15 Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes for Every Preparation, Including Roasted, Stuffed, Roulade, and Smoked

Consider these traditional and unorthodox recipes for the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving dinner.

Maple-Glazed Turkey with Gravy

So, you want to cook a Thanksgiving turkey. You came to the correct place: Our collection of turkey recipes runs the gamut, from traditional to unorthodox and everything in between.

Aside from choosing a recipe to follow on this holiday, you'll also need to determine how big of a turkey to buy. A good ballpark figure is 1 to 1½ pounds of turkey per person—but keep in mind that everyone loves leftovers. Another important tip: If you've purchased a frozen turkey, consider putting it into the refrigerator to thaw a week before Thanksgiving. It needs one day in the fridge for every 4 pounds.

And while all of our recipes include cooking times, it's helpful to know that if you're taking the most common cooking route—which is roasting the bird—you should plan on roughly 20 minutes per pound. Be sure to let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving for optimal flavor (and then be ready to gobble it up).

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Roast Spatchcocked Turkey

Roast Spatchcocked Turkey

Believe it or not, you can cook a turkey in an hour if you spatchcock (or butterfly) it. When the turkey's backbone is removed and the halves are flattened, the meat cooks amazingly fast.

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Spice-Cured Turkey

spice cured turkey

Cloves, allspice, and cumin give this bird the unexpected flavor your Thanksgiving dinner might be missing. These spices go into the brine, so they impart a subtle taste.

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Smoked Turkey

smokey turkey carved on platter
Paola + Murray

You'll need a smoker for this low-fuss, oven-free method, but it produces a Thanksgiving turkey that's supremely moist with a lightly smoked taste and burnished, crispy skin. We marinate the turkey with citrus and herbs to infuse the meat with a depth of flavor.

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Upside-Down Turkey


This recipe for upside-down turkey is a fun way to prepare your Thanksgiving meal, and it allows the juices to trickle down onto the breast meat, rendering it extra moist and juicy. For super-flavorful gravy, scatter cut oranges, onion, and garlic, along with a few rosemary and sage sprigs, in the bottom of the pan before you begin roasting.

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Roast Turkey

Roast Turkey

Nothing crazy here: Just a classic recipe for a classic bird. It does call for brining the turkey for 24 hours, so you'll need to plan accordingly.

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Roasted Turkey Rubbed with Coriander, Black Pepper, and Fennel

turkey coriander black pepper fennel
Louise Hagger

You might not have tried this Thanksgiving turkey technique before, but it's time to start. Cooking the bird in pieces means everything is roasted to perfection; the breasts get a head start in the oven while you sear the legs on the stove. Then, put them together to finish in a roasting pan, where the legs braise in liquid. The result is juicy white meat and succulent dark meat—all with crisp, flavorful skin, courtesy of a spicy overnight rub.

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Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast

oven roaster turkey breast
Alpha Smoot

This is a simple roast turkey recipe for beginners or anyone who doesn't want to roast an entire bird. Just be sure you use a bone-in turkey breast—it's the key to moist, juicy meat.

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Lemon-Herb Turkey with Bay Butter and Gravy

lemon-herb turkey with bay butter
Paola + Murray

Roasted with lemon zest, rosemary, and thyme, this turkey has a light, fragrant taste that's welcome on any Thanksgiving table. If you can find them, fresh bay branches make a dramatic bed when you bring the bird to the table.

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Slow-Grilled Turkey

slow grilled turkey
David Malosh

Here's one perk to cooking a turkey over charcoal: You'll save precious oven space. It will also impart a savory, smoky flavor.

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Roast Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing

Roast Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing

At once elegant and comforting, this turkey starts with a butter-white wine rub and ends with a garnish of fresh sage leaves. The cornbread stuffing includes chestnuts and apples.

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Roasted Dry-Brined Turkey

Roasted Dry-Brined Turkey

A dry-brined turkey is easier to prepare than a wet-brined one—and the clean-up process is easier, too. For a beautiful, natural garnish, arrange fresh sage and bay leaves, cracked walnuts, and cranberries around the roasted turkey.

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Turkey Roulade

turkey roulade
Marcus Nilsson

Looking for an unusual, but stunning main course? This is a great option. You'll pound turkey breast thinly, then roll it up with a stuffing made from rye bread, cranberries, chopped pistachios, and plenty of herbs.

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Maple-Glazed Turkey

Maple-Glazed Turkey with Gravy

You may have seen maple-glazed salmon—and turkey takes to the sweet syrup just as beautifully. For this recipe, you boil down syrup until it's almost crystallized and then brush it on the bird during the last hour of cooking, giving it a crunchy, sweet crust.

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Barbecued Turkey

Barbecued Turkey

If you want to go all-in with an unexpected Thanksgiving main, try this smoky twist. Make sure you have a firestarter chimney or second smaller grill, and for the best, most flavorful results, use a natural hardwood charcoal.

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Salt and Pepper Turkey

salt and pepper turkey
Roland Bello

This simple, but spectacular roast turkey is great with our savory Bread Stuffing with Sage. Spread butter under the skin to enhance the flavor of the breast meat.

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