Roasted turkey is a traditional and delicious holiday meal. Why not try one of these 9 unusual and unique turkey recipes (that are also crazy awesome!) to shake up the menu?

Gobble, gobble, gobble! Roasted turkey is probably the most popular holiday meal for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. But have you ever thought about WHY we eat turkey on Thanksgiving? We did too and this is what we found out.

  1. Turkeys are native to North America and they were widely available to early settlers.
  2. Turkeys are large enough to feed multiple people and aside from their meat, they don’t have much other use! For instance, other farm animals provide other edibles or uses like eggs from chickens, milk from cows, wool from sheep. Turkeys are just turkeys so it may have made sense to use them for this reason.
  3. Some historians think that it might have something to do with the popularity of Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. When the book was published in the 1840s, it introduced the idea of a turkey being something extra special. It’s what the Cratchit family wants to share most in the world, and shortly after this turkeys started gaining popularity.
  4. The actual celebration of Thanksgiving dates back officially to 1777 when an act of the Continental Congress declared it a real holiday. Then again in 1863 during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, Thanksgiving was declared a nationwide holiday again. Lincoln had started the tradition with an unofficial Thanksgiving dinner that featured roast turkey, his favorite meal. 
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So we’ve basically had roast turkey dinner for almost 250 years. The same old plain roast turkey your mom made, and her mother made, and her grandmother made. Ugh. If you’re tired of the same old, same old – why not surprise your family and guests with a unique twist on your turkey dinner this year?

Roasted turkey is traditional and delicious, but there are so many unusual and unique holiday turkey recipes to shake up the menu. You never know, after taking a look at these 9 unique turkey recipes, you just might find a new family favorite!

unusual turkey recipes

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Just looking at this ancho scallion basted turkey, makes my mouth start watering.

No Ordinary Bird: Unusual Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Ancho Turkey Food and Wine

This turkey takes it home with sweet and savory.

No Ordinary Bird: Unusual Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Apple and Sage Turkey Food Network

You can find the recipe for this Adobo turkey and red chile gravy at

No Ordinary Bird: Unusual Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Adobo Turkey (Credit La Kocinera)

Calling all bacon lovers, check out this Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage, Smoked Bacon, and Cornbread Stuffing from Tyler Florence.

No Ordinary Bird: Unusual Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Maple Roasted Turkey Food Network

For another southwestern spin on your Thanksgiving turkey, try this Mole roasted turkey with masa stuffing and chile gravy.

No Ordinary Bird: Unusual Thanksgiving Recipes
Mole Roasted Turkey Epicurious

Impress your guests with this gourmet, Black Pepper-Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey from Bobby Flay!

No Ordinary Bird: Unusual Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Black Pepper and Pomegranate Turkey Food Network

If you’re a fruit lover, you’ll love this turkey with fruit and nut stuffing that includes prunes, apricots, raisins, currants, apples, cranberries, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and cashews.

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No Ordinary Bird: Unusual Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Fruits and Nuts Martha Stewart

You’ve heard or beer can chicken, why not beer can turkey?

No Ordinary Bird: Unusual Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Beer Can Turkey Serious Eats

This butterflied turkey with apple cranberry glaze on the Food network, gets rave reviews for its flavor.

No Ordinary Bird: Unusual Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Apple Cranberry Glaze Turkey Food Network

Now it’s your turn to share – What is the best holiday turkey you’ve ever cooked or eaten?

Which are your favorite unique turkey recipes? Have you tried any of the above? How did it turn out?

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