What are you going to do when you need additional cooking capacity – particularly for a big event like Christmas holidays, Thanksgiving or a family reunion? Consider adding a portable roaster oven to your arsenal and your problem is solved. At the very least, you’ll find it extremely helpful having this portable workhorse at your disposal.

What Is a Roaster Oven?

A roaster oven is a self-contained electric appliance that can be fully powered by plugging into any standard wall outlet. You can cook a variety of foods including a full size turkey in a roaster oven and enjoy mouthwatering results in less time than a full size oven requires.

Roaster ovens cook the food by distributing heat throughout the oven. They are much smaller than standard ovens, but keep in mind they are designed to cook mostly one dish at a time – like a whole turkey or chicken.

One big advantage is that they take up less space. And since they’re smaller, they require less energy to heat and then cook your food. These portable ovens aren’t just for roasting either. You can bake, broil, simmer and cook a variety of dishes including casseroles, chill, lasagna, fish and more. You can even bakes desserts like cookies and cakes.

Typically, you don’t need to use any extra water or liquid due to the moisture retained inside a roaster oven. Before choosing the best roaster for you, consider how you plan to use your roaster oven and where. Make sure it’s big enough to suit – not just your immediate needs – but down the road too.

What follows are our top picks in the portable electric roaster oven category.

#1: Oster Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid (22 Quart Capacity)

What’s In The Box?
Oster 22 quart roaster oven
Removable baked enamel-on-steel roasting pan
Roasting rack
Self-basting lid

 

 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Works great when used to roast turkey, chicken, ribs and roast beef
  • Excellent roaster for making homemade stock in large quantities (and you’ll save a fortune over buying premade stock)
  • Works well for a variety of foods including gravy
  • Can cook a delicious whole turkey in as little as two hours (in fact, you may never want to cook turkey again in your standard oven)
  • You can actually cook a turkey in this roaster oven in about half the time it would take in a standard oven
  • It’s a good size but not excessively heavy
  • Removable insert is much easier to clean than some others (but if you find cooked on food particles, soaking it in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes should help loosen it and make those spills easier to remove)
  • Uses less power to cook your food (so you’ll save a little cash on your electric bill too)
  • Turkey comes out browned to perfection, exceptionally tasty and perfectly moist
  • Attractive stainless and black exterior
  • Plenty of room for a good size turkey (helps make the holidays that much easier and any extra cooking you
  • Frees-up up your oven
  • Easy to manage the heat with a simple dial
Cons
  • Using disposable oven roaster bags is not recommended by the manufacturer
  • Can easily discolor
  • Roaster oven gets exceptionally hot so you can’t touch it
  • Coating on the roasting pan is not of the best quality
  • Price is a little on the high side
  • Does not ship with instruction manual (but there is one available online)
  • It’s so big and bulky that some find it difficult to clean in a small sink (you may need to take it outside and use a garden hose to wash it down)
  • If the food you’re roasting is on the dry side, you may have to add some liquid for proper basting
  • There are some reports of faulty wiring inside the roaster’s electrics

This roaster oven is being bought up in droves and with good reason. It’s a large capacity roaster oven that has proven to be dependable. It measures 15.6 inches wide by 23.3 inches long by 11.8 inches high and weighs 17.25 pounds. Inside dimensions measure 13.98 inches wide by 19.89 inches long by 5.31 inches high. This Oster roaster can handle a large turkey – up to 26 pounds.

With almost 12,000 actual buyers chiming in, this roaster oven scores a solid 4.6 out of 5 possible stars. That’s a huge number of overwhelmingly satisfied customers who took to time to share their own personal feedback.

You can use this portable roaster to roast your favorite meats from the kitchen table or counter. But of course, that’s not all this thing does. You can bake casseroles or roast enough potatoes to feed a large family gathering. You could also slow cook your favorite chili recipe or bake a large cheesecake. In fact, there isn’t much you can’t do.

What do you need extra cooking capacity, or you simply don’t have a full-size oven – this roaster oven can fill the void almost magically. Enjoy moist and tender foods that satisfy the palate with every bite. With the keep warm setting, maintaining your food at the ideal temperature before serving is easy to do.

Savor fresh prepared gravy from the drippings of any roasted meats right inside the pan – just as you do in a conventional oven. But because this model features a self basting lid, you won’t have to worry about manually basting your turkey at all. One with air that continually circulates there’s plenty of moisture to penetrate in to the food.

It’s the design of the high dome lid makes it possible to accommodate those larger birds that are perfect for the holidays. And with the adjustable temperature dial – you can slow cook, roast, or bake any dish you want. It is recommended by the manufacturer that you do not place large sheets of aluminum foil inside the roaster. The reason is that aluminum reflects heat and may cause the temperature inside to rise dramatically and overcook your food.

#2: Hamilton Beach 22 Quart Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid

What’s In The Box?
Hamilton beach 22 quart roaster oven
Removable roasting pan
Removable stainless steel roasting rack

 

 

 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Produces excellent results (foods are tender and delicious)
  • Large size capacity plus high lid allows for more food inside (perfect for when you’re feeding a crowd)
  • Turkey comes out tasting perfect every time
  • Excellent for use in a small restaurant (corn beef brisket or pork loins slow cooked overnight makes produces succulent fall-off-the-bone tender meat that’s tough to beat)
  • Reduces overall cooking time (compared to a conventional oven)
  • Roasted whole chicken with vegetables came out absolutely delicious
  • Nice easy to use features (the simple temperature dial works well)
  • Practical large size for those times when you need to cook for more guests
  • Cooks delicious prime rib, roast beef, ham and turkey
  • Frees-up your regular oven for other foods and does not heat up the room like those large conventional ovens always do
  • Produces some of the best tasting, most tender and juicy turkey ever
Cons
  • Quite large and therefore difficult to clean in the average kitchen sink
  • It lacks an on/off switch so you don’t know whether it’s powered on or off until it heats up
  • Power cord is short therefore, you’ll need to be close to an outlet, or use a compatible extension cord (which can get in the way)
  • An excellent roaster oven to use when cooking large church groups or clubs
  • Difficult to control the temperature precisely (it tends to get very hot)
  • Lid seems to be very thin and potentially easy to dent

With well over 1800 customer reviews, this large Hamilton beach 22 quart portable roaster oven scores a stellar 4.7 out of 5 available stars. That makes it one of the top-rated units in the category and worth taking a good look at.

It measures 17.5 inches wide by 24 inches long by 10.5 inches high. With the domed lid, this powerhouse can accommodate a turkey up to 28 pounds.

With this large roaster oven (22 quart capacity) you gain the convenience of a standard oven without it taking up much space at all. Temperature adjustments range from 150°F to 450°F. It’s an excellent oven for roasting large turkeys, whole chickens and racks of ribs. It’s also perfect for keeping side dishes warm until you’re ready to serve them to your guests. It also works really well as a large size slow cooker.

The removable rack comes with built-in handles making it easy to lift a large bird out of the oven when it’s cooked. Without a handled rack like this – handling this task can be a frustrating experience. Having the lift out rack makes it far easier to take the food you’ve just cooked and get it directly onto a platter with far less hassle and mess. Only those who’ve had the nerve-racking experience of trying to take a large and just cooked turkey out of the oven without handles on the rack can truly appreciate this feature.

With a removable roasting pan made of enamel-on-steel, this roaster is relatively easy to clean and maintain. Though it is large and bulky and unlikely to fit inside a kitchen sink, you can place it on the counter for cleaning purposes. Add hot soapy water and wash it with a soft cloth or brush. Avoid using anything that could damage the finish.

If you’re looking for a portable roaster oven for a variety of roasted meats including: turkey, chicken, beef, lamb and ham – and you desire that perfect degree of tenderness – this would be an excellent choice for you. And you’ll get to enjoy all your favorites in a lot less time too since these portable roaster ovens can cook foods considerably faster than stationary conventional ovens.

Not only is this a practical portable oven for roasting your favorite meats, but it’s also excellent for baking delicious casseroles, breads, pies and cakes too. Just use this portable roaster in the same way you would use a conventional oven. It can accommodate a 9 inch x 13 inch baking pan or two 5 inch x 9 inch loaf pans at once.

This roaster is a good choice for making a large amount of soup, stock, chili, or stew. It can also be useful for preparing side dishes when you’ve got the main course in your full-size oven.

Place it right on the buffet table when serving a large group. This portable oven can help you keep pancakes, rolls, or fresh baked biscuits warm – for up to an hour. All you need to do is preheat the oven to a low temperature (like 200°F or 250°F) and then use two small oven-proof containers half-filled with water and positioned at opposite ends of the insert pan. Then place your food on the rack above with the cover on top. When you’re ready to enjoy the feast – you’ll have perfectly warmed food for the whole group.

#3: Nesco Roaster Oven with 18 Quart Capacity

What’s In The Box?
Nesco 18 quart roaster oven
Removable enamel coated cooking well
Removable stainless steel rack

 

 

 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Does an excellent job on poultry – especially chicken
  • Relatively easy to clean afterwards
  • Roasted ribs, turkey, whole chicken and stuffed cabbage and it all came out perfectly
  • An excellent appliance to have to prepare a tasty meal for a Christmas party
  • Works as expected (it’s a reliable workhorse)
  • A good portable roasting oven for homemade soups, broths and chowders (it also works great when canning a large volume of produce fresh from your garden)
  • Economical option to buy (plus you’ll save on electricity costs too)
  • Nice and sturdy portable unit (it’s a better build quality that several other brands out there)
Cons
  • Difficult to wash in a small sink due to its size
  • Nonstick coating on the cook well may not be the best or most durable

The Nesco portable roaster oven measures 16 inches wide by 23.75 inches long by 13.11 inches high. It weighs in at 14 pounds and boasts 1450 Watts of power. With an 18 quart capacity, temperature adjustments from 200°F to 400°F and the removable enamel coated cook well inside – this one is easily up to the task of cooking all your favorites – including turkey.

Nesco gives you another quality option in the roaster oven market. You can use this unit to your advantage on any special occasion including the holidays – or any time when extended family and friends comes to visit. There’s nothing like connecting again over a delicious home-cooked meal. You can roast a whole turkey, steam vegetables, make a hearty and healthy soup, poach tender fish – or make a batch of everyone’s favorite cookies or homemade pumpkin pie. With this portable unit from Nesco you’ll have the cooking capability of a full-size oven – in a much more compact size.

Nesco features their unique “circle of heat” element that runs up the side of the rack to provide a more evenly distributed heat and efficient cooking. The rack has built-in handles so it’s easy to lift out when it’s loaded with food.

According to the manufacturer, the removable cook-well is dishwasher friendly and can be stored in the refrigerator. But we recommend always washing it by hand – just to be on the safe side.

#4: Proctor Silex 18 Quart Portable Roaster oven with Variable Temperature Control

 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Works well not just as an oven, but to keep food warm at a low temperature prior to serving
  • Easy to clean by setting on the counter next to the sink and running soapy water in it
  • Big enough to get the job done
  • You can let this oven do its thing without having to constantly attend to it
  • Does an excellent job of roasting turkey and chicken – making it tender, moist and delicious
  • Good value for the money
  • Convenient to take with you and use anywhere as long as you’re close to a power outlet
  • Cooks delicious foods without heating up your kitchen like a regular oven does
  • An excellent kitchen appliance to have on hand for parties, get-togethers and over the holidays
  • Cooks food faster than a full-size oven
  • Easy to clean (just remove the roasting pan and wash by hand)
  • Can help you batch cook by preparing larger quantities of soups, stews, chilies and curries
  • Gives you added cooking space when you need to prepare a bunch of different foods
  • Baby back ribs come out as fall-off-the-bone delicious (it’s moist and tender meat at its finest and never dry when cooked in this roaster)
  • Efficient and helpful cooking appliance you can set up on a counter or kitchen table
  • Lid itself is made of aluminum that’s been coated with enamel that has been baked on for added durability (others lack any kind of enamel finish)
Cons
  • There’s no light to tell you when the oven is preheated
  • Lightweight lid should be made heavier to hold heat inside more effectively
  • Too big to easily clean at the sink (and can be difficult to make spotless when food sticks)
  • Doesn’t brown meats to the same degree that a regular oven does
  • When you don’t baste your turkey manually, the base for the gravy doesn’t seem to be as good
  • Takes up plenty of space in a small kitchen
  • There’s no see-through window on the lid (so the check on your food, you have to open it and lose all that heat)
  • Oven gets very hot – be careful do not touch it
  • Interior temperature can get very hot and burn the food if you’re not careful
  • With the removable insert loaded with food – it’s difficult to place back in the roaster oven without pinching your hands

With its 18 quart capacity, this Proctor Silex portable oven is capable of roasting a 24 pound turkey. That’s plenty to feed the whole family and still have leftovers for turkey sandwiches or soup. This model measures 15.64 inches wide x 23.15 inches long wide by 12.93 inches high. The interior measures 12 inches wide by 18 inches long and is about 5 1/2 inches deep. Add the lid and you gain close to another 5 1/2 inches on the height. As for the weight of this Proctor Silex model – it’s close to 13 pounds and delivers 1450 Watts of cooking power.

If you need added kitchen capacity for any get together including parties, holidays, or visits from the in-laws – this roaster oven can be a lifesaver. You can cook to perfection all your favorite foods whether you choose to roast, bake, slow cook, or steam them. The dome shaped lid helps make it this roaster an excellent tool for keeping food warm prior to serving.

Temperature adjustments range from 125°F to 450°F. With a removable cooking pan it’s not that difficult to clean. A lift out rack makes it easier to load or unload larger foods like honey baked ham or butter roasted turkey.

Having an 18 quart capacity makes it a versatile tool to have at your disposal whenever you’re entertaining guests. But you don’t have to wait for a special occasion – you can use this anytime as an oven. And it won’t overheat your house like a conventional oven can. You can bake or roast potatoes, steam or roast vegetables – even make a delicious cheesecake that serves the whole gang.

Proctor Silex in general tends to make pretty good products and their quality control is better than many brands out there. Motors are tested to make sure they rotate correctly. Switches are flipped to make sure they’re fully functional and mechanical arms are all put to the test before a product like this is made available to the general public. I’m sure the occasional faulty product slips through the cracks – but certainly not to the same degree of others.

Temperatures are easily adjusted with a simple knob. Bake, roast, slow cook, steam, or stew – you can do it all with this one relatively compact unit.

#5: Nesco 6 Quart Porcelain Roaster Oven

 

What’s In The Box?
Nesco porcelain 6 quart roasting oven
Removable porcelain crock pot
Removable stainless steel rack
Recipe guide and directions

 

 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Gives you the functionality of a second oven – while occupying very little space
  • Works great as an all day crock pot (prepare your food in the morning and come home to a perfectly cooked and delicious meal after work)
  • Turkey is moist and the skin perfectly browned with a pleasing texture
  • Unique heating element goes up the sides of the roaster rather than heating from the bottom
  • Powerful enough to slow cook in the winter in an unheated garage
  • Gives you an opportunity to sauté – or to get that perfect sear on your food – before cooking it thoroughly
  • Excellent customer service
  • Does a terrific job of roasting a whole chicken (and the meat retains its juiciness)
  • Takes less time to cook food than a standard oven
  • Cooks roasted chicken that’s as good as you can find anywhere
  • Produces better more delicious roasts than a standard oven can
  • Good quality for the price (it’s a well-built piece of equipment)
  • Can cook your food like roasts slower until they are just right
  • Comes with a built-in light indicating that it’s on
  • Convenient with multiple options
  • Makes an excellent gift
  • Gives you more control over cooking temperatures than a traditional crock pot does
  • Provides an easier way to go from freezer to perfectly cooked meal without being hands-on
  • Heats up rather quickly
  • Porcelain finish is easy to clean
  • Does everything a larger oven does (it’s just in a smaller form)
Cons
  • No built-in timer
  • Surface of pan can be difficult to clean (you may need to soak it, use Barkeepers Friend or a paste made from baking soda and vinegar)
  • Roasting pan seems thin compared to older models of the same make
  • It does not brown turkey very well
  • May be too small for bigger cuts of meat like prime rib or a large ham

This is the second one from this brand to make our list of the top five – best roaster ovens. But this one is a much smaller variation of the standard portable electric roaster. It’s a 6 quart version and is probably best suited for singles, couples and smaller families, since this portable countertop roasting oven is smaller than most.

Nearly 2200 customers have collectively given this porcelain roaster oven a 4.5 star rating (out of 5) which is very good. A rarity among portable roasters – this model is actually available in a multitude of color options, including: red, white, silver/black, stainless steel, silver – as well as a mix of red, white and blue.

Overall, this roaster measures x 8.5 inches wide x 15 inches long x 15 inches in height. It ways just 8 pounds so is easily transportable for most people. It uses 750 Watts of power and can cook up to 6 single servings at once.

Temperature variations range from 200°F to 450°F and despite how hot the oven can get – the handles on the outside seem to remain cool.

This multifunction oven enables you to roast bake cook steam slow cook and serve all with this one device. It makes cooking very convenient and can be a lifesaver whenever there’s a problem with your conventional oven.

Works well for roasting Cornish hen, making a batch of chili, or for slow roasting a brisket to perfection. There is a variety of cooking options available – so you can enjoy flavorful, home-cooked meals without using a full size oven. You’ll use less electricity to cook this way, which is an added bonus.

Like the other Nesco model we reviewed here, this one features Nesco’s “circle of heat” electric element. This heating element wraps up the sides of the roaster to provide faster and more even cooking.

This particular roaster oven is a good choice to use on the patio. And because it’s so compact – it’s easy to take to the cottage or cabin – or use on your RV or boat.

Dramatically Increase Your Oven Space

Owning one of the best roaster ovens available (we cover them in detail above) can effectively double your oven space. Instantly, this makes it possible to prepare a traditional feast like beautifully roasted turkey with potatoes, gravy and several side dishes too – for your large group.

These roaster ovens are completely portable, self-contained units. So they’re easy to take with you wherever you happen to need the ability to bake or roast more food. Roaster ovens are built to retain moisture, so you get meat that is perfectly cooked and never dried out. In fact, you could say that you’ll soon be enjoying poultry or beef slow cooked to perfection.

While there are many roaster ovens on the market these days – some are definitely better than others. We spent days evaluating every portable roaster oven we could find. And then we narrowed it down to the very best models available today and we’re thrilled to present our top picks to you in this brief buyer’s guide.

While a roaster oven can be useful addition to your kitchen, you need to use them in a slightly different way (from a conventional oven) in order to create delicious, mouth-watering results every time.

One of the most common complaints around toaster ovens is that they don’t brown a turkey or other foods the way a standard oven does. The reason for this is that cooking a turkey or chicken in a portable roaster oven means that there’s less space inside and the roaster oven retains a lot more moisture than a standard oven does. It’s added moisture that limits the browning on the outside. But at the same time – this is what contributes to tender, fall-off-the-bone meat inside.

Reasons Why You Might Want a Roaster Oven

– Portability (these appliances are light and easy to transport)

– Tender and moist meat that’s absolutely delicious and never dry (if you’ve ever had an over-cooked, oven-roasted turkey before – you know exactly what we mean)

– Special Occasion and Holiday-worthy meals

– Heats up fast (unlike conventional ovens) and reduces cooking time

– Much more cost efficient than a full-size standard range

– Available in a variety of sizes (make sure it’s the right size before you buy)

– Most roaster ovens have temperature ranges from keep warm up to 450°F

– Easy to clean (many roaster ovens come with have nonstick pans)

Tips For Perfectly Roasted Turkey

Tip – be sure to prep your turkey on the roaster rack instead of prepping it on the counter or in the sink and then transferring it to the rack. It’s much easier this way.
Tip – generously apply your favorite spices all over the surface of the skin and rub butter underneath the skin. This way you’ll get a delicious taste and crispy exterior too.
Tip – if your turkey is a little large for the pan and it’s touching the sides, place a small piece of tinfoil between it and the roaster to prevent burning.
Tip – Pick up a good meat thermometer to help you determine exactly when your turkey is cooked to perfection. Since the turkey will cook faster in this oven – don’t wait too long before you check it.
Tip – If you need further browning, just pop it in the oven towards the end of the cooking time and broil it to add color and certain crispness to your turkey. Just be sure to watch it closely and don’t leave it too long.

The Verdict

A portable roaster oven adds considerable versatility and capability to your kitchen – especially during those times when you have additional guests to feed. There’s no doubt that this is a useful kitchen appliance to add. You just have to be sure you’ve got room to store it away when it’s not in use.

We’ve presented what we feel are the best roaster ovens available today. Our favorite roaster oven is the Oster 22 quart. But there’s a good chance that if you choose any one of our top five selections – you’ll be happy with your portable roaster. Just be sure it has the cooking capacity to suit your needs. Then get ready to enjoy all your perfectly roasted favorites.

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