May 16

How to Cook a Turkey in a Toaster Oven | 5 Easy Steps & All the Useful Tips


Author: Gisele Perez and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Roasting a turkey in a toaster oven is much easier than it may seem at first glance. It's just like roasting any other bird, except that you use less heat and shorter cooking times.

 In fact, all you really need is some melted butter, salt, and pepper, along with a roasting rack and pan that fits inside your toaster oven.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients Together

You’ll need:

  • A baking sheet
  • A roasting pan
  • Butter
  • Turkey
  • Salt and pepper
  • Stuffing mix
  • An oven-safe meat thermometer

Make sure that your turkey fits inside your toaster oven before buying it because some turkeys are bigger than others and won’t fit inside your appliance. If not, you may need to cut it into pieces or use multiple racks in order for it to fit properly.

turkey meat with spices

Step 2: Prepare your Turkey

Thaw Out Your Turkey Early

The first step of preparing your turkey for cooking is to thaw it out. This can be done by placing the turkey in the refrigerator overnight or by putting cold water into a container and submerging the turkey in it for about 12 hours. After thawing out your turkey, rinse off any remaining blood or fluids that may have been present on its surface.

Once your turkey has thawed, remove it from its packaging and pat dry with paper towels before seasoning with salt, pepper, and other seasonings of choice. You can remove any excess fat or skin from its cavity.

Stuff the Turkey Cavity

Stuff the turkey cavity with herbs and vegetables such as onions, carrots, celery or garlic cloves, or anything else you like. I often use whole sprigs of rosemary and thyme. You can also add small potatoes or sweet potatoes if you like them with your turkey.

Rub some butter or olive oil all over the outside of your turkey; this will help crisp up your skin while cooking.

a person preparing turkey for cooking

Step 3: Preheat The Electric Roaster Oven

Preheat the toaster oven for 10 minutes before cooking the turkey. Without preheating, your turkey may not cook properly or evenly.

Step 4

Line the bottom of a roasting pan with aluminum foil. This will catch any drippings from the turkey and make cleanup easier after cooking.

Step 5

Place your turkey on top of the foil-lined pan. Set your timer for 1 hour and let it cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until all of its juices run clear when pierced with a knife near its thigh bone area; this will help ensure that your turkey has been cooked thoroughly.

Roasting turkey in a roaster oven is done at a high temperature with dry heat. A large turkey requires about 1 hour of roasting time at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that there is enough space between the top rack and ceiling of your oven so that air can circulate freely around.

turkey in a roaster oven

Place The Turkey Breast Side Down

To ensure even browning and cooking, place the turkey breast side down on a rack so that it sits on its backbone and not on its breastbone. Grease occasionally with butter or oil to prevent sticking and drying out during the cooking time.

You should also keep an eye on how much juice is coming out of your turkey during cooking time so that you don't have too much liquid leftover when removing it from the convection toaster oven.

Here Are Some Tips On How to Cook a Turkey in an Electric Toaster Oven

A toaster oven can be used to cook a turkey. Toaster ovens are convenient to use because they do not take up much space and they do not require much work. Here are some tips you need to follow before cooking Turkey in an electric roaster oven.

turkey and vegetables in the oven

Pick The Right Bird

Toaster ovens are designed to cook smaller meals, so it's important to choose a turkey that fits easily inside the appliance.

If your bird is too large for your hot oven, you'll have trouble getting it cooked unless you cut it into parts such as Turkey breast, Turkey thigh, etc. Look for a small or medium-sized turkey that fits easily on one rack without crowding. A 12-pounder should fit perfectly, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service guidelines.

Measure the Oven Space

If you're not sure whether your bird will fit inside the oven, measure the inside of the cavity with a ruler or measuring tape. The best place for your turkey to cook is on one of the wire racks in the middle of the conventional oven.

 If there are two racks, place your bird on one rack and use the other rack as an extra shelf for cooking other foods such as potatoes or vegetables that don't require much attention during a cooking time such as Brussels sprouts.

Season Well Before Cooking

Salt helps bring out juiciness by drawing moisture from within the meat, while pepper adds flavor and helps mask any gaminess that might be present in older birds.

Use aluminum foil as a protector for your turkey if you are worried about it burning on the top and bottom or getting too browned before the middle is done cooking. Just make sure that there is plenty of space between the foil and top rack so that heat can circulate freely around the bird.

Prepare The Turkey in Advance

One of the most important aspects of cooking a turkey is to prepare it in advance. You can do this by thawing out the turkey or by making sure that it is completely defrosted before putting it into the oven.

The reason for this is that you want to make sure that your turkey is cooked thoroughly on all sides. If there are any cold spots, then your finished turkey will not cook properly and could cause food poisoning when consumed.

How Long Does It Take to Cook a Turkey in A Roaster Oven?

Turkey cooking time depends on the size of your bird and how you like your turkey. If you're a fan of moist, juicy meat with skin beautifully browned, we recommend roasting for about an hour and 15 minutes at 325°F

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Cooking Turkey in an Electric Toaster Oven

Will A Turkey Fit in A Toaster Oven?

I know what you might be thinking: “But won’t a roaster oven be too small for a whole turkey?” The answer is no. There are many different brands of toaster ovens on the market today, and they all have one thing in common; they have plenty of space for a whole turkey.

In fact, most people use their toaster ovens as a replacement for their full-sized ovens when they only need to cook something small or bake something quick.

turkey and potatoes in a toaster oven

So How Big of a Turkey Should I Buy?

There are multiple sizes available when buying turkeys, but most people choose either 12 lb or 16 lb birds for their thanksgiving dinner. In most cases, these will fit inside an average-sized roaster oven without any problems at all. If you want something bigger than this though for your holiday turkey; perhaps if there are more people coming over, then go ahead and get an 18 lb bird instead.

What Temperature Do You Cook a Turkey in A Convection Oven?

The best temperature for cooking a turkey in a convection oven depends on the size of your bird. If you're cooking a large turkey, such as a 20-pounder, set your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and cook your bird for 1 hour. If you're cooking a smaller turkey or turkey breast, like a 10-pounder, set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 Celsius) and cook it for about 30 minutes per pound.

A good rule of thumb is to start checking the internal temperature of your bird after 30 minutes of roasting time. Check again every 10 minutes after that until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that your roasted turkey has reached an internal temperature high enough to cook it.

turkey served with lemon slices

What Seasonings Do I Put On a Turkey?

You can season a turkey with just about any poultry seasoning, but the most common are salt and pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and thyme.

Salt and Pepper

When it comes to seasoning your turkey, start with seasoning salt and pepper. Salt helps to draw out moisture from the bird and make it more tender; pepper adds a bit of spice. You can rub the bird down with salt and pepper before roasting or sprinkle them on top of the skin once it's cooked.

Garlic Powder

Garlic powder is another staple in most home cooks' spice cabinets. A few sprinkles of this savory seasoning will enhance the flavor of your turkey without adding too much moisture.


Paprika is a versatile poultry seasoning that gives food not only color but also a little bit of heat as well. It works especially well on grilled chicken or steak. If you want to add some extra kick to your holiday meal, consider using paprika instead of salt or pepper when seasoning your turkey.

Toaster Oven Types

Now that you learned how to cook turkey in a toaster oven, why not look into different types of toaster ovens that could suit all your needs. Check out the extracts from our reviews:

Toaster Ovens for Baking

Next time you are looking for something tasty to cookies, brownies, and other delicacies, use your toaster oven instead of your full-size equipment. Cleaning up will go more quickly, and you're not going to get a bunch of enticing treats. Toaster ovens for baking come in many sizes and at varying prize ranges. Depending upon how much you bake, you can choose the appropriate option. 

Mini Toaster Ovens

Most mini toaster ovens lack the convection feature. However, you can most certainly find mini models with convection but at a higher price tag. Generally for basic toasting i.e toasting bread for breakfast, you can do without a convection. However, for reheating or cooking meat and vegetables, you will find Convection a great feature.

Digital Toaster Ovens

While digital toaster ovens may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they can promote ease of use once you get the hang of it. The intuitive user interface and myriad of automated functions on these models can be quite convenient. For simple toasting of bread slices, any budget digital option would do just fine. However, with the high end models, you will have to gauge whether the high price tag is worth it.

Large Toaster Ovens

It should be obvious that when it comes to sheer size, toaster ovens are not a replacement for regular ovens. However, if you need alternative to regular ovens that is much cheaper and consume less energy yet still promise the same cooking function, then toaster ovens are the way to go. For home chefs, a large toaster oven would merely add another dimension to cooking.

Low Wattage Toaster Ovens

While the least powerful toaster ovens above may take their time to cook or to reach desired temperatures, they are great at conserving power. The lower the power rating, the smaller is the food portion that they are suitable for. Most of the low wattage toaster ovens are simple toaster oven without any added functionality.

About the author

Gisele Perez

When not giving in-home, hands-on cooking classes, or developing recipes, Gisele "cooks" wonderful posts for us. She writes about various topics related to cooking appliances and cooking methods.


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