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Oven Bag Turkey Recipe

User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


thanksgiving turkey


Getty Images/George Doyle

How to Cook Turkey in an Oven Bag

This oven bag turkey recipe is one of the easiest, tastiest ways to produce a moist and juicy turkey. This oven bag turkey recipe is very forgiving, meaning you can overcook the turkey and it will still taste juicy. Once you learn how to cook turkey in a bag, you will never go back to another method again.

It is important to use an oven bag that is made for turkeys for this recipe. Reynolds makes them. Do not use a brown paper bag, grocery bag or other type of bag for this oven bag turkey recipe! You don't want to have a fire or noxious fumes for Thanksgiving!

Click here to see the step-by-step directions (with pictures) for how to make turkey in an oven bag.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 turkey-sized oven bag (such as Reynolds)
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 12 to 18 lb. turkey, thawed
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place oven bag in a 2-inch deep roasting pan. Spray the inside of the bag with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Add flour to bag, and shake to coat.

  2. Place vegetables in the bag.

  3. Remove the neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Set turkey on a clean surface, such as a cutting board. (You will wash this surface, along with anything else that touches the raw turkey, with detergent and water, so make sure you don't plan to use this surface again today.)

  4. Optional: Combine softened butter with poultry seasoning. Gently lift the skin of the turkey breast away from the meat with your hands and rub all but 3-4 Tbsp. of the butter mixture on the breast between the turkey and skin. Note: You can skip this step, but it does make the turkey extra juicy.

  5. Rub the remaining butter mixture on top of the turkey breast. Note: You can use less butter if you have a smaller turkey.

  6. Season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Place the apple slices inside the turkey cavity. Place the turkey, breast side up (the regular way), in the prepared oven bag, which is sitting in the roasting pan.

  7. Whisk apple cider and maple syrup together. Pour the mixture over the turkey, letting some spill into the cavity.

  8. Seal the oven bag with the enclosed nylon ties. Do not use bread bag or trash bag ties! If you can't find the nylon ties that came with the oven bag, just tuck the ends of the oven bag under the legs of the turkey. Cut 6 half-inch slits in the top of the turkey bag to vent.

  9. Roast turkey 2-4 hours, depending on the size of the turkey, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey measures 165 degrees F. A 12-15 lb. turkey will take approximately 2 hours; a 20-24 lb. turkey will take about 3-1/2 hours.

  10. Remove turkey from oven, and let the turkey rest 20 minutes before carving. This is an important step! Don't skip the resting part - it allows the turkey's juices to redistribute, keeping your oven bag turkey moist. You can use a turkey baster to extract the juices from the bag to make turkey gravy.

Check out my Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Greates Turkey Ever!!!, Member CookinKaren1

I have never cooked anything in a cooking bag. I think this would have to be the most positive experience for that. The turkey came out so moist, even the white meat. I think rubbing the butter mixture under the skin helps alot. Everyone that ate this turkey raved about it. I had my doubts about the cooking time, but it was on the mark. I had a 20lb turkey and it cooked in 3 hr. Thanks for the great recipe.

40 out of 40 people found this helpful.

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