This was a tried and true recipe from a friends mom from years back, and its been one of the best ways to cook the Juiciest, Most Tender Oven Roast Turkey EVER – and it will change the way you are going to cook turkeys from now on. No more arguing with anyone over when the turkey is done, this method of cooking a turkey is SO forgiving that I would bet the white meat will NEVER dry out! Read on to learn how simple it is to make the best roast turkey you are ever going to eat!
Truth be told, this isn’t my recipe, but a recipe that my ex-mother in law made every Christmas. I have to give her kudos as it was always a great turkey, year after year, even if this was literally the only meal she cooked in her home for the entire year. Okay, maybe she also cooked for thanksgiving too.
After making this turkey It always falls off the bones when I go to carve it. That makes it utterly fantastic for eating. Not that good when I need to take photos.
Do you want to know the turkey baking secret? Turkey sized oven roasting bags. Let’s be clear here it’s the clear oven bags, NOT brown paper bags! Brown paper bags are actually toxic! Using a tried and tested safe food grade oven bag is better overall for roasting a turkey in a bag. It makes sense, companies put glue and chemicals into paper bags that are not meant for high heat OR for food to cook in and have no regulations with their production because of it. Oven bags are meant for food and heat. Using one twice a year to make the best turkey ever is not a big deal, but if you think it is, then this isn’t the turkey recipe for you. The oven bag is truly the key! Now let’s move on to the step-by-step directions to get this bird in the oven for your big day!
How to Cook A Turkey
Let’s walk through this step by step, as some of you may be making your first turkey ever – or, you are like me and have been spending your life worrying over the turkey as it cooks trying to keep it from drying out. If you don’t need these photos, just pop on down to the bottom where the recipe awaits you, you turkey pro! The turkey shown in these photos is 13 lbs.
- Pre-heat your oven to 300 °F. Yes, we are cooking this bird low and slow all day. For hours. (The USDA RECOMMENDS that you cook at a minimum of 325°F oven temp, which you can also do and the turkey cooks faster. The choice is up to you.)
- Take one tablespoon of sea salt flakes or coarse salt and a tablespoon of parsley and mix them in a bowl. IF you have a larger turkey you can double this. Set aside for now.
- Pat the tops and sides of the turkey dry with paper towels and throw them out. Wash your hands. Take your turkey so that it’s completely in the oven bag BUT so that the opening is slanted more towards the top instead of straight across This will make sense later in in my directions.
- Take your chosen onion quarters, celery, apple etc and place them into the turkey cavity. Wash your hands.
- Take a bottle of olive oil and drizzle a small stream across the skin on the breast of the turkey and some on the thighs and legs. Gauge how much you need to cover the surface area in a nice coating. Put the bottle away and roll up your sleeves.
- Rub the olive oil all over the turkey skin, getting it covered well. You don’t have to do the bottom.
- Take the salt/parsley mixture and rub it all over the turkey in an even layer. The olive oil will help it stick. It should look like the picture above. Then of course, wash your hands and move on to the next step.
- Pour the turkey or chicken broth into the bottom of the bag, making sure not to wash off the spices.
- Use the little tie that comes with your oven bags and seal the bag. Cut small holes into the top of the roasting bag to let steam out.
- Place in the oven and cook for 4-5 hours for this 13 pound turkey and up to 7 for a larger turkey. If you notice the breast is getting too brown and crispy. then turn the oven down to 250 °. (The USDA RECOMMENDS that you cook at a minimum of 325°F oven temp, which you can also do and the turkey cooks faster. The choice is up to you.)
- When the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 °F and the breast meat is 165°F minimum, you can remove the turkey. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the bag.
- You can either move it to a platter (You can do it with a few people holding the turkey together) or simply carve it in the pan.
- Use the drippings to make what is the BEST turkey gravy you will ever eat.
The secret to why this Oven Baked Turkey turns out so well is that the olive oil and salt still manage to crisp up the turkey skin while the steam from the broth actually braises the turkey, not roasts. And braising is one of the best ways to cook any meat. Braising is also pretty much the only way that you are going to get moist breast meat and cook the legs to a proper temperature at the same time (the bane of turkey roasting.) Plus the added broth instead of water adds that extra flavour throughout and makes your gravy so good!
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Oven Roasted Turkey
This is the most simple way to get a juicy, tender roasted turkey - Everytime!
- Prep Time
- 15 minutes
- Cook Time
- 5 hours
- Main Course
- Karami Urbanoski
- 1 15-20 Lb Turkey
- 1 Tbsp Sea salt flakes or Coarse salt
- 1 Tbsp Dried parsley
- 3 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Litre Turkey Broth Can substitute chicken if needed.
- 1 Large turkey sized oven roasting bag
- 1 Yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 2 Celery stalks washed and cut into sticks
- 1 Apple, cored, de-seeded and quartered
Pre-heat your oven to 300 °F.
Take one tablespoon of sea salt flakes or coarse salt and a tablespoon of parsley and mix them in a bowl. IF you have a larger turkey you can double this. Set aside for now.
Pat the tops and sides of the turkey dry with paper towels and throw them out.
Place your turkey so that it’s completely in the oven bag BUT so that the opening is pulled a little more towards the top instead of straight across so the juices cannot leak out.
Take your celery, apple, onions etc and place them into the turkey cavity.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil across the skin on the breast of the turkey and some on the thighs and legs. Gauge how much you need to cover the surface area in a nice coating. Rub it into the skin all over, except the bottom.
Take the salt/parsley mixture and rub it all over the turkey in an even layer. The olive oil will help it stick.
Pour the turkey broth in the bottom of the bag. Try to not wash the salt and spices off the turkey while doing this.
Take the little tie that comes with the bag and tie the bag closed. Cut 2-3 little holes in the top of the bag for steam to release.
Put the turkey in a large roasting pan with higher sides to be able to hold the drippings and broth once the turkey bag is opened when its done cooking.
Place in the oven and cook for 4-5 hours for my 13 pound turkey and up to 7 for a larger turkey. If you notice the breast is getting too brown and crispy, you can cover the top with tinfoil and continue baking.
When the thigh meat reaches a temperature of 185 °F and the breast meat is 165°F minimum, you can remove the turkey. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then remove the bag.
Carve the turkey in the pan, or carefully carry it to a platter. It may fall apart if you do this since it is so tender, but with extra help it can be done
Use the drippings in the bottom of the pan to make the best turkey gravy ever for your guests!
- The USDA RECOMMENDS that you cook turkey at a minimum of 325°F oven temp, which you can also do and the turkey cooks faster. The choice is up to you how you want to cook it.
- NUTRITIONAL VALUES shown are only for a slice of turkey breast meat, and NOT for the entire turkey or any gravy you make!
- If the top of your turkey is getting too brown, cover the top with tinfoil.
- You are only restricted in turkey size by what fits into the bag and closes up to cook! If it fits in, it cooks!
- Add more cooking time on for larger turkeys.
- You can choose whatever vegetables you want to place in your turkey cavity, I like an apple, celery and an onion. Whatever you put in there WILL affect the taste!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.