10 Things You Should Put in Your Turkey That Aren’t Stuffing

10 Things You Should Put in Your Turkey That Aren’t Stuffing
© Provided by Taste of Home

By Lesley Balla, Lisa Kaminski, Taste of Home

To cook stuffing inside the Thanksgiving turkey or not? That is the question. We love to stick with tradition, but cooking stuffing in a turkey can be dangerous. It has everything to do with temperature: You should cook the bird to a safe internal temperature of 165°F, but stuffing doesn’t always reach that at the same time as the turkey. And cooking a turkey until the stuffing reaches a safe temperature could dry out the meat. So we suggest avoiding the risk altogether: Stuff a turkey with herbs, fruit and vegetables instead! Not only will it be safer, but the aromatics will create a more flavorful turkey. Here are 10 ideas for what to stuff a turkey with this Thanksgiving.


The secret to adding extra flavor to your Thanksgiving turkey is to season it liberally. To make sure that your favorite herbs permeate every bit of your bird, stuff a small bundle into the turkey cavity. Thyme, sage, parsley and a bit of rosemary are a great combination—but feel free to customize to your taste.

Learn More: 5 Things You Should Absolutely Do Ahead for Thanksgiving

Onions and Other Alliums

Onions, shallots and garlic serve as the foundation of many of our favorite meals, so be sure to include them on Thanksgiving Day. Here’s an easy turkey tip: A few cloves of garlic and a quartered onion, combined with herbs, will give you a delicious centerpiece for the holiday.


Consider quartering an apple or two for stuffing your turkey. The flavor remind you of fall, but apples will also provide the turkey with a little extra moisture during the cooking process (you can still brine the turkey, of course).


If you want a classic roast turkey taste, incorporate a few ribs of celery. This ingredient, combined with herbs and onions, is one of the most traditional Thanksgiving flavors.

Citrus Fruits

Wedges of lemon, orange, lime and even grapefruit provide your turkey with an extra layer of flavor. Plus, these fruits add moisture to your turkey as it cooks so you end up with a juicy Thanksgiving centerpiece. Our Happy Orange Turkey recipe is perfect for anyone who loves citrus. Just be prepared: You’ll need an oven-roasting bag for this recipe.


This lesser-used aromatic is a great option when it comes to what to stuff your turkey with this year. It plays well with other autumnal flavors like apples and nuts, like in this apple and fennel salad. It does have a slight anise flavor, though, so if you’re not a black licorice fan, stay away from this one!


A few slices of fresh peeled ginger placed inside the turkey cavity can add a bit of warming spice to your holiday. The flavor pairs nicely with fluffy potato rolls, marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole or one of our other favorite Thanksgiving sides.


You’ve probably heard of beer can chicken before. Well, the same principle can be applied to turkey! This method is best for smaller birds made on the grill, but it’s still a great way to add moisture and a little extra flavor to your nontraditional Thanksgiving turkey.

Salt and Pepper

This one might seem obvious, but on a busy day in the kitchen, it’s easy to overlook the basics. Adding salt and pepper to the inside of the turkey is critical for proper seasoning. Turkey is a big bird, so you want to make sure every inch gets seasoned.

Learn More: 7 Things You Should Never Store Under Your Kitchen or Bathroom Sinks

Other Poultry

This one is not for the faint of heart! If you’re exceptionally daring and love a good challenge, try your hand at making a turducken. A turkey stuffed with duck that’s stuffed with a chicken is definitely a culinary oddity, but it’s a fun one to think about!

See more at Taste of Home

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Lifestyle Magazine: 10 Things You Should Put in Your Turkey That Aren’t Stuffing
10 Things You Should Put in Your Turkey That Aren’t Stuffing
Wondering what to stuff your turkey with this year? Fill your Thanksgiving turkey with flavorful aromatics, herbs and more.
Lifestyle Magazine
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