For many years now, I have been the designated turkey baker in our family mainly because I know how to bake a turkey that is tender and delicious. I grew up watching my mother prepare the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, so it naturally followed that one day that task would fall to me. I am grateful that my mother taught me how to bake a turkey.
Over the years, many guests have asked for my secret to baking a delicious and tender turkey. You will no doubt be shocked at how easy it is to make a fabulous whole turkey with only a few ingredients. Often the simplest recipes and techniques are the best!
Today, I will share my turkey baking secrets with you.
When to Purchase and How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey
If you are purchasing a frozen turkey, be sure to buy it 3-4 days before you plan to cook it. Place it in the refrigerator the day you buy it and allow it to slowly thaw. It will take a 12 lb. turkey 3 days to thaw and a 16 lb. turkey 4 days to thaw.
Never thaw a turkey at room temperature.
How to Bake a Turkey
- 12 – 16 lb. Turkey
- 1 Tbsp Flour
- 1/4 Cup of Butter
- Reynolds Oven Bag (Turkey Size)
- 2″ Deep Roasting Pan
Step 1: Preheat the Oven to 350°
Step 2: Add 1 Tbsp flour inside the Reynolds Oven Bag.
Step 3: Hold the mouth of the bag closed and shake the bag to cover sides & top with flour.
Step 4: Set the floured bag in a 2″ deep roasting pan. Set aside.
Step 5: Wash the turkey completely, inside and out. Remove the bag of organs.
Step 6: Dry the outside of the turkey with paper towels.
Step 7: Rub the entire outside of the turkey with butter.
Step 8: Cut the remaining butter into pieces and place all but 7 pats of butter inside the turkey.
Step 9: Pepper the outside of the turkey.
Step 10: Carefully place the prepared turkey inside the floured bag.
Step 11: Place the 7 remaining pats of butter, evenly distributed, on the top of the turkey.
Step 12: Close and Secure the bag with a nylon tie that was included with the Reynolds Oven Bags.
Step 13: Cut six 1/2″ slits in the top of the bag to allow steam to escape while cooking.
Step 14: Tuck the ends of the bag inside the roasting pan.
Step 15: Place the pan in the oven. Be sure to allow plenty of room for the bag to expand during cooking without touching the sides, racks, heating elements, etc. of the oven.
Step 16: Bake according to chart in the Reynolds Oven bag. A 12-16 lb. turkey will take 2-2 1/2 hrs.
The turkey will be extremely hot when it has finished cooking and the bag may stick to the turkey in a few spots. Simply pull the bag lose. I do recommend letting the turkey cool for at least 30 minutes before you try to remove it from the bag.
I do save the broth inside the turkey bag to add to my dressing recipe. I also keep that little bag of organs and make giblet gravy.
Carving the Turkey
My father or my husband has always carved the turkey, but last year neither of them were available. For the first time ever, I found myself trying to carve the turkey. It was not easy!
I have included this video for you just in case you too find yourself having to carve the turkey.