If turkey is the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal, you’ll want to try one of the 3 best Thanksgiving turkey recipes of all time. These top-rated, 5-star recipes range from traditional roasted turkey to deep-fried turkey and smoked turkey. They’re all so good; it’s going to be hard to pick just one. Scroll through to find the perfect bird for your Thanksgiving feast and ideas for Thanksgiving food and decorated cookies.
Roasted Thanksgiving turkey recipe
Roast Thanksgiving turkey is a holiday staple food! Made with a fresh or frozen and thawed turkey, lots of rich butter, fresh herbs, a hint of bright lemon, and flavorful onion and garlic. Easy to prepare, it’s certain to impress family and friends as a delightful centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal.
Roasted turkey ingredients
- Deselect all
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 fresh turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 whole lemon, halved
- 1 Spanish onion, quartered
- 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
How to prepare and roast a turkey
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 2: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.
Step 3: Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
Step 4: Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with a bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, and garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
Step 5: Roast the turkey for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 20 minutes.
Step 6: Slice the turkey and serve.
Deep-fried Thanksgiving turkey recipe
This deep-fried turkey recipe is simple—no marinades, no complicated rubs. If you prefer a more traditional-tasting turkey, this is the perfect choice for your Thanksgiving meal!
Deep-fried turkey ingredients
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make this easy deep-fried turkey recipe:
- Oil: Peanut oil is perfect for frying, as it has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor.
- Turkey: This recipe calls for a 10-pound turkey. If your bird is larger or smaller, you’ll have to adjust the cooking time.
- Seasonings: This deep-fried turkey recipe is simply seasoned with salt and pepper. You can add more seasonings to taste.
How to deep fry a Thanksgiving turkey
Step 1: Make sure your stockpot or fryer is located outdoors in a safe area. Heat the oil to 350 degrees f. Cut any neck skin away from the thawed bird and ensure the neck hole is at least 1 inch in diameter.
Step 2: Use a paper towel to pat the turkey dry. Season liberally with salt and pepper on the inside and outside.
Step 3: Place the turkey, neck-side down, in a drain basket. Gently lower the turkey into the hot oil until it’s completely covered. Continue frying until the turkey is cooked through. Remove from the oil, drain, and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Smoked Thanksgiving turkey recipe
This smoked turkey recipe features a whole turkey coated in a homemade spice rub and then slow-smoked to tender and juicy perfection. It’s a super easy and impressive main course for a Thanksgiving meal that won’t take up any oven space!
Smoked turkey ingredients
- Turkey (for this recipe, we use a 16-pound turkey so try to go with about the same size for best results)
- Tart apple
- Sweet apples
- Onion (onions help absorb the seasonings spreading them throughout your whole bird)
- Seasonings: sugar, salt, peppercorn, sage, rosemary, fresh thyme, garlic, and black pepper.
- Wood chunks (you will want to grab some wood chunks, chips, or pellets for your smoker. That’s how you bring out the smoked flavor.)
How to make smoked Thanksgiving turkey
Step 1: First, simmer 2 quarts of water, and whisk in sugar and salt until combined. Then, add peppercorn, sliced tart apple, sprigs of rosemary, and simmer the brine for 15 minutes.
Step 2: Allow the brine to cool, and then submerge your turkey in the brine. Make sure that the brine has completely cooled, you can either place it in the fridge to cool down or use ice for fast cooling. You can use a large Ziploc bag for bringing the bird, then place it in the fridge or a separate cooler with ice packs for at least 10-12 hours.
Step 3: Remove the turkey from the brine, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. Allow the bird to air dry for about an hour.
Step 4: Stuff the bird with the sweet apples, celery, onion, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Step 5: Brush the turkey with melted butter or canola oil all over the outside of the bird before applying the seasonings to help them adhere to the bird. Then season the outside with salt, ground pepper, and garlic.
Step 6: Stock your smoker with wood chips, chunks, or pellets, and fill the steam pot with water.
Step 7: Set the smoker at about 275°F/135°C degrees. Place the turkey breast side up and smoke for about 6-8 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C degrees for the breasts and 175°F/80°C degrees at the thighs.
Step 8: Once your turkey is done, allow it to rest for 30 to 40 minutes before carving. Carve and enjoy your turkey!
Ideas for Thanksgiving Decorated Cookies
Alongside the enticing Thanksgiving turkey dish, various desserts will enhance the beauty and completeness of the Thanksgiving feast. When most people think of Thanksgiving dessert, they think of pie – pumpkin, (chocolate) pecan, butternut squash, cherry, and apple. Or any pie for that matter that has become a tradition for your family.
But what about cookies? There are lots of great ideas for making fun and decorated Thanksgiving cookies:
Pumpkin spice sugar cookies
Sometimes, all you need to make perfect holiday cookies is to tweak a classic recipe slightly. These, for example, are delicious sugar cookies with a twist. The twist is adding fall-forward spices to the batter and covering the cookies in a decadent pumpkin spice icing.
Peanut butter blossoms cookie
Nothing is better for doing that than a Thanksgiving table full of decorated cookies. They are great for snacking, finger-food friendly, and a hit with kids and grown-ups alike.
Pumpkin whoopie pies
Like French macarons, you can make them in many different colors and flavors. To make yours perfect, go ahead and grab a whoopie pie tin. Then, make the whoopie pies with pumpkin spice in the cakes and salted caramel in the cream.
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
The flavors complement each other well, and the chocolate’s bitterness adds another level of enjoyment to the mix.
Order Thanksgiving Catering with Pasta Fresca
It’s time to plan your Thanksgiving!
Whether you’re hosting an intimate gathering at home for 10 or organizing an office-wide party for over 200, we provide a delightful array of Thanksgiving treats suitable for all, from turkey to dessert, along with excellent servizio di catering. As always, we are more than happy to create a bespoke menu for your event, and our professional staff will handle setup and service.
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