Here are six delicious Thanksgiving turkey recipes. From a boneless stuffed breast to a buttermilk brined bird, there’s something to suit every taste. Serving a turkey on Thanksgiving is a true American tradition, so here are a few tricks and tips to help you prepare for your perfect Thanksgiving meal.
Tips for Buying a Turkey
One of the first things to decide when planning Thanksgiving dinner is the type and size of turkey to buy. Below you’ll find a few quick facts to consider. For a more in-depth look at roasting a turkey, visit our guide entitled How to Cook the Perfect Roast Turkey.
Fresh vs. Frozen
- Fresh turkey: If you choose to buy a fresh turkey from a local farm, you will need to cook it within two days. Most farms take orders for fresh turkeys as early as October and have pickup dates within 1-2 days of the holiday. Fresh turkeys from the supermarket are stored in industrial refrigerators just above 26°F. They won’t be as fresh as a bird from a farm, but you should still plan to cook them within a couple of days.
- Frozen turkey: When buying a frozen turkey, you need to plan ahead. Thawing your bird will take one day for every 5 pounds, so if you have a 15-pound turkey, it will need at least 72 hours in the refrigerator to thaw properly. Once thawed, your bird can sit another two days in your refrigerator before it needs to be cooked. Tip: Be sure to place a tray underneath your thawing turkey to catch any leaks.
What Size Turkey Do You Need?
- Do you have a big guest list? For a large party estimate about 1-1/4 pounds of turkey per person (the bones are figured in) but be aware that birds over 18 to 20 pounds can cook unevenly. For best results, consider cooking two small turkeys, or a 12 to 15-pound turkey and an additional turkey breast.
- Entertaining a smaller group? For fewer guests, aim for 1-1/2 pounds of turkey per person, as a smaller bird will have a higher bone-to-meat ratio. Or, you can skip roasting a whole turkey altogether! With a small group, preparing and serving a turkey breast is a great way to include the signature dish without a mountain of leftover meat.
Choosing a Turkey Recipe
Once you’ve decided between fresh and frozen and how big your bird needs to be, there’s nothing that says you have to cook your turkey the same way every year! From brined to boneless breast, we’ve got six great turkey recipes here for you to choose from.