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

This year, try a different kind of stuffing.

Composition with whole raw turkey and some products on slate platePhoto: Shutterstock / Africa Studio


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. Bonus points if these fresh herbs come right from your window box garden!

High angle shot of a group of canned vegetables on a rustic white wood table.Photo: Shutterstock / Steve Cukrov

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. Try our Happy Orange Chicken Recipe.

Different onions and garlic on wooden backgroundPhoto: Shutterstock / Shulevskyy Volodymyr

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. Find out the 10 tips for buying the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

Fresh sliced celery in a white bowl on a vintage wooden background, selective focusPhoto: Shutterstock / 5PH


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.

Two apples, one whole and the other in slides beside itPhoto: Taste of Home


Consider quartering an apple or two for stuffing your turkey. Like the citrus fruits, apples 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.

Raw Organic Fennel Bulbs Ready to CookPhoto: Shutterstock / Brent Hofacker


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! Don’t miss these 27 hilarious Butterball hotline calls.

Fresh organic ginger on fresh market in thailandPhoto: Shutterstock / Akin_EO


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.

Man drinking a cold beer after work in the eveningPhoto: Shutterstock / FotoDuets


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.

salt and pepper shaker on wooden boardjultud/Shutterstock

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. A turkey is a big bird, so you want to make sure every inch gets seasoned.

Raw uncooked duck meat with vegetables.Photo: Shutterstock / Katerinina

Other birds

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! Next, be sure you don’t fall for the 10 turkey mistakes that could ruin Thanksgiving.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home