Best Holiday Turkey Recipes

holiday turkey recipes

Turkey is a star of the traditional Christmas feast! Any of these holiday turkey recipes will be gobbled up at your family celebrations! They look so inviting and they feed many.

The turkeys not only look beautiful, they come out moist and delicious and a whole turkey goes a long way in feeding many guests.

For ideas on what to serve with your turkey, click on Christmas Dinner Menus.

Of course, for many people, the traditional main course for Christmas is ham.

For Perfect-Every-Time- Holiday Ham Recipes click here.

This is my Go-To holiday turkey recipe. Simple, yet it doesn't disappoint. I made this for Sam's family Christmas party, along with a Holiday ham. Turkey comes out moist and juicy every time.

(Be sure to read the TIPS for helpful hints on preparing your holiday turkey recipes!)

Herb Roasted Turkey


1 turkey (14 - 16 pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons dried Rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated black pepper
1 teaspoon aniseed
1/2 cup butter, softened and divided


Wash turkey thoroughly. Pat dry.

Blend the salt, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and aniseed in a processor or by hand until well mixed.

With your fingers, loosen the skin around the breast. Rub half of the butter under the turkey skin. Sprinkle the skin with the herb mixture.

Melt the remaining butter and pour over the turkey. Tuck wings behind the breast and tie the drumsticks together.

Place breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake at 325 Degrees F for 3 3/4 to 4 hours.

After about 1 hour when breast is nicely brown and golden, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning. Baste every 15 minutes with pan drippings.

When turkey is done, let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

TIP: A basic cooking guide for holiday turkey recipes is to cook at 325 degrees F for 15 minutes per pound if the turkey weighs less than 16 pounds; 12 minutes per pound if it is heavier.

This Basic Turkey Gravy will go with any holiday turkey recipes.

First make a roux (pronounced "roo") with melted butter and flour.

Make sure the butter is completely melted (1/2 stick) then add 1/2 cup flour and whisk together until the mixture is blended and smooth.

Add the pan drippings (skim off the fat first) and 1 can chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Whisk constantly until gravy is thickened.

TIP: Don't forget to complete your holiday turkey recipes with a garnish for the platter! Use any combination of the following:

sprigs of fresh Rosemary or Thyme, small artichokes cut in half, clusters of green and red grapes, sliced oranges or lemon, quartered apples, fresh cranberries, or romaine lettuce leaves.

Apple and Shallot Turkey

One of the BEST Holiday Turkey Recipes. The apples along with the herbs give it so much flavor. The shallots give the gravy a savory richness.


1 10- to 12-pound turkey
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus 2 sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus 2 sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 2 sprigs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pound shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise, divided
1 tart green apple, quartered
3 cups water, plus more as needed


Preheat oven to 475°F. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Pat dry.

Combine oil, chopped parsley, sage, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat.

Place herb sprigs, 6 shallot halves and apple in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups water to the pan.

Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, 45 minutes. Cover just the breast with foil -very loosely - forming a tent. Scatter the remaining shallots in the pan around the turkey.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and continue roasting until the thermometer registers 170°F when thermometer is inserted into breast meat - about 1 to 1 3/4 hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water.

When done, remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Remove the string and carve.

TIP: For testing the doneness of your Holiday Turkey recipes: Insert a meat thermometer into the breast meat, it should read 170. Or insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching the bone)and it should read 185.

Another TIP: Letting the turkey rest increases its internal temperature by about 5 - 10 degrees and finishes off the cooking.

Make this tasty Cider Gravy made with the shallots from this recipe. So good and goes great with your Holiday Turkey recipes!

Cider Gravy


4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste


When you remove the turkey from the roasting pan, leave the roasted shallots behind.

Skim off any visible fat from the pan juices.

Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Add cider and vinegar; bring to a boil and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the pan, until the liquid is reduced by about half, about 8 minutes.
Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups broth. Return to a boil, whisking often.

Whisk the flour mixture into the pan. Boil, whisking constantly, until the gravy is thickened. Remove from heat and pour the gravy through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup to eliminate the solids.(Discard the solids.)

Season with salt and pepper and pour into a gravy boat.

Lemon Garlic Turkey with White Wine Gravy

I love the flavor of lemon and garlic together - a Scampi. Which make this one of my favorite Holiday Turkey recipes. Delicious!


1 12 pound turkey
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can (14-ounce) reduced-sodium chicken broth


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 6 cloves garlic, lemon zest, oregano, oil, pepper and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste.

Or, by hand, chop garlic, lemon zest and oregano on a cutting board until finely minced, then place in a small bowl and stir in oil, pepper and water.

Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh meat. Rub the paste all over the turkey, under the skin onto the breast meat and leg meat and a little inside the cavity.

Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.

Place the turkey breast-side down in a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan. Roast the turkey for 1 hour.

Now turn it breast-side up on the rack. Add 1 cup water to the pan, and continue roasting 1 hour more.

Baste the turkey with pan drippings every 15 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and continue roasting for about 45 minutes more or until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 170 degrees.

Transfer the turkey to a large cutting board; let rest for 20 minutes before removing the string and carving.

TIP: To carve your Holiday turkey use a very sharp knife. Place the turkey breast side up with the legs to your right (if you are right-handed and vice versa if not). Stick a large fork into thick part of thigh and cut through the skin that joins the drumstick to the body. Pull the drumstick away from the body gently and find the connecting joint with the tip of your knife. Cut off the drumstick here. Next cut off the wing by finding the connecting socket with the knife tip and cutting it off here. Now carve the breast meat by holding the fork above the meat to be sliced. Carve into thin slices and repeat on other side.

An elegant and tasty white wine gravy is the perfect compliment to this Holiday Turkey recipe!

Directions for White Wine Gravy:

Skim the fat from the roasting pan. Pour pan juices into a cup; reserve for later.

Whisk flour with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl.

Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Add white wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Continue cooking until reduced, about 3 minutes.

Add the pan juices and chicken broth to the roasting pan; return to a simmer, whisking often.

Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the flour mixture and simmer until thickened.

Pour the gravy through a fine sieve into a cup. Transfer to a gravy boat and serve with the turkey.

Add a little sweetness to your Holiday Turkey recipes! Your guests will rave over it!

Apricot Glazed Turkey


1 10 - 12 pound turkey
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
10 thin slices of fresh gingerroot
1 cup of white wine or chicken broth
2/3 cup of apricot preserves
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
4 teaspoons soy sauce


Loosen the skin from the turkey breast with fingers. With a sharp knife, cut 10 slits into the breast meat under the skin.

Insert a slice of garlic and slice of ginger into each slit.

Place turkey into large pan and pour 1 /2 cup of white wine under the skin. Now pour remaining wine over the turkey. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.

In a small bowl, combine apricot preserves, mustard and soy sauce. Save for later.

Remove turkey from refrigerator. Drain and discard marinade. Place turkey on a rack in a roasting pan - breast side up.

Roast at 325 Degrees F for appoximately 3 1/2 hours or until thermometer reads 175 degrees when inserted into thickest part of the thigh.

Baste with the apricot mixture every 30 minutes.

Loosely cover the breast with aluminum foil when it is browned to your liking. When done, let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

TIP: What to do with the nearly picked clean carcass from your Holiday Turkey recipes? Make some fresh Turkey soup and freeze it for a "don't feel like cooking" day.

If you love mushrooms then this Holiday Turkey Recipe is for you!

Roast Turkey with Wild Mushroom Gravy


1 12 - 14 pound fresh or frozen (thawed) turkey
1 lemon
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium stalk celery, chopped
4 small onions, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
6 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
4 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (14 ounce) chicken broth
1/3 cup all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity; set aside. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold running water and drain well; pat dry with paper towels.

Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in large roasting pan. Scatter giblets and neck in pan around turkey.

Grate 1 teaspoon of lemon peel and place in small bowl. Cut lemon in half and set aside.

To bowl with lemon peel, add parsley, sage, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Stir until well blended.

In another bowl, place olive oil, carrot, and celery; stir in 2 tablespoons herb mixture to coat vegetables.

Place vegetable mixture in pan around turkey. Sprinkle remaining herb mixture inside body cavity, and rub all over outside of turkey.

Squeeze juice from lemon halves into breast cavity.

Place lemon halves and 4 onion quarters also in breast cavity. Place remaining 4 onion quarters in pan around turkey.

Roast turkey for about 1 1/4 hours or until golden brown.

Then cover breast with aluminum foil tent and continue roasting for about another 2 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reaches 175 degrees.

When turkey is done, tilt slightly to allow juices to run into pan.

Place turkey on large platter; cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

TIP: There are two important factors in making a delicious deep brown gravy for your Holiday Turkey recipes: use the drippings in the bottom of the roasting pan and the slow browning of the flour in the fat.

Wild Mushroom Gravy

About 20 minutes before turkey finishes roasting, cook mushrooms for gravy.

In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Add all mushrooms and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes.

Uncover and cook 10 minutes longer or until tender and golden, stirring occasionally.

Remove vegetables from pan, leaving leaving giblets and neck, and strain pan drippings into a 4 cup measuring cup.

Let drippings stand 1 minute to allow fat to separate from meat juices.

Spoon 1/4 cup fat from drippings into 2-quart saucepan. Discard the remaining fat. Leave the meat juices in the cup.

Place roasting pan over 2 burners on top of range and cook about 5 minutes to brown giblets, neck, and bits on bottom of pan, stirring constantly.

Carefully add wine to roasting pan and boil until wine is reduced by half, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of pan.

Strain wine mixture into meat juices in the measuring cup; add any additional meat juices that have accumulated on platter while turkey was resting.

Discard giblets and neck. Add enough chicken broth to meat-juice mixture in bowl to equal 4 cups total.

With wire whisk, mix flour into fat in saucepan; cook on medium until mixture turns golden-brown.

While still whisking, gradually add meat-juice mixture to saucepan.

Cook on medium until mixture boils and thickens, stirring frequently.

Stir in mushroom mixture; heat through.

Pour gravy into gravy boat and serve with turkey.
This is a rich savory gravy that perfectly accompanies this Holiday Turkey recipe!

TIP: What to do with all your Holiday Turkey recipe leftovers? Send some home with your guests. Put the stuffing, (or other side) and cranberry sauce between two slices of turkey. Wrap the sandwich in foil for your guests to take home. Tomorrow's lunch!

This Holiday Turkey recipe makes a beautiful orange colored turkey that is moist and succulent.

Paprika Rubbed Turkey with Shallot-Madiera Wine Gravy


1 14 - 16 pound turkey
1/4 cup Spanish smoked paprika or Hungarian paprika
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 cups turkey or chicken stock
3 large shallots, chopped
1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup Madeira wine


Place turkey in center of a large roasting pan.

Combine smoked paprika and salt in a medium bowl and sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of mixture in body cavity and all over skin of bird.

Cover turkey and pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water and pat dry.

Pour off any liquid from roasting pan and rinse pan well.

Place a rack in pan and let turkey stand on rack at room temperature for 1 hour.

Set oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 375 F.

Spread butter on legs and breast. Season turkey with pepper and reserved smoked paprika and salt mixture.

Pour 3 cups turkey stock into pan. Roast turkey 45 minutes.

Baste with pan juices and reduce heat to 325 F.

Continue to roast- basting every 45 minutes and adding stock by the cupful to maintain level of liquid in pan.

Turkey is done when thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165 F, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours more.

Transfer turkey to a platter, tent loosely with foil.

Rest turkey for 20 minutes.

Pour pan juices into 8-cup measuring cup and allow to settle until most of fat has risen to top.

Skim fat, discarding all but 1/2 cup.

Add turkey or chicken stock to degreased pan juices to get 4 cups.

Pour reserved 1/2 cup fat into roasting pan and set it over two medium-heat burners.

Scatter shallots in pan and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
Whisk in flour slowly. Whisk in pan juices and Madeira wine and bring to a simmer.

Continue to simmer until gravy has reduced by a third, about 10 minutes.

Serve turkey with gravy.

I hope you and your family enjoy these Holiday Turkey Recipes and hope they make your Christmas feast extra special.

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