Cook Anything in an Electric Roaster Oven | Surprising Recipe Ideas

Better think again when you feel it is time to pack the roaster once Thanksgiving is over. It can be your best friend and a smart assistant if you know your way around quirky recipes. Remember, the electric roaster oven is not solely designed for cooking Thanksgiving turkey. In fact, it might be much resourceful than you think. It is geared up to help you with all kinds of yummy dinner ideas. For starters, an electric roaster can bake anything that traditional ovens, steamers, and slow cookers can. This talented appliance will open up more creative ways than all the other appliances in your kitchen. Lasagnas, casseroles, cakes, cookies, baked potatoes, stew, soup, and chili are just a few to name!

Learn how to use your electric roaster oven resourcefully and cook various delicious food in large batches. It is a great tool to prepare festive meals for big crowds. Follow me and check out these surprising ideas that you would never think possible to cook with a roaster oven. If you haven’t bought already one, you can check my post on how to pick a good roaster oven that will satisfy your needs.

Surprising Recipe Ideas to Cook in an Electric Roaster Oven

When you need to make side dishes for a large group of people, an electric roaster oven comes super handy. It can also save you time if you have to make stew or soup for a gathering. Many event organizers take advantage of the roaster ovens’ huge batch capacity. Primarily during holidays, I use one of my roaster ovens completely for the side dishes, while the other one cooks the Thanksgiving turkey.

Here are some tasty recipes that you can try with a roaster oven. Be aware that these will produce a lot of food. So, they are definitely not for a small group of people. You can serve 20 to 30 people comfortably.

Hot Chili

Chili is one of the best food to cook in a roaster oven for a big bash. Just brown the ground meat over the skillet, and put everything into the roaster oven’s pan.


  • 1/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 4 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cans (3 x 454g/16 Oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (454g/16 Oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 white onions diced
  • 2 green bell peppers diced
  • 2-3 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 3 tablespoon of corn starch.
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 3 tablespoons of sliced jalapeno
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat the roaster oven at 450 °F.
  2. Brown the ground beef, garlic, diced bell peppers, and onions in a large skillet over the stove.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes.
  4. Add the chili powder.
  5. Add the corn starch and stir.
  6. Pour all of them to the roster oven’s inner pan.
  7. Add the other ingredients and stir.
  8. Close the lid of the roaster oven.
  9. Cook at 350 °F for 1 hour.

Tip Alert

If you want to spice up the flavor, add 1 cup of beer to the roaster oven to enhance the flavor of the chili even further.

Vegetable Soup in Roaster Oven

Here is a great vegetable soup that you can serve for up to 30 guests. Mix all the ingredients in the roaster oven, and turn the knob. You are all set!


  • 10 cups of fresh sliced vegetables of your choice or 4-5 bags of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 8 large onions diced
  • 12 celery sticks sliced
  • 4 quarts of chicken broth
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 cans kernel corn
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3-4 small chili peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat the roaster oven at 450 °F.
  2. Stir in all the ingredients and cook at 300 °F for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Once the vegetables are softened, the soup is ready.
  4. Use the keep warm temperature of the roaster oven until the guests arrive.

Tip Alert

Just a little hint of dried mint and freshly squeezed lemon juice add tremendous flavor to any vegetable soup. You can also add yellow food coloring or 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads to this recipe in order to make it even more appealing to the eye.

Steamed Rice

Here is a yummy and simple recipe for a perfect side dish to any meat plate. Rice is probably the easiest side dish you can cook in a roaster oven. You can step the aroma by adding any kind of seasoning as you like to below recipe.


  • 12 cups of rice
  • 20 cups water
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat the roaster oven at 350 °F.
  2. Spray the inner pan with vegetable oil.
  3. Carefully pour the water to the pan.
  4. Add salt.
  5. Carefully add the rice.
  6. Cook at 350 °F or until the rice is tender.

Tip Alert

Did you know that that you can use your roaster oven as a steamer too? Add some water at the bottom of the pan, and cook various veggies on the rack. Lay some foil, put sliced zucchini, broccoli, carrots on it, and drizzle about 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to bake delicious sides easily.

Advantages of Electric Roaster Ovens

Electric roaster ovens are advantageous in many ways when compared to regular ovens and slow cookers. First of all, you have to hand-baste turkey, whole chicken, ribs, and other similar large meats when cooking in traditional ovens. It is very time consuming. Plus, the steam and aroma escape each time you open up the oven’s door. However, most roaster ovens feature special lids that contain small ridges underneath. The steam from the food is accumulated on these, and then it rains back onto the food slowly; producing a tender, juicy, and super delicious meat. The self-basting system makes a big difference in the end.

Another benefit is the smaller cooking space. A traditional oven is too big to control. However, the roaster oven has a minimal space around the food while it is cooking. This tremendously adds to the heat control during the whole process. You do not have to worry about one side of the turkey getting roasted less than the other. Even heat distribution is achieved proficiently by the help of smart engineering of the heating elements that surround the inner pan.

Cleaning a roaster oven is incredibly easy when compared with traditional ovens. All you need is to remove the enamel coated inner pan and wash under running water. If you use a pan liner, then it becomes even more straightforward. Handles on the side of the removable rack make it easy to take out large foods like the turkey, ham, and prime ribs.

What can you cook with an electric roaster oven?

I guess the question should be revised as ¨What can you not cook with a roaster oven? ¨ since you can bake, roast, or steam almost any kind of food you like in a roaster. It is all up to you; the possibilities are endless. All you need to do is to adjust the formulas since the roaster oven can cook much bigger batches than regular pots.

Can you bake in a roaster oven?

You can bake in a roaster oven just like you were cooking in a traditional oven. It is capable of producing tasty cakes, cookies, cheesecake and even bread. And the good news is that all the baked goodies will come out goluptious. You can cook two cakes side by side if you like. For cookies; use a regular cookie sheet, and lay the sliced dough pieces on the tray. Chocolate chips, oatmeal, peanut butter, and many other recipes are suitable.  

If you need steam for bread, then put water into the inner pan, and bake on the rack that comes with lifters. The even distribution of moisture and heat will yield a much better loaf compared to gas or convection ovens. You can bake delicious bread this way in your roaster oven. Put the water at the bottom (1 to 2 cups) of the pan, preheat the unit at 400°F for 10 minutes. Use a loaf pan for the bread dough and place it on the rack.

Can you use a roaster oven as a slow cooker?

You can convert your roaster oven into a slow cooker by adjusting the temperature settings according to the ones on the slow cooker. Please note that a roaster oven is much bigger than a regular slow cooker. Therefore, you need to be aware of the vast capacity and plan ahead wisely. On the other hand, this could also be beneficial if you need to prepare specialty food like a casserole or meat stew for a large crowd. All you need to do is to remember that a slow cooker has only two temperature settings; LO and HI. The 200°F on the roaster oven is equal to the LO setting, while the 250°F is equal to the HI on the slow cooker. It is that simple!

Does a roaster oven cook faster than an oven?

Roaster ovens cook about 1/3 times faster than regular big old ovens in your kitchen. The main reason for this additional benefit is the smaller size and the better heating element structure that wraps the inner pan all around.

In Conclusion

Most people assume the electric roaster ovens are used only for Thanksgiving turkey. However, they are incredibly versatile and super practical to move around the kitchen, mainly if you have limited space. You can cook any type of food that you fancy with them. Take advantage of pan liners to make a vast amount of stews or soup. It is your oversized pan for preparing big bash food for your family and friends.

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