If you’re looking for a twist on your traditional turkey this holiday season, try these fun and festive recipes from Canadian food experts and home chefs, including some delicious ideas for leftovers. Plus turkey tips and tricks from the pros.

1. Maple Gingerbread Glazed Roasted Turkey with Gravy (pictured above)

Serves: 8


2 cooking onions, skin on, sliced into rounds

1 orange, sliced into ½” rounds

½ bulb of fennel, sliced into ¼” slices

5 kg whole turkey

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp salt



2 tbsp canola oil

1 shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 tbsp chopped ginger

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp salt

2/3 cup fresh orange juice

¼ cup molasses

2 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp maple syrup



Drippings from the turkey pan

Remaining glaze

½ cup apple cider

½ cup water

1/8 tsp ground allspice

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp cornstarch

4 tbsp water



2 tbsp. olive oil

1½ cups diced onion

1 cup diced fennel

¾ cup diced celery

1 large Cortland apple, medium dice

3 cups soft brioche breadcrumbs

3 cups soft cinnamon raisin bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

¼ cup melted, unsalted butter

1 cup turkey or chicken stock

1½ tsp salt

1 tsp coarse black pepper

½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley


You will also need:

An instant read thermometer



Step 1: Make the stuffing

  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add oil, diced onion, diced fennel, celery and apple; sauté until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Scrape vegetables into large mixing bowl. Add brioche crumbs, raisin bread cubes, melted butter, stock, salt, pepper and parsley.
  3. Using a large spoon, combine ingredients until well blended.
  4. Stuff the cavity of your holiday turkey with ¾ of this dressing, reserving the other ¼ for the upper end of the bird.

*For additional holiday cheer, add ½ cup fresh cranberries before stuffing turkey.

Step 2: Cook the turkey

  1. Lay the onion slices, orange slices and fennel on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Lay the turkey on top of the vegetables, breast side up and tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Rub canola oil all over the turkey and season evenly with salt.
  3. Cook on the middle rack in 350 F oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, get started on the glaze. Add the canola along with the shallot, ginger and garlic to a pot set over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes until shallot is soft and translucent. Add the remaining ingredients for the glaze and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low for 8 minutes. Pour glaze through a sieve, pushing the liquid through with the back of a spoon. Discard the solids.
  5. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (do not hit the bone). When the temperature reads 140 F, begin basting the turkey with the glaze every 10 minutes.
  6. Once the thermometer reads 165 F, remove the turkey from the oven. Cover turkey and let rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Prepare gravy by pouring all the drippings from the turkey pan into a medium pot. Add remainder of glaze along with apple cider, water, allspice, ginger and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes.
  8. Whisk cornstarch with the water until it is fully dissolved. Whisk cornstarch slurry into gravy and cook for another 2 minutes.
  9. Carve the turkey and serve with gravy.

Recipe created by: Andrea Buckett


Blood Caesar-Inspired Roast turkey
Photo: Andrew Grinton/Turkey Farmers of Canada

 2. Great Canadian Caesar Turkey

Serves: 12


4 cups pickle brine

4 cups Caesar mix

¾ cup kosher salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

4 cups water



6 kg (12 lb) whole turkey, giblets removed

3 ribs celery, cut in half

2 onions, cut into 8 wedges, skin on

1/2 bunch parsley (2 cups)

½ cup butter, melted

3 tbsp Caesar rimmer seasoning

2 tbsp sweet paprika



2 tbsp canola oil

1 onion, diced

3 ribs celery, diced

3 tbsp vodka

2 cups stock (vegetable or turkey)

1 tsp celery seed

6 hot pepperettes, sliced

5 garlic dill pickles, diced

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 loaf white bread (675 g), diced

½ cup chopped parsley

½ tsp freshly ground pepper


Caesar jus

2 cups turkey drippings from the roasting pan

1 cup Caesar mix

¼ cup vodka

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 cup water

3 tbsp flour


Step 1: Brine turkey

  1. In a large stockpot, combine pickle brine, Caesar mix, salt, sugar, Worcestershire and water until the salt and sugar dissolves.
  2. Slowly submerge the entire turkey in the brine so it’s completely covered with liquid. Cover with a lid and place in the fridge for 24 hours.

Step 2: Prep turkey for roasting

  1. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and pour out all of the brine.
  2. Line the bottom of a roasting pan with celery, onion and parsley along with 1 cup of water and rest the turkey on top. Dry the surface of the turkey with paper towels and brush the turkey liberally with the melted butter.
  3. Mix together the Caesar rimmer seasoning and paprika and sprinkle over the entire turkey, inside and out.
  4. Place in the middle rack of 350 F oven and cook for 3 ½ hours, basting every hour. Cook until a meat thermometer, in the thickest part of the inner thigh (not touching bone) reads 170 F.
  5. Remove the turkey from the oven and tent with aluminum foil. Let the turkey rest for 30 to 45 minutes.

Step 3: Make the dressing

  1. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add canola oil, onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and translucent.
  2. Add vodka and cook until the liquid evaporates.
  3. Add stock, celery seed, pepperettes, pickles and Worcestershire and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half.
  4. In large mixing bowl, combine bread with the vegetable and pickle mixture. Stir in parsley and ground pepper.
  5. Spray a 9- x 11-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Add stuffing to pan and distribute it evenly.
  6. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake in 350 F oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 15 minutes.

Step 4: Caesar jus

  1. Skim some of the fat off top of the drippings.
  2. Combine drippings, Caesar mix, vodka and Worcestershire in a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and cold water to create a flour slurry.
  4. Quickly whisk slurry into the jus mixture and simmer for 3 minutes or until it’s thickened slightly.

Recipe created by: Andrea Buckett


Pumpkin Spice Roast Turkey
Photo: Andrew Grinton/Turkey Farmers of Canada

3. Pumpkin Spice Turkey

Serves: 10

10-14 lb turkey


2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash

1 cup sliced onion

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp cold butter

2 cups cubed Brioche

2-3 tbsp melted butter


Pumpkin Glaze

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup pumpkin purée

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves


½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1 cup warm water



  1. Mix squash stuffing ingredients together and stuff inside the turkey.
  2. Combine the glaze ingredients in a medium pot and bring it to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Pat turkey dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast turkey in 325 F oven for 20 minutes per pound or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh, the breast and the wing reaches a temperature of 170 F.
  6. After the first hour of cooking and every hour after that, brush the turkey with the pumpkin glaze.

Recipe created by: Andrea Buckett

Chimchurri Roulade Roast Chicken
Photo: Andrew Grinton/Turkey Farmers of Canada

4. Chimichurri Turkey Roulade (made with Anova sous-vide Pro machine)

Serves: 4

1 bunch parsley

1 bunch cilantro

1 jalapeno, stem removed and halved

1 shallot

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup olive oil

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

½ tsp salt

2 boneless skin-on turkey breasts (about .335 kg each)


  1. Tear parsley and cilantro and add it to a food processor along with jalapeno, shallot and garlic. Pulse, using multi-purpose blade until everything is well combined. Add in canola oil, olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt; puree until you have a thick herby sauce. Pour into a container and chill until ready to use.
  2. Lay two pieces of plastic wrap overlapping on the work surface and lay both turkey breasts, breast side down on the plastic. Cover turkey with two more pieces of plastic wrap.
  3. Use a meat mallet to pound the turkey so that you have an even thickness of meat. When they are almost at ¼-inch thickness, take top sheet of plastic off and move one turkey breast so it’s slightly overlapping the other. Replace top sheet of plastic and finish pounding.
  4. Remove the top layer of plastic and add ½ cup of the chimichurri paste. Use an off-set spatula (or back of a large spoon) to spread the chimichurri in an even layer over the top of the turkey.
  5. Use bottom piece of plastic to help roll the turkey (from the longer side) into a tight log (jelly-roll style). Be sure not to get any plastic caught up inside the roll. Once the roll is complete, twist ends of the plastic wrap, like a candy wrapper, to secure.
  6. Slide the roll into an extra-large zipper-lock style bag; remove as much air as possible and seal. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  7. Secure the Anova precision sous-vide to the side of a large pot half full of water and set the temperature to 150 F. Once the water is at temperature, lower the turkey in the bag into the water. Ensure entire turkey is submerged.
  8. Set the timer for 3 hours and cook.
  9. Once the time is up, remove turkey from the water and from the bag. Remove the plastic wrap and slice into ½-inch thick slices.
  10. Serve with the remaining chimichurri sauce.

Recipe created by: Andrea Buckett


Turkey Charcuterie Platter
Photo: Lisa Dawn Bolton/Turkey Farmers of Canada

5. Turkey Charcuterie Board

Serves: 6

*Note: you can adjust the amounts based on how many people you are serving and the size of your board

1 turkey sausage ring (cured)

8-inch turkey kielbasa coil

20 slices gypsy turkey salami

15 slices roasted turkey breast

4 turkey pepperoni sticks

4 pieces turkey jerky

1 wedge mild gouda cheese

1 small wheel brie

½ cup beet hummus

1 sleeve plain soda crackers

1 large cluster green grapes

25 blueberries or seasonal fruit of your choice

Fresh greens (i.e., parsley)



  1. Line a round rimmed cheeseboard with linen or parchment paper.
  2. Start with the largest items first: cheese, dish of hummus and grapes. For the gouda, use a sharp knife and cut cheese away from the rind, keeping the rind intact. Dice cheese up into bite-sized pieces and then place it back into the rind.
  3. Slice turkey sausage ring and coil into coins and place in various spots on the board; fold salami and turkey breast in half and half again, creating a “rose” like appearance and tuck it into various spots on the board; slice the jerky and pepperoni into thin strips and angle off the board in a couple different spots.
  4. Fill in any holes with crackers and garnish with blueberries on a stick and some fresh herbs like fenugreek (or parsley or lime leaves)

Recipe created by: Shannon Crocker


Left-over turkey sandwich
Photo: Jessica Emin/Turkey Farmers of Canada


6. Ultimate Hot Turkey Sandwich


Serves: Sandwich serves one, stuffing serves 10


2 slices soft white bread

2 tbsp salted butter

½ cup sharp cows’ cheese or other meltable cheese, grated

150 g leftover turkey pieces or enough to cover the top of a slice of bread

½ cup leftover dressing or stuffing (see below recipe for ’Rich Herb-y Homemade Boxed-style Dressing’)

1/3 cup leftover turkey gravy

2 tbsp leftover cranberry sauce

2 tbsp leftover peas



  1. Heat gravy in small saucepan over low heat.
  2. In  large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat; move one slice of bread around to coat underside in butter. Add grated cheese on top so that it is even to the edges and place the second slice of bread on top.
  3. Add the turkey to the side of the pan to warm it up, with a bit of butter, while making the grilled cheese.
  4. Fry the sandwich until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted. Tenting with a plate to create a bit of steam can help melt the cheese without burning your bread, so they are ready at the same time. Flip the sandwich and repeat.
  5. Place the grilled cheese on a plate and layer with your leftover turkey dinner in this order: turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and peas.


Rich Herb-y Homemade Boxed-style Dressing

10 slices soft white bread

¾ cup butter

1 large white onion, or 2 cups, diced

1 cup diced celery

3 large yellow potatoes, boiled and cubed small

2 tbsp dried summer savoury

1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

2 tbsp thyme, de-stemmed

2 tbsp finely chopped sage leaf

2 tsp coarse salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 ½ cups turkey or vegetable stock

2 eggs

  1. Toast  bread to golden brown in a toaster and set on the counter to dry for 30 minutes or so.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and cook onions and celery until lightly golden, 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, tear toast into thumbnail-sized pieces. Add potato cubes, all herbs and seasoning, then pour onion-celery mixture over; fold with a rubber spatula. (Mixture should not be smooth but not too lumpy either, more like half-mashed.)
  4. Whisk together stock and eggs, pour over dressing, fold thoroughly until everything is coated, but do not mash. Scoop dressing into a lightly greased 12- by 16-inch baking pan. Do not smooth the edges or top, just spread the dressing so it can bake consistently. Not smoothing and having a rough texture on top will create more crispy bits.
  5. Bake in 400 F oven for 30 minutes or until crispy and golden brown on top.
  6. Toss dressing with rubber spatula, then place back into 400 F oven for 10 minutes, then 2 to 3 minutes on low broil. This will create more crispy bits throughout. (Dressing can keep for up to 2 days covered in the refrigerator; cover and reheat.)

Recipe created by: Jessica Emin

Turkey Buddha Bowl
Photo: Shannon Crocker/Turkey Farmers of Canada

7. Turkey Buddha Bowl

Serves: 4



2 cans (398 ml) chickpeas, drained

2 cups cubed sweet potato

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp each turmeric, ground cumin, garlic powder and onion powder



Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups roughly chopped kale

1 cup shredded cabbage

2 avocados, sliced

2 cups Canadian turkey leftovers

1/2 cup slivered almonds

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro



¼ cup olive oil

1/3 cup water

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

½ avocado

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup fresh basil

½ tbsp honey



  1. Spread chickpeas and sweet potatoes on a non-stick baking sheet. Drizzle with ½ of the olive oil. Season with dried spices and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Bake in 400 F (200 C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool.
  3. While baking, heat remaining olive oil in a skillet. Sauté kale over high heat until lightly browned and wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. To make dressing: combine all ingredients and blend with a mini food processor or hand blender until dressing is smooth and creamy.
  5. Divide kale evenly among four bowls. Top with chickpeas, sweet potatoes, cabbage and avocado.
  6. Top each with a generous serving of turkey.
  7. Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro.
  8. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Recipe created by: Shannon Crocker


Your Turkey Primer: Pro Tips to Win the Holidays

Perfecting your turkey on the first try is not just possible, but it’s easy, too! We’ve rounded up our favourite tips and tricks to ensure your holiday dinners and lean meals go off without a hitch.

Basic Turkey Questions Answered:

What size turkey?

The most common size of whole turkeys found in stores range from 8 pounds to 25 pounds. For a family of 6 to 8 people, a 10- to 12-pound bird will yield enough turkey for your dinner as well as leftovers. (For a more specific estimate, you can check a turkey calculator here.)

Fresh or frozen?

When it comes to fresh versus frozen, it all comes down to personal preference and timing – there is no difference in quality. Fresh turkeys can be purchased closer to the day of your dinner as they don’t need time to thaw, but they take up more space in the fridge. Frozen birds can be purchased much further in advance and stored in a freezer, but it’s important to account for thawing time.

What’s the best way to thaw a frozen turkey?

There are two ways to safely thaw your turkey – the refrigerator method and the cold-water method.

Refrigerator Method

This method of thawing a turkey is the safest, as it keeps the meat cold until it is completely defrosted.

  • Place turkey on a tray on a bottom shelf in refrigerator
  • Allow 5 hours of thawing time per pound (10 hours/kg)
  • Health Canada recommends that your refrigerator is set at 4 C (40 F)

    Cold-Water Method

If you opt for the cold water method to defrost your bird, follow these steps:

  • Keep the turkey in its original wrapping
  • In a large container, cover the turkey completely with cold water
  • Change the water at least every hour
  • Allow 1 hour of thawing time per pound (2 hours/kg)
  • Once thawed, keep your turkey refrigerated and cook within 48 hours
  • Remember to always follow safe food handling procedures.How do I season my turkey?There are countless ways to customize your turkey for your holiday meal! Many people like to brine their turkey by soaking the whole turkey in salted water ahead of time. (Go here for ideas.)

How long should I cook my turkey, and how will I know when it’s done?
To perfect your turkey, set your oven to roast at 350 F (177 C) and calculate cook time based on the weight of your turkey. Keep a meat thermometer on hand to monitor internal temperatures to make sure you don’t under or overcook.

Internal Temperatures to Reach:

  • Unstuffed Internal temperature of 170 F (77 C) in the thickest part of the thigh
  • Stuffed internal temperature of 180 F (82 C). Stuffing placed in the cavity of the bird should reach an internal temperature of at least 165 F (74 C).

Let turkey stand at least 20 minutes after cooking to lock in juices.

How should I store my turkey?
If you’re storing frozen turkey, a whole bird can be kept frozen for 1 year but, of course, do not freeze once it’s been thawed.

Your cooked leftovers can keep for up to four days in the refrigerator and up to three months in the freezer. Make sure not to leave your turkey at room temperature for more than 2 hours if you wish to freeze.

A version of this story was published on Nov. 26, 2020


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