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

This year, try a different kind of stuffing. Here are our top picks for ingredients that bring flavor and moisture for your best bird yet.

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Herbs

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. Use this roasted sage turkey recipe as a starting point.

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OnionsBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Onions and the like

Onions, shallots and garlic serve as the foundation of many of our favorite meals, so be sure to include them on Thanksgiving Day. A few cloves of garlic and a quartered onion combined with herbs or any other ingredients on this list are sure to give you a tasty turkey.

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Apple sage roasted turkeyTaste of Home

Apples

Consider quartering an apple or two for stuffing your turkey. They will provide the turkey with a little extra moisture during the cooking process and a very subtle flavor that will remind you of fall. Want to use up the last apples of the season? Take a bite out of our 50+ sweet and savory apple recipes.

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Heads of celery. Close-upValentyn Volkov/Shutterstock

Celery

If you want a classic roast turkey taste, incorporate a few ribs of celery. This ingredient, combined with herbs and onions, is a classic for any roast. Use up the bunch in one of these non-boring recipes. 

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Citrus fruits

Adding wedges of lemon, orange, lime and even grapefruit can 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. This happy orange turkey recipe is a great one for citrus-lovers.

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Fresh Florence fennel bulbs or Fennel bulb on wooden background.KarepaStock/Shutterstock

Fennel

This lesser-used aromatic is a great option for filling your bird. It plays well with other autumnal flavors like apples and nuts (just like in this tasty salad). It does have a slight anise flavor, though, so if you’re not a black licorice fan, stay away from this one!

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Ginger root sliced on wooden table; Shutterstock ID 127542449grafvision/Shutterstock

Ginger

Try adding a few adventurous seasonal flavors to your turkey. A few slices of fresh, peeled ginger placed inside the turkey cavity can add a bit of spice to your Thanksgiving Day. If you prefer your ginger in sweeter treats, try our favorite gingerbread recipes.

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Yeungling beer in a coolerBrianna Griepentrog/Taste of Home

Beer

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. You can pick up a few tips on how to make this one work with our beer can chicken recipe.

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Salt and pepper

This one might seem obvious, but on a busy day in the kitchen, you might forget this step. 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. Follow these tips for cooking a flavorful turkey, too.

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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. (Check out our recipe!) This turkey stuffed with duck that’s stuffed with a chicken is definitely a culinary oddity, but it’s a fun one to think about!

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.

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