By Amy Brantley

An electric roaster is the perfect appliance for cooking a holiday turkey, but it can do so much more. From chili to cheesecake, an electric roaster's repertoire is more versatile than you might think. Once you learn a few basics about this appliance, you'll be using it to prepare all kinds of dishes in no time. Always read the manufacturer's instructions thoroughly before using an electric roaster.

whole stuffed roast turkey
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How to Use an Electric Roaster

Step 1

Wash the electric roaster, including the lid and insert, thoroughly in hot, soapy water before using for the first time.

Step 2

Most instructions for electric roasters say to plug the roaster in and let it heat before cooking any foods in it so that the fumes that come off the roaster the first time it's used can dissipate. Heat the roaster empty, and be sure to open a window to air out the fumes.

Step 3

Refer to your recipe and set the electric roaster to the proper temperature. Most electric roasters have a temperature range similar to that of conventional ovens, good for slow cooking, baking and roasting.

Step 4

Use the roasting rack or a pan if necessary. When roasting meat, it's best to use the rack so that the meat doesn't sit in its own fat. If you want to bake something, simply insert the pan. The roaster works as an oven to bake the dish evenly.

Step 5

If the electric roaster came with chafing dishes, you can fill the insert with water and then insert the chafing dishes to keep side dishes piping hot during dinner or at large parties. This is a wonderful feature for the holidays.