Our 42 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Clementine-and-Garlic Roast Turkey
To make the tastiest, quickest, easiest jus for turkey, Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple includes juicy clementines and garlic in the roasting pan, adding excellent flavor.
Anthony Bourdain's Business Turkey
Bourdain’s go-to Thanksgiving turkey was as simple as it gets. He suggested making two birds—one that you can parade at the table, dressed up “like a showgirl, with chop frills and elaborate fruit garnishes on a bed of old-school parsley or kale,” and another that’s already carved in the kitchen, ready to be served.
Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple soaks smoky chipotle butter in cheesecloth and drapes it over turkey while roasting, yielding superjuicy, delicious meat and skin.
Porchetta-Spiced Turkey with Pan Gravy
Porchetta, the fennel-scented, crackly skinned Italian pork roast, is the inspiration for this spiced turkey.
Roast Turkey with Pepperoni
Chef and butcher Alex Pope keeps roast turkey moist by stuffing thin slices of pepperoni under the skin.
Simplest Roast Turkey
The trick to this minimalist roast turkey is allowing it to air-dry overnight in the refrigerator, resulting in supercrispy skin.
This supereasy turkey is flavored with ras el hanout, a North African spice blend. The pan juices, flavored by the citrus-spice mixture that bastes the bird as it roasts, double as a sauce.
"Brining introduces flavor that penetrates to the bone," says chef Ken Oringer. "And, because brining adds moisture, the turkey can handle high heat."
Herb-Roasted Turkey with Gravy
"I wasn't always a briner," says Shawn McClain, "but when enough people tell you it's the thing to do, you try it." He's glad he did: The brine here, which is a simple combination of salt, sugar, spices and water, keeps the turkey moist in the oven and seasons the meat perfectly.
Herb-Roasted Turkey with Wild Mushroom Gravy
For maximum flavor, David Tanis rubs the bird with butter seasoned with sage, thyme and garlic. Dried porcini give the wild mushroom gravy a woodsy flavor boost.
Roasted Beer-Brined Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon
Adding Guinness, or any dark beer, to the brine gives the turkey a toasty flavor and helps give the skin a dark brown color.
Josh Vogel’s smoker allows him to start cooking the bird as low as 130°, and then finish smoking at 180°, but other smokers can be almost impossible to keep that cool. This adapted recipe calls for a constant temperature of about 200°. Since times will vary based on smoker temperature, the only reliable way to judge doneness is by cooking the turkey until its inner thigh registers 165°. Make sure to have plenty of hardwood charcoal or wood on hand.
Ancho-Scallion Roast Turkey Breast
Toasted ancho chiles, garlic and scallions flavor the butter that’s rubbed all over the turkey breast and bastes it as it roasts.
Pancetta-Wrapped Roasted Turkey
After rubbing this turkey with a bold and delicious mix of chile powder, cumin, sugar and herbs, Tim Love blankets it with slices of salty, fatty pancetta, resulting in a supermoist and savory bird.
This simple, salt-based sage, pepper and paprika rub produces a turkey with crisp, golden-brown skin and incredibly moist and tender breast meat.
Perfect Roast Turkey
Note that you'll need to brine this turkey for 10 to 12 hours before roasting it. Don't worry if a small portion of the turkey is not submerged in the brine.
Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy
Lots of people brine their turkeys. Not Michael Symon, who thinks brining makes the bird a little rubbery. He salts his bird well and refrigerates it overnight to season it. Before roasting, he covers the breast and legs with cheesecloth that’s been soaked in a cider-infused butter. For his beer-spiked gravy, Symon recommends the German-style Dortmunder Gold, made by Great Lakes Brewing Company, from his home state of Ohio.
Slow-Smoked Turkey with Cane Syrup-Coffee Glaze
If you have a grill with a lid and a bag of hickory chips you can smoke a turkey. Braising the bird first in a mix of coffee, apple cider vinegar and cane syrup or brown sugar results in marvelously complex flavors—sweet, bitter and herbaceous.
Roast Turkey with Shallot Butter and Thyme Gravy
Shallots and thyme in both the turkey and the gravy provide double the flavor for this simple roasted bird.
"We never had turkey on Thanksgiving," says Joanne Chang, "only duck. I love turkey with sage and butter, but I crave the flavors I grew up with." Here, she marinates and bastes the bird with soy, sesame, honey and ginger, giving it superb flavor and a beautiful mahogany color.
Imperial Turkey with Curry Gravy
The turkey needs to marinate for at least two hours or overnight. Please note that this recipe requires a turkey injector.
Chef Jose Garces prepares this turkey in the same style as a traditional Yucatán dish called cochinita pibil, a slow-roasted pork marinated in citrus and annatto paste (made from achiote seeds, the condiment adds an orange hue to foods). Brining and marinating the bird make it especially succulent.
Roast Turkey with Fried Sage and Pecans
Grace Parisi blends ingredients into a butter that she rubs all over the turkey.
Classic Roasted Turkey
This recipe is foolproof as long as you start with a good antibiotic-free turkey that hasn’t been plumped up with a water solution, like many inexpensive supermarket birds.
Apricot-Glazed Turkey with Fresh Herb Gravy
The gorgeous mahogany color of this roasted turkey comes from a glaze of lemon-infused apricot jam.
Mustard-and-Rosemary Roast Turkey
Because so many people are hesitant to make a whole turkey, cookbook author Melissa Clark suggests roasting the turkey in parts, separating the dark meat from the white meat to guarantee a perfectly cooked bird.
Herbed Turkey Two Ways
Bi-Rite owner Sam Mogannam, who always uses a heritage-breed turkey, cooks the white and dark meats separately to prevent the breast from drying out before the tougher leg meat is fully cooked. The method is also successful with conventional birds, plus it cuts the turkey cooking time by two-thirds. Because of this turkey’s large size, salting at least 8 hours before cooking allows the seasoning to fully penetrate.
Roasted Stuffed Turkey with Giblet Gravy
Barbara Lynch’s advice for a perfect bird: “I’m a true believer that you shouldn’t mess around too much with the turkey. I don’t brine it, I don’t fry it. If you buy a good turkey, you don’t need to add much to it.”
Chile-Roasted Turkey with Chorizo-Corn Bread Stuffing
This recipe is best paired with a spicy and fruity California Syrah.
Paprika-Glazed Turkey with Pumpkin Seed Bread Salad
Make sure the turkey is completely dry before rubbing its skin with the paprika butter.
Herb-Roasted Turkey with Maple Gravy
Even though he's lived in Los Angeles for years, Lee Hefter gravitates to people from the East Coast, who, like him, might have seen the fall foliage every year and watched maple syrup being tapped. "When you grow up with these memories," he says, "you want to share them." He thinks adding maple syrup to gravy makes it go better with all the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes.
Roast Turkey with Lemon and Chives
Grace Parisi blends ingredients into a butter that she rubs all over the turkey. In addition to this one with lemon, other creative ideas are Roast Turkey with Fried Sage and Pecans and Roast Turkey with Pickled Jalapeño–Paprika Gravy.
Bacon-Roasted Turkey with Sweet-Onion Gravy
In keeping with his motto that "everything is better with bacon," Robert Stehling makes a bacon-herb paste that he stuffs under the turkey skin to produce an incredibly moist and smoky bird.
Bourbon-Glazed Turkey with Pearl Onion Giblet Gravy
Chef Tanya Holland's secret for a turkey with juicy meat and nicely lacquered skin: Brine the bird overnight, and then baste it frequently with a bourbon-brown sugar glaze as it roasts.