Serious Eats / Fred Hardy

When it comes to Thanksgiving turkey, we at Serious Eats are subject area experts. From sourcing your bird to finding delicious uses for leftovers, our turkey coverage runs deep. This collection of recipes is primarily focused on getting a whole bird on the table, but we do include some strategies for cooking turkey in parts. Legs and breast are essentially two different roasts that need to reach different internal temperatures, thus cooking them separately is a smart strategy (and opens up a lot of culinary possibilities).

Whether you go with a traditional Norman Rockwell centerpiece or a turkey porchetta and a side of meltingly tender turkey leg confit, we recommend lowering the stress level by planning out the menu and scheduling prep. For an even more relaxed lead-up to the holiday, we also encourage you to choose at least a few sides and appetizers that can be made well ahead of time.

The Best Simple Roast Turkey With Gravy

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

This back-to-basics roast turkey recipe is a great place for beginners to start, and the results are pretty dang fabulous: crisp skin, juicy meat that’s evenly cooked, without butterflying, flipping, trussing, or fussing. One trick that sets this recipe apart: A baking steel or baking stone is preheated in the oven so that when the bird is added, the heat stored in the steel/stone helps kickstart the cooking of the turkey’s legs, which need to reach a higher temperature than the breast.

Crisp-Skinned Spatchcocked Roast Turkey With Gravy

Serious Eats / Fred Hardy

This is the recipe that butterflied a thousand turkeys. Unlike Helen of Troy, the repercussions of Kenji publishing this method for roasting turkey have been resoundingly positive: more Thanksgiving birds with bronzed and crispy skin, juicy breast meat, and tender thighs and drumsticks. For a tasty variation on this tried-and-tested method, stuff herb butter under the skin. Or try one of Daniel‘s flavor-packed riffs, like rubbing the bird with a Cajun-style spice blend, seasoning it with porchetta flavors, or finishing it with a Chinese-style red sauce glaze.

Grilled Spatchcocked Turkey

Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

How do you improve on our proven dry-brining and butterflying strategy? Use the grill to free up oven space. Apple or cherry wood added to the fire gives the meat a delicate smokiness that enhances its flavor without overpowering it.

How to Smoke a Turkey

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Here, Kenji gives a thorough overview of smoking turkey, complete with an FAQ and a step-by-step walkthrough. Combined with a fantastic and reliable recipe, it’s everything you need to know to smoke a juicy, flavorful, spice-rubbed turkey at home.

Honey-Brined and Smoked Turkey

Serious Eats / Fred Hardy

When developing this recipe, we arrived at the perfect balance of sweetness, smoke, and beautifully browned skin by employing a relatively high smoking temperature and adding just a few chunks of fruit wood to the charcoal. Brining the bird in a mixture that includes a pound of honey adds just the right amount of sweetness while ensuring that the bird remains juicy.

Cajun-Style Smoked Turkey

Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Many cooks are eager to infuse turkey with flavor. We’ve written extensively about how adding seasonings to brine doesn’t really work, and how the flavors of a marinade do not penetrate deeply into cuts of meat. Injecting the bird with a highly flavorful mixture, on the other hand, is quite effective! Here, we inject turkey with a combination of beer, butter, garlic, Worcestershire, Creole seasoning, hot sauce, salt, and cayenne before smoking it to perfection over smoldering chunks of apple wood.

Basic Deep-Fried Turkey

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Deep-frying a turkey is a bit of an undertaking, but the result is a juicy bird with potato-chip-crisp skin. We walk you through the process, with a special emphasis on safety precautions, so that your holiday dinner doesn’t end in disaster (or become fodder for decades worth of jokes at future family gatherings).

Roast Turkey in Parts

Serious Eats / Liz Clayman

The most foolproof way to prepare a roast without breasts that turn dry and stringy by the time the legs are nice and tender? Try a divide-and-conquer approach. A whole bird may be traditional, but roasting your Thanksgiving turkey in parts is the best way to achieve even, thorough cooking from breast to leg.

Turkey Porchetta

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Speaking of dividing and conquering, Kenji has takes this strategy to an extreme by deboning a whole turkey breast, slashing the cut side and seasoning it with porchetta flavors, and rolling it up in turkey skin. Once prep and assembly are done, this boneless roast is a snap to brown in a skillet and cook through in a low oven. For a deluxe variation that’s done completely on the counter and stovetop, try our deep-fried sous vide version.

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast and Stuffing

Serious Eats / Mariel De La Cruz

A bone-in turkey breast, or crown roast, is the ideal size for small gatherings and is far faster to cook, going from fridge to table in under two hours. Here, Kenji starts roasting the herb-rubbed breast over a baking dish of stuffing, which absorbs the herb-infused drippings.

Sous Vide Turkey Breast With Crispy Skin

Serious Eats / Liz Clayman

For the juiciest turkey breast, sous vide cooking really does offer the best results. Here, the skin is removed, sandwiched between sheet pans and baked until shatteringly crisp.

Red Wine–Braised Turkey Legs

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

If you’re tempted to prepare our turkey porchetta or sous vide turkey breast for Thanksgiving, but you’ve purchased a whole bird and are wondering what to do with the legs, this is the recipe for you. Braising the legs in a mixture of red wine, stock, and aromatic vegetables has the added advantage of leaving you with the perfect foundation for gravy.

Sous Vide Turkey Legs

Serious Eats / Tim Chin

Think of this recipe for juicy, fall-apart-tender legs as a no-hassle version of confiting: no heat knob to adjust minutely; no large quantity of fat to procure, dispose of, or repurpose. If you’re after a set-it-and-forget-it turkey leg recipe with a traditional Thanksgiving flavor profile and a phenomenal texture, look no further. For an old-school treatment that’s significantly richer and a little funky, see Tim‘s recipe for koji-cured turkey confit.

Roast Turkey Breast Ssam With Squash Ssamjang and Jujube Date Relish

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Designed to serve as the centerpiece for a Korean-American banchan spread, Sunny‘s recipe calls for dry-brining a bone-in turkey roast overnight, and then coating the skin with cinnamon-garlic butter and adding savory, funky doenjang to the cavity. The flavorful drippings are then used to create the jujube relish.

Braised Turkey Jjim with Bacon, Shiitakes, and Chestnuts

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Another element of our Thanksgiving banchan spread, this stew braises turkey legs and wings with stock, sake, soy sauce, and root beer. A great cold-weather dish, and the perfect complement to our roast turkey ssam.

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