How To Use a Roaster Oven | First-Timer’s Guide


Not going to lie; I love everything about the practical electric roaster ovens. That is why I own three different models. One of them is solely used for smoking all kinds of meat at our place. It is the only model that I can use outdoors. Nothing can beat the tempting aroma, which slowly burning wood chips add to your food if you ask me. The other two come in handy when we have a large crowd for dinner or over the holidays to prepare delicious meals for the family and friends.

I guess you don’t have to play up and buy this many, but you definitely need one if you plan to cook certain foods the right way. Besides, roaster ovens are extremely easy to operate. They are exclusively designed to achieve things that your big oven simply can’t.

How to use an electric roaster?

Here is a quick and forthright first timer’s guide on how to use a roaster oven. Keep it handy to bring out the glimmer in your recipes.


Obviously, the first thing you do when you get your brand-new roaster oven is to unpack. The next step is to clean the parts before the first use. Start by washing the inner pan, rack, and then wipe the lid with a damp cloth. I suggest you also clean the inner parts where the heating elements are and get rid of all the dust; you certainly do not need them on your food.


Hold up, do not use the roaster right away. Once the pan, rack, and the lid are completely dry, just plug it in and preheat the unit at 350°F for 15 minutes. Turn it off and let it cool down. This is it; your new cooker is ready for action. Take out your yummy recipes and start puffing magic in the kitchens.

Learn to control

Notice there are not many controls on the roaster oven, but just a simple knob to set the temperature level. Some models come with an indicator light to show the exact level. Apparently, there is not much to do after putting the food inside and closing the lid, as long as you know what temperature you want. Nevertheless, you would need a digital food thermometer to prepare restaurant quality meat dishes since they require particular attention to keep it juicy and tender. Check out our recipes page to match the exact setting for each food type.

Know your options

No more hand-basting anymore! My favorite feature of the roaster oven is the self-basting lid that circulates the moisture inside. There are ridges underneath the lid to collect steam, which drops it back on the food. Plus, most of the lids have the dome design to fit bigger meats like the turkey effortlessly. Cold handles on the lid, and the smaller size makes the roaster oven completely portable.


Tip Alert

A roaster oven can cook anything that an ordinary oven can, but only quicker and better. All you have to do is to adjust your cooking times. Thanks to the unique lid design, the specialty meat dishes will come out tender and juicier.


Tip Alert

Note that the roaster ovens are healthier too; they enable you to roast fat-free. The inner rack enables you to lift up whatever you are roasting and keeps the meat away from the drippings at the bottom of the pan. Additionally, the handles of the lift-out-rackmake it easy to remove the food once it is ready.
Keep in mind that you can also use your roaster oven as a slow cooker and make savory stew, casseroles, soup, and more. It  incredibly versatile. And before I forget, you will save on energy and space when cooking. Roaster ovens cook about 30% faster than tradition ovens. 

If you want to use the roaster oven as a slow cooker, then use the 200°F level for the LOW, and the 250°F to match the HIGH setting of the slow cooker.


Most parts are removable; take out the inner pan and the rack once you are done cooking, and wash under running water with mild detergent. You can conpletely put it in the dishwasher.

What can you cook in an electric roaster?

Most people think that roaster ovens are for holiday meals like Thanksgiving turkey or prime rib roasts. However, they keep forgetting that this is an oven, much like the big one in your kitchen. You can cook, bake, or roast anything you like. The main difference between the two is that the roaster ovens are faster. Additionally, they can maintain the moisture inside the unit throughout the cooking process. So, you do not have to limit yourself to anything. Go ahead and try all your old recipes with your new toy.

Can you bake in an electric roaster?

A roaster often is capable of cooking any type of food that your traditional oven can. Feel free to bake, roast, steam, and even slow-cook with it. You would be amazed by the number of available recipes. I have seen people prepare anything from tasty cheesecakes to seasoned rice in it.

Can you put aluminum foil in an electric roaster?

You sure can use aluminum foil in your roaster oven. It works great, especially when cooking vegetables. Roast vegetables on a bed of aluminum foil and add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to make dreamy side dishes.


Can I cook casserole in a roaster oven?

Why not? Roaster ovens can easily be converted to a slow cooker. Use the lowest setting to match the LO setting of the slow cooker and make delicious casseroles.

Can you fry in a roaster?

Do not deep fry in a roaster oven, or you might damage the unit. It is a versatile appliance, but you should not push the limits too much. Do not try to convert it into an airplane or a deep fryer. Instead, try roasting some turkey or prime ribs. Trust me; you are going to like it more.


  • Make sure you use the lift-out-rack when cooking meat so that you can keep the food away from its own drippings.
  • Do not add water into the pan when you are roasting turkey or similar. The only time you would do that if you use a pan liner.
  • I suggest you use pan liners if you want easy and fast clean up afterward. Lay them before you start cooking, and then throw away after you move the food.


Be careful not to open the lid as much when you are cooking meat and vegetables in the roaster oven. If you do so, the steam will escape, and you will lose all the moisture inside.

In Conclusion

I have to admit that I am a big roaster oven fan. It helps me to prepare huge meals much faster and easier than my big convection oven. My motto is that two ovens are better than one, especially on Thanksgiving! I use it for the turkey while preparing the side dishes on the stove and the big oven. It is portable; I just clean and pack it up once I am done cooking. Remember, your new roaster oven is as versatile as it gets. You can cook, bake, roast, and also serve in it. Besides, you can also defrost or keep your cooked food warm until the guests arrive.

Back to blog