The roaster oven is a home cook’s best friend on Thanksgiving Day. Whether you are using it to cook a whole turkey, bake a casserole for a crowd, or keep food warm on a buffet, it allows you to be truly flexible on one of the most hectic meal-planning days of the year.
The Hamilton Beach Stainless Steel 22 Quart Roaster Oven is perfect for turkeys up to 24 pounds. Because it’s such a spacious roaster oven, the Test Kitchen thought why not cook two? I think everyone has family members who prefer only white meat, so we decided to cook one whole turkey and a turkey breast at the same time. That way you have plenty of light and dark meat the day of and can either slice the breast for those that prefer breast meat, or have extra turkey ready to send home with guests as leftovers to enjoy after they recover from their inevitable Thanksgiving food coma.
Stuff the skin of your whole turkey with pads of homemade herbed butter and thinly sliced granny smith apples, then coat the turkey with a mixture of salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. The mixture not only seasons the bird, the paprika helps add a little bit of color. Season the turkey breast with the same salt mixture and stuff the cavities with the remaining apples and some onion wedges.
After the turkey is done and sliced, use the roaster oven pan drippings to make an apple cider gravy to drizzle over the star of the show. The apples and herb butter create a succulent layer beneath the skin and the gravy pulls it all together. The flavors are perfectly Thanksgiving-y. Your guests will be thankful they were invited to enjoy a delicious meal at your table, and will be even more thankful they have leftovers (courtesy of the roaster oven) to enjoy the next day.
- Herbed Butter
- 1 (13 to 15 pound) whole turkey, fresh or thawed
- 1 (5 to 6 pound) turkey breast, fresh or thawed
- 4 Granny Smith apples, cored
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 medium sweet onions, quartered
- Apple Cider Turkey Gravy
- Prepare Herbed Butter ahead, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Remove the rack from the roaster oven. Cover and heat oven to 325°F.
- Remove giblets and neck from cavities of turkey. Discard or save for another use.
- Gently slide one hand under the turkey skin over the breast on both the whole turkey and turkey breast to loosen the membranes.
- Cut thin slices of chilled Herbed Butter and slide under the skin of the turkey breasts.
- Peel and thinly slice 1 of the apples into rings. Place apple slices under the skin of the turkey breasts.
- In a small bowl, stir together salt, paprika, ground black pepper and garlic powder.
- Sprinkle turkey and turkey breast generously with salt mixture.
- Cut remaining apples in wedges. Stuff cavities with a few apple and onion wedges.
- Arrange turkey and turkey breast on rack. Using handles on rack, place in roaster oven. Add remaining apples and onion around turkey and turkey breast in roaster oven.
- Cook until meat thermometer registers 165°F in the thickest part of the turkey breast, 3 to 4 hours. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.
- To get the most flavor in pan drippings, mash apples and onions with juices in pan. Strain the juices and discard the fat. Follow Apple Cider Turkey Gravy recipe for making gravy.
- Whole turkey may take longer to cook than turkey breast. Check temperature of turkey breast early and remove from roaster oven when done.