10 Terrific Turkey Recipes From Around the World

From juicy confit legs to warming stews, the best Thanksgiving turkey recipes celebrate flavors—and time-saving techniques—from around the world.

By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on November 7, 2022

If turkey is going to be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving feast, make it a showstopper—by taking a page out of global cuisines. To reimagine what a Thanksgiving turkey looks like, we’re drawing inspiration from chefs, techniques, and ingredients around the world. From juicy make-ahead confit legs, to a braised version cooked in an irresistible mole, to cozy and warming soups and stews, the best Thanksgiving turkey recipes will make a mouthwatering and memorable focal point for your festive meal. Better yet, they don’t necessarily demand roasting a whole bird, and some don't even require an oven. We've gathered our favorite wow-worthy, time-saving turkey dishes so you can throw the ultimate holiday feast.

Breaking the bird down into its primal cuts allows the meat to cook more evenly, and in half the time. This method also frees up more space in the oven—enough to cook as many as three turkeys at once—while you simultaneously simmer the carcass into a quick stock for gravy.

Photography: Ryan Liebe

Chef Pierre Thiam transforms the iconic Thanksgiving bird with a tamarind, Scotch bonnet chiles, and fish sauce glaze which lends the turkey’s skin a pleasantly sticky texture and the meat an umami-rich flavor.

Photography: Jenny Huang

The ultimate make-ahead turkey dinner, confited drumsticks can be refrigerated for months submerged in their cooking fat, only improving in texture and flavor with time.

Photography: Matt Taylor-Gross

Cara Stadler of Tao Yuan in Brunswick, Maine, infuses a turkey with a spiced brine of Sichuan peppercorns, fennel seeds, and fresh ginger, then lightly smokes it with oak wood chips. The delicate smokiness balances the spices, and the low cooking temperature keeps the bird exceptionally moist. 

Photography: Helen Rosner

Chef Mary Sue Milliken’s deconstructed turkey braised in a refreshing green mole provides a light and quick alternative to the standard Thanksgiving bird.

Photography: Paola + Murray; Food Stylist: Simon Andrews; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

Holiday turkeys are notoriously inconsistent, but butcher Jake Dickson of Dickson’s Farmstand Meats has a solution to make sure your bird turns out beautifully every time.

Photography: Matt Taylor-Gross

This pancetta-wrapped roast turkey breast from SAVEUR Editorial Director Kat Craddock is the perfect centerpiece for a scaled down, Italian-inspired Thanksgiving.

Photography: Paola + Murray; Food Stylist: Simon Andrews; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

This fruit- and almond-studded curried turkey dish is a Southern, Low Country classic with a direct and unadulterated link to India. Our recipe comes to us from Oxford, Mississippi chef Vishwesh Bhatt.

Photography: Matt Taylor-Gross

This soothing Guatemalan turkey soup has a sweet-sour broth made from puréed tomatoes, tomatillos, and lots of garlic. Serve kak-ik like the locals do: with a small bowl of chile paste on the side to customize your own spice level.

Photography: Jenny Huang

A simple roast turkey is transformed into a thing of legend when slathered with a spicy, fragrant jerk sauce. Basting towards the end of roasting ensures a crisp, brown skin without overcaramelizing the sugars.

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