The Trick To Reducing Oven Time For Turkey

Looking for a way to simplify your next big dinner party? Whether you're planning to go bigger than a barbecue for Labor Day with a roast or you're the kind of person who likes to think ahead for your holiday turkey, this hack might just save you a lot of time and effort. As much as we may love the taste of freshly-roasted turkey or ham, they can be a real hassle to prepare. They're expensive, they're messy, and they take forever to cook just right. While this tip may not be able to do anything about the skyrocketing costs of dinner, it does reduce two of those problems, which might make the possibility of throwing a whole turkey in the oven for a family party a little easier to swallow.

So what's the secret to a less messy, quicker turkey or roast? Believe it or not, the answer is a plastic bag. According to Daily Delish, oven bags (also known as roasting bags) are made of oven-safe, food-safe plastic — Cooks Info notes that most are safe for temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit — or reusable silicone and are designed to keep meat moist by encasing it which steams the meat as it cooks and helps it cook faster. 

Roasts made simple

As Daily Delish notes, not only do oven bags keep your roasts and turkeys moist, they also reduce your mess. No scrubbing roasting pans, no basting, no brining. Simply place the meat in the bag with some flour or cornstarch (per Betty Crocker), tie it shut and pop it in a roasting pan in the oven. Plus, as Our Everyday Life explains, the extra heat and moisture trapped by the bag can reduce the cooking time on a whole turkey by as much as an hour, which can be a big help when you have a houseful of hungry guests waiting for holiday dinner.

The one downside of this method of cooking, Daily Delish says, is that the extra moisture does tend to keep turkey or chicken skin from getting crispy on the outside. If that's a feature you absolutely need in your turkey, they recommend removing the turkey from the bag about 15 minutes early and allowing it to finish un-bagged in the oven for that time to get that nice, golden-brown color.