The 10 Best Roaster Ovens
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Although they’re ideal for the holidays, large events, or anytime you need extra cooking space, these roaster ovens are so practical and versatile that one may just become your daily, go-to choice. They’ll bake almost anything your regular oven can, but they offer an easier cleanup, use less energy, and often lead to moister, more succulent results, thanks to efficient heat or steam circulation. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best roaster oven on Amazon.
January 22, 2020:
New to the list today is the highly versatile Maxi-Matic ERO-2008S, which can help you get meals on the table faster and save you from turning on your oven or several other appliances. It fits easily on most countertops and can bake, grill, broil, roast, toast, keep foods warm, and make rotisserie chickens. On top is a convenient grill/griddle where you can cook eggs, bacon, pancakes, sandwiches, and more. Just select your desired setting and cook time using the handy dials. Included is a 60-minute timer with an indicator bell, and the cook time can be extended as needed with the “Stay On” feature. It can bake a 12-inch pizza or toast up to six slices of bread at a time. The top can also function as a steamer when you place the domed lid over it.
The Oster 18 Quart White also joins our selection, and this mid-sized 18-quart model comes with a rack for holding cuts of meat, as well as a convenient buffet server that can hold up to three side dishes and keep them warm. When you place it on a buffet or countertop, guests can come by and load up their plates. It’s equipped with a sturdy, aluminized steel lid that fits securely so as to trap in moisture and heat. All in all, it’s lightweight and easy to carry from the counter to the buffet or table, and it comes with a handy recipe booklet to get you started.
For a larger model, look to the 22-quart Hamilton Beach 32229R, which can cook meats like beef, turkey, chicken, and ham in around 3-1/2 hours, and it’s also great for baking cakes, breads, or casseroles, since it can hold a 9-by-5-inch baking pan, two loaf-sized ones, or one Bundt pan.
For a model that heats your food from above, check out the Oyama Turbo Convection, which comes with an electric heating element attached to its lid, along with a 12-liter tempered glass bowl and a sturdy metal base. It’s a good one-pot way of cooking meat and vegetables, and it shuts off automatically when your food is done.
Leaving the list today, due to availability issues, are the NutriChef Multi-Function, the Elite Platinum MaxiMatic, the Waring Professional, and the Oster Smoker.
Always unplug your roaster oven when it's not in use, and keep them out of the reach of children when they're operating, as the outside can get hot.
What’s The Difference Between Conventional And Roaster Ovens?
With a regular oven, you’ll probably need to baste or turn the food to avoid moisture loss and support even cooking.
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.
When thinking about cleanup, don’t forget about the outside, either.
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.
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.
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.
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