Not every home is equipped with a complete array of cooking equipment. That’s because not every kitchen has enough space to hold all of them. I used to live in a small bachelor’s pad with every amenity downsized into a small space. With such a small kitchen, I didn’t have the luxury of owning an oven back then. That’s the reason why I got myself an oven roaster instead. With my long years spent in my pad and constant use of an oven roaster, I got to try out different brands that serviced me through the years. Here are the best oven roasters both I and professional chefs recommend.
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- Best overall Roaster oven: Oster Roaster Oven
- Best for value Roaster oven: Nesco Roaster Oven
What is a Roaster Oven?
A roaster oven is a compact countertop oven that cooks food using dry heat. It is a large electric pan with a removable lid that cooks food within its cooking chamber. It is a multipurpose oven that is used for roasting, grilling, baking, steaming, and many more.
How Is It Different from a Conventional Oven?
A roaster oven is made as a smaller version of a conventional oven. However, there are considerable differences between the two. You can refer to the table below:
Source of Heating
Gas or Electrically powered
Flowing heat distribution
Trapped heat cooking
Usually up to 500℉
Usually up to 450℉
Gas heated from the top and bottom of the pan
Heat coils surrounding the cookwell
No preheating needed
What Are the Benefits of an Oven Roaster?
Size is not the only benefit of owning a roaster oven. A roaster oven has more advantages than you can ever count and here are some of them:
When using a conventional oven, you need to preheat the oven in order for you to use it efficiently. This can take a lot of your time since a conventional oven heats up slowly. On the contrary, a roaster oven has an overall heating capability to roast food faster. Considering that the roaster oven is smaller and more compact, there is less space for the heating panel to warm up.
Diverse Recipe Cooking
A roaster oven comes with its own dish. Unlike a conventional oven where your food is placed in racks, it has its own container where you can cook meals other than roasts or grilled food. From lasagna to hot pots, you can cook practically any type of dish that can be prepared using an oven. You can bake, roast, slow-cook, air fry, and steam or even cook different meals at the same time.
Since a roaster oven heats up quickly, it doesn’t consume as much energy as compared to a conventional oven. It also regulates the power it uses so that it can function efficiently every time you cook a meal.
The reason why I always put a roasting pan with water at the bottom rack is to add moisture inside a conventional oven. The problem here is that the dry environment inside a typical oven draws out the moisture from inside your meat forcing you to add another source of moisture for your food to stay juicy and plump.
A roaster oven, on the other hand, brings you a plump meal every single time. It locks in the juiciness inside the meat you are roasting. Because it cooks food using high heat in an instant, there is less time for the moisture from inside your food to ooze and evaporate.
Ease of Use
It’s never easy to get perfectly baked bread or dough from a conventional oven right off the bat. Practice is the only way to achieve baking and roasting perfection; but, with a roaster oven, you can be a master chef of your own right. The roaster oven allows you to produce a delicious meal easily even if it’s your first time. With just one knob to control the temperature, cooking and heating with this appliance would be a breeze.
How to Use a Roaster Oven?
It is fairly simple to use a roaster oven. Most roaster ovens come with a temperature knob. This allows you to manually control the heat inside your roaster oven without hassle. You can simply pop in the meat inside the roaster oven and turn the knob at your desired temperature.
Roaster ovens have a low temperature set at 200℉. The high temperature is already considered at 300℉ up to 450℉ with the ideal high temperature set between 350-400℉.
TIP: All roaster ovens come with a non-stick pan. And with that, you need to be careful in using a metal-tipped utensil with it.
What to Look for in Buying a Roaster Oven?
Before buying any appliance for your kitchen, you need to know its basics. Here are the major factors to consider when buying the best roaster oven.
Size and Capacity Ratio
This solely depends on your needs but it is important to take note of the size and capacity ratio. By far, the largest capacity can hold up to 22 qt. The reason why you are buying a roaster oven in the first place is the convenience of a smaller countertop oven so choosing one with a thinner shell is something you should opt for. The ideal space between your pan to the shell is 1 to 2 inches. Anything more than that would make it bulky and heavy.
Choosing the right material is tantamount to the quality of the roaster oven. It is highly preferred to get one with a cookwell that’s coated with enamel, ceramic, stoneware or porcelain. These materials do not react with the food so they are ideal. Especially so if you’re worried about retaining all the nutrients and health benefits of the food you prepare with it. Cookwells made with a non-stick coating often flake off after heavy usage and are also prone to be scraped off after frequent heavy-duty cooking (i.e. slow cooking being a major culprit.)
Energy Saving Capability
One of the reasons why many households are shifting to an electric roaster oven from a conventional oven would be due to efficiency on both energy and cost. Make sure to check how much wattage it consumes. If you’re into in-depth research, you may look at the instruction manual available online or check on basic information from the manufacturer that lets you know how long it takes for the cookwell to heat up. The shorter the amount of time, the less energy it consumes.
Top 4 Roaster Oven Reviews
Oster Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid
The Best Roaster Oven Overall
The roaster oven that offers optimal convenience for any type of cook. This is the choice that lets you save time and energy and feel like a professional chef.
Sizes and Types:
Oster Roaster Ovens come in four different sizes: 16 qt, 18 qt, 20 qt, and 22 qt. And what’s great about it is that it can cook a 22-pound turkey. It has a large space for cooking massive roasts. The Oster brand offers different types of roasts for various types of roasting methods:
- Classic Roaster. This is the typical roaster with the basic set that comes with a food rack.
- Roaster Oven with Basting Lid. This set comes with a specialized lid that allows room for the meat to self-baste.
- Smoke Roaster Oven. This comes with a removable wood chip container that you can use outdoors for an extra tasty and smoky grill.
- Buffet Style Roaster. This set comes with smaller pans where you can put various types of food to serve your guests.
What I prefer the most is the one with the basting lid because of it, the lid locks in the moisture from the food cooking inside the roaster. This way you don’t have to constantly keep on checking and opening your roaster to have your meat basted by hand. I’ve always recommended the one with the self-basting lid compared to the classic roaster because you only need to add a few dollars to get the specialized lid.
One of the prime features of the Oster Roaster Oven is its pan which is enamel-on-steel. Enamel is one of the safest (if not the best) surfaces that you can have on your cookware. It is non-reactive and is very safe to use. Enameled surfaces are FDA approved, so you don’t have to worry about any health concerns it might pose on your cooking.
Aside from its safety, enamel is naturally non-stick, highly durable, and can withstand extremely hot temperatures. Enamel has a characteristic that reduces burning or scorching your food. It can regulate the transfer of heat from the steel pan to the food and retain the heat at a constant temperature. Though it is efficient, enamel is pretty heavy adding extra weight to your roaster oven.
With the Basting Set, the purchase includes a removable rack for efficient roasting and a removable pan for easier cleanup. The pan has wider side panels for a better grip on the heavy pan. The basting lid is quite light in the shape of a dome.
This roaster is pretty amazing since it comes with a “frozen to cooked” meal feature. It means that you can put your frozen food inside the roaster and start with the defrost mode so it will automatically defrost the meat. It also has a keep warm feature that warms your food for up to 24 hours. It also does not consume a lot of electricity, making this one of my go-to appliances when I plan to cook some meals (especially when expecting guests). The full rubberized bottom also prevents it from sliding off off the countertop, or any surface no matter how wet or slippery it may be.
The Oster brand is a phenomenal roaster oven brand which practically provides every household with the best roaster. I also love it since it was my first roaster. It is versatile in cooking and heating plenty of meals but the most notable aspects of it would be durability and energy-saving ability.
NESCO Roaster Oven 481825PR
The Efficient Cost for Value Roaster Oven
You don’t need a large oven to roast small portions of food. What you need is an efficient roaster that can bring any type of meal on your table with less effort but delectable taste and quality. This is what Nesco is all about. It is the only brand that offers smaller roaster ovens that fit singles, couples or small families.
Size and Types:
With a size option for smaller portions, you’ll be surprised that the Nesco Roaster Oven maximizes every single space. It has a 5qt, 6qt, and 18qt choices. Surprisingly the 5qt can roast a whole chicken.
You will love that they offer beautifully designed shells to choose from and add flavor, not just to your food but also to your interior decor.
Nesco Roaster Ovens offer a stainless steel shell roaster oven with a porcelain cookwell. The pan is removable and also comes with a chrome plated steel rack for safety. You will be happy to know that the pan is non-stick; so, it would be easy for you to clean up the mess afterward.
Since the roaster is made of stainless steel, it is relatively lighter than most roaster ovens. It is designed for efficiency, easy-handling, and portability. It will be very easy for you to move it to any countertop or table even if it is filled with food.
The set comes with a removable pan, a rack, and a removable lid. It also has an optional choice for a buffet-style serving. There are different non-stick stainless pans in a set of 3 so you could transform your roaster into a beautiful buffet-style table.
The buffet style pan set allows you also to cook other meals on your smaller racks like making fondue or sauces and steaming vegetable at the same time.
This is a haven for beginners who want to cook great meals with ease. There are preset temperature controls for various types of cooking. The knob controls add efficiently-calculated temperatures for various cooking methods which saves you time in cooking your food. And, you cook it with less worry.
The Nesco roaster oven uses its unique heating method where the heat source is found at the sides of the roaster. This prevents you from burning your food and allows better heating throughout the roaster. The domed lid offers multiple functions since it can serve as an unofficial basting lid. This adds to the unique circle of heat technology by Nesco where moisture is sealed inside the pan.
Rival RO180 Roaster Oven
The Best Luxury Roaster Oven
For a durable set that can cook full dinner meals for huge groups or families, this is the ideal roaster. It can help you cook quality hams, lasagnas, and turkey roasts. Specialized for durable and constant use, the Rival is a real contender for the best roaster ovens available in the market.
Size and Types:
The Rival is predominantly targeting large groups of people thus offering two huge portion sizes with a capacity of 18qt, 20qt, and 22qt. Designed for the best turkey roast, this brand is really optimized for roasting. It specializes in creating a beautifully tight-skinned roast with plump and moist meat.
If you’re going to eat a delicious feast, you need a heavy-duty appliance made of the right material for the job. The cookwell of the roaster oven is made of steel with an enamel coating which serves as a protective shield that prevents the steel part of the cookwell to react with your food. This makes it versatile, allowing you to directly various meals. It also comes with a stainless steel shell that helps lock in the heat within the roaster. The shell is also very sturdy, lightweight and flexible for easier handling.
The roaster oven comes with a basic roaster oven set: removable cookwell, food rack, and roaster lid. The cookwell is a bit heavy because of the enamel coating. You will love that among the many roaster ovens in the market, this has a small capacity to size ratio. It means that the shell takes up a small space giving more room for a larger cookwell. The cookwell is large enough to fit a 9×13 baking sheet.
In addition, there is a removable stainless steel rack that prevents your meat from sticking to the surface of the cookwell and preventing any scorching or burning at the surface of your roast. The rack is flexible and strong which can even roast a 26-pound turkey or any type of meat with ease.
This classic roaster oven is great when it comes to cooking roasts however, it is also ideal for cooking stews. The cookwell is deep, allowing you to cook large portions of food. You will also love its energy-saving capability.
Hamilton Beach Roaster Oven with Self-Basting Lid
The Most Aesthetically Appealing Roaster
This is the perfect addition to your modern kitchen. Hamilton Beach always delivers stunning cooking appliances that are iconic to the brand and this roaster is one of them.
Size and Types:
The Hamilton Beach Roaster Oven is very spacious. It is much bigger than most roasters which might make it appear bulkier. Though the cookwell generally has a capacity of 22qt, it can handle more and reach up to 25qt. It can even comfortably cook a 28-pound turkey to perfection. It can also hold a 9”x13” baking pan and two 9”x5” loaf pans. This is definitely the perfect fit for an awesome feast!
The Hamilton Beach features a thick steel cookwell coated and polished with enamel. The enamel does not just look great, it can serve food too. It retains the natural flavors of our food and maintains the integrity of every meal that we prepare. I love that it also comes with a strengthened stainless steel shell that holds the cookwell.
The Hamilton Beach comes with the basic cookwell, food rack, and a domed lid. The domed lid adds to the height of the roaster that allows you to have more food stuffed inside. The dome provides space for air to circulate that allows you to cook your food evenly. So, even if you put a large, overly stuffed 28-pound turkey, the Hamilton Beach roaster oven can cook it without worry.
The Hamilton Beach has basic controls that can hold your food warm for up to 4 hours. Because of the deep dish, you can stack up food for a buffet-style service. The design of the roaster oven also adds to a wonderful-looking centerpiece.
One of the things I love about this roaster oven is that it is pretty sturdy. It is very hard to dent which makes it one of those appliances that will stay on your countertop for a really long time. I’m pretty sure that you are going to love how it heats up really fast, too. In just two minutes, the cookwell starts to cook your food at your desired temperature.
Comparison of The Best Roaster Ovens
Here is a better look at the different roaster ovens in our roster.
Shell (Cookwell Material)
Stainless steel (enamel coated steel)
150℉ to 450℉
Defrost and keep warm controls
Stainless steel (porcelain)
200℉ to 450℉
Preset controls (slow cook, cook, roast, bake, and steam)
Stainless steel (enamel coated steel)
150℉ to 450℉
Basic controls only
Stainless steel (enamel coated steel)
150℉ to 450℉
Basic controls only
What Else Can I Do With A Roaster Oven?
Just because it is named “roaster oven” doesn’t mean that you should only use it for roasting. There are multiple functions of the roaster oven than you could possibly think of.
For as long as you have a baking pan that fits inside the roaster oven, you can bake. There are two ways to bake using your roaster oven: steam baking and basic baking.
- Steam baking is by putting water inside the roaster and putting your baking pan inside. You can do this first by putting the rack inside the cookwell and adding up to an inch of water. Put in your baking pan and cover the cookwell.
NOTE: Wrap the lid with a cloth to prevent water from dripping onto your baked goodies.
- Basic baking is by preheating your oven. This will only take up to 5 minutes then, you can pop in your baking pan and bake as normal. If you are going to put the batter in your roaster, never forget your baking sheet. Don’t ever try putting the batter straight into the roaster without a baking sheet or without oiling your cookwell or you’re going to have a very messy clean up afterward.
It’s easy to steam vegetables or any type of food inside your roaster oven. Simply put a rack inside the roaster with a small amount of water. I always wrap my lid with a cloth to absorb excess moisture and prevent the steaming water to drip onto the food I am steaming. Nobody likes soggy food.
Air frying is slightly different because it uses moving hot air to cook food. This can only be possible inside large roaster ovens where there is enough space for hot, dry air to circulate.
When my microwave got busted, I resorted to my roaster oven as an all-around heating appliance. And I dare say, it is very effective. I often have the habit of leaving leftover food and end up burning my food because I leave it heating over the stove. With a roaster oven, it heats up my food well minus the radiation from the microwave and I don’t have to worry about leaving it.
What’s amazing about a roaster oven is that I can use it as a serving tray for a buffet. It keeps food warm for the next hour and it can serve as an awesome hot plate. I can serve practically anything on my roaster oven in a buffet. I also happen to like how it can look like a stunning modern dish tray that fits the buffet table perfectly.
Whether I am making a dip for fondue or a massive gravy bowl, my roaster is an awesome sauce maker. I love using it to make huge batches of sauces because I never get to burn the bottom of my pan. Making sauces on the stove is just as easy but the distribution of heat starts from the bottom, thus burning some of the sauce and spoiling the entire batch. With the roaster oven, constant heat and controlled temperature allow me to make sauces with perfection. I can also keep them warm for the next hour which can be a delightful, massive sauce bowl.
I can’t help but fall in love with slow-cooked meals. The tender juicy meat that falls right off the bone and drool-dripping stew sauce just makes my jaw drop. The roaster oven can also be a great slow cooker. It maintains a constant temperature for a long time. I never had the need to get myself a slow cooker since this kitchen appliance can do just as good a job as any slow cooker out there.
Roaster Oven 101: Common FAQs About a Roaster Oven
Do I Need to Put Water at the Bottom of My Pan when Roasting?
No, I do not recommend adding any liquid inside the pan. Since it is a confined space, adding any type of fluid will create steam. Instead of roasting your meat, it will end up stewing your food. When cooking any type of meat (turkey, chicken, etc.), it produces its own juice and will eventually start oozing out its delicious fluids. This is enough to cook the meat inside your roaster.
However, if you think that your meat is drying up inside the roaster oven, you can add a little bit of broth, wine or juice about 30 minutes before you take the roast off your oven.
Can I Bake in My Roaster Oven?
Yes, you can. Whatever you can do using your conventional oven, you can also do in your roaster oven. It’s all a matter of transforming your conventional oven into a portable unit that makes the difference.
Is It Faster to Cook a Turkey in a Roaster Oven?
Roaster ovens function practically the same as a conventional oven so it will roughly take the same time. However, since the heating process is faster in a roaster oven, cooking time is reduced to around 30 minutes, at most.
The cooking time is shortened but not significantly faster than a conventional oven. Since there is less space to heat inside a roaster oven, the meat easily heats up faster; thus, cooking is slightly faster
This would also depend on other factors like:
- Size of the meat
- The condition of the meat prior to cooking like frozen or thawed
- The capacity of the oven roaster
Can I Cook Rice in My Roaster Oven?
Yes, you can. Set your temperature at 250℉ when cooking your rice and reduce the temperature to 200℉ once your rice starts to boil for a deliciously cooked rice meal.
My Final Say
I’ve already mentioned that the Overall Best Roaster oven in my roaster oven reviews is the Oster Roaster Oven for the reason that you get every benefit from a roaster oven and more. It’s durable and saves you a ton of money because it consumes less energy. The enamel coating on the pan also plays a big factor because it keeps the integrity of your food to its fullest every time you cook.
I would also recommend the Nesco Roaster Oven as a runner-up because it offers a smaller type of roaster that can fit singles, couples and small families.
A roaster oven is more than just a roaster. It can become a multifunctional appliance that can replace many of those you have at home. It is more compact than owning a full-sized conventional oven but it offers as much, maybe even more.