Which roaster ovens are best?
A whole turkey, brisket or another large cut of meat can make a big impression at the dinner table, but it takes up prime real estate in your oven while cooking. With a roaster oven, you can free up space in your full-size oven for side dishes and still wind up with a perfectly cooked piece of meat.
A roaster oven is essentially a countertop oven, so it works well for roasting meat. You can use it to bake and broil other foods, though, so it’s versatile enough for other recipes. But because a roast oven is smaller than a traditional oven, it doesn’t use as much energy and won’t get your kitchen as hot either. If you’re looking for a powerful roaster oven that offers convection cooking, the Ninja 6-in-1 Indoor Grill with 4-Quart Air Fryer Roast Bake Dehydrate Broil is the top option.
What to know before you buy a roaster oven
Roaster oven benefits
While a roaster oven is a fairly compact countertop appliance, it will still take up valuable counter space. That’s why it helps to understand its benefits, so you know if it’s the right appliance for your kitchen.
The main reason that most home cooks buy a roaster oven is the extra cooking space it provides. It allows you to use your full-size oven for side dishes and other recipes so that you can have your meals on the table more quickly. The additional cooking space definitely comes in handy if you regularly host holidays and other dinners where you prepare large cuts of meat like turkey, brisket or prime rib.
A roaster oven also uses less energy than a conventional oven because of its smaller size. That can help reduce your bills and keep your kitchen from getting too hot when you’re cooking.
Roaster ovens also create an especially moist cooking environment because it provides a smaller cooking space with side or bottom heating elements. So if you have trouble getting your meat as juicy as you’d like, a roaster oven can help.
A roaster oven isn’t just for cooking a turkey or other large cuts of meat, though. It’s a highly versatile appliance because you can bake other foods in it. Some models can broil, air fry, steam, warm and more, so you can use them for plenty of dishes.
For a roaster oven to be useful in a kitchen, it has to be large enough to fit the meats you want to cook in it. Most models have a capacity between 16 and 22 quarts, but some ovens hold just 6.5 quarts.
- A 6.5-quart roaster oven isn’t large enough to cook a turkey. It can work well if you usually cook small poultry or side dishes or if you have a small kitchen.
- A 16-quart roaster oven is large enough for up to a 20-pound turkey.
- An 18-quart roaster oven is large enough for up to a 22-pound turkey.
- A 22-quart roaster oven is large enough for up to a 26-pound turkey.
What to look for in a quality roaster oven
Many roaster ovens feature dial controls that turn the oven on and off and change the temperature. They’re very easy to use, but they can be challenging to clean if any food gets stuck around the dials.
Some higher-end roaster ovens feature digital controls. As a result, they’re extremely user-friendly and even easy to clean.
To get the most out of a roaster oven, paying attention to its temperature range is essential. Many models offer a maximum temperature of 450 degrees so that you can roast plenty of meats, including turkey, brisket and ham. Most roaster ovens have a minimum temperature of 200 to 250 degrees, but you can find some that go as low as 150 degrees.
A roaster oven’s temperature range determines the cooking functions that it can perform. In addition to baking and roasting, you can find some that also work as a slow cooker or even a buffet server to keep food warm. Some can steam and dehydrate, too.
If you choose a roaster oven with convection cooking, it also offers an air fryer function. That means you can enjoy your favorite fried goodies with little to no oil.
All roaster ovens have a lid that keeps the heat and moisture contained inside the oven during cooking. You’ll typically get the most versatility from a high-domed lid because it can accommodate large cuts of meat like a turkey more easily.
Some models have a self-basting lid, so it redistributes the moisture inside the oven over the meat to save you from having to baste it manually.
Roasting pan and rack
Most roaster ovens come with a roasting pan and rack. They’re easy to remove, which makes clean-up a breeze. Some are even dishwasher-safe.
A roaster oven with a wire roasting rack is usually the best bet. That’s because it raises the food over the heat to allow for more even cooking.
How much you can expect to spend on a quality roaster oven
Roaster ovens usually cost $40-$150. Basic models with a mid-size capacity typically go for $40-$60, while larger models with special features generally cost $100-$150.
Roaster oven FAQ
What else can I make in a roaster oven beside a turkey?
A. While a roaster oven is perfect for preparing your turkey for Thanksgiving, it can do much more than that. It can roast other cuts of meat like ham, brisket and prime rib, and prepare side dishes like roasted vegetables and casseroles. You can even make baked goods like cookies and cake.
Do I need a roaster oven if I have a rotisserie?
A. Both appliances are used for cooking meat, but they do it in different ways. A roaster oven is basically a countertop oven, so it’s ideal for roasting meats. On the other hand, a rotisserie oven spins the meat on a spit to help it cook more evenly. Unfortunately, you can’t bake in a rotisserie, so it doesn’t offer the same versatility.
What’s the best roaster oven to buy?
Top roaster oven
What you need to know: This is one of the most versatile roaster ovens on the market, offering roasting, grilling, baking, air frying and dehydrating functions.
What you’ll love: It features a dual-sensor thermometer for even cooking. The grill function provides excellent sear marks. The roasting function helps keep the meat tender and juicy. Its extra-large capacity makes it ideal for families. It’s easy to clean, too.
What you should consider: While it’s sized well for a family, it may not be large enough to fit a turkey or roast for the holidays.
Top roaster oven for the money
What you need to know: Offering 14 different functions, this roaster oven is a versatile, affordable option for individuals or small families.
What you’ll love: It uses infrared heat to provide a consistent temperature. The baking and broiling functions preheat quickly. It offers a split cooking function that lets you use two functions in sequence for ideal results. The digital display is extremely user-friendly, too.
What you should consider: It’s not large enough to fit turkeys and other large cuts of meat for holidays.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This roast oven has a 30-quart capacity and dual hot plates on top, making it ideal for small kitchens.
What you’ll love: Despite its 30-quart capacity, it has an extremely compact design. It can bake, broil, roast, toast and defrost. It offers a simple, easy-to-use control console for foolproof operation. It also has an interior cooking light to let you keep an eye on your food.
What you should consider: The hot plates only work when the oven function isn’t in use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.