How to Make a Perfect Turkey in a Nesco Roaster Oven

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Turkey in a Nesco with Injection and Rub
How to Make a Perfect Turkey in a Nesco Roaster Oven
Perfect turkey
Perfect Turkey

What Perfect Turkey is Supposed to Be

I didn’t go to my Grandmother’s for Thanksgiving. My mother and I usually cooked a Cornish hen and left it at that. When my mother died, I moved in with my Aunt Georgia, Grandmother, and Grandfather. This was when I discovered a really good turkey, the way turkey was supposed to be.

This recipe for a perfect turkey in a Nesco uses the liquid brine method. If you want the dry brine method, please head on over to Dry Brine Turkey in a Nesco Oven.

Every other time I had had turkey, it looked and tasted like my budgie’s cuttlebone. Seriously, I did not know why anyone would want to present something as nasty as that for a holiday all about giving thanks. What? You’re thankful that you don’t have to eat that?

I was curious at fifteen. I liked to cook, so I hung around with my grandmother while she made the feast. The first thing I noticed was this strange pink oven in the middle of the kitchen. It had a little metal stand that it rested on. It also had a big red button and a dial to control the heat.

What came out of this marvelous contraption was a perfect turkey, the juiciest turkey I had ever had. This was something to be truthfully thankful for. Update: See the bottom of this post for a video about the wonderful 18-quart Nesco Oven.

Adventures in Finding a Nesco

For years, I searched in vain for a gadget like this – I finally stumbled upon one in an antique shop on Western Avenue, where they also had a few unrestored Wedgewood stoves. I finally found out what it was called – a Nesco.

One day, watching QVC because nothing else was on, and there was no Internet at that time, I saw a four-quart Nesco and decided to order it. When it arrived, I was so thrilled! It was too small to cook a turkey, but a nice chicken definitely fit. It also made a mean meatloaf.

The thing that I really loved about my Nesco was that I could use it in the summertime without heating up my kitchen. I could use it to keep food warm and put fried chicken in it to ensure it was completely cooked. I loved my little Nesco, and when we moved, and it got lost, I was crestfallen.

However, I have always felt that every cloud has a silver lining, so losing the small one meant I could get a large one as my grandmother had. I found a used eighteen-quart with a buffet service on eBay and bought it. Of course, you don’t have to go through what I did; you can go to Nesco and get one whenever you want.

My “new” Nesco arrived just before Thanksgiving, just in time to roast the turkey. It was very flavorful, moist, and juicy, but it did not have the nice crispy skin that my grandmother had.

The next year, I tried a different approach. When I was nine years old, my mother asked me to put a roast of beef in the oven before she got home from work. I didn’t know any better and put the oven on to 450 degrees. After fifteen minutes or so, I could smell it and thought maybe the temperature was too high, so I lowered it to 300. It turned out perfect, moist, and juicy. Starting it at high heat seared the meat, sealing in the juices. From then on, I did that with anything I roasted, including turkeys.

I could do that in the Nesco, too, but it would still not have the crispy skin, so I came up with a new plan. First, I would brine the turkey, inject it with seasonings, put it in a regular pan, put it in a 450 oven for 15 minutes, and then transfer it to the Nesco.

Wow! What a bird that was! It was the perfect turkey with the nicely browned, crispy skin from being in the oven and was moist and juicy from being roasted in the Nesco.

How to Make a Perfect Turkey in a Nesco Roaster Oven

Turkey in a Nesco with Injection and Rub
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Resting: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings (slide to adjust): 8
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: United States (Traditional)
Diet: Gluten Free
Difficulty: Easy
Calories per serving: 46kcal

If you purchase any of the products through these affiliate links, I get a few pennies that help keep The Good Plate open. I use these products myself and want you to be able to easily find them.


  • 15 pounds Turkey, brined and washed

— Injection —

  • ¼ cup Chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon White Wine
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped Herbs

— Rub —

  • 1 tablespoon Chopped Herbs
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil

— Chopped Herbs —

  • 6 leaves Sage fresh
  • 1 sprig Rosemary , fresh
  • 1 teaspoon Marjoram, dried
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme, dried
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence , dried

— Stuffing —

  • 1 bunch Celery, bottom root and tops only
  • 2 Onion, skins and roots only
  • 1 Apple, whole
If you purchase ingredients through affiliate links noted *, I get a small commission for The Good Plate’s pantry. These and other links are there for your convenience.
Ingredients necessary for the recipe step are in italic. Ingredient measurements may vary due to measurement tools used.


  • 15 pounds Turkey
    Brine the turkey the day before – remove giblets and neck and reserve for the cat.

— Chopped Herbs —

  • 6 leaves Sage fresh, 1 sprig Rosemary, 1 teaspoon Marjoram, 1 teaspoon Thyme, 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
    Chop up the fresh herbs with the dried herbs. You will need half for this recipe and a half for the rub.

— Rub —-

  • 1 tablespoon Chopped Herbs, 1 tablespoon Olive oil
    Add half the chopped herbs to olive oil and stir. Set aside.

— Injection —

  • 1/4 cup Chicken broth, 1 tablespoon Chopped Herbs, 1 teaspoon White Wine
    Heat the herbs in the broth over low heat just until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Cool. Strain and add liquid to olive oil. Set aside. You could add the remaining herbs to the rub.

— Preparation —

  • 2 Onion, 1 Apple, 1 bunch Celery
    Preheat oven to 500. Have a roasting pan ready that will hold the Nesco removable roasting rack. Put the roasting rack in the Nesco pan. Put the onion skins in the cavity, and put the apple and celery bottom in the neck cavity. Put some of the liquid in the injector and start injecting the turkey all over the breast, thigh, legs, and wings. Brush the turkey all over with the rub. Now, take the turkey with the rack and put it in the roasting pan.
  • Turn the Nesco to 350. Put the turkey in the oven and cook at 500 for 30 minutes. The turkey will be browned and crisp.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven carefully using the handles on the rack. Place the turkey with the rack in the Nesco. Cover.
  • Roast in the Nesco for another two and a half to three hours, or until the internal temperature is 165. If you need to keep the bird warm, reduce to 200. Let the turkey rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.


The risk of cross-contamination and poisoning is too great to put stuffing inside the bird’s cavity. The stuffing used here gives the bird flavor, but it easily removed.


Calories: 46kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 39mgPotassium: 145mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4g
I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietitian and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline.
Got Questions? Let me know!Mention @arbpen or tag #arbpen!

Nesco 18 Quart Video

14 thoughts on “How to Make a Perfect Turkey in a Nesco Roaster Oven”

    • Well, thank you for the kind words. I hope that you have Nesco available to your shoppers. It’s a wonderful kitchen appliance.

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  1. This post is beyond awesome. I am always wondering what to do and what not to do so I will follow some of these tips.

  2. I like the layout of your blog and I’m going to do the same thing for mine. Do you have any tips?

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