turkey roast in electric roaster oven

Turkey Roast Secrets | How to Cook a Turkey in an Electric Roaster

Homemade turkey roast is a mystery until you learn about the electric roaster ovens. Most everyone loves the festive taste. Yet, it is no child’s play to cook a delicious bird. Especially if you do not have the right tools, this low-fat meat can quickly get all dry with a rubbery savor. Even worse, it takes long hours to cook if you prefer the old way. Do not stress out yourself, though. I used to mess up the holiday meals all the time. The only solution was to overdo the side-dishes to compensate. But that was before I knew how to cook a turkey in an electric roaster.

Today, my goal is to let you in on one of the best tricks to roast a turkey. It is one of my favorites ¨make the guests go hmm¨ secrets! There is a hush-hush appliance called the electric roaster that cooks the juiciest and tastiest turkey roast ever. Besides, it does the job meticulously each time you turn on its knob! There I said it.

How to Cook a Turkey in an Electric Roaster Oven: Step by Step Method

Cooking a turkey is a little different than preparing other meals. Turkey meat is low in fat, which makes it hard to roast. Also, it is a bit difficult to handle in regular pans due to its enormous size. The good news is that your electric roaster oven is specifically designed for this purpose. You can depend on this trusty kitchen gadget-it won’t fail you.

What you will need for cooking the turkey in electric roaster oven:

  • 18 – 22 lbs. Turkey
  • Electric Roaster Oven
  • Turkey lifter forks (optional)
  • Pan liners (optional)
  • Meat thermometer (optional)

Selecting the turkey

You can either get a frozen turkey or buy a fresh one from the butcher. I have to admit that it is easier to work with the frozen ones since most of them come pre-seasoned. However, some home cooks prefer to start from scratch to add their own flavors and expertise. Either way, I suggest you choose a medium size turkey. The reason behind this is simple; smaller birds taste way better than the bigger ones. They come out extremely tender, and it takes less time in the roaster oven.

Tip Alert

Smaller turkeys will taste more tender and juicier. The bigger the bird, the stiffer the meat will be.

Small turkey always make for a juicier roast when compared to large birds.

Seasoning the turkey

You can season the raw turkey just like the way you do when you cook in a conventional oven. There is not much difference. It all depends on how you like it. One thing to point out is that it is a little harder to brown the turkey when you use a roaster oven. The heating element design inside the electric roaster is different than the one in your big regular oven. However, you can easily overcome this by adding some browning sauce to the seasoning. Just add 2 tablespoons of browning sauce. Alternatively, you can also add 2 tablespoons of honey instead. If you haven’t bought your roaster oven yet, then you might want to check this special one with a dome lid. You do not have to worry about the browning issue with this model since the heating element is placed inside the dome lid to make the bird extra brown.

Cook it in the roaster oven

You need to preheat the roaster oven before you start cooking the turkey in it. Turn the knob to max and keep it working for 15 minutes. Some models come with an indicator light to let you know once it reaches to the necessary temperature. Place the seasoned turkey on the cooking rack of the roster oven, and then put it inside the pan and close the lid. You can check out the chart below for suggested cooking times. It is a good idea to cook the bird at the highest temperature for the first 30 minutes.

How long does a turkey take in an electric roaster?

In general, your turkey roast should be ready in about 3 ½ hours of cooking time in an electric roaster. If the turkey is larger than 20 pounds then you might have to add another half hour.  Check with a meat thermometer, your meal is cooked when it reads 165° F. As a rule of thumb, add 15 minutes of cooking time per pound of turkey (unstuffed).

Suggested cooking times for turkey roast (unstuffed) in an electric roaster oven.

Weight of the turkeyCooking time
10 to 12 lbs.2 to 2 ½ hours
12 to 14 lbs.2 ½ to 3 hours
14 to 16 lbs.3 to 3 ½ hours
16 t0 20 lbs.3 ½ to 4 hours
20 to 26 lbs.4 to 4 ½ hours
26 to 32 lbs.4 ½ to 5 hours

Does an electric roaster cook faster than an oven?

Since the electric roaster oven is much smaller in size than a regular one, it can cook faster and do so with less energy. Convection ovens are spacious; they need more time to preheat the inner environment. Approximately, an electric roaster oven can cook 1/3 faster than a regular oven.

What temperature should I cook the turkey in an electric roaster?

It is customary to cook the turkey at the highest temperature for the first 30 minutes. You can continue to bake at 325°F until the meat thermometer reads 165°F. Keep in mind that you should insert the needles of the thermometer in the middle of the breast to get a correct reading. If you stick it around thighs, then you should look for 175°F.

Best Turkey Roast Recipe in an Electric Roaster Oven

If you are looking for a great tasting turkey roast that you can prepare in an electric roaster oven, then you should definitely try this one. You will have a perfect roast as long as you follow the easy directions cautiously. Do not forget to check if the giblets and other inner parts are removed from the bird before you start seasoning. Also, make sure that you rub some of the seasoning under the skin of the turkey.


  • 12 to 16 lbs. whole turkey
  • 2 ½ cups of extra virgin olive oil (or unsalted melted butter)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of apple vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of minced Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper

Ingredients for the cavity:

  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 1 green apple sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and crushed

Cooking Directions:

  1. Check if the giblets and the insides from the turkey are removed. If not, then remove them carefully.
  2. Preheat the roaster oven to its maximum setting. Keep it at this level 10 to 15 minutes before you place the turkey in the roaster oven.
  3. Pour the olive oil into a small bowl.
  4. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and other liquid ingredients in the bowl.
  5. Add the minced parsley, and all the dried herbs into the oil mix.
  6. Stir with a spoon to blend well.
  7. Season the cavity with salt and ground black pepper. Add the sliced onions, apples, and crushed garlic cloves in the cavity.
  8. Rub the mixture all over the turkey. Make sure that all parts are covered.
  9. Try to insert your fingers under the skin and rub some from the oil mixture.
  10. Place the turkey inside the electric roaster oven and start cooking.
  11. Check the breast area with a meat thermometer and remove the turkey when it shows 165°F.
Turkey roast cooks best in electric roaster oven

Do you put water in a roaster oven when cooking a turkey?

Do not put water in a roaster oven while you are cooking a turkey. Your roaster oven is explicitly designed to keep the moisture inside the cooking environment to produce a tender and juicy meat. Adding water is necessary only if you are cooking the turkey in a regular conventional oven. People tend to do this to prevent the meat from over-drying during the long cooking time in traditional ovens.

Can I put turkey in a bag in my roaster?

Your electric roaster oven is similar to the larger oven you use in the kitchen. Therefore, you can use oven bags inside without any issues. The only thing you must be careful about is that the bag should not be touching to the lid or the sides. On a side note, it is not practical to use bags with a roaster oven since it can already create the steamy environment itself.

What is brining?

Brining is soaking the turkey in salty water overnight or at least a few hours. Salted water helps to keep the meat to retain its moisture while it is in the oven. On the contrary, the turkey loses its chewiness a bit. Plus, it becomes a real hassle to brine if your bird is a big one. As long as I am using an electric roaster oven, I see no reason to brine, but it is your call in the end.

Is brining the turkey necessary?

Note that it is customary to brine the turkey before roasting. However, you can skip this method when your cooking with an electric roaster. This is because your electric roaster oven can already cook a juicy turkey thanks to its smart design. The small roaster oven and the top lid do all the necessary work. There is no need for any additional steps. Nevertheless, if you want to do so, then here is a quick and easy brining recipe for you. You will need a big pot and long spoon.


  • Turkey (check to see if it is already injected with salt solution or not)
  • 2 cups of kosher salt
  • 2 quarts (1/2 gallon) water


  • Boil the water.
  • Add the kosher salt and the water into the big pot.
  • Stir with a spoon to dissolve.
  • Let it cool down to room temperature.
  • Submerge the turkey.
  • Put the pot inside the fridge overnight.

Should you rinse a turkey after brining?

It is a good idea to rinse the turkey and then dry pat after brining. Skip this step if you also added seasoning into the brine solution. Otherwise, you might diminish the flavor on the skin.

What happens if you brine too long?

If you keep the meat in the brining mix for too long, then it may get too salty, and you would have an unnatural flavor in the finished product. Try not to exceed the recommended times. It is best to brine overnight. Especially for a turkey roast, the suggested brining period is 12 to 24 hours.

Turkey Roast Brining Tips:

  • You can also season the turkey during brining. Garlic, bay leaves and thyme work great, but if you really want take things a bit further then try adding orange and lemon peels in there too.
  • Make sure you clear up space in the fridge for the large pot.
  • Brined turkey will cook faster, so check with a meat temperature to prevent overcooking.
  • Some people also dry brine their turkey by simply rubbing salt on the skin.

Benefits of Cooking Turkey in an Electric Roaster Oven – Better baking, Fat-free roasting

Once you get your hands on to a roaster oven and cook a few birds then you will soon realize that these smart appliances are far superior in comparison to your spacious ovens.

Tender and juicier meat; self-basting lid of the roaster oven makes sure the meat keeps its moisture and the final result is a delicious, juicy, and turkey. Steam is trapped inside and revolves the flavor and vapor all around the meat. Nevertheless, the best part is that it still retains the chewiness so that you do not end up with a mushy bite.

No additional pans or racks are necessary; electric roaster ovens do come with their own removable pans. In general, the pans are enamel coated for easy cleaning. Besides, most of them include cooking racks with lift out handles so that you can place the meat directly on them. Another benefit of the removable steel racks is that you can roast fat-free with them and stay healthy. No need to mess with the fatty meat water that accumulates at the bottom.

Tip Alert

If you use pan liners inside your electric roaster oven like I do, then you literally have no cleaning to do afterwards. Just a little rinse off would do the work.

Shorter cooking time; electric roaster ovens are capable of cooking large turkeys in about 1/3 less time when compared to traditional conventional ovens. This is mainly due to the smaller space inside the roaster oven. The compact environment allows superior heat flow and control. You will notice that even cooking is much easier to attain.


  • Make your turkey roast super crispy and brown on the outside; brush honey or maple syrup all over the skin before cooking it.
  • Make guests ask what you put in it; marinade with pomegranate juice and a can of Dr. Pepper for an offbeat flavor.
  • Make the turkey extra tender; add a tablespoon or two of white vinegar into the marinade.


  • Do not stuff the turkey; it is unnecessary and unhealthy. It can easily get contaminated. Moreover, the cooking time gets longer when you add stuffing. You can put garlic, onions, bay leaves, and lemon slices in the cavity instead.
  • Do not wash the turkey before cooking. You might spread salmonella if you do so.

In Conclusion

Turkey roast is a highly popular dish all around the western sphere. It is merely a favorite holiday meal that just tastes excellent. And hey, it is not just for the holidays. Remember, you can always use the roasted turkey meat for multiple meals. Who does not like cold subs made with roasted turkey slices? I assume you already know about the benefits of using a roaster oven if you came all the way here. Obviously, you need one to try out the above-mentioned tips and tricks. However, if you are still in the process of shopping for an electric roaster oven, then you should know of some basic features to get the one that suits your needs the best. You can check my other articles on how to buy an electric roaster oven from here.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *