When it comes to turkey, it usually just doesn’t quite do it for me. I’d rather have a piece, and then gorge myself on sides. But since it’s that time of year when a whole meal—heck, a whole day—revolves around it, I wanted to be sure I had Thanksgiving turkey recipes on hand that everyone (including my picky self) would devour. Although the tryptophan in turkey is known to make you sleepy post-meal, that doesn’t mean that your turkey recipes need to be a snoozefest, or that you should cook your bird the same way each year, either.
We’ve pretty much covered all the bases in narrowing down our go-to options for Turkey Day: a traditional butter and wine number, a citrus style for a twist, a buffalo sauce–topped option for spice lovers, and a skillet meal for when you’re not serving a crowd. No matter how or who you happen to be celebrating with, you’ll be giving thanks when you take a bite of these four delectable Thanksgiving turkey recipes. Just make sure to save some room for dessert.
Traditional : Butter and White Wine Roasted Turkey
For an extra-crispy skin, pat the turkey dry, and keep it in the fridge overnight. Stuff it with your choice of stuffing or a mélange of herbs, according to the recipe, and then use a cheesecloth soaked in white wine and melted butter to cover the turkey as it roasts. After a few hours, you can remove the cloth and continue to baste the poultry with the marinade. Finish with homemade gravy from the drippings (just like mom used to make).
Spicy : Buffalo Roasted Turkey
Some like it hot, and for those guests, we say serve them an out-of-this-world turkey that’s been roasted in tangy buffalo sauce. Add aromatics—onion, celery, carrots, and rosemary will do—and then cook the bird while basting it with butter and Frank’s Red Hot. The skin will get to be the perfect crunchiness and heat, and don’t forget to use the leftover sauce for dipping or as a faux gravy.
Citrus : Citrus and Herb-Roasted Turkey
This holiday for giving thanks only comes once a year, so it’s worth spending a little extra time on your turkey. Brine it for at least eight hours with a mixture of fresh spices and herbs, orange peels, apple cider, and vegetable stock in this Thanksgiving turkey recipe. Begin by roasting it on high to start, then lower the temperature and cook for another three and a half hours or so. We strongly suggest rubbing it with more butter every hour, as it will only help balance out the citrus in the best way possible.
For Small Crowds : Skillet Turkey With Bacon and White Wine
Not every Thanksgiving dinner calls for a 20-pound turkey, and when that happens, what do you cook? You don’t need to choose a different protein, but prepare thighs instead, skillet-style. Wine, chicken stock, bacon, and butter (plus some herbs de Provence and flour) give your turkey the richest (read: best) gravy you’ve ever tasted in this easy recipe.
Up next is what to serve vegetarians for Thanksgiving.