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6 Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Ideas

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the turkey always steals the show. Today, we are sharing 6 of our favorite recipes from Martha Stewart, including our most favorite on the last page that involves roasting and less than 4 hours! It doesn’t get any better than that, right? Whatever recipe you decide, we hope you enjoy!

Turkey with Brown-Sugar Glaze

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 3/4 hours, plus resting
Yield: Serves 8 to 10


1 whole turkey (about 12 pounds), thawed if frozen, rinsed, and patted dry (neck and giblets chopped into 2-inch pieces; liver discarded)
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 2 tablespoons orange juice


Let turkey sit at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Place neck, giblets, carrots, celery, and onion in a heavy-bottomed metal roasting pan. Set a roasting rack over vegetables and coat with cooking spray.

Tuck wing tips underneath body of turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Rub turkey all over with 2 tablespoons butter; season with salt and pepper. Place turkey on rack in pan; roast on bottom oven rack until golden brown, 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Add 2 cups water to pan; roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh reads 125 degrees, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring vinegar, brown sugar, and orange juice to a boil over high, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons butter and orange zest.

When thermometer reads 125 degrees, brush turkey with glaze. Rotate pan and roast, brushing turkey with remaining glaze every 15 minutes, until thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh reads 165 degrees, 30 to 45 minutes (tent turkey with foil if browning too quickly). Transfer turkey to a platter. Loosely tent with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Reserve pan with drippings for Pan Gravy.


On “The Martha Stewart Show,” Martha and Sarah Carey reserve pan drippings for TV chef Sarah Mastracco’s Turkey Gravy recipe.

Maple-Glazed Turkey with Gravy

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 8


1 turkey (14 pounds), neck and giblets reserved for Turkey Giblet Stock
Herbed Cracker Stuffing
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Transfer to a rack set in a large roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Fill body cavity with 6 cups stuffing. Fill neck cavity with 4 cups stuffing; secure skin flap with skewers. Tie drumsticks with kitchen twine. Tuck wings under turkey. Rub turkey with butter, and season generously with salt and pepper. Pour broth into pan; roast 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; roast 45 minutes. Brush with pan juices, and tent pan with foil. Roast 45 minutes more, then remove foil, and baste. (If liquid evaporates, add 1 to 2 cups water to pan.)

Meanwhile, bring maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer until syrup is reduced to 3/4 cup.

After removing foil tent from turkey and basting with pan juices, brush turkey with some of maple glaze (reheat if solidified). Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes, and brush with glaze. Continue to roast turkey until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees, about 30 minutes more. (Take temperature of stuffing as well; if it has not reached 165 degrees, remove it from turkey, then transfer to a baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake until it reaches 165 degrees.) Brush turkey with maple glaze, and transfer to a platter; let rest 45 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, using drippings in pan, make maple gravy.

Slow-Grilled Turkey

Visit our step-by-step photo tutorial for this recipe. You will need a kettle grill with a lid that’s at least 22 inches in diameter, such as a Weber. You will also need a chimney starter, trussing supplies, a bag of best-quality charcoal briquettes, and a disposable heatproof aluminum roasting pan.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes
Yield: Serves 8 to 10


1 turkey (12 to 15 pounds), patted dry
Mixture of aromatics, such as sage sprigs, onion wedges, and halved garlic heads, for filling the cavity
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup coarse salt
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper


Let turkey sit at room temperature at least 1 hour. Stuff turkey with aromatics or stuffing of your choice; tie the cavity closed.

Open grill vents. Place a chimney starter on the small lower grill grate, put 50 charcoal briquettes in starter, and ignite; let burn until ash gray. Remove chimney starter, center roasting pan on grate, and pour out coals, dividing evenly on each long side of pan. (Be careful not to spill ashes into pan, since it will collect the turkey drippings needed for gravy.) Top with main grill grate.

Combine oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub or brush mixture all over turkey.

Place turkey on top grate, directly over roasting pan, and cover with grill lid (keep lid vent open). Every 45 minutes, add 8 unlit briquettes on each long side of roasting pan to keep heat even. (Some grills have a grate with space on the sides that allows for this addition. Otherwise you’ll need a helper to lift the grate with the turkey while you add the coals.) Cook turkey until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (and the stuffing) reads 165 degrees, 2 to 3 hours (about 10 minutes per pound with aromatics, 12 minutes with stuffing). Remove from heat, and let rest 20 minutes before carving.

Cook’s Note

Recipe adapted from “Mad Hungry,” by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books). Copyright 2009. Now available in paperback.

Roasted Dry-Brined Turkey

For a beautiful, natural garnish, arrange fresh sage and bay leaves, cracked walnuts, and cranberries around the roasted turkey. Taste the gravy before deciding whether to season with salt.

Yield: Serves 12 to 14


Pan drippings, reserved from turkey
1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Simple Giblet Stock, or 4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium turkey or chicken stock
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
14 dried bay leaves, 10 crushed, 4 left whole
1 whole fresh turkey (22 to 24 pounds), giblets and neck reserved for Simple Giblet Stock
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for baking dish if needed
1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
Leek-Celery Root Stuffing
1 cup water, plus more if needed


Make the turkey: Combine 2/3 cup salt and crushed bay leaves in a small bowl. Rinse inside and outside of turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub 2 tablespoons salt mixture evenly inside turkey cavity, 2 tablespoons on each leg portion, 1 1/2 teaspoons on each wing, and 2 tablespoons on each breast. Place turkey in a large oven bag and seal tightly, removing any trapped air. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate for 48 hours.

Remove turkey from bag, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Combine 1 stick butter, the wine, and whole bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in lowest position. Rinse inside and outside of turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Tuck wings under turkey. Season cavity with salt and pepper, and loosely fill it with 4 cups stuffing. (To bake remaining stuffing, see recipe below.) Tie legs together with kitchen string. Rub remaining 1/2 stick butter on turkey, and season with salt and pepper. Pour water into roasting pan.

Place turkey, legs first, into oven. Roast for 30 minutes, then baste with butter-wine mixture. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, and roast, basting with butter-wine mixture every 30 minutes, for 2 1/2 hours. (Add more water to roasting pan if necessary to prevent pan drippings from burning.) Rotate pan, and roast until skin is golden brown and thickest part of thigh (avoiding bone) and center of stuffing register 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer 30 to 45 minutes more. (If turkey is done before the stuffing, remove turkey from oven, and spoon stuffing into a buttered baking dish, and continue to roast until golden and center registers 165 degrees.) Transfer turkey to a rimmed baking sheet, reserving pan juices and roasting pan, and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Make the pan gravy: Pour reserved pan juices into a glass measuring cup or a gravy separator, and let stand until fat rises to the surface, about 10 minutes. Pour or spoon off fat.

Place reserved roasting pan on 2 burners over medium heat. Add wine, and bring to a gentle simmer, scraping browned bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk flour and giblet stock in a large bowl until combined. Add defatted pan juices, whisking to combine, then pour into roasting pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, and whisk in butter. Strain through a sieve, and discard solids. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

To carve the turkey: Place the turkey in front of you, breast side up, and use your hand to hold it steady. Cut through kitchen string, and discard. Remove drumsticks first by placing a knife against the thigh, cutting alongside body, and slicing through the skin to expose the joint. Apply pressure at the joint with the tip of the knife, then twist the knife, and cut through the joint to release the drumstick. Repeat on the other side. (For an illustrated how-to, see Turkey Carving 101.)

Use a long-handled spoon to scoop out the stuffing, and transfer it to a serving bowl. Slice the thigh meat from the bone.

Place the knife horizontally at the bottom curve of the breast, and slice in toward the rib cage along the length of the breast to create a “guide cut.” Then make a vertical slice from the top down alongside the rib cage to loosen the breast meat. Cut the breast vertically into 1/4-inch-thick slices, being careful to preserve some skin. Repeat on the other side. Insert the knife tip at wing joint closest to the turkey, and twist to release wing. Repeat on the other side.

Cook’s Note

Make-ahead tip: Salt the turkey and make giblet stock up to two days in advance. Prepare ingredients for stuffing the day before; assemble and bake just before serving.

Herb-Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy

An instant-read thermometer is more accurate than the pop-up timers that sometimes come with frozen turkeys. The thighs should be cooked to an internal temperature of 180 degrees; to avoid overcooking, remove turkey from the oven once it reaches 175 degrees, as it will continue to cook out of the oven. Check again after about twenty minutes, and return to oven if it hasn’t reached 180 degrees.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10


1 18- to 21-pound fresh turkey, thawed if frozen, giblets and neck removed from cavity and reserved for gravy
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
3 to 4 lemons, each cut into quarters
2 to 3 onions, each cut into 6 wedges
1 cup dry white wine or water
3 cups Giblet Stock or homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock


Rinse turkey with cool water, and pat dry with paper towels. Let stand, uncovered, 2 hours at room temperature.
Combine butter, lemon zest, parsley, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Using your fingers, gently loosen turkey skin from over the breast meat, and smear half the butter mixture under skin.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack on lowest level. Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set in a heavy metal roasting pan. Fold wing tips under. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper inside cavity. Fill large cavity and neck cavity loosely with as many lemon and onion wedges as will fit comfortably.

Tie legs together loosely with kitchen twine. Fold neck flap under, and secure with toothpicks. Rub entire turkey with remaining herb butter, and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper, pressing to adhere.

Cook 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Using a pastry brush, baste the turkey with any pan drippings. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue cooking 2 more hours, basting turkey and rotating pan every 30 minutes; if pan gets too full, spoon out some of the juices, reserving them for gravy.

After 2 1/2 hours of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, avoiding the bone. The temperature should reach 175 degrees, and the turkey should be golden brown. If thighs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey again, and continue cooking.

When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter, and let rest, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour the pan juices into a large glass measuring cup; let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 10 minutes, then skim with a large spoon.

Meanwhile, place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add wine or water, and bring to a boil; deglaze pan by scraping up any browned bits from bottom with a wooden spoon. Add stock; stir well, and return to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the defatted pan juices, and cook 5 minutes more; you will have about 2 cups. Remove from heat, and season with the salt and pepper. Strain into a warm gravy boat, and serve with turkey.

Easy Crisp Roasted Turkey

Leaving the turkey alone for the first hour of cooking allows the skin to crisp. Basting frequently after that gives the bird an even color while helping to seal in juices. Serve with Perfect Gravy.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 10


1 fresh or thawed frozen whole turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
1 stalk celery, cut into large pieces
2 dried bay leaves
2 medium carrots, cut into large pieces
2 medium onions, quartered
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, such as Bell’s
Coarse salt and ground pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove neck and giblets from turkey cavity; set aside. Rinse turkey inside and out under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels.

Stuff cavity of bird with celery, bay leaves, and half the carrots and onions; tie legs together with kitchen twine. Rub bird with butter; sprinkle with poultry seasoning. Season with salt and pepper.

Scatter remaining onion quarters and carrot pieces on bottom of a large roasting pan; add turkey neck. Place turkey on a roasting rack in the pan. Cook, basting frequently after the first hour, until bird is golden brown, thigh juices run clear when pierced, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast (avoiding bone) registers 170 degrees, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (If skin is browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Let rest 30 minutes before carving.

– – Enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving.

Our friend Sarah Carey, editor-in-chief of Everyday Food Magazine just launched her delicious “How-To” series on YouTube. A 13-year veteran of the Martha Stewart test kitchen, Sarah is an expert in converting culinary classics into easy and convenient meals for the family.

Tune in to Sarah’s Everyday Food YouTube Channel Monday through Friday as Sarah introduces viewers to fresh meal ideas like Simple Potato Gnocchi, Crispy Beef Tacos, Fudgy Pecan Brownies and Glazed Citrus Doodles.

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