University of Illinois Extension

Cooking Techniques - The Good Method

Oven Cooking Bag Method

(See Wash Hands: Not the Turkey)

Preparing a turkey in an oven cooking bag can be a safe and a delicious alternative to the traditional roasting method. In this technique, a large heat tempered plastic cooking bag especially designed for oven temperatures is used. Bags can be purchased in the paper goods section of most grocery stores. Instructions for use are printed on the box.

When using an oven-cooking bag, preheat the oven to 350°F. To prevent bursting, a tablespoon of dry flour is shaken around to coat the empty bag and slits are cut in the bag to allow steam to escape. The pan holding the turkey in the bag must be large enough so the bag does not hang over the sides. Allow ample space for the bag to expand during cooking so that it does not touch the top or sides of the oven or it will melt.

This method produces a moist-heat cooking environment. Use a meat thermometer inserted right through the plastic into the innermost part of the thigh. A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, you may choose to cook the turkey to higher temperatures.