Three Things to Consider When Purchasing a Roaster Oven

Roaster ovens are perfect for cooking larger pieces of meat, baking, and keeping covered dishes warm. Here’s how to choose the best models.

festive turkey dinner
A roaster oven lets you cook your turkey while keeping your stove's oven free for side dishes.Photo by Christopher Ryan on Unsplash

Preparing multiple dishes all at once—such as turkey or ham and all the fixings—can be a real challenge. But a roaster oven can be a huge help. These bad boys are big enough to roast a whole turkey, freeing up space in your regular oven for other tasks like sides and pies. They’re simple to use, easy to clean up, and they’re ultra-portable. These also work great for keeping covered dishes or leftovers warm for serving later. Here are three simple things to consider that will make choosing the right roaster oven a lot easier.

Oster Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid
Can accommodate a turkey up to 26 pounds; the pan and rack come right out for easy cleanups.Oster

While most of us tend to go big, you may not need to. Think of what you will use your roaster oven for the most and the number of folks you’ll want to feed. If you always roast a huge turkey or you like to throw big parties, buy the biggest model you can find. Just remember, the bigger the appliance, the more counter (and storage) space it will require and the more surface area you’ll have to clean when you’re finished cooking.

Hamilton Beach 22-Quart Roaster Oven, Stainless Steel
This unit accommodates a turkey up to 26 pounds, and the pan and rack come right out for easy clean up.Hamilton Beach

You can find roaster ovens made of aluminum or stainless steel. Going stainless is a good option as it holds up better under higher heats (no potential for warping) and it won’t react with any acidic ingredients the way aluminum will. One feature you should look for is a removable inner baking dish that’s dishwasher safe for easy clean-ups.

Oster Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid, 18 Quart, Black
This model has a self-basting lid and can hold a 22 pound turkey.Oster

While roaster ovens won’t bake quite as high as a conventional oven, most models go up to 450 degrees, which is adequate to cook just about anything. Make sure the control knob designations are laid out in easy-to-read increments so you can get the temperature dialed in properly. Having a timer that automatically shuts the cooking cycle down when your dish is finished is a good option to look for.