There's no doubt that Thanksgiving just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a big turkey on the table, but this year, our holiday plans may look a little different.
Upgrade the classic holiday centerpiece this year with TODAY Food's best turkey recipes — from a juicy Cajun turkey to an amazing bacon-wrapped bird to a succulent boneless turkey breast. All are sure to wow everyone at your Thanksgiving table.
The best Thanksgiving turkey recipes
Love a juicy turkey with crispy skin? Elizabeth Heiskell's grandmother used a pillowcase case to perfect her bird, but you can use cheesecloth instead. Why? Covering the turkey during cooking keeps the skin from being overdone and seals in the maximum amount of moisture to keep your bird juicy and delicious.
Tucking fresh sage leaves and thyme under the skin makes the juicy meat and crispy skin of this turkey especially fragrant. Allowing the bird to rest for at least 20 minutes before it's carved keeps the meat as moist as possible.
Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis rubs her turkey with smoked paprika ahead of time, which allows the spices to permeate the meat with a wonderfully smoky flavor. She also stuffs the cavity of the bird with sage, thyme, onion and lemon so there's loads of flavor throughout.
Want to skip carving the big bird altogether? Try this boneless turkey breast that’s stuffed with apples, fennel and fragrant herbs. Roasting a whole bird can take hours but this easy-to-slice Thanksgiving turkey only needs about 40 minutes in the oven.
"Breast meat always dries out quicker than other parts of the turkey, so shield the turkey with foil during the first hour or so to slow down the cooking of this delicate white meat, then remove the foil during the last hour or so to allow the skin to brown and become crisp," Curtis Stone told TODAY Food. To create a perfectly juicy bird, he also soaks the turkey in a spiced brine before it's roasted.
Food Network star Bobby Flay brings the heat with this gorgeously lacquered bird that’s coated with a spicy citrus glaze. The glaze is made with a combination of freshly squeezed tangerine juice, red wine vinegar, sugar and chile powder. It's delicious on turkey and can also be used on other poultry, such as chicken or duck.
What's remarkable about this turkey is how perfectly golden it is all over. Butterflying (aka spatchcocking, which is basically opening it up and flattening it out) the turkey puts the breasts, legs and wings on a level playing field so everything cooks evenly and more quickly than a whole bird. It's perfect for a time-crunched Thanksgiving host. It's also a breeze to carve.
The hostess with the mostess, Martha Stewart, has a classic recipe that yields a plump and regal turkey, with crisp, golden-brown skin and an aroma to match. It's a good thing.
It's almost impossible to go wrong with this show-stopping bird that’s wrapped in a glorious bacon blanket. The bacon covering is impressive to look at, and also adds a deep, rich flavor. Plus it keeps the turkey incredibly moist. It makes the gravy pretty tasty, too!
Making your Thanksgiving turkey in a slow cooker results in a wonderfully tender and flavorful bird. It also leaves your oven free to cook up more holiday sides at the same time.