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Roasting a Turkey in a Roaster Oven

There are various advantages to roasting a turkey in a roaster oven. The most important? For holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas, a roaster oven frees up valuable oven space-- space you can use for all those wonderful side dishes you plan on cooking up.

Another advantage is that turkey roaster ovens are ultra easy-- there just isn't a huge learning curve for cooking turkey in a roaster. If you've cooked a conventional holiday turkey in a conventional oven, you know how to cook a turkey in a roaster oven. Because the time and temperatures for cooking your turkey remain more or less the same-- you just don't need to take up all that valuable oven space.

How to Cook a Turkey in a Roaster Oven

How to Cook a Turkey in a Roaster OvenWhile it's true that roasting a turkey in a roaster oven is fairly easy, you've also got to know how. While your turkey roaster will come with instructions, they may not specifically be for turkey. These ones are!

Roaster Oven Turkey Cook Time

Generally speaking, a 10 pound turkey takes nearly three hours to cook in a roaster oven unstuffed, and 30 more minutes if it's stuffed. A 16 pound turkey takes around four hours, and again another 30 minutes (approximately) to bring the stuffing up to 165 degrees. You'll want to plan about 15 minutes per pound when roasting a turkey in a roaster oven at 375 degrees.

Check this page for additional information about turkey cooking times.

It's also important to note that, when roasting a turkey in a roaster oven, your roaster will lose a lot more heat when you remove the lid than a conventional oven does when you open the door. So you'll want to adjust your cooking time to account for excessive basting etc.

Turkey Size

Note that the average roaster oven will cook about 20 pounds of turkey. But account for the size of your roaster-- you want to be sure your turkey fits easily into the roaster, with a bit of room on each size. Be aware that the name "roaster" is a bit deceptive. You're actually steaming the turkey more so than roasting it.

Check at the bottom of this page for tips on getting great-tasting meat and crisp skin.

Checking for Doneness

One word of warning – not all roasters have well calibrated thermometers, so you may want to have a secondary meat thermometer that allows you to make sure your turkey doesn't come out undercooked or dry.

Just as with a conventional oven, when you're roasting a turkey in a roaster oven it's important to be sure the thickest part of the breast meat reaches around 170 degrees (no less than 165) to serve it safely. This temperature will kill off any bacteria that may linger in the poultry.

Moisture in Your Roaster Oven

While you want a crisp, roasted turkey, you also want some moisture --I use a combo of white wine and chicken stock-- in the bottom of the turkey roaster oven. Why? Because it keeps the meat of the turkey nice and moist, and creates a wonderful base to make a turkey gravy for your meal.

Choosing a Turkey Roaster Oven

If you're planning on roasting a turkey in a roaster oven this year, the oven you choose is going to make all the difference.

Things to Look for in a Roaster Oven. In choosing a roaster oven, look for one that has a rack for the bottom if possible. This allows you to lift the turkey (or whatever you're cooking) out of the juices that accumulate in the bottom of the pan, keeping the bird as crisp as possible. Most people aren't fond of soggy meat and skin on their poultry!

Also be sure that you have a good sized roaster oven. I recommend an 18-quart roaster oven, like this nice Proctor Silex Roaster Oven with a rack:

Proctor Silex 32190 18 Qt Roaster Oven

It's inexpensive, has everything you need, and works great.

Getting the Best Result for Your Turkey

Of course, you can have the fanciest turkey roaster in the world and it won't make a spot of difference if you don't know anything about roasting a turkey in a roaster oven. Read on for tips on getting a perfect roaster-oven turkey every time.

Getting Crisp Skin

If you're a fan of crisp skin but want to use your roaster oven, don't despair. About 45 minutes before the turkey is due to be completely cooked move it out of the electric roaster, oil up the skin, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top, then slip it in the oven at 400 degrees for the last bit of cooking. Unfortunately this means making space in your oven so that there's at least one inch of breathing room all around the turkey (for even cooking). But it's worth it!

Getting Tons of Flavor

Ending up with a flavorful turkey is all about how you choose to flavor it. You can use a turkey marinade injection, or rub herbs and other flavorings into the meat as you would with a traditional roast turkey. They sky's the limit.

Check out this page for all of the holiday turkey recipes you could ever want-- including stuffing, gravy, and more.

Maximum Moisture

One of the best things about roasting a turkey in a roaster oven is that you get a natural amount of moisture. The lid and the tight space keep plenty of moisture around the bird-- it's harder to get a dry turkey this way. But you'll still lose moisture if you cut into the bird straight out of the roaster. Just as you would a conventionally cooked bird, roasting a turkey in a roaster oven still means letting the bird rest when it's done. 20-30 minutes tented with foil at room temperature allows all the juices to redistribute themselves so your meat will be moist and tender.

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