Perfect Roast Turkey Recipes
The crown jewel of your Thanksgiving table needs no special techniques, tools, or ingredients—just time in the oven. Our foolproof steps, a roasting pan, and a little patience will ensure your success. Pick the perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving or holiday meal from our ultimate collection of roast turkey recipes. This collection of Thanksgiving turkey recipes features classic options like Roast Turkey with Truffle Gravy and tasty, unique spins like Lemon-Thyme Turkey. When roasting in the oven, the best way to monitor the turkey is with a leave-in thermometer. You won't have to open the door or lid to check, and no heat will escape.
Herb, Lemon, and Garlic Turkey
Instead of a wet brine, this bird uses an overnight dry salt and sugar cure, which concentrates flavor. If you want to leave the skin on, it will add 25 calories and 1g of sat fat per serving. Hard herbs (fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme) hold up beautifully while roasting, imparting a woodsy, savory note to the meat. Soft herbs (parsley and chives) garnish the turkey and perk up the finished gravy. The wine in the roasting pan will keep the bird moist as it roasts and flavor the pan drippings used for the gravy.
Turkey pros swear by brining for tender, succulent meat. Line a disposable roasting pan with the brining bag before adding liquid and turkey. If it won't fit in your fridge, nestle in a cooler with ice—the temperature will stay in the safe zone until you're ready to roast. Make sure to pat the bird very dry after brining so the extra liquid doesn’t slow down the roast.
Smoky Spatchcocked Turkey
Grill a spatchcocked turkey for a smoky, robust bird that's ready in half the time. We remove the backbone and roast the turkey flat so that every part has access to the heat at the same time. The turkey won't have grill marks (it cooks flesh side up over indirect heat) but will absorb that chargrilled flavor. A smoky spice rub of paprika and ancho chile powder seems fitting for the grill, but you could use any spice combo or minced fresh herbs combined with a couple of tablespoons oil.
French Onion Turkey Breast
Guests will swoon—we know we did—over this masterful turkey breast. Caramelized onions become the base for a gravy that tastes like the best French onion soup ever. Don’t fret if the sliced onions overflow from the pan at first; cooked slowly, they will collapse to a fraction of their original volume. The bone keeps the breast meat moist and props up the breast in the pan so it can brown evenly. Save the bone for turkey stock. If you leave the skin on, as shown, it adds 20 calories and 1g sat fat per serving. Serve with our Skillet Green Bean Casserole, Classic Herb Stuffing, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, and Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce.
Honey-Bourbon Spatchcocked Turkey
The brine is all the seasoning you need for this fantastic bird. While the amount of bourbon used in the brine may seem generous, it will impart a very subtle flavor to the meat once all the water is added, diluting it slightly. If you want a more intense smoke flavor, add a handful of soaked applewood chips to the grill. For a deeply bronzed, almost mahogany look, brush the skin with a mixture of water and honey each time you go to rotate the bird.
This recipe with just 11.6g of carbs comes to us from the kitchen of longtime Cooking Light Contributor David Bonom who says, "For one of my birthdays, all of my friends chipped in and gave me the smoker of my dreams, knowing that they would benefit from it. Ever since then, my suburban New Jersey neighbors have gotten to enjoy the smells of my Thanksgiving turkey as it smokes in the backyard." Applewood chips lend a slightly sweet and fruity flavor to the meat. You can also try smoking the turkey with cherry or alder wood chips for more delicate smoked flavor.
Fennel and Cumin-Roasted Turkey Breast with Thyme Gravy
A breast takes less time and serves just enough for a smaller gathering. Leaving the skin on adds only 20 calories and 1g sat fat per serving.
Forget dry, tasteless turkey. A rub of roasted garlic and fresh sage permeates every ounce of the bird, while a Dijon and white wine baste locks in moisture for juicy, tender meat. Save the giblets for our Classic Turkey Gravy. If your turkey starts to overbrown after the first hour in the oven, cover loosely with foil, and continue roasting. Remember to let the turkey rest so juices can redistribute and the bird can cool enough to carve.
Brown Sugar-Cured Turkey with Apple-Bourbon Gravy
Roasting dark-meat turkey pieces on a bed of vegetables, fruit, and herbs adds deep flavor to the produce and the gravy.
Rosemary-Orange Roast Turkey
We like to give the bird a pretty finishing sheen by brushing on savory-sweet marmalade glaze. If you don't like the slightly bitter flavor of marmalade, you can substitute currant jelly for tart, bright flavor. Fresh rosemary brings the flavors of the turkey to life and will make your kitchen smell amazing. With a splash of citrus, this turkey is anything but bland, without being doused in high calorie glazes and sauces.
Moroccan-Spiced Turkey with Aromatic Orange Pan Jus
Our Moroccan-Spiced Turkey has a fragrant spice rub that infuses the turkey with subtle Middle Eastern flavor.
Rosemary Butter-Rubbed Turkey with Porcini Gravy
Meaty shiitake and porcini mushrooms add incredible richness and depth to the gravy.
Apple Cider-Brined Turkey with Savory Herb Gravy
This turkey is a pleasure to offer on your table. It's incredibly moist and flavorful, and it received our highest Test Kitchens rating. Brining is an overnight process, so if you're using a frozen turkey, be sure to thaw it well in advance. Choose turkey-sized plastic oven bags for brining the turkey. Use two bags to prevent brine from leaking, and place the turkey in a large stockpot as another precaution.
Roast Turkey with Truffle Gravy
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
High-heat roasting makes this bird browned and beautiful, and truffle-scented homemade gravy makes it an extra-special treat. The holidays are a time for indulgence, and since this recipe calls for only a few ingredients, use the best quality you can.
Turkey with Sausage, Apricot, and Sage Stuffing
Roasted turkey is an absolute must for any Thanksgiving, so if you're looking to shake things up a bit, the stuffing is a better place to start. Savory sausage (try hot Italian sausage if you like spicy) and sage, an herb that just tastes like Thanksgiving in any application, get a kick in the pants from sweet dried apricot, which provides contrast in both flavor and texture. Cooking the stuffing inside the turkey suffuses the meat with a subtle sage-and-apricot scent, but if you're uncomfortable doing that, just cook it in a separate pan.
Honey and Thyme-Brined Turkey Breast
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Serving a small group this holiday? Try roasting just a whole bone-in breast, like in this recipe. Briefly boiling the thyme and black pepper in water extracts the flavor and helps infuse the brine. If the turkey starts to brown too fast, shield with aluminum foil. Serve with mashed red potatoes and roasted baby carrots.
Apple-Poblano Whole Roast Turkey
Spice-Brined Turkey with Cider Pan Gravy
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Maple-Brined Turkey Breast with Mushroom Pan Gravy
Because you’re starting with a boneless cut, the brining time is much shorter than if using a whole bird. That makes this meal a great choice for an impromptu holiday gathering that still warrants an impressive dish.
Classic Roast Turkey and Giblet Gravy
You’ll need to prepare the Homemade Turkey Broth ahead—a day or two in advance is ideal. In a pinch, use purchased fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth.
Parmesan-Sage Roast Turkey with Sage Gravy
Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without a side of gravy. Follow the steps listed at the end of the recipe for a tasty low-fat version. For a handsome garnish, roast lemon halves and peeled shallots at 425º for 20 minutes; arrange with sage sprigs on the turkey platter.
Provençal Turkey Breast with Jus
Roasting just a turkey breast saves time, and the carving is super simple. Serve this garlic- and Herbes de Provence-flavored turkey with baby carrots and rice pilaf.
Classic Roast Turkey with Fresh Herbs and Make-Ahead Gravy
Covering the turkey breast with foil deflects the heat and helps prevent the white meat from cooking faster than the dark. Serve with Make-Ahead Gravy which features a rich, homemade turkey stock base. Enhance the gravy with pan drippings from the turkey.
Cooking Light's Ultimate Roasted Turkey
This recipe developed by Cooking Light Contributor Elizabeth Taliaferro in 2001 is nearly perfect, having won the highest rating in our Test Kitchens. It also continues to receive rave reviews from readers for its ease and consistent success.
Oil-Basted Parmesan Turkey with Walnut Gravy
Nine ingredients (not counting salt, pepper, and cooking spray) come together for a grand holiday centerpiece with deep nutty essence from toasted walnut oil and chopped nuts. Let your turkey come to room temperature before it goes in the oven; it will cook more evenly and more quickly.
Foolproof Brined Turkey
Brining a turkey is well worth the day-ahead time investment. It removes all guesswork, producing an incredibly moist bird that's more forgiving of being slightly overcooked. If you can't find an organic turkey, look for a fresh one without "added solution."
Roasted Turkey with Rosemary-Garlic Butter Rub and Pan Gravy
For making a show of the carving: This classic whole-roasted turkey is rubbed with butter and bright-tasting herbs. It's an addictive combination that earned five stars from reviewers who hail it as "moist and delicious" and "the best turkey we've ever had." We use the drippings to create a gravy that takes this turkey—but not carbs—to a whole new level. When all is said and done, you'll have a Thanksgiving entrée worth raving about with just 2.6g carbs, 486mg sodium, 304 calories, and 8.4g fat. For that, we're thankful.