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How Long to Cook a Turkey in an Oven Bag

This is the simplest method for cooking a Thanksgiving turkey because the meat is always moist and tender. The oven bag eliminates a lot of the extra labor, such as brining and basting. In addition, a turkey cooked in an oven bag cooks faster and is easier to clean up.

Notably, the taste of the turkey is locked in by the oven bag, and the steam in the bag bastes the turkey while it cooks. It is also worth noting that some Oven Bags are made of FDA-approved heat-resistant nylon, plus they are BPA-free.

If you have never roasted a turkey before, it can be intimidating, but I believe this is one of the best ways to get started will be to cook the turkey in an oven bag. Nothing sophisticated or difficult to grasp, just a simple and foolproof guide and tips that you will want to use again and again.

How Long to Cook a Turkey in an Oven Bag

Turkey Nutrition Facts

How Long to Cook a Turkey in an Oven Bag

Tips on How to Cook a Turkey in an Oven Bag

My oven bag cooking guide is the easiest available if you are a newbie cook or want to attempt a new method of cooking an entire turkey. I have highlighted some excellent tips on how to cook a turkey in an oven bag for your benefit:

Thawing the turkey – Notably, it takes a long time to thaw a turkey. It takes at least 24 hours to thaw a 5-pound frozen turkey. For an 18-pound bird, you will need more than 72 hours or three and a half days.

The smaller the bird, the less time it takes to cook, but always do the math when buying the turkey to ensure that your cooking time is correct and that no areas of the bird are undercooked when it’s time to eat.

Prepare the turkey – You should remove the turkey’s neck and giblets, as well as any remaining pin feathers. Underneath the turkey, tuck the wings. You can season the turkey cavity with salt and pepper.

Butter the turkey – To make the butter mix, combine the butter, garlic, and thyme in a small mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Proceed to rub butter mix under the skin of the turkey. You should separate the turkey breast skin from the breast using the back end of a wooden spoon. I always use the back end of the spoon to rub butter underneath the skin and smooth it out. You may also just rub butter on your skin, but I find that it seasons best when rubbed underneath.

How to cook a turkey in an oven bag – To prepare the oven bag with flour, add 1 tablespoon of flour to the bag and shake it well. Place the bag in a roasting pan and add the celery, onion, and carrots to the oven bag.

Then proceed to place the turkey on top of the vegetable layer. Make sure you close the oven bag and cut 6 holes over the top of the oven bag so as to allow steam to escape, then tuck the ends of the oven bag into the pan.

You can now bake the turkey until the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees in multiple places and the thigh registers 175 degrees.


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How Long to Cook a Turkey in an Oven Bag

Turkey size Cook Time (Stuffed) Cook Time (Unstuffed)
12- 16 pounds 2 – 2¼ hours 2½ – 2¾ hours
16 – 20 pounds 2¼ – 2½ hours 2¾ – 3 hours
20 – 24 pounds 2½ – 3 hours 3 – 3½ hours

Note that these are basically approximations since every oven is different. You should always check the temperature for doneness, making sure it hits 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast and 175 degrees in the thigh.

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How Long to Cook a Turkey in an Oven Bag

Turkey in Oven Bag Recipe (12 – 18 Servings)

  • Author: Bobby




  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a 2-inch deep roasting pan, proceed to place the oven bag. To prevent sticking, you should spray the interior of the bag with cooking spray and fill it with flour.
  3. Proceed to fill the bag with chopped celery and sliced onion.
  4. The turkey’s neck and giblets should be removed. Using paper towels, you can gently pat the turkey dry. Then place the turkey on a cutting board.
  5. You can go on and combine the softened butter and chicken seasoning in a small bowl.
  6. Next, you need to gently lift the skin of the turkey breast away from the flesh with your hands and rub half of the mixture between the turkey and the skin on the breast.
  7. Then top the turkey breasts with the remaining butter mixture and season the turkey with salt and pepper to taste on the outside. You should also put the apple slices in the cavity of the turkey.
  8. Go ahead and place the turkey – breast-side up – in the oven bag that has been prepared.
  9. You can now mix the apple cider and maple syrup in a mixing bowl. Then pour the mixed sauce over the turkey, allowing some to drip into the cavity.
  10. You should seal the oven bag with the enclosed nylon ties; alternatively, twist the ends of the bag and tuck it under the bird’s legs. Proceed to cut 6 half-inch slits in the top of the turkey bag to act as vents.
  11. Proceed to roast the turkey for 2 to 3½ hours – depending on the size of the turkey – until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey measures 165 F.
  12. You can remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest 20 minutes before carving. Notably, resting allows the turkey’s juices to redistribute, keeping the moisture.
  13. You can serve the turkey with your preferred side dishes.

This approach is quite fair, and even if you overcook the chicken, the moisture in the bag will keep the meat juicy. Once you have learned how to cook a turkey in a bag, you will never cook a turkey any other way.

You can watch this video recipe to know how long to cook a turkey in an oven bag.