster down bit by bit so that it doesn't cook too fast and throw off my serving time. If I'm not able to tuck the wing tips under the bird, I usually wrap them in foil after the first 30 minutes so they don't burn. My go-to method now is the cooking instructions from this recipe + spiced butter (see notes at the end) + about 1/2 inch (or less) of sherry in the bottom of the roasting pan. I have trouble getting the skin to brown in my roaster so I add butter under the skin too. This recipe saved me and my loved ones from years of dry turkeys. I threw away the instructions that came with the turkey roaster and use this religiously in its place. BIG THANKS to the author! Notes about butter: A day or two beforehand, I melt 1 cup - yes, 1 cup - of butter in a saucepan and simmer a bunch of fresh herbs and spices (usually includes bay leaves, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and juniper berries + whatever ground spices I have on hand and decide to throw in). I let that sit in the fridge for a day or two. Then day of I let it soften to room temp, stir in 2 tbsp of brown sugar, and rub it all over the bird, including under the skin after RELIGIOUSLY patting dry. Then I add Himalayan salt, black pepper, and a good poultry rub inside and out. Stuff the cavity with a quartered onion, quartered lemon, and herb sprigs and I'm done.

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