With these 33 Thanksgiving turkey recipes, you can do Thanksgiving right this year, next year, and every year that follows.
Most Americans know what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about, but when it comes right down to it, Thanksgiving is really all about the food.
After all, there are 33 of them, so you could have a different Thanksgiving turkey every year for the next three decades just from using this list alone!
While some of these may be similar, no two are exactly alike.
There’s everything you could want in a Thanksgiving turkey – from your mom’s classic bird to a General Tso’s version that’s insanely scrumptious.
So whether you’re planning your Thanksgiving menu or just in the mood for turkey, check out these Thanksgiving turkey recipes.
If your favorite part of the Thanksgiving turkey is the herb-flavored, crispy skin, then garlic herb butter roast turkey is the dish for you.
With thyme, garlic, rosemary, pepper, and more, this bird’s buttery skin will have everyone fighting over it.
It takes some time to make smoked turkey, but there’s nothing quite like its smoky flavor. Just be sure you get the spice rub right, as that’s where your flavor is.
For this one, you’ll use BBQ rub, onions, lemons, chicken broth, and whatever fresh herbs you like best.
This bird is buttery, succulent, and stuffed with onions, celery, carrots, herbs, and lemon juice.
It’s savory and so filling, and it has a lovely golden-brown skin that looks like something you’d see in a cooking magazine.
Deep-frying your turkey might not be the healthiest way to cook it, but it certainly makes it tasty. It’s also one of the quickest ways if you’ve waited a bit too late to get started.
This method gives you exceptionally crispy skin but leaves the meat tender and juicy. If your family loves fried chicken, they’ll appreciate this deep-fried dish, as well.
Grilled turkey is the happy medium between deep-frying and smoking your Thanksgiving bird. It takes longer than deep-frying at about 3 and a half hours, but that’s nowhere near as long as smoking.
It also gives you that fantastic smoky flavor, while the butter and fresh and dried herbs give it an earthy savoriness that’s hard not to love.
Drunken turkey is the turkey equivalent of beer can chicken, and if you like one, then you’ll enjoy the other, too.
The beer gives the turkey a unique flavor, and the darker the beer, the more robust the taste will be. It’s also a great way to keep from drying out your meat.
I’ll go ahead and tell you that there will be quite a few roasted turkey recipes on this list, but I promise no two of them are the same.
This one, for example, combines oranges, Italian seasoning, sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, ground mustard, celery, onions, bay leaves, olive oil, and chicken stock.
That’s a lot of contrasting and complementary flavors, and they’ll all play well together. Unless you’ve already tried this recipe, I promise you haven’t had anything like it.
This fantastically juicy bird might look just as gorgeous as any other turkey on the list, but there’s a phenomenal depth of flavor to it that many of the others can’t match.
Thanks to the wide variety of ingredients – apple cider, ginger, allspice, oranges, cloves, garlic, etc. – it somehow manages to delight all your tastebuds – sweet, spicy, and savory alike.
Who needs cranberry sauce on the side when you can have it right on top of your Thanksgiving turkey? With this one, you’ll get that incredible mix of sweetness and savoriness.
*Note: This recipe is for a small turkey breast only. You might have to make some adjustments if you want to do an entire turkey this way.
If you’re of the firm opinion that everything tastes better with bacon, the author of this recipe agrees with you. That’s why they cover their turkey with a half-pound of the stuff.
It makes your turkey saltier, meatier, and heartier. It also changes the overall flavor of the bird. It’s every bacon lover’s dream Thanksgiving main course.
It might not be Thanksgiving without turkey, but that doesn’t mean you have to cook a whole turkey (or even a breast) every year.
This recipe uses turkey tenderloin, and it’s so good. First of all, you can have the whole thing ready in less than an hour.
Second, it’s healthy and delicious, and third, it combines your meat, veggies, and favorite herbs into one easy-to-clean sheet pan.
Here’s another excellent recipe for the herb lovers among us. With its crispy, golden-orange skin and plethora of herbs and seasonings, this bird smells as good as it tastes.
You’ll combine butter, garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, lemons, onions, whole herb sprigs (for stuffing), and chicken broth.
You’ll even top it off with more herbs for garnishes. You can also use cranberries, seckel pears, or whatever else you like. Either way, your family is sure to love it.
This turkey, too, is herb-flavored and earthy, but thanks to the half-cup of maple syrup, there’s also a rich sweetness that’s undeniably good.
Add some diced Granny Smith apples to the stuffing to make it even more sweet and complex.
If you like the bold, earthy flavors of sage and garlic, give this recipe a try. To me, it’s the quintessential Thanksgiving turkey.
My childhood Thanksgivings were filled with the scent and taste of sage, so I can’t make this bird without thinking about my grandparents. Maybe that’s why I love it so much.
There aren’t many options on this list for turkeys that are somewhat sweet, but if that’s what you’re looking for, then the molasses-glazed turkey is a good choice.
It combines molasses, apple cider, butter, and nutmeg for a warm, rich sweetness that’s a bit hard to describe but combines perfectly with the shallots, garlic, and other earthy ingredients.
The ground cayenne adds a bit of a kick, too.
If you care less about the turkey itself and more about what’s inside, then I think you’ll enjoy this one because that sausage and herb stuffing is divine.
It’s buttery, herby, and meaty, and it has this wonderfully fluffy consistency that practically melts on your tongue. Pair it with the tender turkey breast, and you won’t want to stop eating it.
As long as you remember to put it in the brine a day early, spatchcock turkey takes only 80 minutes to prepare and cook.
It’s perfect for people who want to enjoy their Thanksgiving instead of spending the entire day in the kitchen agonizing over every dish. It tastes great, too.
And it’s more than just quick. It’s also simple to make, requiring only the turkey, brine, butter, salt, pepper, and cooking spray.
Thanksgiving barbecue turkey is for anyone who wonders why every holiday can’t be filled with BBQ and simple sides.
It’s juicy, has a terrific sweet and smoky flavor, and has a bit of a spicy kick to it, as well. It also takes minimal effort to cook, making it ideal for beginning chefs on their first holiday dinner.
This golden-brown bird has a bit of blackened Cajun flair, making it perfect if you have family coming in from Louisiana.
When it comes to a flavor-packed main course, it’s hard to beat this one.
Not only will you add herb butter and a Cajun marinade, but you’ll also stuff and rub the bird down with oranges, Cajun seasoning, herbs, and more.
There’s not a single bite on this turkey that doesn’t deliver when it comes to flavor.
Thanksgiving turkey breast roulade is a non-traditional turkey dinner that’ll save you a lot of time in the kitchen.
In less than 2 hours, you can have enough lovely, stuffed golden-brown turkey to feed half a dozen people.
Whether you like the tender meat or the hearty chestnut-sausage stuffing best, you’re sure to appreciate this unique, easy-to-make dish.
If you love the sticky, sweet, and spicy flavor of General Tso’s chicken, then give this recipe a try at your next Thanksgiving dinner.
It takes some time and effort to pull together, but the flavor is insanely good, the meat is unbelievably succulent, and it’s an easy way to bring a bit of Asian flair to your very American Thanksgiving.
Of course, another unique option is to slather your turkey in tangy buffalo sauce. From the outside, this bird looks like any oven-roasted turkey you’ve ever had.
That buffalo flavor, though, will set it apart from all your previous Thanksgiving main courses.
Honey-glazed turkey might not be as traditional as the mom’s roasted turkey recipe above, but it’s definitely near the top of most people’s favorite Thanksgiving turkey lists.
It’s sweet, smoky, savory, and scrumptious. The combination of the sweet and salty brine and the sweet and tangy glaze is fantastic.
Plus, honey-glazed meat is beautiful, making this an excellent centerpiece for your table.
24. Air Fryer Turkey
Believe it or not, you can even air fry your Thanksgiving turkey, assuming you have a large enough air fryer, of course.
All you’ll need to make this tender, moist turkey is the turkey, butter, thyme, sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper. You can have it on the table in less than an hour.
If you want to get off even easier next Thanksgiving, you can do air fryer turkey legs instead of the whole shebang.
These giant, flavorful legs look like something you’d pick up at your local Renaissance Fair, and they taste just as authentic, as well.
These are so easy to prepare and cook that you’ll want to make them all the time, not just for Thanksgiving.
I don’t know what the best part of this turkey breast is: the tender turkey, the fluffy, flavorful stuffing, or the rich and creamy gravy. Let’s just say it’s all fantastic and leave it at that.
If you’re a stuffing person, though, you’ll appreciate this one. It combines porcini mushrooms, bacon, shallots, dried cranberries, breadcrumbs, sage, and parsley.
And yes, it’s every bit as delectable as it sounds.
I was skeptical of Instant Pot turkey at first. First of all, it seemed too good to be true – too easy to make. But I was also worried about the skin. (I like crispy skin.)
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The skin doesn’t crisp up as nicely as it would if you deep-fried or even air-fried the bird, but it still has a little crunch to it.
It’s also very moist and tender, which makes up for the less-than-super-crispy skin in my book.
This one is pretty similar to the Instant Pot turkey, though the seasonings are slightly different. The skin is a bit crispier on this one, too.
It has plenty of garlic and herb flavor, and the buttery, moist turkey practically melts in your mouth. Plus, you’ll get all the taste without having to brine or marinate the turkey.
This is pretty much an Italian version of turkey. You’ll make it with Italian seasoning, capers, white wine, parmesan, olives, tomato puree, etc.
As you can see, those are some very traditional Italian ingredients, and this turkey does taste a bit like something you’d get at the Olive Garden, assuming they sold turkey, of course.
This wonderful Thanksgiving recipe combines the savory, earthy flavors of herbs, onions, and turkey with the bright zestiness of citrus – lemons, oranges, and limes specifically.
The Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce also add a nice bit of tang to the dish.
This stunning turkey is as simple as it is lovely. It has a 25-minute prep time and uses only seven ingredients (oil, garlic, rosemary, basil, Italian seasoning, pepper, and salt).
If you love seasoning your meat with fresh herbs, you’ll appreciate this recipe. It also pairs well with practically any sides – potatoes, beans, salad, carrots, etc.
There’s almost nothing you can’t eat with this tasty bird.
This golden-orange turkey is another great choice for those who enjoy a sweet and savory glaze on their meat. It’s simple to make, too.
All you’ll need is turkey, salt, pepper, pecan cornbread dressing, butter, light-brown sugar, and spicy brown mustard.
If you’ve ever had the lemon pepper rotisserie chicken from the deli, then you’ll already have an idea of how this tastes.
It’s juicy, succulent, and has a light, peppery flavor. The skin is crisp, and the meat is tender. You’ll plate it on a bed of greens with carrots, lemon wedges, and whatever else you like.
The stuffing isn’t bad, either.
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