The 10 Best Roaster Ovens
10. NutriChef Multi-Function
9. Proctor Silex Stainless Steel
8. Oster Smoker
7. Nesco 18-Quart
6. Gourmia Fast Action Air Fryer
5. Elite Platinum MaxiMatic
4. Ninja 3-in-1
3. Waring Professional
2. Rival 18-Quart
1. Oster 22-Quart
What’s The Difference Between Conventional And Roaster Ovens?
Although it might be tempting to call a roaster oven just a smaller version of the oven that’s in your kitchen, these two items have some fairly large dissimilarities. Affecting both how you cook and your finished meals, these differences largely stem from how each heat and cook your food.
A conventional oven allows hot air to circulate around your food, which can make for crispy exteriors, like bread crusts or turkey skins, but dry interiors. That’s because the heated air itself is dry, sucking moisture out of your meats and baked goods. By contrast, a roaster oven uses a heating element contained in the outer shell to distribute heat through a pan you place inside it. Because this pan and heating element are close to the food, there is no great circulation of hot air as with a regular oven. As the inside heats up, heat and steam aren’t lost but are instead forced back into the food. In this manner, you’ll get results that are opposite to those of a conventional oven: moist interiors, but much less crispy exteriors.
Size and heating differences also mean that you’ll roast meats a little differently. With a regular oven, you’ll probably need to baste or turn the food to avoid moisture loss and support even cooking. With a roasting oven, these processes become unnecessary, although if you love crispy skin, you may wish to brown the outside of the meat either on the stovetop or in your oven.
You don’t have to stick to meat with a roaster oven, though. These handy gadgets can cook many types of foods, most right in the included pan or with the help of a small, removable rack. If you’ve been cooking these foods in your regular oven, you probably already have most of the accessories you need for roaster oven cooking, such as oven mitts, meat thermometers, and loaf pans.
There’s one more area in which a roaster provides a completely different experience, which is portability. You can grab a roaster oven and go; take it to a social function, family member’s house, or, if there’s electrical access, an outdoor party. You’ll have fewer dishes to clean and the food can be kept warm or even cooked at your destination.
Features Of Roaster Ovens
Since they offer many benefits over their conventional counterparts, roaster ovens are considered a must-have by everyone from casual cooks to at-home chefs. But deciding to get a roaster oven is much simpler than selecting one, because there are many to choose from, all with a constellation of different features. Here, you’ll find a breakdown of the salient options.
To begin with, look at the temperature range and how you control this. Roasters vary in their maximum and minimum temperatures; some go all the way up to nearly 500 degrees Fahrenheit, while others aren’t quite so powerful. A digital temperature selector will give you greater control, which is great if you’re going to try any baking with the oven. If, however, you’ll be cooking items that aren’t as demanding, like casseroles, then an analog temperature knob may be just fine.
Next, think about the size of the interior. Most roaster ovens are measured in quarts. Those on the smaller side might be about five to six quarts, while those considered large could be in excess of 22 quarts. Most manufacturers include information about the size of items that can fit in the oven, too. For instance, a 22-quart model might specify that it can accommodate up to a 26-pound turkey.
Then, you’ll want to consider how easily you can clean the roaster. Many have dishwasher-safe pans, but others don’t, just as many have non-stick coatings while others do not. When thinking about cleanup, don’t forget about the outside, either. If you’re prone to drips and spills, then a roaster with a rust-resistant or easy-clean outer shell is a must.
Finally, don’t forget about price. This may seem obvious, but consider that your roaster is either going to see sporadic use, perhaps just for cooking a moist and delicious turkey on Thanksgiving, or it’s going to be a daily go-to in your appliance rotation. If the former is the case, buying a lower-end roaster could be fine, but if it’s the latter, you’ll most likely want the best you can afford.
Foods You Can Cook In A Roaster Oven
Even when you see all the features and benefits, you might still think of a roaster oven as a one-trick pony, a machine for cooking big hunks of meat. It’s true that they are excellent for succulent fowl and roasts, but there are plenty of other delicious foods you can make in these convenient items. You won’t even need to be a master chef to do so.
Chili, for instance, slow cooks to perfection in a roaster oven. In fact, you can make just about any stew or casserole, since a roaster oven can function as a Crock-Pot or slow cooker replacement. You could even cook a lasagna right in the pan — without worrying about whether the cheese and sauce will dry out.
You can bake bread in a roaster oven, usually by placing your loaf pans on a small rack inside the main pan. For those who live in hot climates, this is an excellent way to enjoy fresh-baked goods without having to heat up the whole house. You could even put the roaster oven outside to avoid heating the house at all.
Bake potatoes and yams in a roaster oven. As with bread, you’ll place them on a rack inside the pan, being careful to not let them touch the sides so they don’t burn. This method will give you soft and succulent potatoes that aren’t dry and shriveled.
And if you need to make a large quantity of rice, a roaster oven is just the ticket. The process is much the same as for making rice on the stovetop, although you may need to adjust the cooking time.