Oven Bag Turkey Recipe

Roast turkey on festive table, close up (differential focus)
Howard Shooter / Getty Images
    2 hrs 15 mins
Ratings (19)

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 ​another type of bag for this oven bag turkey recipe! You don't want to have a fire or noxious fumes for Thanksgiving!

See step-by-step directions (with pictures) for how to make turkey in an oven bag.

Got leftover turkey? Try this Turkey Posole Soup.

What You'll Need

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

How to Make It

  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.)
  1. 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 tablespoons 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.
  2. Rub the remaining butter mixture on top of the turkey breast. Note: You can use less butter if you have a smaller turkey.
  3. 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.
  4. Whisk apple cider and maple syrup together. Pour the mixture over the turkey, letting some spill into the cavity.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 F.pound  A 12-15 pound turkey will take approximately 2 hours; a 20-24 pound turkey will take about 3-1/2 hours. 
  7. 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 this easy Lemon Garlic Roasted Turkey Breast if you don't want to make the full turkey.