How To Cook Turkey In A Bag

Delicious turkey with no basting or roasting-pan scrubbing.

Roasted Herb Turkey and Gravy
Photo: Greg DuPree

Love the smell and taste of roasted turkey on Thanksgiving but hate scrubbing the roasting pan clean? You might want to consider cooking the turkey in an oven bag this year.

Why Cook a Turkey in a Bag?

The oven bag method has fallen out of favor over the years as cooks have chosen to roast and brine their birds, or even smoke them outside. But this method can produce a juicy, flavorful bird with much less clean up. And just about any traditional roasted turkey recipe will work in a bag.

Make sure the bag is designed to go in the oven and is not a brining bag. Reynolds Kitchens makes turkey-sized bags that are designed for roasting and come with twist ties and cooking information right in the package. Follow these tips for the best results:

How to Cook a Turkey in a Bag

Step 1. Add flour

For a nicely browned bird, coat the inside of the bag with cooking spray and sprinkle with all-purpose flour. Shake the bag to coat it evenly.

Step 2. Season the bird

Rub the turkey all over with oil or softened butter and your choice of seasonings. Place the bag inside a roasting pan, and put the turkey inside of the bag.

Step 3. Close and vent

Close the bag with a twist tie (or just seal the bag by tying it into a knot), and, using a paring knife, cut six ½-inch slits in the top of the bag. This allows steam to escape as the turkey cooks. Fold and arrange the bag inside the roasting pan, so none of the corners or edges stick out too much and come into contact with the oven walls.

Step 4. Roast and test for doneness

Transfer the pan to the oven, and roast per the recipe's instructions.. Because of the bag, you won't need to baste the turkey. (Bonus!) When it is time to check the turkey for doneness, you can insert the meat thermometer through one of the slits in the bag into the thickest part of the thigh.

Step 5. Let it rest

When the turkey is cooked through, remove the pan from the oven, and let the turkey rest in the bag for 15 minutes. Then, carefully cut the bag open (some hot steam will still escape). Remove the turkey from the bag and transfer to a carving board or platter.

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