Reynolds Cooking Bag Times

January 3, 2014 · 103 comments

During the holiday season, a frequently asked question is, “How long to cook a turkey?” The answer is, of course, it depends. Are you using a regular roaster and a traditional approach, or the Reynolds oven bags alternative?

This past Christmas we ate from a spectacularly moist and flavorful bird.

Christmas Vancouver Island Style-10
In large part, this was due to the culinary skills of my Aunt Joan. It was also a result of Aunt Joan’s fabulous turkey-roasting secret weapon:


Reynolds Oven Bags

My Aunt Joan has been using a Reynolds cooking bags for years, but I always forget about them from one year to the next until I bite into one of their spectacular feasts.

In addition to the flavor intensifying and texture enhancing qualities oven bags will bring to your meals, they not only make clean up (both roaster and oven!) a breeze but also significantly speed cooking time and attention. Wondering how long to cook turkey?* This bag serves as a kind of pressure cooker and can cut your cooking time almost in half compared to traditional preparation. Plus, there’s no more leaving your guests or bailing on the Christmas afternoon walk to babysit/baste the bird, which Cook’s Illustrated actively recommends against, anyway.

No matter which direction you go, Cook’s has the following tips I found helpful:

  • To thaw a frozen turkey, calculate ONE DAY of fridge time for every 4 pounds of turkey. Messed up on the advanced planning? Fill a large bucket with cold water and plunk the still-wrapped bird in and let thaw for 30 minutes per pound, changing the cold water every 30 minutes to avoid accidentally inviting nasty bacteria to your holiday feast.
  • After resting the bird for 20 minutes to give the juices time to redistribute through the meat, carve in the kitchen: it’s a messy business! Using a good chef’s knife on a large cutting board and have some kitchen towels on hand.

  • Grab the leg bones and pull away from the bird, slicing through the skin between the leg and the breast. This will allow you to find the thigh joint to cut off the leg quarter and work the knife through. For each leg, separate the thigh and drumstick at the joint which you can find with your finger. Remove the largest pieces of meat from the thigh and slice across the grain, about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Return to the body and pull the wings away from the body, again finding the joint with your fingers and working the knife through the joint.
  • Remove the entire breast all at once, and slice the meat cross-wise and on the bias. Keep the skin in place so that each slice comes with a bit of skin. Assemble the pieces on a pretty platter, and call yourself “Martha!”

Reynolds Oven Bags Cooking Time Chart

Per Reynolds’ instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Shake 1 Tbsp. flour inside oven bag. Brush turkey with vegetable oil or butter. Season as desired. close bag and cut six 1/2-inch slits in top of the bag; see directions on back for more details. Bake according to chart.

Note: when taking the temperature of the turkey, insert the thermometer right through the bag rather than opening it to avoid being burned by the steam.

  Large Size  Additional Instructions 

Turkey

Total Weight

Time

Add
Flour

Add Water to
Oven Bag

Meat
Thermometer
Temperature

Turkey Breast,
bone-in

4-8 lb

1-1/4 to 2 hr

1 Tbsp

None

170°F

Turkey Breast, boneless

2-1/2 to 3 lb

3-5 lb

1-1/4 to 1-3/4 hr

1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hr

1 Tbsp

1 Tbsp

None

None

170°F

170°F

Turkey Drumsticks

1-1/2 to 3 lb

1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hr

1 Tbsp

1/2 cup

170°F

Whole Turkey, Unstuffed

Place turkey in bag breast-side up and cook in a shallow roasting pan. Approximate roasting times are for fully thawed, unstuffed turkey. Always check final temperature of cooked bird with an instant read thermometer.

Turkey

Total Weight

Time

Add
Flour

Add Water to
Oven Bag

Meat
Thermometer
Temperature

Whole Turkey, Unstuffed

8 – 12 lbs

1.5 to 2 hours

1 Tbsp

None

170°F

Whole Turkey, Unstuffed

12 – 16 lbs

2 to 2.5 hours

1 Tbsp

None

170°F

Whole Turkey, Unstuffed

16 – 20 lbs

2.5 to 3 hours

1 Tbsp

None

170°F

Whole Turkey, Unstuffed

20 – 24 lbs

3 to 3.5 hours

1 Tbsp

None

170°F

Whole Turkey, Stuffed

Place turkey in bag breast-side up and cook in a shallow roasting pan. Approximate roasting times are for fully thawed, stuffed turkey. Always check final temperature of cooked bird (and stuffing) with an instant read thermometer.

Turkey

Total Weight

Time

Add
Flour

Add Water to
Oven Bag

Meat
Thermometer
Temperature

Whole Turkey, Stuffed

8 – 12 lbs

2 to 2.5+ hours

1 Tbsp

None

170°F

Whole Turkey, Stuffed

12 – 16 lbs

2.5 to 3+ hours

1 Tbsp

None

170°F

Whole Turkey, Stuffed

16 – 20 lbs

3 to 3.5+ hours

1 Tbsp

None

170°F

Whole Turkey, Stuffed

20 – 24 lbs

3.5 to 4+ hours

1 Tbsp

None

170°F

See here for other cooking bag chart times.

Reynolds also makes oven bags for slow cookers (as in “crock pots,” not as in “chefs who take their time”), banishing forever the need to scratch away at the baked-on carbon crusted to the edges of the cooker. (Here’s a great review (she says humbly) of Cook’s recommendations for slow cookers and crock pots.)

You know, as I thought about these things more, I did a little dig through my “third drawer down” and have come up with a couple of startling Reynolds-related insights:

Kitchen Clean Up-6
1) We own a LOT of Reynolds products, including the Hefty bags that cart the turkey bones out to the trash cans. How can so many products from one manufacturer end up in my kitchen without me consciously acknowledging that I’m a fan? I’m either a super inattentive shopper or Reynolds employs some super efficient branding gurus. I’m going with the latter.

2) Until I started thinking about turkey oven bags, I had always mentally associated Reynolds with aluminum foil. It turns out there is a good reason for this:

The creation of both the Reynolds® and Hefty® brands is the direct result of American ingenuity mixed with a bit of elbow grease. Reynolds Wrap Foil was invented after aluminum was no longer needed for military use; and became a new staple for American kitchens. Hefty® waste bags were first developed with excess material from an early plastics innovator, creating another household essential.
(Source: http://reynoldsconsumerproducts.com/pages/About.aspx)

Kitchen Clean Up-7
3) I had also always thought of parchment paper, muffin cups, and wax paper as devices to keep food from sticking, as in “good for the food.”

On closer examination of the product marketing, I realize I was missing the big “aha!”: Reynolds baking products are actually pre-emptive cleaning supplies!


*In case  you were actually wondering, “How long do I cook a turkey the normal way?” I don’t want to leave you hanging.


Cook’s Illustrated “Highly Recommended” Winner:
Calphalon Roaster with V Rack

Experts agree that you should remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer measures 165 in the deepest part of the breast meat, and yes, you really, really do need to let the turkey rest for 30 minutes out of the oven before carving to give the meat time to reabsorb the juices.

You do have a good all-purpose thermometer, right? No? Okay, then… here’s a “by the clock” table for an unstuffed bird. For a stuffed bird, you’ll need to add half an hour, at least, to the total cooking time listed here.

6 to 8 pounds

2-1/2 to 3 hours

8 to 12 pounds

3 to 4 hours

12 to 16 pounds

4 to 5 hours

16 to 20 pounds

5 to 5-1/2 hours

20 to 24 pounds

5-1/2 to 6 hours

 

But seriously… get a thermometer like this inexpensive option recommended by Cook’s Illustrated. This isn’t the last turkey you’re going to cook, right?



ThermoPro TP03A Digital Thermometer

Finally, per the turkey cooking tip from Dennis Myers in the comments section below, here’s where to buy the Fiesta Fajita Seasoning he recommends:


Fiesta Fajita Seasoning

Happy Cooking!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea Marchetti December 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm

How long to cook 6pound stuffed whole turkey breast in oven bag?

Reply

kathy December 24, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Hi Andrea,

Honestly, we’ve never cooked a stuffed turkey breast before, but I’d start checking the temp with a thermometer (it should read around 170F) at about 1:15 minutes and then check every 15 minutes after that. Good luck, and Merry Christmas!

Reply

Susie November 23, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Trying to figure out if I can use the Reynolds Oven Bags in my roaster. My girlfriend who we are sharing dinner with always cooks in the bag, but I always cook turkey in my roaster!

Reply

kathy November 23, 2016 at 6:45 pm

Hi Susie,
Please see our response to Denise below.
All I can add is that it sounds like your household will have a fabulous abundance of turkey cooking experience on hand! Let us know how it rolls out.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Reply

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