Whole turkeys are a staple of any Thanksgiving dinner but be it the holiday season or any offseason turkey craving throughout the year, for a busy individual allotting the time to make a proper turkey roast can be a bit too much. Especially if you are following the traditional method.
Every product is independently reviewed and selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.
Turkey roaster to the rescue!! This amazing piece of kitchen appliance can make your life a lot easier. It, however, comes with its set of caveats that really makes us wonder about the pros and cons of using a turkey roaster.
If you have been wondering the same, read along:
Pros And Cons Of Using A Turkey Roaster
Turkey roasters, while useful, are not magic. They are not perfect equipment that will make everyone’s worries go away. But for the right person, they just might.
It all depends on how you weigh the pros and cons they offer. If the pros outweigh the cons for you, by all means, dish out the pretty penny that one costs and you will never have to look back ever again.
The 5 Pros Of Using A Turkey Roaster
While there are many smaller advantages of electric roasters which we will discuss later on a per-model basis, here are three advantages that roasters offer across the board. In no particular order, they are:
This is, in our opinion, the main reason why anyone would choose a turkey roaster over a traditional method. It saves an awful lot of time.
Your prep time can be cut down by a lot with the features these roasters offer, like the easy temp control or gravy making.
- Low Maintenance
Cooking a whole turkey is a lot of work, especially because you need to rotate the meat, hand baste it, and check the cook from time to time.
An electric roaster will negate the need for all of these. Since these electric appliances heat up evenly and come with self-basting lids that can take care of the entire cook by itself. Just set it and forget it.
- Easy Clean-up
Cleaning up an oven is difficult. Especially after bloating thanksgiving dinner. An electric turkey roaster brings the perfect solution to this problem.
You won’t have to use fancy oven cleaners and it won’t even take much effort for you. The roasting pan and rack are removable and dishwasher safe too in some cases. Or even handwashing them is little to no effort at all.
- Clearing Up Oven Space
Most regular household kitchen only has one oven and that being blocked up for hours with only one dish is a major setback in terms of cooking the whole meal.
Thankfully, an electric roaster will move the dish that takes the longest to cook. Freeing up your oven for any number of side dishes your heart desires.
- Versatility & Portability
And finally, aside from roasting whole turkeys, an electric roaster can be used for a lot of different things. You can bake, slow cook, or even steam.
And after you are done cooking, it is the perfect place for keeping your food warm till mealtime.
Another most prominent pros of the turkey roaster is that you can recook undercooked turkey using it more safely than any other method available out there.
The roaster can also be very portable if you need it to be. Just unplug it from the wall and take it anywhere you want. That is certainly more than we can say about a full-blown oven.
The 3 Cons Of Using A Turkey Roaster
Like we said earlier, a turkey roaster or any electric roaster is not magic. Here are 3 reasons why:
- Inferior Taste
The more effort you put into your cooking, the better a dish is going to come out. So it is no wonder electric turkey roasters can not get all the way there in terms of taste.
Most notably, you are not going to get the signature crispy turkey skin and might struggle a bit in browning the exterior as well.
Both these issues can be fixed with half an hour under the broiler and browning sauce respectively but if you have to use an oven anyway, what is the point of a roaster.
- Takes Up Too Much Space In The Kitchen
An electric turkey roaster is a specialty appliance that can more or less do one job and is going to sit around in your kitchen for most of the year.
At the same time, it can not be described as a compact machine by any means. It is going to take up a huge chunk of space in your cabinet without much use and you have to be okay with that.
- A Potential Hazard
If you have kids running around in the house, you really need to be careful while using one of these roasters. When they are working, the sides will get really hot and if an unassuming bystander touches it, they are going to burn themselves.
And since a roaster will just sit on your counter while cooking, the risks amplify themselves tenfold.
What Are The Best Turkey Roaster That Have Fewer Disadvantages
Well, now that you know what are the reasons you might consider a turkey roaster, we might as well give you our recommendations on which models to actually look at.
The market is filled with roasters that cause more trouble than they are worth and it can really be a minefield while looking for the one that suits your needs the best.
Here are the best 3 turkey roasters we recommend for everyone:
Oster Stainless Steel Electric Roaster Oven
This oven roaster’s versatility is its most enticing feature. It is indeed a multi-purpose cooking tool that will offer exceptional results.
This kitchen appliance’s domed cover accommodates even the largest turkey(realistically). It can cook a 26-pound turkey, according to the maker. Another benefit is the self-basting lid.
You don’t need us to tell you the importance of basting, and the Oster Roaster Oven will bring you all the advantages in terms of flavor and taste with none of the hassles.
- Self-basting lid
- Removable roasting pans
- Enamel-coated for durability
- Large capacity for big turkeys
- Made for cooking, baking, slow cooking, and roasting
A unique feature is the defrost mode. Upon trying it, we can say that it works shockingly well and cuts further down on the prep time. The two included roasting pan also offers an added bit of versatility.
The roasting pan here is entirely removable. It comes in handy as you won’t need to dirty up a separate dish when plating it. Just serve it in the roasting pan!!
Oster made this oven using enamel-coated steel which goes a long way in terms of durability. As for control over the cooking temperature, a handy knob will let you maneuver a temperature range of 150-450°F.
If you are worried about electricity cost, Oster advertises 36% less consumption than electrical ovens and you can get the same job as an oven done in almost 30% less time.
Lastly, an LED in front shows that the roaster is operational and can help in reducing accidental touches and burns.
Hamilton Beach Roaster Oven with Removable Pan
Want to get a lot of the same functionality as top-tier brands at a much cheaper price? The Hamilton Beach Roaster is the right one for you. The feature set behind this product will make you confused at how Hamilton managed to offer it at such a price.
- Stainless-steel exterior
- 22-quart size for big turkeys
- Removable pan and wire rack
- Adjustable temp up to 450°F with a handy knob
- Side handles for easy handling during operation
Like most of its brethren, this roaster oven also offers a lot in terms of versatility with baking and slow cooking.
The temperature goes to a max of 450°F and while that is not high enough for giving crispy skin on your turkey, it certainly is higher than you will really need in most real-life applications.
The detachable pan means that you won’t have to worry about serving the turkey at the table and you can even rest it inside. But what we really like about this product is that even at max temp settings, the exterior stays relatively cool to the touch.
All that plus an included cookbook makes this the perfect companion for your next Thanksgiving dinner. But the couple things we did not like is that there is no self-basting option and the lid was a bit flimsier than we would have liked.
Granite Ware Non-Stick Rectangular Roaster
Let’s say electric roasters are not your thing and you want a manual turkey roasting pan that you can use inside your traditional oven. The options are plenty for you too but our favorite has to be this one from Graniteware.
- Metal tool safe
- Dishwasher safe
- Can cook a 25-lbs. Bird
- Even cooking and browning
- No harmful chemicals like PFOA or PTFE
- Porcelain enamel surface for nonstick usage
Graniteware has been fabricating enamel-coated cookware in Terra Haute, Indiana, since 1906. And their rectangular roaster is manufactured by thermally fusing porcelain to a steel core.
Porcelain is naturally nonporous and nonstick, while steel aids with temperature distribution and robustness. The pan’s total length is 21 inches. With the top on, the roaster is 19 inches broad and 11 inches high.
The pan can cook 20-pound poultry with the cover on or a 25-pound bird without. But the pan isn’t stove-safe. While there is no rack for air circulation, this pan offers a textured bottom for air to get underneath whatever heavy objects you’re roasting.
While the pan may also be used to roast vegetables, meats, and meals there are a few things we do not like about this product. For example, it is not really safe for stovetop cooking and will not work at all on glass cooktops.
Additionally, the build of these kinds of pans makes it so that the durability is a hit or miss at best. You need to be careful while handling it as dropping can be catastrophic.
Don’t Like Roaster? Here Are The 5 Alternatives You Can Go For
Maybe you looked at the pros vs cons chart and decided the cons are a bit too much for you to be satisfied with. Fear not as we have the right products for you too.
Below are the 5 alternatives that we think will make your turkey-cooking ventures go by in a breeze.
Nonstick Roasting Pan
The roasting pan is a great alternative primarily because you can buy according to your size needs. If you know that you are never going to cook a 20+ lbs bird, then why invest in an electric roaster that is too big to store?
Roasting pans work perfectly in conjunction with your oven to give you an even cook. While you do have to baste the bird yourself, it is nothing compared to the amazing Maillard reaction you will get with one of these pans.
The cast-iron skillet might even be the best kitchen tool you can invest in. The versatility of these pans is unmatched by everything and you can almost cook anything on one of them.
For roasting turkey, you admittedly will need a big-sized skillet but as long as the bird fits, you will not have to worry about the cook whatsoever. Heavy-duty cast iron will also last you for decades if you take good care of them.
Braiser pans might be an unorthodox choice when it comes to cooking turkeys but don’t knock it until you have tried it.
The aluminum build will give you amazing heat retention creating the perfect fonde at the bottom of the pan that can be used to make unrivaled gravy.
Sure, you will need to look harder to find a braiser pan big enough to cook a huge bird in, but it is well worth it.
Coming to an option that can easily be found in almost every household, a baking dish can also offer you a great cook on the next Thanksgiving turkey.
These dishes are made of porcelain and thus are non-stick and you can use them year-round for everything from lasagna to cobbler.
And for those aesthetic savvy users out there, baking dishes come in every shade of the rainbow.
Foil Roasting Pan
While we do not recommend one-time use products due to environmental reasons, if you have a very small kitchen with not much space to put big dishes in, buying a few foil roasting pans around the holiday season will get the job just fine.
The heat retention is not amazing and they are pretty flimsy to offer a good handling experience. However, in a pinch, you can do a lot worse than these foil roasting pans.
Roasting a whole turkey is a lot of work. But as long as you pick the right tools for the job, you can cook a delicious turkey dinner in no time. Hopefully by knowing the pros and cons of using a turkey roaster you understand if it is the right tool for you. If it isn’t we have provided other options for you too. So your next thanksgiving turkey can blow the socks off your family members!!