Electric roaster ovens are extremely versatile, and you should definitely be adventurous with them to cook various other meals besides turkey roast. In the end, it is an oven. You don’t just cook meat in your big oven, right? How about some baking with it? Roaster ovens are also great for preparing cheesecakes, brownies, breads, pizzas, pies, baked potatoes; you name it.
You can cook all kinds of different meals, but you also get to cook delicious soup, and in huge batches which is very hard to accomplish with your regular oven. All you have to do is to put a clear pan liner inside, and turn it into an oversized soup bowl.
What Can You Cook in a Roaster Oven?
Besides roasting turkey, you can cook big batch of casseroles, traditional chili, fish, lasagna, steam breads, cookies and more with your electric roaster oven. It comes with the same features as your regular oven, but a roaster oven is portable; you can cook anywhere with an electric outlet. Bake, steam, roast, and slow-cook anything that you like with them. Roaster ovens are simple to operate and easy to clean.
My favorite is to prepare baked potatoes. Since I like them so much, it just feels great to be able to cook a larger portion quickly. Roaster ovens also make perfect ribs; lamb or pork. They come out tender and juicy. Corned beef, briskets, and any kind of large roast turn out delicious and juicy thanks to the self-basting lid feature. I cook stuffed peppers in the roasting pan with a lot of spices, and they are definitely a party pleaser.
Keep in mind that you can also serve directly from the roaster oven; take off the lid once the soup or stew is done, and turn down the temperature to 200°F. It will keep the food warm while your guests enjoy it as if they were having an open buffet night.
Can You Use a Roaster Oven as a Slow Cooker?
You can use the roaster oven as a slow cooker. The only thing is that the amount of food cooked will be enormous; that’s why I prefer smaller size roaster ovens for extra versatility. Many event organizers use roaster ovens to prepare large size meals. Slow cookers only come with two settings; HI and LOW. Keep in mind that the 200°F on the roaster oven equals to the LOW setting of slow-cooker, and 250°F to the HI setting. Don’t forget that you can make delicious dips for any party by using your roaster oven as a slow-cooker. Try spinach dip, chili cheese, and slowly cooked beef stew for variety.
Roaster Ovens with Buffet Servers
Some roaster ovens come with buffet servers. The good news is that most buffet server fit into all 18 Quart ovens; however, you should check with the manufacturer before you purchase one.
It is just great to be able to prepare side dishes on top while you cook two chickens at the bottom. You can definitely save time and serve delicious meal to your guests. It is a complete package if you ask me.
Pictured above is the Oster Roaster Oven 18 Qt with buffet server.
Cooking Times for Various Meats with a Roaster Oven
Roaster ovens are fast thanks to their unique heating elements and small space cooking environments. They are also very talented to circulate moisture inside, and the self-basting lid is marvelous for both meat and bread cooking. All these features shorten the regular cooking times for various meals. In simplest terms; they are perfect time savers.
Here are some cooking time references for different meat parts:
Perfect Chili Recipe with the Roaster Oven
You can cook traditional chili with your roaster oven. All you need is a foil pan liner. Follow the directions below and you will be surprised how tasty it is!
- 3 cans of 16 oz. pinto beans
- 10 pounds ground beef (the leaner the better)
- 10 cups of cold water
- 6-8 medium size tomatoes
- 3 large onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons of ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of ground cayenne pepper
- 4-5 green chilies
- 3 ½ cups of tomato sauce
- Salt to taste
- Start by browning the ground beef in a large pan; once they are browned, set them aside.
- Open the pinto bean cans and drain them.
- Dice the tomatoes, onions, and chilies.
- Mince the garlic cloves.
- Put 2 cups of water in the roaster pan and then put the foil liner on top.
- Preheat roaster to 350°F for 10 minutes.
- Add all the ingredients inside roaster oven and stir for a minute.
- Close the lid and cook for about an hour or until the chili peppers are tender.
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese on top. Makes about 50 servings.
How Do You Keep Food Warm in a Roaster Oven?
Your electric roaster oven comes with the ¨keep warm¨ feature. It is so helpful when you are expecting a lot of guests since they never arrive at the same time, and you need a way to keep the food warm. A simple trick with the roaster oven is all you need!
Here are the simple steps to keep your food warm with a roaster oven:
- Plugin your roaster oven and close the lid.
- Turn the temperature to 350°F and keep it on for half an hour.
- Turn down the heat to 200°F afterwards.
- Open the lid and put your warm food or buffet serves in the roaster oven.
What is Inside an Electric Roaster Oven?
Keep in mind that not all electric roaster ovens are manufactured equally. If you want to learn how to select the best one and get into advanced features, then you can read our guide for best electric roaster.
Your electric roaster oven comes with the following features if you got the right one:
- Self-basting lid; this feature has an immense effect on the juiciness of the meat.
- Quality heating element; some roster ovens like Nesco has special heating element system ¨Circle of Heat¨ that wraps around the oven and improves the cooking quality.
- Removable rack that keeps the meat away from the grease and drippings at the bottom. Most models come with handles on the sides, so that you can easily lift the turkey once it is cooked.
- Removable pan; most roaster pans are enamel coated, however Nesco tends to use porcelain pans which makes your cooking environment healthier.
- Cold handles; watch out for this one as it is so easy to burn your hands with the hot surface of roaster ovens. The get really hot while in use. A cold handle always remains cold, so that you can safely hold the lid.
- Clear window on the lid; see-through window lets you monitor the status of the meat without opening the lid.
You can use your electric roaster oven just like your old big oven. It is a versatile kitchen appliance. Roast, bake, steam, and slow-cook with it effortlessly. Plus, it is just great to cook large batches of meals for big social events or crowded gatherings. Adding a pan liner inside turns the roaster oven into an oversized crock pot that you can cook stew, soup, and more.