An electric roaster oven is a kitchen appliance that sits on the counter and plugs into a standard outlet. Though much smaller than a conventional oven, an electric roaster oven can be used to cook all kinds of meats and vegetables. Cooking a whole turkey in an electric roaster means your conventional oven is free for other things.
Time and Temperature
Always read the manual that came with your electric roaster to determine the recommended cooking time and temperature setting for a whole turkey. They should be about the same as a conventional oven. However, even with exact numbers to follow, cooking a whole turkey in a roaster presents many uncontrollable variables: the shape of the bird, the size of the roaster oven, the ratio of meat to bone, the altitude and whether the turkey is fresh or if it was frozen and then thawed. To make things worse, it seems that every recipe suggests a different time and temperature. Your best bet is to follow the advice of those who made the appliance you're using. Then buy an instant-read thermometer and remove the turkey from the oven when the thickest part of the breast reaches (minimally) 160 degrees . Let the turkey sit for about a half hour--it is still cooking and the thermometer should read between 165 degrees and 170 degrees by the time it's done.
A Crisp Skin
Larger turkeys may not turn golden brown in an electric roaster as they do in a larger oven, so check the bird when about 45 minutes of cooking time are left. If it's not browning, to crisp the skin, take the turkey out of the roaster oven, baste it with melted butter and place it in your conventional oven (set to a similar temperature as the roaster) for the remaining time. Don't forget to account for the 20 to 30 minutes the turkey will rest on the counter while the juices are redistributed throughout the meat and the bird continues to cook. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that turkey is safe to eat when it reaches 165 degrees throughout, so you'll want to take it out when your instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees.
Butterball is all about turkey, and its recipe for oven-roasted turkey is as easy as they come. Simply rub 3 tbsp. thyme and 1 clove garlic on the outside of your turkey and place the turkey in a preheated electric roaster oven. The directions call for an oven temperature of 375 degrees; check your oven manual, and if it recommends a different temperature, go with that instead. Use your instant-read thermometer to determine when to remove the turkey (and put it in your conventional oven to crisp the skin if desired) and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
Cooking Bag Recipe
You may place the turkey in a cooking bag in your electric roaster oven if you wish. However, the area inside this appliance is smaller than that of your conventional oven, and the bag cannot touch the roaster's sides, bottom or lid. Make sure that is the case before choosing to use a cooking bag.