Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (2024)

If turkey is going to be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving table, you want to have an impressive recipe in your back pocket. Luckily, we have plenty of different variations you can try, including Dry-Brined Spatchco*cked Turkey and Vinegar-Brined Roast Turkey. Want to try smoked turkey? We've got recipes for that, too. Read on for even more of our best Thanksgiving turkey recipes.

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Citrus-and-Butter Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (1)

Food & Wine's Justin Chapple soaks cheesecloth in citrus butter and drapes it over turkey while roasting, yielding super juicy, delicious meat and skin.

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02of 26

Salt & Pepper Spatchco*cked Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (2)

Don't be fooled by the simplicity of this turkey from F&W's Justin Chapple. Salt and pepper are all you need when the meat is juicy and tender. Because it's spatchco*cked (the backbone is removed and the bird is flattened before cooking), the skin is supremely crisp and it roasts in nearly half the time as traditional versions.

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03of 26

Simple Smoked Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (3)

Smoking a turkey yields juicy and tender meat. The keys to success are seasoning the bird with a dead-simple saltwater brine, then controlling the temperature of the smoker for even cooking. The added bonus of smoking the Thanksgiving turkey? It frees up the oven for sides and pies.

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04of 26

Dry-Brined Spatchco*cked Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (4)

A dry brine is not only an easier technique, but it also results in crispier skin and more flavorful meat than a classic wet brine. Those final six to 12 hours of drying will ensure crackling, crispy skin.

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05of 26

Spatchco*cked Smoked Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (5)

Rodney Scott's smoky dry rub and spicy mopping sauce makes for a sweet, tangy, and succulent bird. While Scott swears by the thermal qualities of a ceramic grill, this turkey also can be cooked in a kettle grill or smoker (or even the oven) at 225°F.

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06of 26

Ballotine-Style Whole Roast Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (6)

Stuff a whole deboned turkey, roulade-style, with nuts, speck, and bitter greens for this flavorful, juicy, and jaw-dropping main course.

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Salt-Crusted Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (7)

Banish any chance of a dry bird with this salt-crusted turkey breast. Salt-roasting is a technique that is often employed to keep lean fish moist while roasting; the mixture of salt and egg whites forms a nearly airtight crust when baked, locking in moisture and flavor. It works the same magic with turkey.

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08of 26

Turkey Leg Roulade

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (8)

Dark meat fans know that the leg is often the most flavorful part of the bird. This preparation isolates the leg and ensures a perfectly cooked bird with a crackling bronze skin. The process can be started several days in advance, needing only a quick blast in a hot oven to crisp the skin before serving.

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09of 26

Deep-Fried Turkey Brined in Cayenne and Brown Sugar

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (9)

Cooking a deep-fried turkey for Thanksgiving isn't as hard as it sounds (though it does require caution). There's a great payoff: an exquisitely moist, crispy turkey, and many people never go back to a roasted bird.

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10of 26

Roast Turkey with Chestnut-Apple Stuffing

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (10)

For this classic recipe, the turkey is rubbed with an aromatic shallot-sage butter, then stuffed with a nutty chestnut-apple stuffing.

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Anthony Bourdain's Business Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (11)

To make this simple recipe from Anthony Bourdain, all you need is unsalted butter, kosher salt, pepper, and of course, a turkey.

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Chipotle-Butter Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (12)

Food & Wine's Justin Chapple soaks smoky chipotle butter in cheesecloth and drapes it over turkey while roasting, yielding super juicy, delicious meat and skin.

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13of 26

Porchetta-Spiced Turkey with Pan Gravy

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (13)

Porchetta, the fennel-scented, crackly skinned Italian pork roast, is the inspiration for this spiced turkey.

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Simplest Roast Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (14)

The trick to this minimalist roast turkey is allowing it to air-dry overnight in the refrigerator, resulting in super crispy skin.

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Apple-Brined Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (15)

"Brining introduces flavor that penetrates to the bone," says chef Ken Oringer. "And, because brining adds moisture, the turkey can handle high heat."

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16of 26

Herb-Roasted Turkey with Wild Mushroom Gravy

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (16)

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.

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17of 26

Roasted Beer-Brined Turkey with Onion Gravy and Bacon

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (17)

Adding Guinness, or any dark beer, to the brine gives the turkey a toasty flavor and helps give the skin a dark brown color.

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18of 26

Ancho-Scallion Roast Turkey Breast

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (18)

Toasted ancho chiles, garlic and scallions flavor the butter that's rubbed all over the turkey breast and bastes it as it roasts.

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19of 26

Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (19)

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.

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Soy-Sauce-and-Honey-Glazed Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (20)

"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.

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21of 26

Citrus-Marinated Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (21)

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.

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Paprika-Glazed Turkey with Pumpkin Seed Bread Salad

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (22)

Make sure the turkey is completely dry before rubbing its skin with the paprika butter.

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Spice-Rubbed Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (23)

This simple, salt-based sage, pepper and paprika rub produces a turkey with crisp, golden-brown skin and incredibly moist and tender breast meat.

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Bourbon-Glazed Turkey with Pearl Onion Giblet Gravy

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (24)

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.

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25of 26

Vinegar-Brined Roast Turkey

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There are thousands of brine recipes out there, and this one from Top Chef winner Kristen Kish uses cider vinegar, giving the turkey a little bit of tang.

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26of 26

Mustard-and-Rosemary Roast Turkey

Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (26)

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.

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Our 26 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes (2024)
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