When brainstorming Thanksgiving dinner ideas, the turkey is always the centerpiece of the feast. We’ll show you
how to cook the perfect Thanksgiving turkey with our favorite recipes for grilling, slow-roasting, and stuffing your bird, because cooking a whole turkey doesn’t have to be intimidating. Whether you’re looking for a traditional roast turkey with vegetables or a glazed bird to spice up your Thanksgiving dishes, our best Thanksgiving turkey recipes will help you throw the ultimate Thanksgiving.
Pancetta-Wrapped Roast Turkey Breast (Turketta)
Due to our collective memory of overcooked holiday birds, turkey breast has the unfortunate reputation of being boring and dry. Thankfully, when it is cooked off the bone and seasoned appropriately, it can in fact be extremely juicy and flavorful.
Get the recipe for Pancetta-Wrapped Roast Turkey Breast (Turketta) »
The flavors of Senegal—sour tamarind, fiery scotch bonnets, and pungent fish sauce—add umami-rich depth to this unexpected Thanksgiving bird.
Brining turkeys has become de rigueur in many American households.
Get the recipe for Brined and Roasted Turkey »
Bouchon Roast Turkey
Massachusetts-based home cook Eric Silvers, a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, employs an innovative method for cooking his family’s Thanksgiving turkey each year: The bird is set atop a rack inside a disposable aluminum pan, which is nestled directly into the coals of a grill, and charred at a very high temperature. The result is a crisp-skinned, juicy, smoke-kissed turkey that’s finished in just a fraction of the time it would take to roast it.
Celery root brings an earthy dimension to the stuffing for this crisp-skinned bird, which is dressed in a white wine, giblet, and mushroom gravy.
New Mexico and arbol chiles create a sauce similar to a mole that coats the turkey, while adding spice and depth.
Roasting turkey wings, legs, and breasts over root vegetables, butternut squash, and herbs not only lends the meat a sweet and vegetal flavor but also allows you to treat each piece like a mini roast that can be taken out of the oven as soon as it’s cooked to the correct temperature. The turkey takes just under two hours to fully cook (much faster than a whole bird would), so get the turkey started first, then the remainder of the menu can be completely finished within those two hours. Keep checking the temperature of each piece of turkey while it cooks, some pieces will be done before others and should be removed so they won’t get dry.
Get the recipe for Roast Turkey with Root Vegetables and Gravy »
Turn Your Oven into a Smoker
Inspired by the flavors of Peking duck, this turkey is infused with a Sichuan peppercorns, fennel seeds, and fresh ginger brine, then lightly smoked over oak.
This rolled turkey breast cooks in about an hour, making it perfect for last minute Thanksgiving get-togethers. The delicately-flavored chestnut stuffing keeps the white meat moist, while reduced chicken stock adds rich flavor to the quick gravy.
Get the recipe for Turkey Breast Roulade with Chestnut Stuffing »
Deconstructed turkey braised in a refreshing green mole provides a light and quick alternative to the standard Thanksgiving bird.
Get the recipe for Braised Turkey in Green Mole »
This fail-proof roasting method produces the tastiest, juiciest Thanksgiving turkey.
Get the recipe for The Perfect Roast Turkey »
Rubbing the turkey with olive oil and fresh herbs yields a moist, flavorful bird with crisp skin. An apple cider gravy and a dressing of hominy, sausage, and oysters add richness to the festive Thanksgiving centerpiece.
Get the recipe for Herb-Roasted Turkey with Hominy, Oyster, and Sausage Dressing »
Roasted Turkey with Achiote Citrus Marinade
Achiote paste gives the rub for this recipe a deep red hue, making for a visually striking roast holiday bird.
Get the recipe for Roasted Turkey with Achiote Citrus Marinade »
Turkey soaks up aromatic flavors like a sponge, and this riff on the Alsatian dish
choucroute garnie is a case in point: as the bird roasts under a cloak of bacon and braises in sauerkraut, wine, apples, and a bundle of spices, it takes on the piney fragrance of juniper berries, the fruity flavor of the riesling wine, and some of the smokiness and savor of the pork. Serve this dish with the traditional choucroute accompaniments: sausages, boiled potatoes, and tangy mustard. Get the recipe for Turkey with Sauerkraut, Riesling, and Pork Sausages »
LouElla Hill, a Memphis, Tennessee, cook who was famous for her Thanksgiving feasts, liked to roast her turkeys in ordinary brown paper grocery bags to keep them moist. Today’s recycled paper might contain toxins that can leach into food, so we recommend using roasting bags specifically designed for cooking instead.
Get the recipe for Roast Turkey with Cornbread Dressing »
It may be called the great American bird, but turkey was first domesticated in Mexico, where, as James Beard once wrote, “it was to that country what beef is to the United States.” One of our favorite preparations is a celebratory dish from the Mexican state of Puebla: a slow braise of breast meat in a deep, dark mole that’s shot through with three kinds of dried chiles, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds and enriched with chocolate and spices. The spicy, sweet, savory sauce can be sopped up with hot tortillas and rice, or even crusty bread.
Get the recipe for Turkey in Mole Poblano »
Butterflying breast meat and stuffing it is a cook’s trick for ensuring a flavorful, juicy, and evenly cooked holiday roast. This dish, inspired by a recipe from the chef Donald Link of Herbsaint and Cochon restaurants in New Orleans, has a Cajun accent: the stuffing of boudin (a spicy pork and rice sausage) gives the turkey a piquant appeal. The best part? Rolling the breast and slicing it enables everyone at the table to have a piece with plenty of sumptuous stuffing and crackly skin.
Get the recipe for Boudin-Stuffed Turkey Breast »
Black pepper is a major ingredient in this dish, so be sure to use fresh-cracked as opposed to pre-cracked pepper.
Get the recipe for Grilled Turkey Breast with Caramelized Onion, Cracked Black Pepper, and Vinegar»
Capon with sage stuffing makes a nice change from holiday turkey. This type of bird is readily available during the winter holiday months, but usually must be special-ordered.
Get the recipe for Roasted Capon with Sage Stuffing »
This recipe yields a Thanksgiving turkey that is moist, delicious, and a perfect foil for inventive accompaniments, such as our Madeira-Truffle Butter, Multicultural Stuffing, and Rich Gravy recipes. Just garnish the bird with a few sprigs of fresh herbs before servings, and you’ve got the makings of a lovely holiday dinner.
Get the recipe for Roast Turkey with Madeira Truffle Butter »