How Long To Cook A 13 Pound Turkey In A Bag (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2.5 hours

Turkey is a special and signature dish for occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas events. However, not everyone knows exactly how to cook the giant bird. Roasting turkey in the bag is the perfect solution in such situations.

Cooking turkey in bags has its roots in the early 1950s. If the cook is unsure about the dish, cooking in an oven bag provides some assurance. It is a clear-cut and straightforward method of cooking turkey with no complicated procedures.

Cooking turkey in an oven bag makes the dish more delightful. It is filled with flavor and is much crunchier.

How Long To Cook A 13 Pound Turkey In A Bag

How Long To Cook A 13 Pound Turkey In A Bag?

Generally, cooking a 13-pound turkey might take up more than 2 hours. Turkeys are big birds and they need a great deal of time in cooking them.

Turkey can be cooked with stuffings. Although these are optional, yet they help to enhance the taste of the dish and add extra flavor and aroma to it. Eggs, chicken pieces, or anything else of the cook’s choice can be used for stuffing the turkeys.

Type Of TurkeyTime Taken
Stuffed turkey2 and 3/4 hours
Unstuffed Turkey2 and 1/4 hours

An unstuffed turkey that weighs 13 pounds would take up about 2 and a quarter hours to be roasted properly. Apart from this, it would also require some time in its preparation. The oven has to be heated in advance and the turkey is made ready in the oven bag.

The cook also has the option to use his preferred versions of stuffings. Usually, stuffed turkeys require more time to cook. If a 13-pound turkey is stuffed and roasted in the oven bag oven, it would take up to 2 and three-quarter hours to be cooked suitably.

It can be understood that stuffed turkeys take almost half an hour more than unstuffed turkeys. It may be also noted that the turkey has to be left for an hour to cool down to let all the juices revitalize.

Conversely, if the turkey weighs between 14-19 pounds, it will need three hours. Although, if it weighs between 20-24 pounds, it would need up to 3 and a half hours for it to be cooked.

Why Does It Take So Long To Cook A 13 Pound Turkey In A Bag?

Turkey is a thick bird. This thickness prompts and calls for a higher duration in the oven. It has to be made sure that the heat reaches the interiors of the turkey in the oven.

The temperature in the interiors of the turkey should be compatible with the temperature requirements of the turkey. The cook is expected to use a probe thermometer to measure that temperature.

The probe temperature has to be inserted into the bag’s vents. The temperature in the thickest portion of the bird’s breast should reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit while the temperature in the thighs of the meat should touch 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Reaching these levels of temperature is not easy and takes time.

Apart from these, there is also considerable time spent on making preparations for cooking it. The oven needs to be pre-heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before keeping the turkey inside.

There is also a great deal in the selection of bags in which the turkey has to be cooked. These are not any random bags but oven-specific bags. The material of such bags is nylon and one should be careful enough to not use any plastic bags.

One also has to be cautious while opening the bag. Since the bag would be hot, there is a probability for steam to be present in there. If the cook is not careful, it might result in injuries.


Overall, cooking a 13-pound turkey in oven bags can cost the chef almost four hours. An hour has to be spent in advance on the preparation of the turkey to be cooked. While two and a half hours will be spent on roasting it, another half hour is required for cooling and garnishing it.

A golden-brown turkey on a Thanksgiving eve with friends and family is a perfect getaway from worldly problems. It tastes great when cooked perfectly and served with one’s favourite accompaniments.



Avatar of Nidhi


Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *