25 Easy Turkey Recipes for Thanksgiving

updated Nov 15, 2023
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Whole roasted, trussed turkey on a platter with pomegranate halves and sprigs of rosemary
Credit: Joe Lingeman

So you’re roasting a turkey. For most people this happens once a year: on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe you’ve made a turkey once or twice in the past and are looking to add more flavor and flair this year (we’re looking at you, bacon-wrapped turkey). Or maybe this is your very first bird and you’re totally stumped on where to start.

Regardless of your experience level, here are 25 of the best, most foolproof turkey recipes we know, whether you remembered to brine the turkey or not, want something simple or a little bit fancy. And yes, you can even roast a frozen turkey (it’s pretty good!) — so no need to panic if you’re running short on time.

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The Essential and Simplest Turkey Recipe

This is the most simple and most basic method for roasting a turkey: just pop it in the oven! Heat the oven to 450°F, then turn it down to 350°F when you put in your (well-salted and seasoned, perhaps brined!) turkey. Roast for about 13 minutes per pound, and take out and tent with foil when the turkey hits 165°F in the meatiest part of the thigh. (You'll certainly want a good thermometer!)

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2 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe for Bacon-Lovers: Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

This turkey is so mega, so extra, everyone who loves bacon should try it at least once! This recipe shows you how to weave a wee bacon blanket over your bird, and roast it into crisp, bacon-y bliss.

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3 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe If You're In a Hurry: Miso-Butter Spatchcocked Turkey with Mushroom Gravy
This turkey is spatchcocked, flavored with a miso butter, then cooked on high heat for a flavorful Thanksgiving bird that's ready in an hour.
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4 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe for a Traditional Dinner Without the Whole Bird: Turkey Tenderloin

If you love a traditional Thanksgiving dinner but can’t be bothered with the hassle of roasting a whole bird, tenderloins recreate that same festive flavor in way less time. A simple roasted version is a good back-pocket recipe to know — and this one, with its deeply flavorful rub, is a keeper.

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The Best Turkey Recipe for Grilling: How to Grill a Spatchcocked Turkey

Sometimes it's better to skip roasting entirely and grill your turkey instead. This method is easier than other methods of spatchcocking and is simple to grill. It's a lovely turkey: smoky and tender.

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The Best Turkey Recipe for a Stuffed Bird: Roast Stuffed Turkey with Cornbread Chestnut Dressing
The aroma of roasted chesnuts combined with cornbread, sage, thyme, and a hint of bay leaf is just as magical as it is delicious.
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7 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe for Pressure Cooking: Instant Pot Herbed Turkey Breast with Gravy

Not only does using the Instant Pot free up oven space, but it keeps the turkey breast moist and locks in rich, herbaceous flavor. Plus, you get to "set it and forget it."

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8 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe for a Drumstick-Loving Crowd: Herb Butter-Roasted Turkey Legs

These juicy herb-rubbed turkey legs are the ultimate easy-prep holiday main — no need to clear the fridge for brining or worry about carving.

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9 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe for Slow Cooking: Slow-Cooker Turkey Breast

Cooking turkey breast in the slow cooker gives it time to soak up a rich herb butter, resulting in juicy, tender slices every time.

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10 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe for a No-Fuss Breast: How To Cook Turkey Breast
Turkey breasts are a cinch to roast — no flipping, no basting, no fuss. Here's a recipe to show you how to cook it, step by step.
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11 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe for Foolproof Results: How To Make Turkey in a Bag

This turkey-roasting method is practically impossible to mess up, and there's no hands-on work required.

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The Best Turkey Recipe for Elegant Yet Not Overwhelming Meal: Turkey Roulade

Juicy turkey breast swirled around sausage and herb cornbread stuffing packs the best fall flavors into a single bite.

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The Best Turkey Recipe for Bourbon-Lovers: Bourbon-Glazed Roast Turkey
Another easy no-brine turkey with a boozy twist: butter with a brown sugar compound butter, then brush with bourbon glaze for a gleaming and delicious bird.
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The Best Turkey Recipe for Air Frying: Air Fryer Herbed Turkey Breast with Gravy

Yes, you can air fry an entire 4-pound turkey breast, and yes, it comes out perfectly. The hot circulating air evenly cooks the inside of the meat, but also browns and crisps the skin as if it had been deep-fried.

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15 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe if You Want It Extra-Browned: Black Pepper & Maple Roast Turkey
Another recipe that requires no brining, just a yummy butter rubbed under the skin. This one produces an especially spectacular mahogany skin, thanks to the soy sauce that balances the sweetness of the maple syrup.
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16 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe for Spice Lovers: Red Chimichurri Turkey Thighs

These garlicky, herby, spicy turkey thighs are one tasty way to change up mundane holiday turkey recipes.

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The Best Turkey Recipe for Nostalgic Flavor: Coke-Glazed Upside-Down Turkey
This recipe for Coke-glazed turkey is out of this world (and part of our Stranger Things Thanksgiving story). It's roasted upside-down for a more even cooking process and brushed with a Coca-Cola glaze that gets very deeply browned and burnished.
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The Best Turkey Recipe if You Love Mexican Food: Pati Jinich's Mexican Thanksgiving Turkey
This recipe from Pati Jinich is a treasure and something very different from the classic turkey. Rubbed with citrus, cumin, achiote paste, and other Mexican flavors, this turkey is vibrant and rich.
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The Best Turkey Recipe for Lemon-Lovers: Citrus-Herb Roast Turkey
Forget to brine your bird? Not much time to do anything fancy? This is the perfect turkey recipe for you. Make a quick citrusy butter with lemon, orange, and herbs, slather it all over and pop that turkey in the oven. Presto, magic!
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20 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe for a Small Dinner: Dutch Oven Braised Turkey

Just serving a few people? Skip the full-sized bird and instead get a mix of parts and make this one-pot braised turkey and sweet potatoes for all the homey flavors of Thanksgiving. Just add stuffing.

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21 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipe for a Small Dinner Without Lots of Leftovers: Sheet Pan Roasted Garlic Turkey Breast
If you're goal is a low effort, fuss-free meal that won't leave you with loads of leftovers, a sheet pan meal is the way to go! This Thanksgiving sheet pan supper pairs roast turkey breast with crispy Brussels sprouts, delicata squash rings, and a velvety lemon sauce.
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22 / 25
The Best Turkey Recipes for BBQ Lovers: Slow-Cooker Smoky BBQ Turkey

If your goal this Thanksgiving is to step away from tradition for a simple meal with a bold, flavor-packed twist, you’re going to want to pull out your slow cooker and your favorite BBQ sauce.

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The Best Turkey Recipe with Flavorful Stuffing: Apple, Pecan & Brie Stuffed Turkey Breast

This simple stuffed turkey breast recipe offers a lot of flavors and textures. Sweet, savory, crunchy, and creamy, it is your answer to getting everything you love about the whole bird.

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The Best Turkey Recipe If You Like Smoked and Dry-Brined: Smoked Turkey

Smoking your turkey gives the mild-flavored bird a boost of flavor, the low cooking temperature keeps breast meat tender and juicy, and smoking frees your oven up for other dishes.

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The Best Turkey Recipe for Crispy Skin: Deep-Fried Turkey
Because turkeys cook twice as fast as deep-fried (than when traditionally roasted), you will never eat juicier, tender meat wrapped with delicous crackling skin.
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Do I Still Have Time to Brine the Turkey?

Yes, if you’re reading this the day before Thanksgiving, you do have time to brine your turkey. Wet brine for 12 to 24 hours or dry brine for 24 hours before cooking. Get saltin’!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Do I Need a Roasting Pan and Roasting Rack?

Not necessarily. Just use the largest casserole pan you have. Elevate the turkey on a cooling rack or coiled foil wrap. If your turkey doesn’t fit inside your pan, put it in a disposable foil roaster and place on a baking sheet for stability.

The Safe Temperature for Your Turkey

Cook your turkey to 165°F or a little over if you want to be really safe. Take the temperaturein the meatiest part of the thigh. See more details and pictures here of how to check the temperature on your turkey.

How to Carve Your Turkey

Once your turkey is done, move to a carving board and let it rest, covered in foil, for at least 15 minutes (or up to an hour). Then carve! See step-by-step photos here on how to carve a turkey, or watch the video above!

We Review Famous Turkey Recipes

Want to make a famous or celebrity turkey? Take a look at our reviews of Ina, Ree, and Martha’s turkey and brine recipes.

What kind of turkey are you making this year?