|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 58g||74%|
|Saturated Fat 20g||98%|
|Total Carbohydrate 8g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 5g|
|Vitamin C 5mg||27%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
If you're a novice cook or want to try a new method to cook an entire turkey, our oven bag recipe is the easiest around. It will yield juicy and tender meat and will avoid entirely the brining or basting steps that most turkey recipes require. By trapping the moisture and heat, oven bags cook the bird faster and make it a breeze to collect all the juices to start making the gravy while the turkey rests. A seasoned butter is placed under the skin to provide extra moisture during cooking, and those buttery drippings make a great gravy base.
Oven bags have been around for many decades, and if you ask, probably whoever was in charge of the cooking during your childhood holidays might have used an oven bag. The classic bag technique is an easy way to cook turkeys and chicken, but it's also a great tool for cooking lamb shanks and pork or beef roasts. Make sure you buy one of the nylon or polyester FDA-approved bags—that is also BPA free—before you start cooking, but most importantly, check that the bag you're using is a proper oven bag, not a brining bag or plastic bag.
Our method is very forgiving, and if by any chance, you overcook the bird, the moisture in the bag will still help you have juicy meat. Once you learn how to cook a turkey in a bag, you will never go back to another method again.
Click Play to See This Oven Bag Turkey Recipe Come Together
“This method eliminates the need for basting since all the juices and seasonings are sealed in the bag with the turkey keeping everything moist. Just be sure to cut some venting slits in the top of the bag and add some flour to the bag before adding your bird to facilitate browning.” —Joan Velush
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 (12- to 18-pound) turkey, thawed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, more to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium apple, sliced
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. Place an oven bag in a 2-inch deep roasting pan. Spray the inside of the bag with cooking spray to prevent sticking, and add flour to the bag. Shake to coat.
Arrange the celery and onion in the bag.
Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. Carefully pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Set the turkey on a clean surface, such as a cutting board. Discard the organs unless you're using them to make giblet gravy.
In a small bowl, combine the poultry seasoning with half the butter.
Using your hands, gently lift the skin of the turkey breast away from the meat and rub the butter-poultry seasoning mixture on the breast between the turkey and skin. Rub the remaining butter on top of the turkey breasts. Season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the apple slices inside of the turkey cavity.
Place the turkey, breast-side up, in the prepared oven bag.
Whisk the apple cider and maple syrup together. Pour the mixture over the turkey, letting some spill into the cavity.
Seal the oven bag with the enclosed nylon ties; alternatively, twist the ends of the bag and tuck it under the bird's legs. Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, cut 6 half-inch slits in the top of the turkey bag to act as vents.
Roast the turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey measures 165 F, 2 to 3 hours or more, depending on the size of the turkey.
Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest 20 minutes before carving. Resting allows the turkey's juices to redistribute, keeping the moisture inside the meat. The juices in the bag can be used as the base for your gravy.
Perfect Turkey Menu
Here are some ideas for the sides that you can serve with your turkey for a satisfying holiday menu:
- These easy mashed potatoes are a perfect starch to go with the bird, and the recipe offers plenty of variations.
- This silky simple gravy is ideal for moistening the meat and goes great with potatoes and vegetables.
- For a sweet touch, our 15-minute cranberry sauce is essential on your plate.
- A decadent dish of green beans and bacon is a great accompaniment for turkey. Buttery and crunchy, these beans are ready in no time. Our lemon and garlic broccoli recipe is also a great choice of vegetable.
- Stuffing is always one of the dishes most guests enjoy. This easy stovetop recipe is filled with a beautiful herby flavor.
- Many pies are in the contention for the perfect holiday dessert: Choose from pecan, pumpkin, bourbon-apple, or a kid's favorite: chocolate.
How Do I Know My Turkey Is Thawed?
Thawing a turkey takes a long time. For example, if by the Sunday before Thanksgiving your turkey is still in the freezer, it's time to take it out and place it in the fridge. Here's why:
- Every 5 pounds of frozen turkey takes at least 24 hours to thaw. For an 18-pound bird, you need over 72 hours—to be exact, you'll need 86.4 hours, which is 3 1/2 days. That puts you with a thawed turkey by Thanksgiving Thursday at noon—cutting it close.
- The smaller the bird, the less time it takes, but always do the math when buying the turkey so your cooking time isn't off, or parts of the bird won't be cooked all the way through when it's time to eat.
How Long to Cook a Turkey in an Oven Bag
A 12- to 15-pound turkey will take approximately 2 to 3 hours. A 20- to 24-pound turkey will take about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. The best measure of a well-cooked bird is a thermometer read: 165 F in the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone.