Top 5 Ways to Prepare a Thanksgiving Turkey

From traditional to trendy, we've got the best ways to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey this year, and every year.

Surprise! Thanksgiving turkey isn’t just a tasty treat. All the holiday stress and scrambling means that by the time we join our relatives, friends and significant others around the table, we’ve earned a taste of that steaming, stuffed centerpiece. This year, try thinking of the binge-fest that is Thanksgiving as the “bulking phase” before the holiday storm really hits.

Get in on the spirit of gratitude by preparing a meal that is undoubtedly something to be thankful for — especially after our feathered turkey friends made the ultimate sacrifice, all so we could get our grub on.

Here are the Top 5 ways to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey this year — from the trendiest, moistest, traditional-est options to fancy AF, gourmet recipes. To prepare, be sure to check out some cooking essentials like this dip-free turkey baster, carving knives, this full-on turkey fryer, and, of course, these festive turkey hats.

Eat up, friends, because it’s a long road ahead!

5. The Trendy Pickle Brined Turkey

A little birdie (okay, it was Delish) told us that the pickle-brined turkey recipe is seriously #trending this year. In case you didn’t know, bringing your turkey protects against dryness, helping to keep meat extra moist and juicy. Numerous techniques involve wet and dry-brining, and whole and sliced techniques to take your pick from. Throw in dill pickle juice as your brining agent, and you have one trendy turkey. Just rinse it off well after bringing it to avoid excessive saltiness.

That sounds great, right? If you’re still stuck on the “to brine or not to brine” question, here’s a helpful video to make life easier.

4. Roasted Butter Herb Turkey for Moisture

Don’t get us wrong — there are other ways to keep the bird moist in the oven than brine. You can also slip slices of butter underneath the skin before it goes into the oven. First of all? Yum. And secondly, Sandra Lee’s Roasted Butter Herb Turkey Recipe clearly passes the taste test in reviews.

If you’re looking for guidance on the under-the-skin butter technique, check out this tutorial for moist turkey by Gordon Ramsey.

3. Top-Rated Traditional Roast Turkey Recipe

For those who believe you can’t improve upon perfection, this five-star Simple Turkey Recipe is the shining Thanksgiving star of NYT Cooking.

Fans of the Thanksgiving turkey centerpiece flock to the NYT Cooking Channel to watch their many techniques for this Thanksgiving classic. From seasoning the meat, to stuffing it and taking its temperature, they’ve got the essentials covered. Here’s their most popular how-to:

2. Rachael Ray’s Italian Thanksgiving Turkey with Crispy Skin

If you’d like to incorporate some star-studded flair this year, celebrity chef Rachael Ray provides this tutorial on bringing an Italian twist on to your Thanksgiving turkey — gravy, roast, sausage, and all. Be warned: This turkey prep is a two-day process.

You begin by making your own brine (no, not with pickle juice) and letting the turkey soak for an entire day. Then, you’ll let it dry for another 24-hours. It’s time-consuming, we know, but we hear it’s totally worth it. The herbs, ingredients and tips for this porchetta-like masterpiece are priceless. If you are looking for an easy way to cook this turkey, check out the best air fryers! Note: please make sure the turkey is 10lbs or under! Watch here:

1. Gourmet White Truffle Butter Turkey

Finally, the creme-de-la-creme of Thanksgiving turkeys. Meet the gourmet white truffle butter turkey recipe of your foodie dreams, also featured in the video below.

Truffle fans and Barefoot Contessa-devotees alike will fall in love with this delectable Thanksgiving masterpiece. Using wads of truffle butter under the skin like we learned above, don’t be surprised if this is the best, most luxurious turkey you’ve ever had. Drool.

Need some sides to go with your delectable turkey? Check out our Top 5 Sides to Spice Up Thanksgiving. Hosting vegan guests this year? Check out our Top 5 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes.

Got any other drool-worthy turkey recipes? Share them with us in the comments below!