Nesco the Original Roaster Oven 18qt Review

Nesco 18 Qt Roaster Oven
Photo © Nesco

We wanted to test Nesco's Roaster Oven to see how handy it would be to roast a turkey in something other than a busy stove oven, especially at holiday time. However, we've been somewhat skeptical about capacity, whether a roaster oven would hold a large turkey. We also lacked an understanding of all a roaster oven can do, so it's been an informative testing phase. Read on to learn how this Nesco® roaster fared in this home test.

Product Description

  • Nesco The Original Roaster Oven 18 Qt Roaster Oven, Ivory
  • Porcelain coated removable cook well
  • Roast, steam/poach, bake, slow cook function
  • Adjustable temperature control from 200 to 450degF
  • Holds a whole turkey up to 22 lbs or use for large batch meals, to bake pies, cookies and other cooking needs
  • Unique CIRCLE OF HEAT® construction, so foods are cooked from the sides, not bottom
  • Automatic temperature control for even, energy-efficient cooking
  • Portable oven design for use on the porch, at the cabin or as a main or second kitchen oven
  • Includes a removable chrome steel rack with handles for easy transfer or to keep meats/poultry raised
  • Cook well and heat well resists scratches, corrosion, chips, stains
  • Use/Care and Recipe Guide
  • Model 4818-14
  • 1425 Watt, 120 Volt
  • MSRP: $71.99 U.S.

How the Nesco Roaster Oven Performed

The construction of this roaster oven is good, though we did expect a heavier lid and cook well. Everything cooked/baked fairly evenly, so the heating technology seems to work fine. The initial curing process to prep the roaster oven was no problem. We ran it empty as recommended for about an hour in the garage and that resolved the new appliance smell.

Our first roasting was a chicken, and it turned out very well. Since we didn't have a browning agent on hand (recommended by Nesco), we gave it a light brushing of Heinz 57® sauce. The skin was nicely browned, and the chicken was tender and flavorful.

For baking, the roaster oven does a fine job. You really cannot tell the difference in browning, and results were similar to the pies baked in a regular oven. The roaster oven does seem to take about 8 to 10 minutes more for some baking. Keep in mind that it's hard to resist lifting the lid and peeking, which results in heat loss and time delays. We would use the roaster oven again for any baking.

Other large meal items turned out as expected with only slightly longer cooking/baking time than doing them in the range oven. Bread browned fine, good texture - you couldn't tell it had not been done in my regular oven.

You can fit two standard loaf pans in the roaster oven (on a rack), but only one if it has wide handles. The rack is well made, lifts out easily and is an essential tool. Due to the design, it cleans up more quickly than my usual poultry lifter. Remember to use oven mitts to remove baking or roasting; the roaster oven side walls are very hot.

The final and crucial test involved roasting a 17 lb turkey. Using the guide of 13 to 18 minutes per pound, I expected roughly about 5-7 hours and started it early at 400 F for the first hour, then 350 F. The Norpro Turkey and Poultry Timer signaled it was done at about five hours which was earlier than expected and we reduced the temperature considerably since there was still a couple of hours to serving time.

The cook well is porcelain coated and does clean up well with a little scrub. You can also give it a light oil spray to help with clean-up.

Overall Impression

This test was a learning experience, and we were thrilled with the results. While we knew you could use a roaster oven for large batches of lasagna or chili and for roasting poultry/meat, we were very skeptical that you could successfully bake in one. This test assured me you could bake or cook most anything you usually do in your range oven, except, of course, broil. That increases the benefits of having a roaster oven to supplement your range or as a stand-alone portable oven.

The main drawback of a large roaster oven is having to store it when not in use, so that's something that should be considered if you're thinking of buying one. As for price, Nesco roaster ovens are very affordable and most retail for less than $100. You can also replace the cook well if you need to or add an optional buffet server to turn an 18 qt roaster oven into a buffet warmer.

A Nesco Roaster Oven is ideal for those who do a lot of cooking or baking, for those who often host sporting events or attend potluck dinners and socials. It would also make an ideal wedding gift for large families. A roaster oven would also be very handy for the church kitchen, or for the RV or cottage.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.