The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes From Classic to Creative

Peach-Glazed Roast Turkey
Photo: Con Poulos

Think turkey recipes can err on the boring side? Think again. Our best Thanksgiving turkey recipes will teach you how to layer on flavor through marinades, rubs, aromatic vegetables, and more. For smaller gatherings, we've got you covered for breast and tenderloins as well. We've even got Thanksgiving turkeys you can cook outside on a smoker, or in a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Your holiday season is about to get a lot more delicious.

01 of 17

Glazed Roast Turkey

Glazed Roast Turkey
Blaine Moats

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 meal that looks almost as good as it tastes. Almost.

02 of 17

Lemon-Thyme Split Roasted Turkey

Lemon thyme split roasted turkey
Andy Lyons

If you're crunched for time, split-roasting (also called spatchcocking) is going to save you from a holiday emergency. By essentially butterflying the bird, more surface area is exposed, allowing 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.

03 of 17

Roast Turkey with Citrus and Sage

Roast Turkey with Citrus and Sage
Carson Downing

A dry brine ensures this Thanksgiving turkey stays moist and juicy. Making a dry brine is as easy as combining salt, spices, and herbs. Here we chose orange zest, fresh sage, and rosemary. After rubbing the bird with the brine, let it sit in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Once you're ready to roast, pat the skin dry and stuff with fresh oranges.

Test Kitchen Tip: Be sure the turkey is completely thawed before applying the brine.

04 of 17

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

Bacon Onion Turkey
Andy Lyons

No longer just for BLTs and breakfast, bacon recipes are among our favorites at holiday dinners. 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 gets a hearty dose of savory, salty flavor from the strips of bacon that practically melt into the exterior.

05 of 17

Simple Roast Turkey

R108770
James Baigrie

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 within. Roast until juices run clear and be sure to test the temp with a meat thermometer ($16, The Home Depot) for a safe and succulent Thanksgiving centerpiece.

06 of 17

Pressure Cooker Turkey Breast

Pressure Cooker Turkey Breast
Matthew Clark

Turn to your Instant Pot ($130, Target) for extra space to "roast" your Thanksgiving turkey breast. Not only does this entire recipe take less than an hour to hit your table, but it's also infused with flavor from everything else you add, including carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and poultry seasoning.

07 of 17

Maple Sage Turkey

Maple Sage Turkey
Andy Lyons

Many of our readers have called this the best Thanksgiving turkey recipe. As one reviewer raves, "I've made this the past two Thanksgivings and both times it was wonderful. The easiest and best turkey I've made." To make your own, dry brine the turkey and roast until it's golden. While it's roasting, brush the bird with a homemade maple butter glaze.

08 of 17

Flash-Roasted Turkey

Flash-Roasted Turkey
Guy Ambrosino

Once you've flash roasted, you might never go back to the regular way. 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 (including parsley, sage, thyme, and chives) to flavor the meat.

09 of 17

Sesame Turkey

Sesame Turkey
Kritsada Panichgul

Slow to cook and quick to be devoured, 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 recipe 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.

Buy It: Crock Pot ($17, Target)

10 of 17

Marmalade-Glazed Roast Turkey

Marmalade-Glazed Roast Turkey
Con Poulos

There's no need to brine this easy Thanksgiving turkey. Brushing it with marmalade during the roasting results in a sweet, crisp skin. Cook the bird over a layer of seasonal vegetables, like carrots and parsnips, for a one-pan turkey dinner.

11 of 17

Deep-Fried Cajun Turkey

Deep-Fried Cajun Turkey
Marty Baldwin

Deep-frying isn't just for potatoes and chicken. This year, dress your Thanksgiving turkey recipe with a Cajun-inspired 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 any other cooking method.

12 of 17

Peach-Glazed Roast Turkey

Peach-Glazed Roast Turkey
Con Poulos

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 keep this entrée feeling decidedly holiday-appropriate.

13 of 17

Classic Roast Turkey

Classic Roast Turkey with Stuffing on platter with rosemary and citrus, bowl of cranberry sauce in background
Andy Lyons

If you're hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner, this is the turkey recipe for you. In just three simple steps you'll have a golden, juicy bird. As one BH&G home cook agrees, "This is the perfect recipe for first time chefs."

14 of 17

Gluten-Free Greek Breast of Turkey

Gluten Free Greek Turkey Breast
Blaine Moats

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.

15 of 17

Smoked Turkey with Apple Stuffing

Smoked Turkey Breast with Apple Stuffing

Go beyond brisket and ribs when you think of smoking food. We adore smoking our Thanksgiving turkey, which clears up extra oven space and introduces 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.

16 of 17

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins with Cherries and Pancetta

Stuffed Turkey Tenderloins with Cherries and Pancetta
Karla Conrad

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

17 of 17

BBQ Spice-Rubbed Turkey Breast

BBQ Spice-Rubbed Turkey Breast
Andy Lyons

Cut your cooking time in half by roasting a turkey breast or two, rather than a full-size bird. Coated in 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 seasonal cranberry barbecue sauce is the perfect accompaniment for this casual, yet classy, entrée.

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