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Are rotisserie ovens worth it?

Rotisserie ovens have become increasingly popular in recent years as an easy way to cook juicy, flavorful meats at home. But are these countertop appliances really worth the investment? Here is an in-depth look at the pros and cons of owning a rotisserie oven.

What is a rotisserie oven?

A rotisserie oven is a small countertop appliance designed to cook foods slowly on a rotating spit. The constant rotation allows meat to self-baste in its own juices, resulting in evenly cooked, tender, and moist meat with a crispy outer layer.

Rotisserie ovens are electric and have a heating element surrounding the spit to cook food from all sides. Most models have adjustable temperature controls ranging from 150°F to 500°F. They can accommodate and rotate joints of meat up to 10 pounds. Some higher end rotisserie ovens even allow you to program cooking times.

Benefits of owning a rotisserie oven

Here are some of the biggest benefits of using a rotisserie oven:

  • Evenly cooked meat: The rotating action ensures food is evenly exposed to heat, preventing burnt exterior and raw interior.
  • Self basting: As the food rotates, the melting fat continuously bastes the meat, keeping it tender and juicy.
  • Versatile cooking: Rotisserie ovens can accommodate large cuts of meat but also roast vegetables or cook casseroles.
  • Hands-free operation: Once set up, the oven runs itself with no need for turning or checking.
  • Healthier cooking: The self-basting action requires little to no added fats or oils.
  • Space saving design: Rotisseries have a compact footprint saving precious countertop real estate.
  • Time saving: Food cooks faster than oven roasting, freeing up the main oven.
  • Even browning: The rotating action exposes all sides to heat, creating beautifully browned exterior.

What can you cook in a rotisserie oven?

Here are some of the most popular foods to cook in a rotisserie oven:

  • Whole chicken, turkey, duck, pork roasts
  • Ribs
  • Roast beef, pork loin
  • Leg of lamb
  • Game hens, Cornish hens
  • Vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions
  • Casseroles
  • Breads

Nearly anything that can be roasted in a standard oven can be cooked to juicy perfection in a rotisserie oven. The key is securing the food properly on the spit.

Drawbacks of rotisserie ovens

Despite their advantages, rotisserie ovens do have some drawbacks to consider:

  • Small capacity: Rotisseries can only handle small cuts of meat up to 10 pounds.
  • Learning curve: It takes practice to master how to properly secure food on the spit.
  • Can’t multitask: A rotisserie is a single use appliance taking up space on the counter.
  • Requires monitoring: Food needs occasional basting and checking, not completely hands-off.
  • Slow cooking: Low, indirect heat means food takes longer to cook than grilling.
  • Messy: Exposed drippings can splatter grease and require cleaning.
  • Purhing: If not properly cooked, meats can purge excessive fluids.
  • Drying out: Thin cuts like poultry wings can overcook and dry out.

Factors to consider when buying a rotisserie oven

If you’re thinking about purchasing a rotisserie oven, keep the following features in mind:

  • Capacity: Make sure the oven can fit your desired cuts of meat. Capacity ranges from 5 to 10+ pounds.
  • Adjustable temperature: Look for a wide range from 150°F to 500°F for maximum cooking flexibility.
  • Built-in lighting: Interior lights help monitor doneness without having to open the door.
  • Removable parts: Spits, racks, and drip trays should be easily removable for cleaning.
  • Accessories: Extra skewers, tongs, and meat holders extend functionality.
  • Timer and auto-off: These ensure food safety and prevent overcooking.
  • Warranty: Seek out at least a 1 year warranty for the motor and heating element.
  • Brand: Stick with reputable brands offering quality construction.

Cost comparison of rotisserie ovens

Rotisserie ovens range widely in price from budget models under $100 to high end ovens over $300. Here is a comparison of some popular models across the price spectrum:

Brand & Model Capacity Temperature Range Warranty Price
Cuisinart Vertical Rotisserie 5 lb 150°F – 450°F 3 years $159
Ronco Showtime Rotisserie 5 lb Up to 450°F 1 year $99.99
Hamilton Beach Rotisserie Oven 10 lb 150°F – 450°F 1 year $117.89
Oster Countertop Rotisserie 8 lb Up to 450°F 1 year $79.99
Kalorik Digital Maxx Rotisserie 8 lb Up to 435°F 1 year $139.99
NutriChef Vertical Rotating Oven 10 lb 180°F – 450°F 1 year $129.99

As you can see, price largely correlates with capacity and feature set. Higher end models accommodate larger roasts and offer wider temperature ranges and longer warranties. Budget models under $100 are best for smaller households cooking poultry or pork loin while larger families will benefit from the bigger capacity ovens.

Tips for getting the most from your rotisserie oven

Follow these tips to master your new rotisserie oven:

  • Do a test run while you’re home to get the hang of operating the oven and prevent potential mishaps.
  • Secure meats properly on the spit to prevent slipping and uneven cooking.
  • Trim excess fat to prevent flare ups and splattering.
  • Use a drip pan to catch drippings and minimize mess.
  • Preheat the oven fully before adding food.
  • For poultry, tie wings and legs in place so they don’t droop and burn.
  • Baste meats every 30 minutes for maximum moistness.
  • Brush on glazes and sauces in the final 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Let meat rest 5-10 minutes before carving for juicier results.
  • Invest in a meat thermometer for perfectly cooked results.

Recipes to try in your rotisserie oven

Here are some mouthwatering recipes perfect for rotisserie cooking:

Rotisserie Herb Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp each chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground pepper

Pat chicken dry and coat all over with olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with herbs, salt, and pepper. Secure chicken firmly on rotisserie spit. Cook at 375°F for 1 1⁄2 – 2 hours until golden brown and cooked through. Let rest 5 minutes then carve.

Chipotle Lime Rotisserie Pork Loin

  • 1 (3 lb) boneless pork loin
  • 1⁄4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tsp minced chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin and oregano
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

Whisk together lime juice, chipotle, garlic, spices and salt. Reserve half the marinade. Pierce pork all over with a fork then rub with remaining marinade. Refrigerate 4 hours. Secure on rotisserie spit and cook at 400°F for 45 minutes, basting with reserved marinade. Cook to internal temp of 145°F, then rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Brown Sugar Glazed Ham

  • 1 (5 lb) boneless smoked ham
  • 1⁄3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp dry mustard

Secure ham on rotisserie spit. Mix together brown sugar, honey, lime juice and mustard in a small bowl. Cook ham at 325°F for 30 minutes then spread with half the glaze mixture. Continue cooking, basting with remaining glaze every 15 minutes until ham is heated through, about 1 hour 15 minutes total. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size rotisserie oven do I need?

Choose an oven that can accommodate the size of meat you plan to cook most often. For whole chickens and cornish hens, a 5 lb capacity is sufficient. For roasts like pork loin or leg of lamb, look for at least 8 lb capacity. And if you want to cook a turkey or large beef roast, 10+ lb is ideal.

How is a rotisserie oven different than a countertop convection oven?

A rotisserie oven uses a rotating spit to cook food slowly and evenly. The rotation self-bastes meats. A convection oven relies on a fan to circulate hot air around food to speed up cooking. Convection ovens can’t accommodate large roasts on a spit.

What maintenance is required for my rotisserie oven?

Like any appliance, rotisseries require occasional cleaning. Wipe down the interior regularly to prevent grease buildup. Apply a stainless steel cleaner to the exterior to polish and protect it. Lubricate the spit with cooking spray before each use. Follow all manufacturer instructions.

Can I get burn-in flavors from repeatedly cooking the same thing?

Yes, the confined space and porous materials in a rotisserie oven can absorb flavors and odors over time. To prevent this, thoroughly hand wash removable parts after each use. Occasionally run the empty oven through a self-cleaning cycle to burn off any residual grease and smells.

Should I baste or use a cooking bag when roasting chicken?

Basting helps keep meat moist but opening the oven frequently allows heat to escape, slowing cooking. For the juiciest bird, rub the skin with oil before cooking but refrain from basting. Cooking bags block browning and crisping of the skin. For best results, simply season the chicken and let it self-baste on the rotisserie.


At the end of the day, owning a rotisserie oven comes down to personal cooking needs and preferences. For larger families that eat a lot of roasts and whole birds, a rotisserie can deliver big advantages of moisture, flavor, and hands-free operation. The even rotation yields exceptionally tender, self-basted meats. But smaller households may not use the appliance enough to justify the cost and counter space. And rotisseries cannot achieve the same searing heat of grilled foods.

If your cooking regularly calls for large cuts of meat or you simply love serving juicy roasts and birds with crispy skin, a good quality rotisserie can be an indispensable kitchen tool. But if you mostly cook quick weeknight meals and smaller portions, the oven may not earn its keep. Assess your menu and cooking style to decide if purchasing a rotisserie makes sense for your needs.