9 Thanksgiving Turkey Ideas for Everyone, from the Purist to the Nontraditionalist

Cook, Entertain, Holidays, Holidays, Recipe Roundup, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is three days away—and if you haven’t done it yet, it’s time to nail down the star of the show, the turkey. Here are nine Thanksgiving turkey serving ideas for everyone, from the purist to the non-traditionalist (and everyone in between).


Make-Ahead Roast Turkey


Ina Garten loves this do-ahead bird recipe, because it takes the stress out of carving the turkey at the last minute and keeping it hot on the buffet. She carves the turkey in advance, arranges it on an ovenproof platter over a layer of gravy and then reheats it all together. 


Turkey Meatballs with Gravy


For those who want to do something completely different this Thanksgiving, chef Joshua McFadden suggests skipping a whole turkey in favor of these turkey meatballs flavored with fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. When they’re served with Thanksgiving trimmings like mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, no one will miss the roast turkey at all.


Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast


This elegant roulade of turkey—which involves breast that’s been stuffed with focaccia and aromatics—only take 15 minutes to prep and 70 minutes to cook. 


Smoked Turkey Breast with Cornbread Stuffing and Chicories


Another newfangled way to serve turkey? Soaking turkey breast in flavorful brine, then smoking and roasting it in the oven. If you don’t have a strong exhaust fan, use an outdoor smoker or skip this step altogether. The results will still be delicious.



Classic Roast TurkeyClassic Roast Turkey


This old-fashioned roast turkey is prepared in the most basic way possible: There’s no brine, spice rub, not stuffing. It’s a favorite of both cooks on short prep time and purists who want turkey made just the way their moms prepared it.


Roasted Turkey Breast


Thanksgiving for a small set is made easier by roasting just the breast of the turkey, which cooks exponentially faster than the whole bird.



Buttermilk-Brined Turkey


Soaking the turkey in a saltwater brine produces tender, juicy meat. In this recipe, which is a staff favorite, our brine mixture also includes buttermilk, which adds flavor to the turkey and helps keep the meat incredibly moist.


Spice-Rubbed Fried Turkey


Tired of roasting the turkey every single year? Try deep-frying it! This fried turkey cooks quickly; to avoid any kitchen accidents, be sure the turkey is completely dry inside and out before placing it in the fryer.


Spatchcocked Turkey and GravySpatchcocked Turkey and Gravy


The technique of spatchcocking involves removing the backbone and then flattening the bird, which speeds roasting and ensures even cooking. Your turkey will emerge with nicely crisped skin and juicy meat.



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