A few years ago, I had officially reached the end of my rope. More specifically, I was FED UP with trying to successfully cook a turkey and all of the sides using just my one oven during the holidays. Turkeys take a while to cook, and they also take up the majority of the space in an oven. So I would either have to make the sides hours ahead of time, or make the turkey early and leave the sides until the last second. Neither option was ideal, so I started searching for a solution to my oven space problem.
And luckily for me, I discovered the perfect solution: an electric roaster! This crockpot-like appliance turns out perfectly roasted and juicy turkeys every time. And because it’s a separate tabletop appliance, it completely solved my oven space problem! I’ve used my electric roaster for the past few Thanksgivings and Christmases, and I’ve been loving it. So today I wanted to share my electric roaster method with you, so I can spread the joy of having more oven space on holidays. :-)
How To Cook A Turkey In An Electric Roaster
- Electric roaster oven
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 5-gallon bucket
- Seasoning salt
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil or butter
Step 1 – Brine
The first thing you’ll want to do is brine your turkey. Brining before cooking isn’t technically necessary, but it does help minimize moisture loss, so I like to do it when possible.
Drop your turkey into a clean bucket and fill with cold water. Then pour 1 cup salt and 1 cup sugar into the bucket as well. Stir until dissolved. Place the bucket in your fridge and let it sit for 24 hours. That’s all there is to it!
Step 2 – Prep
When the brining is complete, remove the turkey from the bucket and rinse it under cold water. Then pat it dry using some paper towels (and make sure to wash your sink thoroughly!)
If you’ll be stuffing your turkey, now is the time to do so! Add 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. (I usually just cut up a couple of lemons and an onion and put them in the cavity of the bird.)
Rub down the exterior of the turkey with olive oil or butter, and season heavily with seasoning salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
Step 3 – Roast
Place the turkey into the roasting pan, and place the pan inside your roaster. Cover, and turn the roaster on to its highest heat setting (mine goes to 450°, but yours might be different). Set a timer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, turn the temperature on the roaster down to 325°, and let cook until done. (The total cook time will largely depend on the size of your turkey. I would recommend using a calculator like the one on Butterball.com to determine an approximate cooking time.)
It’s good to know about how long it will take, but using a meat thermometer is the only way to know for sure when it’s done. The temperature you’re shooting for is 180° in the thigh area and 165° in the breast (and stuffing, if applicable). Using a digital thermometer with a remote temperature gauge like this one is the best way to go in my opinion, because you won’t need to remove the lid to check the temp. Removing the lid lowers the temperature of a roaster considerably, so hands off! ;-)
And because you are not going to be opening and closing the lid during the cooking time, there is no need to even add liquid to the pan. This method provides all the juices you will need for lots of delicious gravy.
Another tip I want to share is to start keeping an eye on the temperature EARLY. When I used this roaster method to cook our Thanksgiving turkey last month, it ended up cooking quite a bit faster than I was anticipating. But because I had started checking the temperature early on, I was able to turn down the heat and keep the turkey from drying out.
Step 4 – Rest & Serve
When your turkey is done cooking, remove it from the roaster and tent it with a large piece of foil. Let the turkey rest for about 20 minutes, then carve and serve!
Your turkey will be juicy and tender and your oven will be completely free for other goodies!
My family was originally very skeptical about this method but are now all believers! My son Erik, who normally doesn’t even like turkey, said this method has completely changed his opinion about the big bird being on the menu. That’s what you call a ringing endorsement folks! :-)