Top 10 Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes for Holiday Cooking

The holidays always mean family and FOOD! The turkey recipe is key to a good meal. Here are 10 of the top turkey recipes for your holiday meal. These recipes range from traditional to unique and there is even a beginner turkey recipe!

Recipe #1

Traditional Oven Turkey

Kraft Foods© Recipe

1 frozen turkey (12 lb.), thawed

3 Tbsp. oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. fresh or 2 tsp. dried herbs, such as thyme, sage or rosemary

3 cups water

Thaw turkey completely before grilling. To thaw, place turkey on tray in refrigerator. Refrigerate until thawed, allowing 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 pounds of turkey.

PREHEAT grill to medium-high heat. Remove neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse outside of turkey as well as inside the cavity; pat dry with paper towels. Tuck the wings under the back. Place turkey, breast side up, on roasting rack in large disposable aluminum foil pan.

RUB outside of turkey with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with herbs. Place pan on grate of grill. Add water to pan, then close the lid of the grill.

GRILL turkey 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until meat thermometer registers 180°F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh and 170°F when inserted in the thickest part of the breast, adding additional water to the pan as needed to prevent the drippings from burning and to have enough liquid remaining in the pan after turkey is cooked for use in making gravy. Remove turkey from grill; let stand 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, use pan drippings to make gravy, if desired.

For extra flavor, stuff the turkey cavity with a peeled onion, celery stalks, lemon slices and/or fresh herb bundles before grilling.

Recipe #2


Foster Farms© Recipe

This is a turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken layered with dressing.


3 pounds Foster Farms Whole Young Chicken

salt and pepper to taste

Creole seasoning to taste

1 (4 pound) duck, boned

16 pounds Foster Farms Fresh Whole Turkey, boned


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lay the boned chicken skin-side down on a platter and season liberally with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Lay the boned duck skin-side down on top of the chicken and season liberally with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Cover and refrigerate.

2. Lay the boned turkey skin-side down on a flat surface. Cover with a layer of cold Sausage and Oyster Dressing and push the dressing into the leg and wing cavities so they will look as if they still have bones in them.

3. Lay the duck on top of the turkey skin-side down and cover it with a layer of cold dressing. Lay the chicken on top of the duck skin-side down and cover it with a layer of cold dressing.

4. With the help of an assistant, bring the edges of the turkey skin up and fasten them together with toothpicks. Use the kitchen string to lace around the toothpicks to help hold the stuffed turkey together. Carefully place the turducken, breast up in a large roasting pan.

5. Roast covered for 4 hours or until the turducken is golden brown. Continue to roast uncovered for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted through the thigh registers 180 degrees F. and a thermometer inserted through the stuffing registers 165 degrees F. Check the turducken every few hours to baste and remove excess liquid. There will be enough pan juices for a gallon of gravy. Carve and serve.

Recipe #3

Holiday Champagne Turkey

Foster Farms© Recipe


A bottle of champagne is the secret to this moist turkey stuffed with apples and baked in an oven bag.


1 (12 pound) Foster Farms Fresh Whole Turkey, neck and giblets removed

1/2 cup butter, cubed

2 apples, cored and halved

1 tablespoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

2/3 (750 milliliter) bottle champagne


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Rinse turkey, and pat dry. Gently loosen turkey breast skin, and insert pieces of butter between the skin and breast. Place apples inside the turkey's cavity. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Place turkey in a roasting bag, and pour champagne over the inside and outside of the bird. Close bag, and place turkey in a roasting pan.

3. Bake turkey 3 to 3 1/2 hours in the preheated oven, or until the internal temperature is 180 degrees F (85 degrees C) when measured in the meatiest part of the thigh. Remove turkey from bag, and let stand for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Recipe #4

Perfect Turkey


This is a perfect recipe for a moist, flavorful holiday bird! Plan the time to brine the bird overnight - it's worth the extra effort!


1 (18 pound) Foster Farms Fresh Whole Turkey, neck and giblets removed

2 cups kosher salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 large onions, peeled and chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 cup dry white wine


1. Rub the turkey inside and out with the kosher salt. Place the bird in a large stock pot, and cover with cold water. Place in the refrigerator, and allow the turkey to soak in the salt and water mixture 12 hours, or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Thoroughly rinse the turkey, and discard the brine mixture.

3. Brush the turkey with 1/2 the melted butter. Place breast side down on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan. Stuff the turkey cavity with 1 onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and the bay leaf. Scatter the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan, and cover with the white wine.

4. Roast uncovered 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Carefully turn the turkey breast side up about 2/3 through the roasting time, and brush with the remaining butter. Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving.

Recipe #5

Latino Lime Glazed Turkey with Chipotle Gravy

Recipe by: Chef/GM Chris Ottens of Novell, a Bon Appetit Management Co.

Citrus Glaze

3/4 Cup unsalted butter

1/2 Cup honey

4 Tablespoons orange zest

4 Tablespoons lime zest

2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

4 Teaspoons canned chipotle chilies, chopped

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

1 Teaspoon salt

Over medium heat, melt butter in heavy saucepan. Remove pan from heat and stir in honey, orange and lime zests, thyme, chilies, cumin and salt.

Measure 1/2 cup glaze and reserve for gravy. Cover and chill remaining liquid in freezer for about 30 minutes or until liquid begins to turn firm but is still spreadable.


2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

4-1/2 Cups chopped sweet onions

1 Packet giblets (turkey neck, gizzard and heart)

2 Cups coarsely chopped peeled carrots

2 Cups coarsely chopped celery (with leaves)

1-1/2 Cups chopped plum tomatoes

Over medium-high heat, melt butter in large nonstick pan. Add onions and reserved turkey parts.
Sauté until onions are deep brown. Add carrots, celery and tomatoes to skillet and toss to blend.

Glazed Turkey

22 to 24-pound WHOLE TURKEY, fresh or frozen (thawed)


Set a small rack in a large shallow roasting pan and place cooked vegetables with turkey parts around rack.

Blot turkey dry with paper towels. At the neck end, gently loosen skin from the turkey breast without totally detaching the skin. Rub 1/2-cup citrus glaze under skin. Replace the skin.
Fold neck skin and fasten to the back with skewers. Fold the wings under the back of the turkey. Return legs to tucked position.

Place turkey, breast side up, on the rack. Brush an additional 1/3-cup citrus glaze over top and sides of turkey. Reserve any remaining glaze. Sprinkle turkey with salt and pepper.

Loosely tent the turkey and roast turkey in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes.
Add 1-cup poultry broth to pan and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Secure foil snugly around turkey and continue to roast for 1-1/4 hours. The foil will prevent the honey-coated turkey from excessive browning.

Add 1-cup poultry broth to pan every 30 minutes until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F in the thigh. Remove the foil during the last 15-20 minutes to brown the turkey.

Remove turkey from the oven and allow it to stand for 20 minutes before carving.

Chipotle Gravy

1/2 Cup flour


Strain pan drippings, pressing vegetables to extract liquid. Discard solids in strainer.

Spoon fat from top of juices and discard fat. Add enough broth to pan juices to equal 6 cups.
Stir reserved 1/2-cup citrus glaze in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until melted.
Gradually add flour and whisk 1 minute, allowing flour to slightly brown. Gradually whisk in pan juices. Bring to gentle boil, whisking until smooth.

Reduce heat to medium; simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season gravy with salt and pepper.

Recipe #6

Holiday Turkey with Sage and Sherried Cider Gravy

Recipe provided by Volk Enterprises, Inc.

Ingredients 2 12-Pound WHOLE TURKEYS, fresh or frozen (thawed)

As needed salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Large lemon, cut in quarters

14 Large fresh sage leaves

4 Slices multi-grain bread

1 Large Granny Smith apple, wedged

1 Large sweet onion, wedged

1 Cup unsalted butter, softened

1 Pint water

1 Pint dry sherry

1 Pint sparkling apple cider

2/3 Cup flour

1++ Quart TURKEY BROTH As needed assorted fresh sage leaves Roasted Turkeys

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Rinse and pat turkeys dry, inside and out. Season turkeys inside and out with salt and pepper.

3. Place 1 lemon wedge, 1 sage leaf and 1 bread slice into each neck cavity. Fold neck skin under body and fasten with a skewer.

4. Fill each body cavity with apples and onions, 3 sage leaves and remaining lemon wedge and bread slice. Truss turkeys.

5. Rub turkeys with remaining sage. Spread turkeys with butter and arrange on rack in roasting pans.

6. Roast turkeys in middle of preheated 425 degree F oven 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees F and baste turkeys with pan juices. Add water to roasting pan and continue roasting, basting every 20 minutes. Continue to roast 2-1/2 to 3 hours more, or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F in the thigh.

7. Transfer turkeys to carving board, reserving juices in roasting pan; discard string. Keep turkeys warm, covered loosely with foil.

Sherried Cider Gravy

1. Skim fat from pan juices, reserving 1/2 cup fat.

2. On range top, deglaze pan with sherry over moderately high heat, scraping up brown bits. Stir in cider.

3. Bring sherry mixture to a boil and remove pan from heat.

4. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together reserved fat and flour and cook roux over moderately low heat. Whisk together for about 3 minutes.

5. Add sherry mixture and stock in a stream, whisking to prevent lumping. Simmer, whisking occasionally for about 10 minutes.

6. Whisk in additional stock to thin gravy if desired.

7. Season gravy with salt and pepper.

8. Discard the cavity ingredients before serving. Garnish turkey with sage.

9. NOTE: Provides 32-34 servings at 6 ounces per portion.

Recipe #7


Recipe from John Maynard (Courtesy of NWTF)

1 (10-15 lb.) unstuffed turkey

5 gallons peanut oil

2 tbsp. Cajun seasoning

1 stick butter or margarine

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Pour peanut oil into a 10 gallon pot. Put pot on propane cooker and heat oil to 375 degrees. Have turkey completely thawed and dry turkey thoroughly. Tie two cotton strings around the carcass so bird can be easily lifted out of oil. Carefully submerge turkey in oil. Deep fry for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes per pound and cook until turkey floats to the top. Remove bird from oil, and immediately dust heavily with cajun seasoning. Melt butter or margarine, and add to it garlic powder and cayenne, if desired. Brush turkey with butter mixture. Allow to cool 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Yield 12 to 16 servings.

Recipe #8

Honey Smoked Turkey

Sweet and light, this is the easiest way to cook a big bird! It will be the best turkey you have ever had. The breast is moist and juicy, and the honey makes a great thin sauce. I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends and family do when I make it. I never have any leftovers! Enjoy!


1 (12 pound) Fresh Whole Turkey

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons celery salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 (12 ounce) jar honey

1/2 pound mesquite wood chips


1. Preheat grill for high heat. If you are using a charcoal grill, use about twice the normal amount of charcoal. Soak wood chips in a pan of water, and set next to the grill.

2. Remove neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse the bird and pat dry. Place in a large disposable roasting pan.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together sage, ground black pepper, celery salt, basil, and vegetable oil. Pour mixture evenly over the turkey. Turn the turkey breast side down in the pan, and tent loosely with aluminum foil.

4. Place the roasting pan on the preheated grill. Throw a handful of the wood chips onto the coals. Close the lid, and cook for 1 hour.

5. Throw about 2 more handfuls of soaked wood chips on the fire. Drizzle 1/2 the honey over the bird, and replace the foil. Close the lid of the grill, and continue cooking 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C) in the thickest part of the thigh.

6. Uncover turkey, and carefully turn it breast side up in the roasting pan. Baste with remaining honey. Leave the turkey uncovered, and cook 15 minutes. The cooked honey will be very dark.

Recipe # 9

Maple Roast Turkey and Gravy

A New England style turkey with maple syrup. It makes for a mellow Thanksgiving dinner. Try stuffing it with Cranberry, Sausage and Apple Stuffing. If fresh marjoram is unavailable, 2 teaspoons of dried marjoram may be substituted.



14 pounds Fresh Whole Turkey, neck and giblets reserved

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup coarsely chopped carrots

Maple Butter Mixutre

2 cups apple cider

1/3 cup real maple syrup

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram

2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

3/4 cup butter

alt and ground black pepper to taste


2 cups chicken stock

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons apple brandy (optional)


1. Boil apple cider and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 of the thyme and marjoram and all of the lemon zest. Add the butter, and whisk until melted. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until cold (syrup can be made up to 2 days ahead).

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place oven rack in the lowest third of oven.

3. Wash and dry turkey, and place in a large roasting pan. Slide hand under skin of the breast to loosen. Rub 1/2 cup of the maple butter mix under the breast skin. If planning on stuffing turkey, do so now. Rub 1/4 cup of the maple butter mixture over the outside of the turkey. With kitchen string, tie legs of turkey together loosely.

4. Arrange the chopped onion, chopped celery, and chopped carrot around the turkey in the roasting pan. If desired, the neck and giblets may be added to the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining thyme and marjoram over the vegetables, and pour the chicken stock into the pan.

5. Roast turkey 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cover turkey loosely with foil. Continue to roast, about 3 to 4 hours unstuffed or 4 to 5 hours stuffed, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C) and stuffing reaches 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). Transfer turkey to a platter, and cover with foil. Reserve pan mixture for gravy. Allow turkey to sit about 25 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.

6. To Make Gravy: Strain pan juices into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from juices. Add enough chicken stock to make 3 cups. Transfer liquid to a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, mix reserved maple butter mixture with flour to form a paste, and whisk into the broth. Stir in thyme, bay leaf, and apple brandy. Boil until reduced and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe #10

Easy Beginner's Turkey with Stuffing

This easy to make turkey is great for beginners, but experts will find it equally delicious. Adjust the cooking time for different sized birds.


12 pounds Fresh Whole Turkey

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Stuffing Mix

1 (6 ounce) package dry bread stuffing mix

1 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

4 slices toasted white bread, torn into small pieces

salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Rinse turkey, remove giblets and place in a shallow roasting pan.

2. Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Mix in water.

3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and slowly cook and stir the celery and onion until tender.

4. Mix celery, onion, and toasted bread pieces into the stuffing, and season with salt and pepper. Loosely scoop stuffing into the turkey body cavity and neck cavity. Rub the exterior of the turkey with vegetable oil.

5. Loosely cover turkey with aluminum foil, and roast 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F (85 degrees C) and the interior of the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F (70 degrees C). Remove foil during the last half hour of cooking to brown the bird.

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