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Learn How to Cook a Turkey in a Bag for tender and flavorful turkey every time. This fool proof way to cook turkey is the easiest Thanksgiving turkey.

turkey in roasting pan
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I have been hosting the holidays at my house for over 15 years and we always make this turkey in a bag recipe. This is the best and easiest way to cook a turkey. You will get delicious meat every single time that is loaded with the best flavor.

If you are looking for an simple way to cook your Thanksgiving Dinner, then we have your covered. Check out Easy Crock Pot Spiral Ham Recipe, How to Cook a Spiral Ham, and Instant Pot Spiral Ham Recipe. You may even like these other Easy Main Dish Recipes.

Best Way to Cook a Turkey:

I have tried many different ways to cook a turkey. Cooking it in the bag is really the best way to cook a turkey.

  • I love the way it keeps the turkey so moist.
  • The skin gets the perfect golden brown without much effort on my part.
  • In my opinion, I just feel better that all the ingredients go in the bag. Putting the ingredients in the bag just makes it more flavorful.
  • But my favorite part, is easy cleanup. I make sure I dump all the juices in a pan so that I can make the gravy.

I prefer to use a bag and cook a turkey this way. It really is fool proof and hard to mess up. This method is perfect for a beginner and the turkey comes out flavorful every time.

Ingredients:

ingredients for recipe: turkey, vegetables, seasonings, butter
  • Whole Turkey – fully thawed
  • White onion- peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Carrots- peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • Celery Ribs- cut into large pieces
  • Butter
  • Minced Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Turkey Size Oven Bag
  • Flour

For the full list of ingredients and recipe, scroll to the bottom for the recipe card.

Additions and Substitutions:

  • Seasoning Turkey – Feel free to change the seasoning in the butter rub mixture. You can easily add in fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme.
  • Stuffing – You can easily add a stuffing mixture into turkey’s cavity if you prefer.

How to Cook a Turkey in a Bag:

  • Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and move the oven rack 1 level lower than the center of the oven. This should give you plenty of room for the turkey.
  • Step 2 – In a small mixing bowl and combine the butter, garlic, salt and pepper together.
  • Step 3 – Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and tuck the wings under the turkey. If you prefer, you can tie back the wings of the turkey.
  • Step 4 – Take the butter mixture and rub all over the skin of the turkey breast. Make sure to get it all over including top of the turkey. We also get under the skin and which helps crisp up the skin.
mixing bowl with butter mixture
  • Step 5 – Add the tablespoon of flour into the oven bag and shake it to coat the inside of the bag with the flour.
  • Step 6 – Add the onion, carrots and celery into the oven bag. Then finally add the turkey into the oven bag on top of the vegetables.
turkey coated with butter mixture and stuffed with vegetables in oven bag
  • Step 7 – Close the oven bag with the nylon tie, at the ends of the bag, that comes with the bag. Once it is closed, put the bag with all of the ingredients in a roasting pan. I like to spray the roasting pan with a little cooking spray so the bag doesn’t stick.
  • Step 8 – Cut slits in the top of the bag to allow the steam to escape. It is important not to forget this step. Bake turkey based on the size of your turkey.
  • Step 9 – Once finished cooking, let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes. Then carefully cut the oven bag off the turkey and remove the turkey and place on a platter. It is ready to serve and enjoy.

Roast Turkey in the Bag Tips:

  • You can use a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey. Just adjust the cooking time.
  • To thaw a turkey properly, allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey to thaw in a refrigerator.
  • Make sure to cut 1 inch slits in the oven bag so the steam can escape.
  • When coating the turkey with the butter mixture, get all around. Don’t miss any spots because this gives the turkey amazing flavor.
  • You can order turkey size oven bags. So handy and the best way to cook a turkey.
turkey in oven bag in roasting pan

Turkey in a Bag Cooking times:

  • A 12-15 lb turkey will take approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours.
  • A 15-20 lb turkey will take approximately 2 ½ – 3 hours.
  • A 20-24 lb turkey will take approximately 3 – 3 ½ hours.

How to Season a Turkey:

Seasoning a turkey is easy to do. We like to keep it simple by using butter, salt and pepper and garlic. Adding in the vegetables as helps give the turkey flavor. Some other suggestions:

  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • You can also add in Oranges and Lemons

Turkey Side Dish Ideas:

baked turkey in roasting pan

Tools Needed for a Roasted Turkey:

  • Turkey Size Oven bags – These bags are easy to find at your grocery store. Usually in the section where sandwich bags are.
  • Large roasting pan – We like using a disposable pan when making the turkey. It makes cleanup a breeze.
  • Digital Read Thermometer – Using a meat thermometer is a must when you cook any type of meat.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How to Store Leftovers:

Store your leftover turkey in an airtight container up to 4 days. Make sure to store in the fridge or you can place in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Does it Cook Faster?

When you are cooking the turkey in the bag, it traps in the heat which allows your turkey to cook faster. Your turkey will cook about an hour faster when cooking in the bag. Which means the bag helps get dinner on the table faster.

How Long To Cook a Turkey in the Bag:

The cooking time is based on the size of the turkey. You can also use a meat thermometer to check internal temperature.
Make the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. I always stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey thigh. You can also stick it in the thickest part of the breast.

More Turkey Recipes:

If you make your Turkey in a bag, make sure to leave us a star review. We love hearing from you.

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How to cook a Turkey in a Bag

4.93 from 335 votes
Learn how to cook a turkey in a bag for flavorful turkey every time. This fool proof way to cook turkey is the easiest Thanksgiving turkey!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cool 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Calories 534

Ingredients

  • 12-24 lb Whole Turkey fully thawed
  • 1 white onion peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 Carrots peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 3 Celery Ribs cut into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup Butter softened
  • 1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Pepper
  • Turkey Size Oven Bag
  • 1 Tbsp Flour

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack 1 level lower than the center of the oven.
  • Mix the butter, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small mixing bowl.
  • Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and turk the wings under the turkey. You can tie back the wings of the turkey if you prefer.
  • Rub the butter mixture all over the skin of the turkey.
  • Place the flour into the oven bag and shake the bag to coat the inside of the bag with the flour.
  • Then place the onion, carrots and celery into the oven bag and then place the turkey into the oven bag on top of the vegetables.
  • Close the oven bag with the tie included with the bag and place the bag with the all the ingredients onto a roasted pan.
  • Cut slits in the top of the oven bag to allow the steam to escape.
  • Cook the turkey based on the size of the turkey and use a meat thermometer to ensure that the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees cooking time. A 12-15 lb turkey will take approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours. A 15-20 lb turkey will take approximately 2 ½ – 3 hours. A 20-24 lb turkey will take approximately 3 – 3 ½ hours.
  • Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Then carefully cut the oven bag off the turkey.
  • Remove the turkey to a serving platter, carve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

To thaw a turkey properly, allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey to thaw in a refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 534kcal, Carbohydrates 3g, Protein 70g, Fat 26g, Saturated Fat 10g, Trans Fat 1g, Cholesterol 252mg, Sodium 1018mg, Potassium 782mg, Fiber 1g, Sugar 1g, Vitamin A 2123IU, Vitamin C 2mg, Calcium 47mg, Iron 3mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families!

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  1. 5 stars
    Has anyone made this recipe exactly as written? I was prepping the butter rub and it seemed awfully heavy on the pepper. I

  2. 5 stars
    This was delicious. My turkey dinner turned out perfect. I’m saving this recipe for next thanksgiving.

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