No Thanksgiving celebration would be complete without a showstopping turkey. Find the perfect turkey recipe for celebrating with family and friends, from classic roast birds to ones that are deep-fried, pan-seared, grilled, or made in the Instant Pot. Whether you're hosting a big holiday feast, a smaller Friendsgiving gathering, or even an intimate holiday for two, there's a bird here to make your holiday dinner a success. And to keep the holiday goodness going, we've also included a few of our favorite recipes for using up leftover turkey in creative and delicious ways.
Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving
Hosting Thanksgiving for your family or friends is a kind gesture — and takes a whole lot of planning. Get your head in the game with our best tips for hosting a successful holiday gathering, including answers to the most commonly-asked Thanksgiving questions, plus tips and tools that will take your holiday cooking to the next level:
- Everything You Need to Cook Your First Thanksgiving Dinner
- How Much Turkey Do You Need for Thanksgiving?
- Your Thanksgiving Turkey Questions, Answered
- Thanksgiving Gadgets You Need to Know About
- How to Cook a Frozen Turkey Without Thawing It
- How (and Why) to Brine a Turkey
- Our Best Turkey Brine Recipes
- Which Wines to Pair With Turkey
- The Spruce Eats' Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu
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Whether you are hosting a smaller Thanksgiving, or just want to enjoy roast turkey at other times of year, try our genius air fryer turkey recipe. Using the air fryer halves the usual time for cooking a 5-pound turkey breast. What's more, you get moist and juicy turkey meat, with perfectly crackly, golden-brown skin. Overnight brining of the turkey breast is optional, but yields fantastic results if you can plan ahead.
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Roasting a turkey (pavo) for Thanksgiving in the manner of a suckling pig (lechón) is a time-honored in Puerto Rico, where roast suckling pork is the most common holiday meat. This flavorful Latin Caribbean recipe is a nice change of pace from the everyday roast bird. It goes well alongside all the classic American holiday side dishes, as well as Latin recipes such as mofongo stuffing.
03 of 24
Butterflying a turkey to remove the backbone is a clever way to ensure evenly browned, crispy skin. You can also cook a whole turkey faster with the spatchcocking method, helping the white and dark meat to cook evenly, without drying out, so you get a juicy bird. You can ask your butcher to do the backbone removal for you, or watch our video on how to spatchcock a turkey.
04 of 24
When you're stocking the beer fridge for Thanksgiving, set aside a couple of bottles of your favorite ale for the turkey. Basting your (stuffed or unstuffed) bird with beer and butter is an unfussy way to maximize the flavor of this essential holiday main. We recommend using any pale ale, or add a different dimension by using a fruit beer.
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Hosting an intimate holiday dinner this year? Our Instant Pot turkey breast recipe will make your Thanksgiving meal prep a breeze. The turkey is seasoned with budget-friendly dried herbs and spices, and a few minutes of searing time in the appliance gives it a show-stopping golden crust. If you crave an even-crispier skin, feel free to pop it under the broiler for a few minutes before serving.
06 of 24
If you have never roasted a turkey before, you will want to consult these essential tips for cooking a whole bird, either with or without stuffing. All the must-have instructions you need are included for everything from safely thawing a frozen turkey to prepping, stuffing, trussing, seasoning, and roasting.
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A balsamic vinegar glaze with orange juice, thyme, and honey adds fantastic flavor to whole roasted turkey in this winning Thanksgiving recipe. Use white balsamic vinegar if you can find it for its fruity, floral notes that complement the mild flavor of turkey.
08 of 24
Skip the oven and try this winning recipe for deep fried turkey breasts that are crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside. You can prepare this stovetop dish at any time of year, but it is special enough to serve at smaller holiday gatherings. Serve with cranberry sauce on the side for dipping.Continue to 9 of 24 below.
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Layering thinly-sliced bacon or pancetta over top of a seasoned, buttered turkey is a fantastic way to infuse your holiday bird with salty, smoky flavor while protecting the white meat from getting overcooked. The bacon can be crumbled after cooking and used to top baked potatoes or dinner salads.
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Do you love the taste of smoked turkey but don't have a smoker? No problem — you can use a gas or charcoal grill to slow-roast a well-brined turkey, and infuse it with tons of smoky goodness, thanks to the magic of hickory chips. The whole shebang takes no more time than roasting a turkey in your oven, and results in amazingly flavorful meat that will delight anyone who digs barbecue.
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A simple orange and maple glaze highlights the mild taste of turkey, elevating your bird for special occasion gatherings. You need just a few minutes to mix up the easy glaze, which cooks along with the turkey in the oven. Taking an extra minute to spread herbed butter under the turkey skin before sliding the bird into the oven yields wonderfully crispy, rotisserie-flavored meat.
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Delight your guests at a small Thanksgiving dinner with this tropical-inspired turkey recipe. Our pineapple-orange turkey breast includes convenient, store-bought ingredients, and the whole thing is roasted in a foil pouch, for seriously easy cooking and clean-up. Serve the turkey breast sliced alongside a gravy boat containing the sauce, for a fun and delicious holiday entree.
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Sometimes simple is better. This turkey is roasted with a basic mixture of chopped fresh herbs and olive oil under the skin and all over the bird, resulting in turkey meat infused with fantastic, herbaceous flavor. You can use any combination of herbs that please your palate, with suggestions included in the recipe.
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Just 10 ingredients, including salt and pepper, are needed for this easy crockpot turkey recipe. The slow cooker is a nearly effortless way to produce juicy white meat., and this recipe feeds 3 to 4 people, so it's ideal for a smaller guest list. We've included a cornbread stuffing (feel free to make it from a mix) that cooks right alongside the turkey, so all you need to add is the cranberry sauce and optional gravy.
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Oven bags have been around for many decades, and present a quick and easy way to cook a juicy bird in the oven, without the brining and basting required by other whole turkey recipes. Our method calls for slathering a turkey with softened butter, stuffing it with fruit, and drizzling it with apple cider and maple syrup, before popping it into a BPA-free oven bag, and placing it in the oven to roast hands-free.
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Prepare this easy oven-roasted turkey breast for a smaller Thanksgiving dinner, or anytime you want to have turkey meat on hand for sandwiches, soups, and other dishes. A 4 to 6-pound turkey breast (fully thawed, if you buy it frozen) will yield enough meat to feed 2 to 4 people for dinner. Serve the sliced meat with gravy, if you like, or simply drizzled over with pan juices.
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In only 10 minutes, you can use your stovetop to cook this simple cast iron skillet turkey breast with lemon and herbs. This aromatic dish will fill your kitchen with wonderful cooking aromas, while leaving your oven free for baking casseroles, desserts, and sides.
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Thanksgiving turkey doesn't get any simpler than this boneless breast prepared on the grill. The meat is seasoned only with butter, salt, and pepper, but takes on the irresistible aroma of this cooking method. Place a pan beneath the cooking rack to catch the drippings and use them to make gravy.
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Pot pie is a popular cold-weather comfort food, and our turkey pot pie is a fun and delicious twist on the usual recipe with chicken. It's a handy and delicious way to use up those pounds of turkey meat leftover from the holidays. Use the buttery homemade crust included in the recipe, or make your life easier with a ready-made pie crust sheet, and purchased gravy.
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Enchiladas are always a crowd favorite, and these turkey enchiladas make a great family meal once the holiday is over. They are a cinch to assemble with leftover turkey, cheese, sour cream, tortillas, and an easy enchilada sauce (or use a jarred store-bought sauce), and are perfect for meal prep and freezing, too.
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Turn leftover turkey into a delicious Asian-style stir-fry dinner in minutes flat. Turkey chow mein loaded with home-cooked meat, chewy noodles, and crunchy vegetables is good for you, even tastier than the restaurant version because it's fresh, and will save you cash, too. We've included vegetable suggestions, but you could really use any fresh or frozen vegetables hanging out in your fridge.
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When you've got leftover turkey and mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving, use them for a pizza that beats delivery. We smother a crispy homemade pizza crust (or store-bought, if you're pressed for time) with cheese, bacon, turkey, potatoes, sour cream, and scallions, for a creative and winning leftovers dinner that the kids won't turn up their noses at.
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Taco Tuesdays in winter call for warming meal ideas. We love this turkey taco soup inspired by Central Mexican cuisine. Brimming with beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, avocado, spices, and shredded turkey, it makes a soothing and satisfying bowlful when the temperatures dip. Garnish bowls with baked or fried tortilla chips, sour cream, and optional scallions.