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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two Nesco 18 qt roaster ovens, one with racks and the buffet inserts. It is large enough to hold a 9 x 13 pan and it has a rack that allows it to bake two racks of cookies at a time.

I use them a lot, especially for my canning, once a month bulk cooking, and party/holiday cooking.

I put a 10 pound chub of 90/10 ground beef in the roaster oven to brown. The manual says I should have sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray first, but I didn't and had no problems. I just put my meat in, patted it out (it was about 1.5" deep in my roaster pan), then set the heat at 350 degrees F and I walked away. I came back every 20-30 minutes to stir it / flip it with a spatula. Took about an hour or maybe a little longer, but I didn't have to babysit it. Such an easy way to cook up the ten pounds of ground beef. This made one canner load of 10 pint jars. So much less work than standing at the stove and doing it in batches.

I also cook a lasagna mix in it with half ground beef/half italian sausage, garlic, peppers, mushrooms and onions. Then package it up in ziplock bags or containers in the freezer for future meals of lasagna, spaghetti, stuffed shells, etc.

I cook apple butter in mine. Load it up with about 10 pounds of apples (I don't even peel them, just run the wedger gadget over them and pull out the cores), spices, and cider (or cranberry juice), let it cook all night. In the morning I take the top off and cook it for several more hours, using my stick blender to puree it down and adding a bit of sugar if needed. Makes enough for several quarts (or pint jars) of apple butter. Works great and no worries about the butter burning.

Spaghetti takes about 30 lbs of tomatoes plus some green peppers, onions, celery, seasonings, etc. I just put as much of the tomatoes in my roaster as I could (roughly 20 lbs fit comfortably), let that cook down a bit, then added the remainder of the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Left it cooking on about 250 degrees overnight, then in the morning used my immersion blender to blend it up and then continued cooking it down from there to thicken. I was lazy and didn't bother peeling or seeding the plum tomatoes - I just quartered them and made sure the cores were out of the top. Worked fabulous (except I should have used the blender a smidge more, as it left behind a couple of skins, but that's no big deal to me). On the other hand, we can run the tomatoes through the mill first, then cook them down in the roaster with the veggies. This made roughly 7-8 quarts of spaghetti sauce, though I jarred it up in pint and a half (24 oz) jars, which is the perfect size for us.

I also make V8, barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, etc. for canning.

For parties and large events, it's great because you can make about 30 servings of italian beef, chili, etc. and about 50 servings of taco meat. Good for cheese sauce for nachos for a crowd too.

Looking for some recipe ideas for your large roaster oven? Here's links to some roaster oven manuals and I’ve gone ahead and listed the recipes they include for easy reference. A pet peeve of mine with some of these manuals is that they sometimes don't list the number of servings with some of the recipes, so you kind of have to guess based on the ingredients. Many of them have similar types of recipes (i.e. all include a recipe for turkey, not surprisingly). Some of these include some recipes that only feed 4-6 people; I assume they are trying to get families to use the roaster oven year round, instead of just on holidays.

Most of the manuals have charts to estimate cooking times for various cuts of meat as well as instructions for steaming and baking.

Hamilton Beach 18 quart roaster oven (Manual includes English, French, Spanish)

Party Meatballs
Baked Crab and Brie Dip
Quick Roast Turkey
Turkey Browning Sauce
Whole Baked Ham
North Carolina Pork Barbecue
Roast Chicken With Honey Mustard Glaze
Whole Beef Tenderloin
Blue Cheese Shrimp
Seasoned Rice
Baked Potatoes
Southern Baked Beans
Cheddar Onion Cornbread
Lemon Squares
The Perfect Cheesecake
Harvest Apple Cake
Baked Eggs
Overnight Sticky Buns

Rival 18 quart roaster oven

Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Pot Luck Beef Stew
Chili for a Crowd
Pepper Crusted Braised Short Ribs
Pork Roast
Spaghetti Sauce
Spicy Beef Roast
Baked Beans

NESCO 18 quart roaster oven - This manual is good about listing the serving quantities that the recipes make.

Roast Turkey
Wild Rice and Fruit Dressing
Roast Ham
Raisin Sauce
Country BBQ Ribs
Swiss Steak
Creamy Herb Pasta
Spaghetti With Meatballs and Sauce
Baked Eggs/Scrambled
Irish Stew Casserole
Shredded Potatoes
Parmesan Potatoes
Baked Beans
Hot Turkey and Cranberry Salad
Macaroni and Cheese
Chicken and Vegetable soup
Creamy Cheesecake
Baked Turkey Melts

This one from GE. roaster eng_1184090771432.pdf

Baked Potatoes
Pot Roast with Vegetables
Hickory Smoked Brisket
Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken
Beef Stew
Roasted Vegetable Soup
Chicken Tetrazzini for a Crowd
Asian Spareribs

Plus it has nice cooking guides with times for roasting various meats and poultry as well as for baking. Nesco has put a lot of (year-round, not just holiday) recipes on their website for the roaster ovens (various sizes).
NESCO® Small Kitchen Appliances | Official NESCO® Store

Also, Taste of Home had a thread about large roaster ovens which might give you a few ideas.
Large Roaster Oven Recipes | Taste of Home Community

Here's a page with tips about using roaster ovens:
Roaster Oven Cooking Tips

This page has PDFs of vintage Westinghouse electric roaster booklets.
_Westinghouse Roasters_

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Hi Marie~Thanks for all the great information you gave us. I bought my 18 quart Nesco Roaster last month haven't used it yet but will very soon. I bought it to parboil bulk chicken breast that I got on sale (.88lb can you believe it?) to can..never canned the chicken breast instead made freezer meals with it.

I'm pretty sure that hamburger will be going on sale next month so I plan to buy big quantities to make my Taco meat & cooked plain Hamburger & Meatloaf to can. I love my home canned taco meat I prefer it over freshly made..and you can never go wrong with pulling a jar of hamburger off the shelf and having the convenience of not having to cook it first since it's already prepared.

OT: I'm curious to what other foods you pressure can? I mostly can meat because its so expensive and this is my way of preserving it for many years.

I'm looking forward to not having to stand over the stove for hours doing smaller batches..I always buy 20lbs to 50lbs of meat when the sale can't be beat.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I pressure can soups (chicken enchilada, chicken noodless, cuban black bean, etc.), ham and beans, meat, broth.

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Thanks for the great info. I have had an 18 quart cooker in the basement for a long time that I have not used forever. It's been there for so long I forget that I have it most times. Great ideas for the tomatoes. Will have to get off my butt and start using it to the max!
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