10 Terrific Turkey Recipes Worthy of Center Stage

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! If you're struggling to figure out exactly how to prepare for the big occasion, here are 10 turkey recipes that might just become an annual tradition.

There are many ways to cook a Thanksgiving turkey while roasting a whole turkey is the tried-and-true tradition, it's not your only option. To give you inspiration, we've picked out a few good recipes that deviate from Thanksgiving customs. These turkey dishes run the gamut of cooking methods from grilled to deep-fried and everything in between. We've also included a few roasted turkeys with unconventional flavor profiles. Whether you decide to try out a totally new kind of cooking style this year or just want to pick and choose from the best marinades and glazes, there's a recipe here to pique your interest.

Smoked Turkey

If the lure of a crispy, smoked turkey isn’t enough to convince you to try this recipe, consider this: more oven space on Thanksgiving! This recipe provides a unique spin on the traditional roasted turkey. We recommend you brine the turkey before smoking to help prevent it from drying out.

Smoked Turkey from Leite's Culinaria

Smoked Turkey by Leite's Culinaria

Roasted Turkey Porchetta

Fresh herbs, spices, olive oil, and porchetta come together to create this wonderful Italian take on a prepared rolled turkey breast roast. This recipe is perfect for 6-8 guests at Thanksgiving dinner, and requires less than two hours of cooking time! An herb seasoning is rolled into the turkey, then covered in pancetta slices before roasting. You can also make a gravy from the pan juices with a little roux and chicken stock.

Roasted Turkey Porchetta from Food52

Asian Rubbed Thanksgiving Turkey

Fragrant with Asian-inspired herbs and spices, this unique twist on turkey calls for a spicy rub of sriracha, ginger, and garlic. The bird is then stuffed with a mixture of Thai basil, lemongrass, ginger, and scallions to further season it during cooking for a flavor-packed holiday bird. Serve it with the classic Thanksgiving sides or mix things up with bok choy braised in white wine, a sweet potato dish with candied ginger, or savory soy stuffing.

Asian Rubbed Thanksgiving Turkey from A Spicy Perspective

Citrus-Grilled Turkey Breast

Made with just a few simple ingredients, this easy recipe can be grilled and will leave you with juicy, tender turkey breast meat. The lemon zest delivers an unexpected zing balanced by the olive oil and finished with garlic and fresh parsley. The citrus adds a new dimension of flavor, but you can easily serve this turkey with the classic American-style sides.

Citrus-Grilled Turkey Breast from My Recipes

Jamaican Jerk Roast Turkey

Transform your simple roast turkey with this fragrant and flavorful jerk sauce. As the turkey finished roasting, it gets basted to create a crispy, golden brown skin. You can even use the same seasoning on your vegetable sides! It pairs well with a spicy sweet potato and rice dish or grilled eggplant and zucchini if you want to serve a unique holiday meal.

Jamaican Jerk Roast Turkey from Saveur

Pomegranate-Brined Roast Turkey

The perfect roast turkey doesn't necessarily require a traditional brine. This recipe calls for tangy pomegranate molasses, which is liberally poured into the brine. Add in fresh herbs and spices, plus garlic and onion, and you're on your way to an incredibly juicy, slightly sweet roasted turkey. It's complemented nicely by cranberry sauce and other fall favorites.

Pomegranate-Brined Roast Turkey from Food Republic

Michael Voltaggio’s Sous Vide Turkey

In this chef-approved recipe, turkey pieces are first prepared using the sous vide method, a simple solution for home cooks. The fully cooked breasts and drumsticks are then deep-fried, and the thighs are quickly seared just before serving. The turkey can be cooked in the sous vide circulator in advance so you can whip up all your other dishes or desserts on Thanksgiving Day. It makes meal-prep easy, too. All you have to do is pack the turkey in vacuum-sealable bags and refrigerate for up to four days.

Michael Voltaggio’s Sous Vide Turkey from Williams Sonoma

Deep-Fried Turkey

While deep-frying can be a little intimidating, this method is well worth the experimentation. Be sure to use a proper deep fryer and set it up at least 10 feet from your home. In the end, you're left with a turkey boasting crisp, crackly skin on the outside, and plump, tender breast meat on the inside. Nothing beats these classic, unfettered flavors!

Deep Fried Turkey from Leite's Culinaria

Squash-Roasted, Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Roulade with Cider Gravy

If you're looking to impress your guests, this turkey roulade is a true show-stopper. Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it sounds, plus it roasts up in half the time of a whole turkey! The turkey breast is filled with a stuffing made with bacon, herbs, and cranberries; it's then wrapped with bacon to keep it moist; and finally, it's tucked into half of a spaghetti squash. To finish the dish, it's topped with a simple apple-cider gravy, which acts as a delicious substitute for traditional turkey gravy. What makes this unique is that the spaghetti squash naturally provides the boat shape for holding the roulade (you can use also use butternut squash).

Squash-Roasted, Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Roulade with Cider Gravy from Simple Bites

Mexican Thanksgiving Turkey

The perfect turkey for a delicioso Thanksgiving celebration, this dish provides delightful depth of flavor without being overly complicated. Its main flavor comes from the achiote paste, which you can buy ready-to-use online or in the Latin aisle of many grocery stores. The achiote paste is diluted in mixed grapefruit, orange, and lime juices to make a zesty marinade. Serve the finished product with cumin-spiced sweet potatoes or traditional stuffing.

Mexican Thanksgiving Turkey from Pati's Mexican Table via The Kitchn

Keep Cooking

And, of course, one of the best parts about these Thanksgiving turkey recipes is that you can use the leftover turkey for a delicious meal the next day -- top your salad with it (tossing in your Thanksgiving side dishes too!), add it to a soup, or sandwich it between sliced bread -- we have dozens of ways to make the most of your leftover turkey.

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Want to know how to carve the turkey once you're doing cooking it? Check out our brand-new turkey-carving video