Thanksgiving is the perfect time to gather with your family, give thanks for all the good things in live and eat a lot of delicious food. Although we all have our favorite Thanksgiving table highlights, none of these meals would be complete without a turkey at the center of it. Still, cooking turkey for Thanksgiving can be a little bit tricky in some cases. If it’s not seasoned correctly and basted it enough, it may come out a little bit dry or bland. To help you get around that, we’ve gathered some turkey ideas that are sure to make your Thanksgiving dinner as perfect as possible. With no further ado, here are 10 Thanksgiving turkey recipes that your family will love.
To make a truly perfect turkey, you have to make sure it has enough moisture and enough other accents and flavors to make it all come together. Following those guidelines, this recipe for citrus and herb turkey from The Suburban Soapbox is one of the best we’ve come across. It’s sure to turn out perfectly moist and it couldn’t be easier to make. Here’s how you do it:
1 orange, juiced and zested
1 lemon, juiced and zested
3 cloves of minced garlic
4 tablespoons of sage, chopped
3 tablespoons of rosemary, chopped
3 tablespoons of thyme, chopped
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 14-16 pound turkey
1/2 an orange, cut into two wedges
1 lemon, quartered
1/2 a Granny Smith apple, cut into two wedges
1 halved head of garlic
5 sprigs of sage
2 sprigs of rosemary
5 sprigs of thyme
1. Make your butter by mixing all of the butter ingredients and stir it together until well-combined.
2. Preheat your oven to 500 and rinse your turkey all around before patting it dry and setting it in a roasting pan.
3. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with orange, lemon, apple, garlic and herbs and tuck the wing tips under the turkey.
4. Loosen the skin carefully and baste the inside of it with a quarter of your butter mix. Coat all around the bird and use the leftover butter on the outside of the turkey.
5. Season the breast and legs with salt and pepper before tying the legs together.
6. Roast the bird at the bottom of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
7. Turn the oven down to 350 and put a meat thermometer into the deepest part of the turkey.
8. Cook the bird for two to two and a half hours, taking it out when the internal temperature hits 161 degrees.
9. Take it out of the oven and cover it with foil, letting it rest for a half hour before carving into it.
We typically think of cooking a turkey as taking a very long time. Still, if you’re in a rush, there’s a way to prepare the bird in less than an hour! All you’ll need to do is have an instant pot handy and dinner will be served in no time—and don’t worry, the results are still so delicious. Here’s the adapted recipe, courtesy of The Cookie Rookie:
1 7-8 pound whole turkey breast (white meat)
6 tablespoons of softened butter
2 tablespoons of minced sage
2 tablespoons of minced thyme
1 tablespoon of minced rosemary
2 tablespoons of minced parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1. Set your trivet in the bottom of the instant pot and un-package the turkey.
2. Pat the turkey dry before mixing your butter, sage, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and parsley together in a bowl.
3. Rub the butter mix all over the turkey including under the skin and in the rib cavity.
4. Put the turkey in the instant pot with the cavity facing upwards. Pour in your chicken broth both inside and around it.
5. Add your chopped onion, carrots and celery and close the instant pot lid. Close the vent as well.
6. Set it to cook on manual high for an hour. When it’s done, wait for the pressure pin to drop before opening it up (after approximately 10 minutes).
7. Take the turkey out and set it in a large bowl (saving the drippings for gravy if you wish).
8. When it’s cool enough, chop it up and serve!
If you’re looking for a recipe that’s a little more unusual, why not try this Tuscan-inspired grilled take on Thanksgiving turkey? The end result still has plenty of zesty flavor and has plenty of juiciness as well. If you were looking for something a little outside of the box, this recipe adapted from Just a Little Bit of Bacon is the one for you. Here’s how you do it:
1 12-14 pound turkey
4-6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of chopped thyme
2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons of lemon zest
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1. If you plan on brining your turkey, do so at the beginning of the day before continuing with the recipe.
2. Rub the bird all over with salt before butterflying or spatchcocking it. Keep the backbone and trimmings for turkey stock.
3. Carefully loosen the skin and insert a few tablespoons of butter.
4. Mix your herbs, zest and olive oil together and rub the outside of the turkey with it, letting it rest for an hour at room temperature.
5. Heat up your grill so that it rests around 425 degrees (make a two level fire if possible so that the edges of the grill are hotter than the middle).
6. Put the turkey on the grill with the skin side up and the breast down facing the coolest part.
7. Cover it and grill for an hour or until the internal temperature of the breast is 150 degrees (thighs should be 165 degrees).
8. After grilling for 20 minutes, melt the rest of the butter and baste the bird three to four times throughout step 7.
9. When it’s done, put it on a cutting board to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving it and serving.
If you’re looking for a relatively classic turkey taste with just a little bit of a twist, this sage and apple-brined turkey recipe from Life Love Liz just might do the trick. Like all the other recipes, the process to make it is straightforward and results in some moist and delicious meat with some fruity notes in it as well. Here’s how you do it:
1 large turkey, thawed
8 cups of apple juice
1 bunch of thyme
8 sprigs of sage
3 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of pepper
6 cloves of smashed garlic
4 cups of water
3 onions, sliced
2 red apples
2 tablespoons of melted butter
3 cups of chicken broth
1. Start by mixing together your apple juice, thyme, half the sage, bay leaves, salt, sugar, pepper, garlic and water in a saucepan.
2. Bring it to a boil and keep stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve.
3. Let that mixture cook while taking the giblets and neck off the turkey.
4. Put the turkey in a big stockpot and pour the brine over it.
5. Cover the pot and refrigerate it for 24 to 36 hours, turning the bird periodically.
6. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees before rinsing your turkey and patting it dry.
7. Arrange your onions and the rest of the sage in a roasting pan, adding the turkey in with the breast facing up.
8. Put your apples in the cavity and tie the legs together, tucking the wingtips down.
9. Add your broth to the pan and bake the turkey for three and a half to four hours.
10. Baste the turkey every half hour with the pan juice and take it out when its 165 degrees on the inside of the breast.
11. Cover the turkey with foil if it gets too brown otherwise take it out when it’s done, let it sit for a half hour and carve it!
Having a nice glaze on your turkey is important for flavor and texture… and this maple cider glazed recipe from A Family Feast is one of the better ones we’ve tried. This one is also very simple to throw together and comes through with plenty of complex and delicious flavors. Here’s how you make it:
1 12-14 pound turkey
1 cup of apple cider
12 tablespoons of softened butter
6 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 quartered carrot
1 quartered onion
1 quartered celery stalk
2 whole cloves of garlic, halved
2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1. Rinse your turkey and pat it dry before putting it in a roasting pan with a V-shaped rack inside it. Remove the neck and gizzards as well.
2. Put your cider in a saucepan and bring it to a boil until it’s reduced to two tablespoons.
3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
4. After the cider cools, mix your softened butter, four tablespoons of syrup, one tablespoon of mustard, one tablespoon of reduced cider and salt together in a small bowl.
5. Spread the mixture all over the bird, under on and on top of the skin. Put three quarters of the mix under the skin and use the rest on the outside.
6. Place your carrots, onion, celery and garlic around the pan as well and pour your stock in.
7. Put your turkey in the oven uncovered for 45 minutes.
8. In the meantime, mix together the rest of the cider, mustard and maple syrup together and set it aside.
9. When the 45 minutes are up, tent the turkey with tinfoil and bake it for two to three hours or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.
10. Let it rest for 20 minutes before carving it up!
Although most of these recipes include some combination of familiar ingredients, this recipe for orange-honey glazed turkey by The Cozy Apron is really something special. The flavors are very bright, light and crisp and are sure to be a hit with the entire extended family. Here’s how you make it:
2 half turkey breasts, bone-in and skin on
2 teaspoons of herbs de provence
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon of thyme
3/4 cup of honey
1 teaspoon of orange zest
1/4 cup of orange juice
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1.Start by mixing together all your glaze ingredients in a sauce pan, whisking it all up. Bring it to a boil and turn the heat down to low, simmering for 10 minutes.
2. Split the glaze into two bowls and let it cool.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
4. Place your turkey breasts bone-side down onto the baking sheet and drizzle oil over each one. Season with salt, pepper, herbs de Provence and paprika.
5. Put your turkey breasts in the oven to roast for 30 minutes before brushing them with one of the bowls of glaze.
6. Roast the breasts for another 10 minutes before brushing more glaze on. Repeat this several more times and take the breasts out when the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
7. Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it. Top with the extra glaze and serve!
As we’ve clearly shown, there are all kinds of ways you can flavor your turkey. One that we haven’t covered as much is the French palette of flavors—but this recipe from Half Baked Harvest can fix all that. Though you’ve likely had flavors like these before, the way they come together in this dish is sure to satisfy the whole family. Here’s how you make it:
1 14-16 pound turkey (giblets and neck removed)
2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of sage (plus extra)
2 tablespoons of thyme (plus extra)
3 tablespoons of parsley
1 lemon (for zest)
3 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper
2 lemons, halved
1 head of garlic, sliced
1 cup of white wine
4 tablespoons of salted butter
6 tablespoons of flour
2-3 cups of chicken or turkey broth
1 tablespoon of chopped sage
1. Take the neck and gizzards off the turkey and pat it dry.
2. Make your butter mix by combining your butter, sage, thyme, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
3. Preheat your oven to 450 and put a rack in the lower third of it.
4. Set your turkey in a roasting pan and season the cavity with salt and pepper. Add the chopped lemons, garlic and onion.
5. Rub half of your butter mix on the inside and outside of the turkey.
6. Melt the other half of the butter and dampen your cheesecloth with warm water. Squeeze it dry before dunking it in your melted butter and draping it over the turkey.
7. Pour four cups of chicken broth into the bottom of your roasting pan and put it in the oven for 45 minutes at 450 degrees.
8. Turn the oven down to 350 and cook for another two hours or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.
9. Add a cup or two more of broth halfway through roasting and baste with the drippings throughout as well.
10. Take the turkey out and the cheesecloth off. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving it up!
11. To make gravy, strain your roasting pan liquid and skim off the fat. Pour enough broth in to make four to five cups of drippings and broth.
12. Put your roasting pan over two burners and add half a cup of wine. Scrape the bottom and add butter, whisking in flour.
13. Cook for about five minutes before increasing to medium high heat and adding another half cup of wine. Keep stirring and reducing until the mix turns smooth.
14. Stir in your sage and let it cook for eight to 10 minutes. Serve with the turkey.
If you want to keep your dinner exceptionally simple, this salt and pepper turkey recipe from Country Living is just the ticket. For anyone who doesn’t want to have too much fruity flavor distracting from the meatiness and savoriness, this is the one for you. Here’s how you do it:
2 carrots, halved
2 celery stalks, halved
1 onion, quartered
1 12 pound turkey, giblets removed
4 tablespoons of softened, unsalted butter
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put your carrots, celery, onion and two cups of water in a roasting pan and put a rack in it.
3. Rub your butter under the skin of the turkey. Season it with two teaspoons of salt and one of pepper on the outside and the inside.
4. Put the turkey on the roasting rack and tie the legs together.
5. Roast the turkey for two and a half to three hours, basting it every half hour until the inside reaches 165 degrees.
6. When it’s done, tilt the turkey to let the juice out of the cavity and transfer it to a cutting board.
7. Wait a half hour before carving and serving!
If you’re going for a richer, earthier flavor, why not give this smoked barbecue turkey recipe from Dinner at the Zoo a try? Although we don’t generally associate barbecue flavors with Thanksgiving, this dish is too good to deny. Here’s how you make it:
1 12 pound turkey (giblets removed)
1/2 cup of barbecue sauce
1 onion, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
4 sprigs of fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley)
3 cups of chicken broth
fresh herbs (for garnish)
1.Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees and load it up with applewood.
2. Spray down an aluminum pan before putting the turkey in it. Tuck the wings under it as well.
3. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with onion, lemon and herbs and tie the legs together.
4. Spread your barbecue sauces all over the turkey and put the tray in the smoker.
5. Cook it for six to seven hours, basting it with broth every 30 to 45 minutes.
6. Refill the smoker with wood as necessary and take the meat out when the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
7. Let the turkey rest for 10 to 15 minutes before transferring it to a serving plate. Garnish with herbs and serve!
Last but not least is this incredible recipe from Delicious Little Bites for a rosemary apricot glazed turkey. Although many of these recipes have a mix of sweet and savory ingredients, this one is truly unique. Here’s how you make it:
1 6-8 pound turkey breast
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1/4 cup of apricot preserves
2 sprigs of rosemary (plus extra)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and melt your butter.
2. Put the turkey in a roasting pan and pat it dry.
3. Brush your melted butter over the turkey and season it with salt and pepper.
4. Put your turkey in the oven and roast it according to the instructions on the package.
5. While the turkey roasts, whisk your apricot preserves and rosemary together.
6. An hour before the turkey is done, brush it with glaze and put it back in the oven.
7. Keep cooking until the internal temperature hits 165 degrees.
8. Let the turkey cool for 20 minutes before carving it up!
No matter what your favorite flavors are, this list is sure to have a Thanksgiving turkey recipe that is perfect for your needs. While some of these dishes don’t need much work or extra seasoning at all, others will take a decent amount of exploration. Still, even if you can only make one of them this year, you can always keep experimenting next year! Have you tried any of these recipes before? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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