Buying an Electric Roaster
I recommend the 18-Quart Oster Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid, which can cook a turkey up to 18 pounds. This is an updated version of the roaster I own. If you want to cook a bigger turkey, I would recommend the Oster 20-Quart Roaster Oven.
- Frees up oven space for other delicious dishes
- Turkey generally cooks faster than in a traditional oven
- Low maintenance – set it and forget it (with a thermometer), no basting
- It’s harder to brown the turkey and get that classic, roast turkey color and crispy skin. You can use browning sauce for color or put the turkey in your regular oven for the last half hour of cooking for crispness. I personally don’t care too much about color because I always cut up my turkey up before serving, and no one in my house eats the skin.
- It’s pretty big and can take up kitchen space – I keep mine in the original cardboard box in the garage when I’m not using it.
Buying & Thawing the Turkey
- Make sure you don’t buy a turkey that’s too big for your roaster. I once got ambitious and bought a huge turkey from Costco, prepared it, and as soon as I put it in my roaster I realized it to was too large for the lid to close!
- Not sure what size turkey you need for your party? Buy 1 pound of uncooked turkey per guest.
- Not sure of the best way to thaw a turkey? The folks at Butterball are pros and they have a comprehensive guide for safely thawing a turkey.
- I run my fridge cold. When I made this 16 pound turkey, I found some ice crystals in the cavity even though it had been in my fridge for 5 days. If your turkey still has ice crystals when you’re ready to cook it, don’t worry. As long as the meat feels thawed and the turkey is pliable it’s still ready to cook, it just might take slightly longer.
Preparing and Cooking The Turkey
- 1 thawed whole turkey, giblets and neck removed
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup cold butter, sliced into pats
- 1 tsp browning sauce (optional)
- Seasoning of your choice (I use poultry seasoning or Italian seasoning)
- 1 apple, cut into slices
- 1/2 onion, cut into slices
- 2 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces
- 1 can chicken broth
- Special equipment:
- Electric turkey roaster
- Probe-type meat thermometer
- Remove the rack from the turkey roaster and preheat roaster to 400 degrees.
- Place the rack on a large tray (to catch any liquid) and place the turkey on the rack.
- Stuff the turkey cavity with sliced apples, onion, and celery.
- Separate the skin at the top of the bird from the meat and slide the pats of butter in between the skin and the meat.
- Make the browning sauce mixture by mixing together the melted butter and the browning sauce.
- Using a pastry brush, generously brush the turkey with the browning sauce mixture. (This step can get messy, so be careful!)
- Generously season the turkey with salt, pepper, and the seasoning of your choice.
- Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat, avoiding the bone.
- Pick up the rack, and gently place the rack and the turkey in the turkey roaster.
- Pour 1 can of chicken stock into the roaster and close the lid.
- Cook at 400 degrees for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and cook until the turkey's internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. (Cooking times will vary depending on turkey size.)
- Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the roaster using the rack. Tent the turkey with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.
- Oster Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid, 18-Quart
- Taylor Precision Products Digital Cooking Thermometer with Probe and Timer
- BLACK+DECKER 9-Inch Electric Carving Knife, Black, EK500B
- Kitchen Bouquet Browning and Seasoning Sauce - 4 oz
- Red Vanilla HJ168-018 Classic Turkey Platter 18" White
- Anolon Stainless Steel Meat Fork, 13.25-Inch, Tools and Gadgets
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Photos by Allison McGee, Bochkarev Photography/Shutterstock.com, Paul Cowan/Shutterstock.com