The Ultimate Turkey

When the centerpiece of a holiday dinner is turkey, it’s got to be amazing, so consider the Ultimate Turkey recipe.  Not only is it so tasty, it is the easiest, quickest turkey that I have made.  I roasted an 18-pound turkey in 90 minutes!  Say what???!!  The beauty of this is that it leaves the oven open for other dishes that you may be considering like Sheet Pan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, or Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprout Stuffing.  It’s important to time your meal and have space for everything…freeing up the oven makes a huge difference!

How can a huge turkey cook this fast?  The trick is using an oven bag.  It heats the turkey and cooks it so quickly, but doesn’t dry it out.  That has to do with the steam in the bag as well as the marinade.

The marinade for the turkey is luscious!  It is a combination of onion soup mix, apricot jam, French salad dressing, honey mustard, and various spices.  This is not a typical marinade for a turkey.  It feels more like a sauce for roasted chicken, but why not?  Trying something different never hurts and I love the flavor of this!

The oven bag is kind of cool.  Just sprinkle some flour around the bag so that it doesn’t burst while roasting.  Then plop the turkey into the bag, drench it in sauce, and let it go.  In 90 minutes, your turkey will be done!  Now, be sure to check it with an instant-read thermometer.  This is important because it may be less or more time depending on the size of the turkey.  I’d start checking around the 70 minute mark.

Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the oven and carefully from the bag.  Let it sit on a cutting board for 20 minutes or so.

In the meantime, take the sauce and skim off the fat layer.  Then, place it in a saucepan and boil it down until reduced to the thickness you prefer for gravy.  I cooked mine for about 8 minutes.

Carve the turkey as you like and serve the gravy alongside.

Share Your Thoughts...

Lastly, if you make The Ultimate Turkey, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is one of my favorite things to do!

The Ultimate Turkey

Makes: 10-12 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time:  90 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours


Turkey Marinade:

  • 1 (1.38oz/39g) envelope onion soup mix
  • 2 cups apricot jam
  • 1 cup French salad dressing
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 16-18 lb whole turkey
  • 1 turkey-size (19″x23″) oven bag
  • 1 tbsp flour


Keep only bottom rack in oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, combine envelope of onion soup mix, jam, French dressing, honey mustard, paprika, garlic powder, celery salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Make sure the turkey cavity is empty. Rinse and pat the turkey dry. Sprinkle the bottom of the oven bag with flour and shake around the bag to prevent the bag from bursting during cooking. Place the oven bag in a large roasting pan with sides at least 2-inches high. Place the turkey in the bag and pour onion soup mixture over the turkey, making sure the entire turkey is covered with sauce. Seal the bag with the twist tie provided in the package. Cut 6 slits (each ½-inch long) in the top of the bag to allow the steam to escape. NOTE: You do not turn or baste the turkey during cooking.

Place the turkey in the oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180°F and the breast of the turkey at the thickest point reaches an internal temperature of 170°F. Don’t be surprised if the turkey takes under 2 hours as the bag dramatically speeds up cooking time…go by the thermometer dial, not the time in the oven.

When the turkey is done, slit the bag and lift out the turkey placing it on a large cutting board. Allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

For the gravy, take the sauce that remains in the roasting pan and strain it into a large saucepan. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and then skim off any fat that has come to the surface. Over high heat, reduce sauce to desired consistency. Taste for salt and pepper and pour over sliced turkey.

Recipe from Bite Me More


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    Recipe Reviews

    • Harry

      Who knew a bag would cut the cooking time, down to one and a half hours. I remember my mom used to cook our Thanksgiving turkey for 5 hours easy and prep time on top of that. It was chore. Thanks for another great idea Fran. We can always rely on your knowhow.

      Happy Thanksgiving sweetie. Cheers??

      • Francine

        I also had no idea that this would cut the cook time down so much, but it truly does!
        Thanks for your sweet comments! Cheers back to you!

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