How Long to Cook a Turkey in a Bag


The holidays are right around the corner, and you know what that means: lots of turkey. I love turkey on Thanksgiving, but one thing I don’t love is the time it takes to cook a turkey in your oven. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to get your holiday bird ready for carving in just two hours. All it requires is a bit of preparation before cooking and some simple steps during the actual cooking process. So if you’re short on time this year—or just want to try something different with your turkey—follow these simple steps:

Preheat your oven.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you have an electric convection oven, preheat it to 325 degrees.

Ensure that the temperature is accurate by using an oven thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey before placing it in the bag. This will ensure even cooking and prevent dry meat from overcooking on one side while still being raw on another side.

Put the turkey in the bag.


  • Put the turkey in the bag.
  • Make sure it is a whole turkey and not frozen, as this will take longer to cook than fresh meat would (about 15 minutes per pound).
  • Make sure that your bag is big enough for your turkey (it should be about 4 inches larger on all sides than your bird), or else it won’t cook evenly!

Add water to the bag.

Add enough water to the bag to cover the bottom of the pan. You can use a gallon of water or less; just make sure your turkey is totally submerged in liquid before sealing and cooking it.

A lot of people think that adding too much water will make their turkey soggy, but this isn’t true! As long as your turkey is fully submerged during its cooking time, it won’t be affected by how much liquid there was originally inside your bag (so feel free to use whatever amount suits your personal preference).

Cook for two hours.

For a 12lb turkey, cook for two hours. For a 14lb turkey, cook for two and a half hours. And if you want to make sure it’s cooked all the way through without drying out your bird (which can happen with larger birds), go ahead and give that 16lb bird three hours in the oven.

Follow these steps and you can cook a turkey in a bag in no time!

  • Place the turkey, breast side up, in a large roasting bag.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add 1 cup water or chicken stock to the bag (if desired). Seal tightly with a twist tie or plastic wrap over the opening of the bag; be sure there are no gaps or holes where air could escape during cooking! If using plastic wrap, make sure it’s tightly sealed around all sides of the turkey before placing it in your oven at high heat (about 400 degrees Fahrenheit).


That’s it! You can now enjoy a delicious turkey dinner with your family.

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