How To Cook a Turkey in a Roaster

I hope you love the products that I recommend! As an Amazon Associate I earn small commissions from qualifying purchases. Thank you if you use my links, I really appreciate it!

Using an electric roaster to cook your turkey can be really easy if you know how to do it the right way. Not only that but, It can be really exciting and fun once you get the hang of it. So, how to cook a turkey in a roaster? In this guide I’m going to walk you through the details you’ll need to cook a perfect roasted turkey using an electric roaster.

Why You Should Start Using An Electric Roaster

If you are not familiar with electric roasters, I highly recommend you to check my article where I have gone through the details about the best roasters and comparison between them and conventional ovens. Click here to learn more

There are 5 main reasons why you should start using an electric roaster:

  • Efficient Cooking
  • Diverse Recipe Cooking
  • Energy Saving
  • Moist Roast
  • Ease of Use.

Let’s dive a little bit further in each one of them and see how well these advantages are:

Efficient Cooking

Electric roasters can cook turkey faster than any conventional oven thanks to their overall heating capability which allows them to cook food quickly and efficiently without the needs of preheating.  

Diverse Recipe Cooking

Roasters come with their own containers which allows you to cook a variety of recipes other than just roasting or grilling. Not only it enables you to try different cooking styles but also most roasters have the option where you can cook more than one meal at the same time. Which comes in handy for those who are short in their times.

Energy Saving

Since electric roasters don’t require to be preheated to function well, you can save a lot of energy as you can cook your food right away.

Moist Roast

We are all familiar with the moisture problem we have in our traditional ovens. It can be really annoying to put a pan with water at the bottom rack to add the moisture inside the oven each time you want to use it to cook your turkey. Luckily, electric roasters lock in the juiciness inside the turkey during roasting since they are able to cook the meat using high heat instantly. Thus, there is less time for the moisture inside your turkey to evaporate.

Ease of Use

Normally trying to perfect any type of cooking requires time and effort to get it right, and that perhaps the beauty behind practicing every recipe. The joy you feel once you finally master a certain recipe can never be described with words. However, with an electric roaster, you probably don’t need to have any cooking skills to get a perfectly roasted turkey. All you need to do after preparing and setting up your turkey is turning the knob to the preferred temperature and let it do its work.

How To Cook a Turkey In a Roaster

One of the most common questions I’ve seen over and over again that people ask is “can I just simply put the turkey inside the roaster to cook it?”  Yes, you can do that with just a little bit of butter. However, a perfectly cooked turkey requires some seasoning and extra measures to be taken in the preparations which wouldn’t really take much time to do. With that being said, let’s dive into the main steps you’ll need to do to prepare your turkey for roasting.

Preparing Turkey

Brining Turkey

The first thing you need to do is brining the turkey. While many people see this step as not a necessary step and tend to skip it, I still highly recommend you to do it to minimize the moisture loss. So, how to brine a turkey? Simply, get a clean bucket and fill it with cold water then drop your turkey inside. After that, add one cup of sugar and one cup of salt and start to stir until you notice both of them have dissolved, then take the whole bucket and put it inside your fridge and let it stay there for around 24 hours. 

Note: you may need to arrange for space inside your fridge beforehand so it can fit the bucket in case you have a large-sized turkey. Once again, you don’t really have to do this step but it’s much preferred.

Stuffing and Seasoning Turkey

Many people get confused about whether or not they should stuff their turkeys when it comes to cooking in an electric roaster or what seasoning to use, etc. My first advice would be “Relax and take it easy”. Stuffing and seasoning are almost exactly the same when you try to roast your turkey in a traditional oven. In fact, it’s more of personal preferences, some people prefer to cook their stuffing separately while putting an onion with lemons in the cavity or an apple, celery and onion to add an extra flavor to their turkeys. While others tend to cook their stuffing alongside the turkey.

Seasoning also differs from a person to another, you can use any seasoning you or your family likes. However, I recommend that you at least use some salt, pepper and garlic powder alongside the others that you desire to use. If you are unsure what to use or you want to try something different, read below to know more about my favorite and the easiest way of seasoning turkeys.


Step 1: After 24 hours pass from brining the turkey, take it out from the bucket and give it a good rinse under cold water. Then, use some paper towels to dry it off.

Step 2: Once it’s all good, stuff the turkey with what you usually go for. However, keep it around ¾ cup per pound of the turkey.

Step 3: After you finish stuffing, it’s about time you season your turkey. But first of all, put the turkey on the roaster rack then melt some butter and mix it with sauce and rub it around the exterior of the turkey with a pastry brush. (Note: if you have an allergy or dislike butter, you can use olive oil.)

Step 4: use salt and pepper to season your turkey (you may add other seasonings of your choice for extra flavors.)

Step 5: Now the turkey is ready for roasting and can be placed directly inside the roaster if you want to. But, before doing that If you wish your turkey to get that golden brown color, you’ll have to preheat your electric roaster for around 30 minutes at the highest temperature it has. (Note: As I have mentioned before, you can cook a turkey in a roaster without the need for preheating, and without a doubt, the turkey will be cooked perfectly and will taste great. Preheating only helps to add and secure that beauty of the golden brown color to the taste.) 

Step 6: Place the rack inside the roaster and set the temperature to the max (the max temperature differ from a roaster to another.) and let it do the work for around 30 minutes after that, lower the temperatures down to 100-125 °F. The time differ depends on the weight of the turkey and whether or not it’s stuffed. ( keep on reading below for more information about the required time.) 

Step 7: Once the turkey is all cooked, remove it from the roaster and using some tin foil to tent it. When it’s all good, let it rest for around 20 to 25 minutes then it should be ready to be carved and served.

Step 8: Serve and enjoy!

Extra Tips to be wary of before cooking your turkey in an electric roaster

  • Always put the turkey on the rack before you attempt seasoning, especially if you plan to preheat the roaster.
  • If you have a meat thermometer and you wish to use it, try to stick it in the breast part while avoiding bones.
  • The time required to cook a turkey in an electric roaster is entirely different from a traditional oven. So, avoid setting up your roaster as if it’s a conventional oven. With that being said, there are 2 main criteria to determine the required time to cook any turkey: "Weight and Temperature". The weight of the turkey whether stuffed or unstuffed and the temperature your roaster can handle will help you a lot to decide for the right time. To simplify things further, check this table:


Roaster Temperature

Estimated Time

8 to 12 pounds

350° F

2 to 3 hours

12 to 14 pounds

350° F

3 to 3½ hours

14 to 18 pounds

350° F

3½ to 4½ hours

18 to 20 pounds

350° F

4½ to 5 hours

20 to 24 pounds

350° F

5 to 6 hours

Note: This table serves to give you an idea of the estimated time you’ll need to cook your turkey in an electric roaster. However, the accurate time may vary depends on many yardsticks such as the type of roaster you will use, the temperature, whether the turkey you’ll roast is fresh or frozen. The weight and so on. I highly recommend you to follow the instructions provided in your roaster manual to cook a perfect crispy turkey.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.