10 Classic Ways To Cook Your Turkey This Thanksgiving|Recipes Spots

  • on November 12, 2023
10 Classic Ways To Cook Your Turkey This Thanksgiving

A whole roasted turkey in a roasting pan
Simply Recipes / Allison Conklin

I look forward to Thanksgiving every year. I cherish the time spent sharing a meal, expressing my gratitude for the people around the table and the year that has passed.

Though the menu stays the same, the recipes and people around the table change from year to year. Maybe your holiday is similar?

If this is your first Thanksgiving hosting a big celebration or you and your favorite person are celebrating together, the recipes below come in handy for a wide range of celebrations. You’re sure to have a delicious meal, whether two or twelve around the table. 

No matter which recipe you choose, you’ll want to make sure that your turkey is thawed by Thanksgiving. And the most stressful part of cooking a turkey is figuring out when it’s done. Save yourself the worry and brush up on how to check the turkey for doneness. Your future self will thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving! I appreciate that you’re here and hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Roast Turkey Breast with Roasted Garlic Gravy

Roast Turkey Breast with Garlic Gravy
Elise Bauer

A turkey breast cooks in less time and is a great option for a smaller crowd, but the lean white meat doesn’t make enough drippings for gravy. This recipe solves the problem by cooking turkey legs for the gravy separately. As a bonus, you can make the gravy ahead of time.

Turkey Tenderloin

Turkey Tenderloin Sliced on a Cutting Board
Simply Recipes / Katie Morford

Skip the time it takes to cook a whole turkey and make tenderloins instead. Tenderloin is white, boneless meat cut from the breast. They cook in mere minutes and are tender and juicy. Use the extra time to make a quick mustard sauce from the juices to serve over top.

Pecan Wood Smoked Turkey

Citrus-brined smoked turkey carved on a platter.
Simply Recipes / Mike Lang

Turn the turkey into the showstopper it’s meant to be. Smoking the turkey frees up oven space and more importantly, imparts a slightly nutty smoky flavor to the meat. The key is making sure you brine it and let it dry out before smoking. If you start on Tuesday, you’ll be ready to smoke it on Thursday.

Mom’s Roast Turkey

A whole turkey in a roasting pan.
Elise Bauer

With a name like that, you know it has to be good. The secret to juicy, perfectly cooked turkey is to keep an instant-read thermometer on hand and to cook the turkey breast side down. This recipe also takes you from thawing to making gravy from the drippings.

Instant Pot Turkey Breast and Gravy

Quick and easy instant pot turkey breasts set on an herb covered platter.
Coco Morante

Shorten your time in the kitchen this Thanksgiving by making use of the Instant Pot. You’ll end up with a flavorful turkey plus gravy in the process. You’ll want to crisp up the turkey skin in the oven or use the air fryer lid before serving. For the gravy, you can use an immersion blender inside the pot or transfer it to a blender before serving.

Smoked Turkey Breast

A plate with two slices of apple and sage-brined smoked turkey breast served with vegetable sides.
Mike Lang

This one goes out to all the fans of white meat. Did you know that you can buy just the breast and still serve eight? To maximize the flavor, brine it in an apple juice mixture, let it dry out, and then smoke it. You’ll be rewarded with ultra-crispy skin and juicy meat.

Chard and Prosciutto Stuffed Turkey Breast

Chard Stuffed Turkey Breast
Elise Bauer

Elegant and full of flavor, this is a recipe you’ll turn to long after Thanksgiving. The filling is made of blanched Swiss chard, pine nuts, and prosciutto. Save yourself some time by having the butcher butterfly the turkey breast for you. Two pounds serves three to four people. 

Easiest Turkey Brine

Turkey Brine
Emma Christensen and Elizabeth Stark

We’ve all had our fair share of dry turkey. Here’s an easy solution. Brine the turkey in a mixture of water, salt, and aromatics before roasting it. The meat comes out juicy and tender. I can guarantee you’ll never look back.

Pressure Cooker Turkey with Dijon Gravy

Pressure Cooker Turkey with Dijon Gravy
Coco Morante

If you love dark meat like I do, then this is the recipe for you. Not only do you end up with juicy turkey but you’ll have a tasty gravy without dirtying extra dishes. The gravy is flavored with Dijon mustard and makes enough to spoon over mashed potatoes, as well.

Day After Thanksgiving Turkey Stock

Slow Cooker Chicken Broth
Alison Bickel and Emma Christensen

Thanksgiving dinner gives and gives. Once the turkey has been carved, hold on to the carcass and make a beautifully rich stock. All you need is a carcass, water, and a big pot to put it in. Freeze your homemade stock or use it in recipes like turkey mushroom risotto to start.

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