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How to Roast a Turkey in a Bag

It is VERY important to note that this recipe is specifically designed for roasting a turkey with the help of a disposable roasting bag. The bag speeds up the process of the cook time and insures a moist turkey every time. Most turkeys are cooked at 325, but this recipe calls for 350 degrees.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword how to, roast turkey, turkey
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
resting time after cooking 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings 14
Author Si Foster, A Bountiful Kitchen


  • 1 turkey 12-24 lbs fresh or a frozen turkey, completely thawed
  • 1 Turkey Oven Bag Reynolds
  • 1/4-1/2 cup butter melted
  • garlic salt about 1 tablespoon
  • 1-2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive oil
  • cotton string for tying up turkey
  • heavy pan for roasting
  • meat thermometer


  • fresh cranberries, grapes, pomegranate, lemon, lime, fresh herbs


  1. Set rack on second to bottom rack in oven. Remove any racks above. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove the turkey bag from the box and add 1 tablespoons of flour to the bag. Shake the bag so it is coated lightly with flour and set the bag in the roasting pan.
  3. Set the turkey in a clean sink. Remove the turkey from wrapping. Reach inside and remove any parts in the cavity. Usually there will be a neck and a bag with other parts (heart, liver, etc).

  4. Make sure to remove these from the inside of your turkey before cooking. Repeat. Make sure to remove before cooking turkey!
  5. Keep the neck to make gravy, see instructions below*.
  6. Pat the turkey dry (inside and out) with paper towels, and discard afterward. If you are stuffing the turkey with dressing, now is the time to stuff the turkey. Loosely pack the stuffing into the turkey and secure the ends of the turkey with a skewer. Place the turkey on a jelly roll pan. Using string, tie up the turkey legs and the wings so they are close to the turkey body. If there is a band of skin close to the legs, you may also tuck the legs into the skin. Tying or tucking is necessary so the wings and legs will not dry out while cooking. Sprinkle with a generous amount of garlic salt or powder, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

  7. Pull the bag open, so it is easy to place the turkey in the bag. Leave the bag in the roasting pan. Place the turkey inside of the bag. Drizzle the melted butter and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over the top of the turkey, try to cover most of the surface of the turkey. This will help the turkey to have a beautiful golden color after roasting.
  8. Take the loose ends of the bag and tuck under the turkey. Tie up the end of the bag using the zip tie enclosed in the package. or you may use some of the string to secure the end of the bag.
  9. Tuck under all loose ends. Cut about 5-6 1 inch slits in the top of the bag for steam to release.

  10. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey thigh, through the bag, so the thermometer is on the outside of the bag. If you place the thermometer on the inside of the bag, it will be difficult to read.
  11. Bake turkey according to package directions:
  12. -16 lb turkey 2- 2 1/2 hours*

    -20 lb turkey 2 1/2 -3 hours*

    -24 lb turkey 3-3 1/2 hours*

  13. Remove from oven when turkey is done. Note that the turkey will continue to cook after being removed from oven, usually at least 10 degrees. Since the target temperature is 180 for breast and 170 for thigh, you should remove the turkey when the temp is 170 for breast and 160 for thigh.

  14. Let the turkey sit for at least 10 minutes, then gently peel away the bag.* Lift the turkey onto a platter for serving, garnish as desired.

  15. Dump the juice from the bag into a bowl or saucepan and skim off the oil that rises to the top and use the remaining liquid for turkey gravy.

Recipe Notes

  • Food handlers gloves. Always a good thing when preparing a turkey for cooking :)
    -*Place the neck in 6 cups of cold water. You may add an onion, halved, carrots, celery and peppercorns. Bring to boil, then simmer gently for about 1 hour, or until meat is cooked. Remove neck and vegetables and discard . Let broth cool. Strain and use for turkey gravy.
  • Studies have found that more germs are spread when washing a turkey before cooking than if the turkey is simply patted dry and placed in the oven to cook. The reason relates to contamination of surfaces, utensils etc.
  • I've been cooking turkey in a bag for years and have found the turkey is usually done about a half hour earlier than the time listed above. I have cooked the turkey and had it show as done up to a full hour earlier than the time listed on packaging. If the thermometer says the turkey is done, trust the thermometer! If the turkey is done way earlier than you had planned, just let it sit on the counter, in the bag until ready to cut and serve.
  • Make sure to separate the bag from the skin while the turkey is still hot, usually about 10 minutes after removing from oven. This will prevent the skin from sticking to the bag and tearing.
  • Always, always, always use a meat thermometer. One year, I relied on the pop up insert in the turkey. It never popped up. I kept baking and baking and baking. No pop up. You can spend anywhere from $5 to $200 on a thermometer. Get one. You'll be glad you did!
  • You may use any combination of seasonings. I like garlic (powder or salt), salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. I've used fresh garlic, but didn't feel like I was able to cover the turkey as well as when using garlic salt or powder. Sometimes, if I plan ahead, I crush garlic cloves and place those in the melted butter. Fresh herbs are always wonderful as well.
  • You may place vegetable in the cavity of the turkey. Sometimes I cut apples, onions and celery in half and place inside of turkey before cooking. Discard after turkey is cooked.
  • If you cook a turkey with stuffing in the bird, make sure to pack it loosely. Packing the dressing too tightly will not allow the dressing or stuffing to get cooked and can result in food poisoning.  Allow for a little more baking time about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes for a stuffed turkey. I like to bake the stuffing separately in another dish instead of stuffing the turkey.  By doing this, I can more accurately predict when the meat will be done and can prepare the stuffing ahead of time and have it ready to bake.