The Secret to Juicy, Tender Turkey: Cooking it in a NESCO Roaster Oven

Are you tired of dry, overcooked turkeys that leave you feeling disappointed on Thanksgiving? Look no further than the NESCO Roaster Oven, your secret weapon for achieving a moist, flavorful, and perfectly cooked turkey every time. With its unique design and foolproof cooking method, this kitchen appliance is about to become your new best friend for holiday meals and beyond.

Why Cook a Turkey in a NESCO Roaster Oven?

Before we dive into the step-by-step process, let’s explore the benefits of cooking your turkey in a NESCO Roaster Oven:

  1. Consistent, Even Cooking: The NESCO Roaster Oven features a heating element that surrounds the cookwell, ensuring even heat distribution and eliminating hot spots or undercooked areas.

  2. Moist and Juicy Results: The enclosed cooking environment and self-basting lid help lock in moisture, preventing your turkey from drying out.

  3. Time-Saving Convenience: With the NESCO Roaster Oven, you can free up valuable oven space for side dishes and desserts, while the turkey cooks to perfection with minimal supervision.

  4. Easy Cleanup: The removable cookwell and lid make cleaning a breeze, saving you time and effort after the big meal.

  5. Versatility: While it excels at roasting turkeys, the NESCO Roaster Oven can also be used for cooking hams, roasts, and even baking delicious desserts.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking a Turkey in a NESCO Roaster Oven

Now that you’re convinced of the benefits, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of cooking a turkey in your NESCO Roaster Oven.

Ingredients and Equipment:

  • 1 turkey (fresh or frozen, 14-22 lbs)
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon browning sauce (optional, such as Kitchen Bouquet®)
  • NESCO 18 Qt. Roaster Oven
  • Roasting rack or lifters


  1. Preheat your NESCO Roaster Oven to 400°F (204°C).
  2. Clean and rinse the turkey, then pat it dry with paper towels.
  3. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity (save them for gravy or stuffing if desired).
  4. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter (or margarine) with the optional browning sauce.
  5. Use a pastry brush to evenly coat the turkey skin with the butter mixture.
  6. Season the turkey generously with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Place the turkey on the roasting rack or lifters, and position it in the NESCO Roaster Oven cookwell.
  2. Cover the roaster oven and roast the turkey at 400°F (204°C) for 1 hour.
  3. After the first hour, use a baster to remove any liquid or fat from the turkey cavity and the cookwell (save this liquid for gravy or soup).
  4. Brush the turkey with the basting liquid or additional melted butter mixture.
  5. Reduce the temperature to 350°F (177°C) and continue roasting.
  6. Halfway through the remaining cooking time, use the baster to remove any accumulated liquid or fat from the turkey cavity and cookwell.
  7. If the turkey isn’t browning as desired, you can increase the temperature back to 400°F (204°C) for the remaining cooking time.
  8. The total cooking time will depend on the size of your turkey:
    • Fresh turkey: 12-15 minutes per pound
    • Frozen or stuffed turkey: 15-20 minutes per pound

Checking for Doneness:

The most accurate way to determine if your turkey is fully cooked is by using a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the thigh, being careful not to touch the bone. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C).

Resting and Serving:

  1. Once the turkey has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from the NESCO Roaster Oven using the lift handles (be careful, as the rack will be hot).
  2. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board or platter and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a juicy and flavorful result.
  3. While the turkey is resting, you can make gravy from the drippings in the cookwell or prepare a base for soup.

Optional Flavor Boosters:

  • Add 1/4 cup of apple or orange juice concentrate to the butter basting mixture for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Place a sliced onion or a few cloves of garlic inside the turkey cavity for an aromatic infusion.

Tips and Tricks for NESCO Roaster Oven Success

To ensure your turkey turns out perfectly every time, keep these helpful tips and tricks in mind:

  • Always use the roasting rack or lifters to elevate the turkey and allow for even heat circulation.
  • Baste the turkey periodically with the pan juices or melted butter to keep the skin crispy and flavorful.
  • Adjust the cooking time as needed based on your turkey’s size and whether it’s fresh or frozen.
  • Don’t overcrowd the roaster oven – leave enough space around the turkey for proper heat circulation.
  • Consider stuffing the turkey cavity with aromatics like onions, celery, and herbs for added flavor.
  • Let the turkey rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.


Cooking a turkey in a NESCO Roaster Oven is a game-changer for anyone who loves moist, juicy, and flavorful turkey without the hassle of constantly basting and monitoring the oven. With its even heat distribution, self-basting lid, and foolproof cooking method, you can achieve consistent, delicious results every time. Say goodbye to dry, overcooked turkeys and embrace the joy of a perfectly cooked holiday centerpiece with the help of your trusty NESCO Roaster Oven.

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