5 Ways To Spice Up Your Thanksgiving Turkey

For traditionalists, the idea of serving anything other than turkey as the staple of Thanksgiving dinner is blasphemous. But for foodies and creatives, eating the same holiday main every year can get a little dull, even when you love it. If you're torn between wanting to stick to tradition and experimenting with something new, you can have the best of both worlds by spicing up your Thanksgiving turkey.

There are quite a few culinary tricks you can employ to pack your bird with as much flavor as possible. Taste of Home explains that rubbing your seasoning under the skin and inside the turkey, brining the bird, and even adding extra intensity with a flavor injector can all help. But if you're ready to go the extra mile and give your Thanksgiving dinner a total revamp, you can introduce new ingredients to create inspired spice rubs and glazes that will take your bird to the next level.

Smokey sweet seasoning

This smoky sweet seasoning from Fit Foodie Finds is made with just nine ingredients and will elevate your classic roast with strong, savory notes. Though many of the ingredients are quite common, pairing them all brings about an entirely new burst of flavor.

Simply combine 2 tablespoons each of dried thyme, dried rosemary, and chili powder, 4 tablespoons of garlic powder, 6 tablespoons of brown sugar, 4 teaspoons each of dried oregano, pepper, and smoked paprika, and 6 teaspoons of coarse salt. As a rule of thumb, use 1.5 tablespoons of seasoning per pound of turkey. With the smokey flavor, this is one of the Thanksgiving dishes that makes the best leftovers!

Cajun-spiced turkey

Bring a touch of the south to your Thanksgiving table this year with this cajun-spiced turkey recipe from Louisiana Cookin'. All you need is some good old cajun spice mix and half a cup of unsalted butter to make this marinade, which you'll rub under the skin on each breast. When complete, pat your turkey dry and sprinkle a further 6 tablespoons of the spice mix over the bird, rubbing into the skin.

The key to letting those delicious flavors develop is refrigerating the turkey uncovered for a minimum of 12 hours after you have applied the spice marinade (via Recipe Tips). Letting your turkey soak in any marinade will also help to tenderize the meat.

Aromatic stuffing

Swap out your traditional bread-based turkey stuffing this year for a much more powerful fresh stuffing that will set your bird above the rest. According to Good Housekeeping, filling the cavity of the turkey with fresh herbs and aromatics will result in a lot more flavor, and the beauty of this tip is that you can choose whatever herbs and aromatics you like. Some of the most popular aromatic stuffing ingredients include lemon halves and garlic cloves, while one of the best herb combinations pairs thyme, sage, parsley, and rosemary together (via Taste of Home).

If you're looking for a less conventional alternative stuffing, you could also try a variety of fruits or even beer, which is known to add moisture and flavor to smaller birds.

Marmalade-glazed roast turkey

A glaze will bring a caramelized, sticky, and shiny finish to your turkey, adding new dimensions in flavor and texture (via Marley Spoon). In particular, glazing your turkey with marmalade will bring a tartness that works beautifully with the poultry.

BBC Good Food's recipe for marmalade-glazed roast turkey calls for a glaze made from orange marmalade which is applied throughout the roasting process. Oranges, butter, and rosemary are rubbed onto the bird before cooking, while leftover rosemary stalks and orange halves are placed inside the cavity for maximum citrus flavor. This recipe also uses a gravy made from plain flour, white wine, chicken stock, and soy sauce.

Tandoori turkey

If you love Indian flavors, a tandoori turkey is the perfect recipe to try this Thanksgiving. Though not roasted in an authentic tandoor oven, Bon Appétit's tandoori turkey recipe features a world of flavor with homemade tandoori masala, garam masala, and a yogurt-based marinade. There's a long list of spices required for this one, including cumin seeds, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, and dried fenugreek. But the tandoori masala and garam masala are Thanksgiving foods that you can make in advance to save time as the busy holiday season approaches.