We’ve been gearing up for Thanksgiving all week with amazing mashed potato recipes, the easiest cranberry sauce recipes, killer stuffing recipes, tips for how to make homemade pie, and a guide to best mail order pies in the country (a tasty, timesaving approach to Thanksgiving dessert). Now it’s time to talk turkey. Foodies the nation over will be debating the merits of brining, whether to spatchcock (yes, I said that), if frying is worthwhile, and otherwise discussing ad nauseum how to cook a turkey. The rest of us just need a good, easy Thanksgiving turkey recipe, and one of these 8 will do you right.
If you’ve never cooked a Thanksgiving turkey before, start with our no-panic, step-by-step tutorial on how to cook your first Thanksgiving turkey. Here you’ll find important basics like a reminder to thaw your bird and cooking time guidelines.
Once you’ve got a handle on the basics—and a safely thawed bird—hop on over to the New York Times to see how one of our favorite food writers, Melissa Clark (whom we also turned to for Thanksgiving pie recipe advice), makes her Simple Roast Turkey. There is even a video where Melissa shows you how to do everything step-by-step. She’s a soothing presence, so if you’re still panicking, watch now.
If Martha Stewart is the queen of elegant home cooking, her Everyday Food editor Sarah Carey is the queen of easy elegance, which is why I turned to her for this Citrus-Rubbed Turkey with Cider Gravy. The only thing to note about this recipe is that Sarah rubs the turkey with citrus and spices the night before. Other than that do-ahead step, this is a delicious, easy breezy, day of, turkey recipe.
The secret to this Extra Moist Turkey with pan gravy from Gourmet is an inexpensive metal pan. Don’t think that you can’t make a turkey without fancy cookware. If all you have is the kind of lightweight enameled pan that you can pick up at the supermarket, this is your recipe.
I love that this Apricot-Glazed Turkey with Herb Gravy from Food and Wine sounds fancy because, well, I think that a Thanksgiving turkey should sound fancy, but it should be easy. That apricot glaze? It’s just apricot jam whisked with a few ingredients and slathered on the bird. Done and done.
One of the best kept secrets of easy Thanksgiving cooking is turkey breast. Cooking just the breast is much easier and faster than cooking the whole bird. Plus, you can do cool things like stuff it with sausage. This Whole Turkey Breast with Chorizo recipe from Food and Wine turns out an incredibly moist turkey packed with smoky Spanish flavors that will add an international flair to your Thanksgiving dinner.