Roast Turkey (in Electric Roaster)

Roast Turkey in an electric roaster is a timesaver for Thanksgiving or Christmas and it roasts perfectly with fool-proof results while saving on oven space!

If you’re looking for an alternative way to cook your Classic Roast Turkey for your main dish this Thanksgiving I’ve got options for you!  You’ll find plenty of your Thanksgiving and Holiday Recipe Favorites here.

Turkey in an Electric Roaster


Roasting a turkey in a regular oven is no longer the traditional way to cook a turkey early on Thanksgiving morning.  You can make the turkey just as delicious and tender without losing any oven space.

If you’re a slow cooker enthusiast you’re sure to wow everyone with our Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Thighs or Crispy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast.  Yes, we are all about crockpots on this site, but today, let’s talk about how to use the Electric Roaster Oven method!

There’s no need to add liquid to the roasting pan but you can if you’d like (add 2 cups if you’d like). Just be aware the steam it creates will prevent the skin from crisping but you’ll have enough liquid for a gravy.

In an Electric Roaster the turkey will produce its own flavorful juices.  Keep the drippings from the roasting pan and extend the turkey’s juices with broth or wine, then add it to your gravy for extra flavor.


This recipe calls for an 18 pound turkey and the  Oster 16 Quart Electric Roaster Oven I use holds up to a 20 pound turkey.  

Electric Roasters are different than your classic slow cookers because it distributes heat throughout the roasting chamber rather than heating with gas or exposed coils in a conventional oven.

One of the best things about a roaster (other than not losing oven space?) No need for basting! The electric roaster has an electric heating element and a large, removable pan covered by a self-basting high domed lid when roasting turkey.

Electric Roasters can be used to bake, roast and make soups and casseroles, as well as be used for keeping hot food warm, I love using mine anytime I can.



  • Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey cavity and toss or save for gravy.
  • Use paper towels and pat dry turkey.
  • Take your hand to loosen the skin over the turkey breast and rub butter underneath the skin.
  • Rub butter over the outside of the bird.
  • Sprinkle the bird with salt and pepper.
  • Rub butter in the cavity of the turkey and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • We recommend cooking your stuffing on the side like we did in our Slow Cooker Stuffing.  You’ll want to keep your oven free for other dishes!



  • Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey cavity and pat it dry.
  • Remove the rack from the roaster oven.
  • Place turkey in the roaster on the rack breast side up.
  • Rub the turkey with the butter and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover the roaster and cook at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Lower the heat to 325 degrees and cook for 3 1/2 – 4 hours.

Raw Turkey in Electric Roaster


  • Cooking time for an 18 pound is 3 1/2 – 4 hours in a Roaster Oven.
  • Cooking time for an 18 pound turkey in a conventional oven is around 4 1/2 hours or approximately 15 minutes per pound. 


  • Instant Pot:  Using an 8 quart model which can handle a 8-9 pound turkey on a trivet, season according to the recipe and cook 6 minutes per pound with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
  • Seasonings:  Optional seasonings include chopped thyme, rosemary and sage.
  • Flavored Butter: Use your favorite flavored butter to put under the skin of your turkey before roasting in the electric roaster.


How to Serve and Store Roast Turkey:

  • Serve:  Turkey in a Roaster is best when allowed to rest around 45 minutes before slicing giving the meat time to reabsorb the juices.  Do not allow the turkey to set out longer than 2 hours.
  • Store:  Refrigerate the turkey in shallow airtight containers or wrap tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap.  Properly stored, cooked turkey will last for 3 – 4 days.
  • Freeze:  Roasted turkey can be stored 2 -3 months in a freezer bag or airtight container.

Safe Cooking Temperature for Turkey:

Use an instant read meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh to know when the turkey is completely roasted.

Roast Turkey from an Electric Roaster

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Roast Turkey (in an Electric Roaster)

Roast Turkey in an electric roaster is a timesaver for Thanksgiving or Christmas and it roasts perfectly with fool-proof results while saving on oven space!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Electric Roaster, Turkey in Electric Roaster
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 30 servings
Calories 300 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 18 pound whole turkey , defrosted
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper


  1. Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey cavity and pat it dry.

  2. Remove the rack from the roaster oven.

  3. Place turkey in the roaster, breast side up.

  4. Rub the turkey with the butter and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Cover the roaster and cook at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

  6. Lower the heat to 325 degrees and cook for 3 1/2 - 4 hours until a thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the turkey thigh.

Nutrition Facts
Roast Turkey (in an Electric Roaster)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 300 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 147mg49%
Sodium 449mg20%
Potassium 433mg12%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 42g84%
Vitamin A 203IU4%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Electric Roaster Roasted Turkey collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. You might consider putting the direction to preheat the roaster in your recipe. This is the first time using an electric roaster (& my first time making a full turkey) and I didn’t preheat it. If I were using an oven I would have assumed the preheat was necessary, but without any experience with a roaster, I wasn’t sure! I hope this doesn’t mess with the results too much. I usually read the comments first, but I didn’t this time and I wish I had. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. What would cause a 14 pound turkey cooked in an electric toaster to end up tough and stringy? It was done after 1 hour 45 minutes. I cooked at 400 degrees for 1/2 hour and then turned the temp
    down to 325. I did not remove the cover; However I read somewhere to put a towel over the top to keep the heat in. I did remove everything from the turkey. I used butter in the inside and outside then seasoned. I did not put butter under the skin. I added celery, onion, and carrots into the cavity. Any thoughts?

    1. Oh no! I’m thinking that possibly the temperature was too high or there was a leak in the top where air was escaping not keeping it moist. The towel trick might help for next time. I’m so sorry.

  3. We did our turkey much like this. I didn’t end up with any drippings, and it seemed a touch dry, so I added some water. I had onions and veggies below as well. Next time I’ll probably add some water – 1/2″ to 1″ at the bottom. And baste with it once or twice for a crisper skin. The skin came out nicely. After the water was put in, we had drippings for a yummy gravy at the end.

  4. I hop you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am cooking a small turkey tomorrow and want to roast it in my electric roasting oven. Is there a guide for how long per pound to cook the turkey in this pan? Thanks

    1. Hi Bennie, how small? You can mostly expect it to cook similarly to the oven depending on your roaster. Does your roasting have number temperatures listed on it? You just can’t open it too often because ALL the heat escapes very quickly. Here to troubleshoot if you’d like. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. HI Sabrina,
    When i put the turkey in the roaster is it ok to remove the pan and cook on a rack directly in the roaster? I thought i saw somewhere that you should remove the pan and cook that way.

    1. You mean you want to remove the pan and cook only on the rack with no pan to hold in the juices? I have never tried this. I could also be reading this wrong. Happy Thanksgiving!

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