Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

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What is the best Thanksgiving turkey recipe?

A soul food Southern turkey! And I have a few ideas for you when choosing one of my favorite Thanksgiving turkey recipes!

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

A Black folks’ Southern turkey is a soul food treat that will have your mouth watering from the first bite.

It has all the qualities of a great soul food dish, especially for a soul food Thanksgiving menu or a fantastic Christmas dinner feast. And bonus – this Southern turkey is easy to make! 

The flavor of this bird rivals any of the other Thanksgiving turkey recipes you’ve tried. 

Your days of turkey roulade are over! Proven so because this festive recipe has always been the star of our holiday table!

Why do you eat turkey on Thanksgiving?

Historians cite that it’s simply because this bird was relatively plentiful. One expert estimated that there were at least 10 million turkeys in America at the time of European contact. 

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes - Southern Roasted Turkey

What are 3 different ways you can cook your Thanksgiving turkey?

What kind of turkey are you making this year?

Here are my favorite Southern soul food recipes for making a delicious turkey dinner!

Easy roasted turkey recipe

Black Folks Southern Turkey Recipe
Crispy skin and moist, juicy, flavorful meat – that's what embodies a Black folks Southern turkey recipe!
An exceptional addition for your soul food Thanksgiving menu.
Check out this recipe!
Southern Turkey Recipe

What is the secret to a moist turkey?

It’s the marinating process. AKA, the turkey brine!

How do you roast a turkey and keep it moist? How do you season under the skin of a turkey?

How do you roast a turkey and keep it moist? How do you season under the skin of a turkey?

The answer to all these questions about a juicy, flavorful, and perfect roast turkey is to use a turkey brine!

Should you add liquid when cooking a turkey?

People often ask, “Do you put water in the bottom of the roasting pan for turkey?”

This Southern-roasted Thanksgiving turkey recipe is easy. Instead of water, homemade apple cider brine is recommended for your Thanksgiving turkey recipes.

Should you add liquid when cooking a turkey?

How often should you baste your turkey?

Baste the turkey with the brine every 20-30 minutes during the roasting.

Apple Cider Turkey Brine
Apple cider turkey brine brings a new level of flavor and juiciness to your Thanksgiving or holiday bird.
This brine is easy to prepare because it’s simply homemade apple cider made with apples and notes of citrus, pomegranate, cinnamon, brown sugar, and cloves. The result is tender, juicy, and the most flavorful turkey meat!
Check out this recipe!
Southern Apple Cider Turkey Brine
Black Folks Instant Pot Smoked Turkey Legs
Thanksgiving doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Black folks Instant Pot turkey legs are an easy alternative to a whole turkey. A welcome addition to your Southern soul food Thanksgiving menu!
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Instant Pot Smoked Turkey Legs

What is the most popular way to cook turkey?

Roasting is the most popular way to cook Thanksgiving turkey recipes. It’s the best way to yield an authentic Southern soul food flavor boost!

What is the most popular way to cook turkey?

What are your thoughts on using a convection oven for a turkey?

This is all good because roasting is one of the best ways to cook a juicy turkey and flavorful bird! It’s also an easy Thanksgiving turkey recipe.

Kitchen equipment for a Southern Thanksgiving turkey recipe

 

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Instant Pot Duo Nova  | Amazon roasting pan with lid  |  Famous Dave’s Country Roast Chicken Seasoning  |  Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning  | Amazon reusable straining bag  | Amazon mesh strainer with handle  | Courtly Check relish dish  | Courtly Check similar dish towel  | Pyrex measuring glass  | Kate Aspen heart-shaped measuring spoons  | Courtly Check spoon rest  | Amazon large spoon & slotted spoon set  | Courtly Check stockpot  |

Ingredients for a Southern Thanksgiving turkey recipe

  • 8 cups of water
  • 5 apples, quartered – and another apple or two to garnish (You can use a mix of tart and sweet if you like (i.e., Granny Smith, Gala, Red Delicious)
  • 1 orange, with the peel on, quartered (and another orange or two to garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of whole cloves
  • 1 pomegranate, quartered 
  • ½ a cup of brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes Southern Turkey Brine

Ingredients for the Southern Thanksgiving rub

  • 10–15-pound turkey
  • 2 tablespoons of Famous Dave’s Country Roast Chicken Seasoning (or similar – This seasoning contains soulful flavors such as salt, black pepper, paprika, mustard seed, garlic powder, onion powder, bell pepper, and lemon zest all in one!)
  • 2 tablespoons of Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning (or similar)
  • ½ a cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped to garnish
  • 4 fresh herb sprigs (rosemary, parsley, and thyme to garnish)

Instructions for a Southern Thanksgiving turkey recipe

Pro tip: An Instant Pot and reusable strainer bag are super helpful for this recipe!

  1. Remove the Instant Pot lid and turn on the sauté setting for 30 minutes. (30 minutes is the most you can sauté, so you’ll add more time when this time is up.) 
  2. Add the water, apples, and brown sugar to the stainless-steel inner pot with the lid off. 
  3. Place the cloves, ginger, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate, and orange into the strainer bag, tighten the bag’s strings, and place the strainer in the inner pot.
  4. Allow the cider to simmer.
  5. When the 30 minutes is up, turn on the sauté setting for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. When cook time is finished, remove the straining bag and scoop the apples out with a slotted spoon.
  7. Mix the Famous Dave’s seasoning and the roasted garlic & herb spice in a small bowl to create a Southern spice rub for the turkey.
  8. Place the turkey in a deep-dish roasting pan.
  9. Spoon onto the turkey a bit of the apple cider brine so it’s not dry, then rub on and coat the whole chicken with the Southern spice rub mixture.
  10. Lift the turkey to rub the seasoning on the bottom of the bird as well. 
  11. Transfer the apple cider by pouring it into the deep-dish pan with the turkey in it for roasting.
  12. You may want to add a little more of the seasoning rub in the places where it may have rinsed off when the apple cider was poured into the pan.
  13. Then place the turkey on the lower rack in the oven, uncovered.
  14. Oven-roast the turkey at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 30 minutes in the apple cider brine.
  15.  Baste the turkey with the brine every 20-30 minutes during the roasting.
  16. When the cooking time is finished, remove the turkey from the oven.
  17. Baste the bird again with the pan juices brine.
  18. Let the turkey sit for 20-30 minutes before carving.
  19. Garnish this soul food Thanksgiving turkey recipe with fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and parsley, and apple and orange slices. 
  20. Serve these Thanksgiving turkey recipes with giblet gravy or turkey or chicken broth on top, and enjoy!

*The stovetop method for making this apple cider turkey brine is HERE.

 

Pro tip: You can make baked apple slices with the leftover apples from the apple cider brine. Add melted butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

What sides should you serve with Thanksgiving turkey recipes?

For the best Thanksgiving sides to go with the best herb-roasted turkey, you should include:

The Best Soul Food Thanksgiving Side Dishes
What do you serve on a soul food Thanksgiving menu? Perfectly seasoned flavors using this authentic soul food Thanksgiving side dishes list!
Check out this recipe!
The Best Soul Food Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

What are 3 popular foods for Thanksgiving?

Southern Thanksgiving menu traditionally includes favorites like an old-fashioned Southern cornbread dressing, Thanksgiving candied yams, and of course, a soul food Thanksgiving sweet potato pie!

The Best Southern Soul Food Thanksgiving Desserts
You’re sure to find the soul food savory & sweet flavors your family’s expecting in this authentic soul food Thanksgiving desserts list!
Check out this recipe!
The Best Southern Soul Food Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving turkey recipes FAQs

How to season a Thanksgiving turkey

How do you add flavor to turkey meat?

There are many different types of Southern and soul food seasonings that you can use on a turkey. But which one will be most flavorful: Creole seasoning, Cajun seasoning, salt & black pepper, or an all-purpose season-all? 

The seasonings for these Thanksgiving turkey recipes were carefully selected. 

Tried and true for the best Thanksgiving turkey recipe – exactly what I use in my house year after year because of the soulful flavors: Paprika, mustard seed, garlic powder, onion powder, bell pepper, lemon zest, apple cider essence, and dried herbs. 

What can you put in your turkey for flavor?

What can you put in your turkey for flavor?

Soul food cooking tips

  • The first thing you should know about cooking with soul: garlic is not a substitute for flavor. 

Dahhlinggg, you need salt or seasoning salt.

  • Most soul food recipes are Southern, but not every Southern recipe is soul food!

Combinations of fresh or dried herbs, salt & pepper, paprika, mustard seed, garlic powder, onion powder, bell pepper, lemon zest, apple cider essence, or your favorite seasoning salt are all great for a flavorful turkey.

How many pounds of turkey do you need?

This recipe is for an average size turkey of 10-15 pounds.

How much turkey per person for Thanksgiving?

A good rule of thumb is 1 pound of turkey per person. 

Planning for at least 1 pound per person could also leave you with turkey leftovers for your next day’s brunch or after Thanksgiving dinner – Yum!

How long does it take to thaw a turkey?

It’s always a headache to thaw a frozen whole turkey! So I always recommend planning ahead to avoid the defrosting part. 

If you find yourself stuck with a frozen whole turkey shortly before Thanksgiving Day, you have 3 options to thaw it.

  • Slow – Place your frozen turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours before cooking it for a slow thawing.
  • Medium – If you have a large enough pot, you can fill it with water and place the whole turkey in it. After about an hour, the ice will start to melt, and you can safely remove the bird from its icy confines.
  • Fast – A quicker solution is to use your oven to thaw it out rapidly.
How do you cook turkey?

How do you cook turkey?

For my Southern turkey recipe, oven-roast the turkey, basting it every 30 minutes. 

What temperature do you cook a turkey?

350 degrees F for 1 hour and 30 minutes if you’re using my Southern turkey recipe.

Should you cover your turkey while cooking?

To achieve crispy skin, cook your turkey uncovered on the lower rack of the oven.

How do you know when the turkey is done?

While there are several ways to tell when your turkey is done, the most accurate is to use a meat thermometer

Set the thermometer in the thickest part of your thigh, making sure not to touch any bone. 

The optimal temperature for poultry should be 165°F. For even more accurate temperature readings, use a digital probe to measure temperatures in about two seconds! 

Ideally, the bird should be removed at 155° F because it continues to cook while it settles.

Can you do this for a turkey breast, and how long does it take to cook?

Yes, you can use a brine for Thanksgiving turkey breast recipes, too!

However, since the breast is significantly smaller than a whole bird. After brining it, I’d pressure cook it for 25 minutes instead, for an Instant Pot turkey breast.

What can you put in a turkey while it cooks?

What can you put in a turkey while it cooks?

Some Southern cooks add an old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing to the inner turkey cavity while it roasts. When added, it’s called “stuffing” instead of “dressing.”

Others will instead stuff their Thanksgiving turkey recipes with a vegetable and herb medley of chopped onions, celery, and rosemary.

How long is turkey good for after Thanksgiving?

You should consider tossing Thanksgiving leftovers in the refrigerator after 3-5 days.

Instant Pot Leftover Pulled Turkey Recipe
What can you make with leftover turkey after Thanksgiving?
Make a pulled turkey meal with holiday leftover turkey in your Instant Pot!
Check out this recipe!
Instant Pot Thanksgiving Leftover Recipe

Can you make gravy from the pan drippings with the broth in the bottom of the roasting pan?

Yes, and it’s so good! Use the cooked turkey broth to make the best homemade pan gravy for your Thanksgiving turkey recipes!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Did you enjoy these Southern Thanksgiving turkey recipes?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

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Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes - Southern Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes | Southern Turkey

What kind of turkey are you making this year?
Here are my favorite Southern Thanksgiving turkey recipes for making a delicious turkey dinner! Starting with a juicy and flavorful Southern turkey recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Boiling The Apple Cider Turkey Brine: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Soul Food, Southern Food
Keyword: apple cider turkey brine, Black folks recipes, Black folks Southern turkey recipe, Instant Pot Thanksgiving, soul food Thanksgiving menu, southern food, Southern turkey recipe, Thanksgiving turkey, Thanksgiving turkey recipes
Servings: 10
Calories: 595kcal
Author: Shaunda Necole

Equipment

  • Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
  • Reusable straining bag (for the brine) – or a mesh strainer with handle
  • Deep-dish roasting pan with lid 

Ingredients

Ingredients for Black folks’ Southern turkey brine

  • 8 cups water
  • 5 apples quartered – and another apple or two to garnish (You can use a mix of tart and sweet if you like (i.e., Granny Smith, Gala, Red Delicious)
  • 1 orange with the peel on, quartered (and another orange or two to garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons whole cloves
  • 1 pomegranate quartered
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Ingredients for the Southern Thanksgiving rub

  • 10 pound turkey This recipe works for a 10-15 pound turkey
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning Famous Dave’s Country Roast Chicken Seasoning, or similar
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning, or similar
  • ½ cup parsley fresh & finely chopped to garnish
  • 4 sprigs herbs fresh herbs like rosemary, parsley & thyme to garnish

Instructions

  • Pro tip: An Instant Pot and reusable strainer bag are super helpful for this recipe!
  • Remove the Instant Pot lid and turn on the sauté setting for 30 minutes. (30 minutes is the most you can sauté, so you’ll add more time when this time is up.)
  • Add the water, apples, and brown sugar to the stainless-steel inner pot with the lid off.
  • Place the cloves, ginger, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate, and orange into the strainer bag, tighten the bag’s strings, and place the strainer in the inner pot.
  • Allow the cider to simmer.
  • When the 30 minutes is up, turn on the sauté setting for an additional 10 minutes.
  • When the cooking time is finished, remove the straining bag and scoop out the apples with a slotted spoon.
  • Mix the Famous Dave’s seasoning and the roasted garlic & herb spice in a small bowl to create a Southern spice rub for the turkey.
  • Place the turkey in a deep-dish roasting pan.
  • Spoon onto the turkey a bit of the apple cider brine so that it’s not dry, then rub on and coat the whole chicken with the Southern spice rub mixture.
  • Lift the turkey to rub the seasoning on the bottom of the bird as well.
  • Transfer the apple cider by pouring it into the deep-dish pan with the turkey in it for roasting.
  • You may want to add a little more of the seasoning rub in the places where it may have rinsed off when the apple cider was poured into the pan.
  • Then place the turkey on the lower rack in the oven, uncovered.
  • Oven-roast the turkey at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 30 minutes in the apple cider brine.
  • Baste the turkey with the brine every 20-30 minutes during the roasting.
  • When the cooking time is finished, remove the turkey from the oven.
  • Baste the bird again with the pan juices brine.
  • Let the turkey sit for 20-30 minutes before carving.
  • Garnish this soul food Southern Thanksgiving turkey recipe with fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or parsley and apple and orange slices.
  • Serve this Southern roasted turkey with giblet gravy or turkey broth on top, and enjoy!

Video

Notes

You can make baked apple slices with the leftover apples from the apple cider brine. Add melted butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 595kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 71g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 232mg | Sodium: 380mg | Potassium: 1032mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 658IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 177mg | Iron: 6mg
Save it so you can make it!Pin this recipe to remember it later.
Nutrition Facts
Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes | Southern Turkey
Amount per Serving
Calories
595
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
19
g
29
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
5
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Cholesterol
 
232
mg
77
%
Sodium
 
380
mg
17
%
Potassium
 
1032
mg
29
%
Carbohydrates
 
36
g
12
%
Fiber
 
7
g
29
%
Sugar
 
26
g
29
%
Protein
 
71
g
142
%
Vitamin A
 
658
IU
13
%
Vitamin C
 
18
mg
22
%
Calcium
 
177
mg
18
%
Iron
 
6
mg
33
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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