The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes From Classic to Creative

Karla Walsh
·6 min read

Glazed Roast Turkey

Start to finish:

This roast turkey recipe, complete with glaze options, is a compilation of our Test Kitchen's best advice from 90 years of testing and tasting Thanksgiving turkeys.
This roast turkey recipe, complete with glaze options, is a compilation of our Test Kitchen's best advice from 90 years of testing and tasting Thanksgiving turkeys.

After 90 years of experiments in our Test Kitchens, our chefs swear this is the ultimate Thanksgiving turkey recipe. With a simple coating of butter and your choice of glaze, it lets the savory flavors of the bird shine just enough. Choose between tangy and sweet—double mustard-brown sugar—or spicy and zesty— hot-honey sesame—for the glaze. Then roast the turkey to golden brown perfection for a Thanksgiving turkey that looks almost as good as it tastes. Almost.

Lemon-Thyme Split Roasted Turkey

Tired of the same old Thanksgiving turkey? Give this citrusy, herby turkey recipe a try!
Tired of the same old Thanksgiving turkey? Give this citrusy, herby turkey recipe a try!

If you’re crunched for time, split-roasting (AKA spatchcocking) is going to save you from a holiday emergency. By essentially butterflying the bird, more surface area is exposed to allow for quicker cooking. Bonus: You can easily add plenty of the herb butter blend from top to tail to max out the flavor of your Thanksgiving turkey recipe.

Related: How to Defrost a Turkey in Time for the Feast

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

This Bacon Wrapped Turkey recipe is a delicious, crowd-pleasing centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal. Drizzle each serving with Bacon and Onion Gravy that's accented with a pinch of fresh sage.
This Bacon Wrapped Turkey recipe is a delicious, crowd-pleasing centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal. Drizzle each serving with Bacon and Onion Gravy that's accented with a pinch of fresh sage.

No longer just for BLTs and breakfast, bacon recipes are among our favorites at holiday dinners, too. With this creative Thanksgiving turkey recipe, we bet you’ll be inspired to create a new personal definition for “turkey bacon.” Fresh sage and sweet onions scent the bird from the inside out, while each ounce of the skin-side gets a hearty dose of savory, salty flavor from the strips of bacon that practically melt into the exterior.

Simple Roast Turkey

Brining adds a saltiness to the turkey in this recipe, Add color to your serving tray by roasting halved lemons, oranges, and celery with the turkey.
Brining adds a saltiness to the turkey in this recipe, Add color to your serving tray by roasting halved lemons, oranges, and celery with the turkey.

Make mom or grandma proud with this traditional Thanksgiving turkey recipe. It calls for basting with garlicky pan juices for a golden-brown, tasty skin that complements the moist meat hiding underneath. Roast until juices run clear and be sure to test the temp with a meat thermometer ($14, The Home Depot) for a safe and succulent Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Pressure Cooker Turkey Breast

Make quick work of your Thanksgiving turkey when you swap out the whole bird for quicker-cooking turkey breast and pull out your multi cooker for this Instant Pot turkey breast recipe complete with must-have turkey gravy.
Make quick work of your Thanksgiving turkey when you swap out the whole bird for quicker-cooking turkey breast and pull out your multi cooker for this Instant Pot turkey breast recipe complete with must-have turkey gravy.

Turn to your Instant Pot ($120, Target) for extra space to “roast” your Thanksgiving turkey breast recipe. Not only does this entire Instant Pot turkey recipe take less than an hour to hit your table, but it’s also infused with flavor from the goodies it pressure cooks with, including carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and poultry seasoning.

Flash-Roasted Turkey

Start to finish:

This turkey needs to sit for half an hour before carving or the juices will seep out.
This turkey needs to sit for half an hour before carving or the juices will seep out.

Once you flash roast, you might never go back to regular roasting. With the oven set at 450°F instead of the typical 325°F, this foil-tented Thanksgiving turkey cooks through in just 2 hours. Don’t worry: That’s still plenty of time for the fresh herbs it cooks with (including parsley, sage, thyme, and chives) to permeate the meat.

Sesame Turkey

Alongside sesame, soy and ginger infuse each bite of this slow cooker turkey breast recipe with loads of Asian flavor.
Alongside sesame, soy and ginger infuse each bite of this slow cooker turkey breast recipe with loads of Asian flavor.

Slow to cook and quick to devour, this Thanksgiving turkey recipe will convince any white meat haters that even turkey breasts can be juicy and rich in flavor. Sesame oil, soy sauce, fresh ginger, garlic, and sesame seeds take this easy slow cooker turkey recipes on a trip to Asia. The original recipe is made to serve 8, but this is one of our best Thanksgiving turkey ideas to scale up or down—just adjust the slow cooker size, meat quantity, and seasonings accordingly.

Deep-Fried Cajun Turkey

Revamp the standard turkey by coating it in Cajun spices. Be cautious when lowering the bird into the fryer.
Revamp the standard turkey by coating it in Cajun spices. Be cautious when lowering the bird into the fryer.

Deep-frying isn’t just for potatoes and chicken. This year, dress up your Thanksgiving turkey recipe with a Cajun-inspired turkey rub, then fry it in peanut oil for about 3 minutes per pound. (Just be sure to follow these turkey-frying safety tips since this strategy presents more challenges than oven roasting, pressure cooking, or slow cooking.)

Peach-Glazed Roast Turkey

For a holiday centerpiece that tastes as amazing as it looks coat your roast turkey recipe in a sweet and tangy peach glaze. The turkey glaze creates a mouthwatering caramelized exterior on the elegant entree.
For a holiday centerpiece that tastes as amazing as it looks coat your roast turkey recipe in a sweet and tangy peach glaze. The turkey glaze creates a mouthwatering caramelized exterior on the elegant entree.

Invite a taste of summer to the harvest-time feast. Fresh or frozen peach slices and peach preserves lend a lovely sweet element to this crowd-pleasing Thanksgiving turkey recipe. Citrus juices and dry mustard offer acidity and tang to balance out the fruit’s natural sugars, while fresh thyme and rosemary still make this entrée feel decidedly holiday-appropriate.

Related: Precisely How Long to Cook a Turkey for Juicy Results

Gluten-Free Greek Breast of Turkey

Olives, sun-dried tomatoes and a flavorful mix of herbs gives this slow cooker turkey recipe its Greek flavor.
Olives, sun-dried tomatoes and a flavorful mix of herbs gives this slow cooker turkey recipe its Greek flavor.

As a holiday host, it’s always generous to offer dishes that suit all dietary preferences and food allergies. Luckily, no one will feel like they’re missing a thing with this gluten-free, Mediterranean diet-approved Thanksgiving turkey recipe. The slow cooker turkey packs an unexpected punch of flavor by way of salty kalamata olives, an earthy Greek spice blend, and sweet-tart sun-dried tomatoes.

Smoked Turkey with Apple Stuffing

Smoke a whole turkey and serve it alongside an apple stuffing for this year's Thanksgiving dinner.
Smoke a whole turkey and serve it alongside an apple stuffing for this year's Thanksgiving dinner.

Think beyond brisket and ribs when you think of smoking food. We adore smoking our Thanksgiving turkey recipe to clear up extra oven space and introduce extra flavor from fruit tree wood chips. To round out the fall flavors, spike the compatible stuffing recipe with diced apples and apple juice, then brush the smoked turkey with an apple jelly glaze.

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins with Cherries and Pancetta

If you’re feeding 6 or fewer and aren’t a big fan of Thanksgiving leftovers, try this quick-cooking Thanksgiving turkey recipe. Since it calls for two 1-pound turkey tenderloins, they cook to perfect doneness in about 40 minutes. This unique Thanksgiving turkey recipe actually combines the stuffing and the bird all in one—slices of savory pancetta and kitchen twine keep the couscous and cherry blend tucked right in atop the tenderloins.

BBQ Spice-Rubbed Turkey Breast

Cut cook time in half (yes, really!) by roasting a turkey breast or two instead of a full-size bird. Coated with a sweet and spicy barbecue rub, this is one Thanksgiving turkey recipe that’s so delicious you’ll want to make it year-round. A so-seasonal cranberry barbecue sauce is the perfect accompaniment for this casual yet classy entrée.