Two things to always remember when roasting a turkey on Thanksgiving: don’t forget to remove the giblets and be sure to keep the meat moist and tender. There are many more turkey-truths out there to follow, based on years of experience and personal preference when it comes to the prized Thanksgiving bird. We’ve tried many different methods over the years and one of our favorite roasting methods is to use a roasting bag.
A “turkey-size” roasting bag is what you’ll need, and at this time of year, it’s pretty easy to find. A roasting bag will be able to cook a turkey as small as eight pounds and as big as 24 pounds! Roasting bags have been around for a while, and one reason why they’re so amazing is that a bag helps to lock in moisture. No one wants a dry turkey on Thanksgiving! This saves the chef time too, as there’s no need to regularly open the oven to baste the turkey.
The process itself is super simple, and saves time on clean up – there’s no charred roasting pan to clean at the end of the day. Once the turkey has been prepared – neck and giblets removed and the whole turkey rinsed and dried – we can begin turkey prep. We place onions and carrots at the bottom of the bag; these will act as props to the bird as well as infusing the meat with great flavor.
Next, the seasoning mix: salt and butter are absolutely essential to a well-seasoned bird, followed by our own mix of seasonings: black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat, paprika, ginger, thyme, and some poultry seasoning. The bird gets a nice massage in all of this flavor and is then placed into the roasting bag to cook. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your turkey and you’ll also want to give the meat time to rest so those all-important juices can be reabsorbed into the meat. After 15 minutes, the turkey is ready for carving.
We spend so much time decorating our homes and our dinner tables for this grand holiday meal. The tablescape is intricately planned and adorned to match the festive theme and please all of our family and friends. From formal tablescapes to more casual dinner settings, and of course, a plethora of side dishes, our tables are made ready to show off the most important centerpiece to any Thanksgiving meal: the turkey. A roasting bag is a super convenient and accessible way to make this year’s turkey something truly special. A few essential ingredients all tossed together in one bag is an excellent way to ensure that the turkey is the true star of the show this Thanksgiving.
How To Cook A Turkey In A Roasting Bag
- 1 oven roasting bag, 19×23 ½-inch
- 1 turkey (8 to 24-pounds), thawed, giblets and neck removed, rinsed and dried
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, ground ginger, and dried thyme until well combined. Set aside.
- Shake flour inside the roasting bag. Place bag in a large 2-inch deep roasting pan.
- Place onion wedges, garlic cloves, and carrot pieces in bottom of roasting bag.
- Rub turkey with melted butter. Evenly spread and rub seasoning mix around whole turkey.
- Place turkey into the bag, resting on top of onions and carrots. Roasting bag opening should face one end of the roasting pan and not open upwards.
- Close and seal with cooking twine. Cut 4-6 slits in top of roasting bag.
- Transfer roasting pan to oven and bake according to the weight of the turkey. (See weight and cooking times below)
- When turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180°F in at the thickest part of the turkey thigh, remove from oven and rest in oven bag for 15 minutes to allow juices to settle back into the turkey.
- Use a carving fork to lift turkey from bag and transfer to a carving board. Carve and enjoy!
Turkey Cooking Times
- 1.5-2 hours for 8-12 lb turkeys
- 2-2.5 hours for 12-16 lb turkeys
- 2.5-3 hours for 16-20 lb turkeys
- 3-3.5 hours for 20-24 lb turkeys