Roast Turkey Alternatives for the Holidays

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Sick of roasting a huge, traditional bird with stuffing and all the trimmings for Christmas or the holidays? Try these roast turkey alternatives!

Maybe you want to make something smaller because you’re not having a huge crowd.

Or maybe you just want to make something…different.

Here are some of our favorite poultry alternatives to roasting The Big Bird this holiday season.

Roast Turkey Alternatives

Perfect Roast Chicken

I swear, I think I could live on roast chicken. I love the crispy skin and wings the most.

I also love that it’s such an ideal blank canvas. 

Season yours with traditional green herbs like rosemary and parsley.

Go for Cajun with butter under the skin that’s been spiked with fresh lemon zest.

Or rock a chili, lime, and tequila bird. 

Here’s my method and a starter recipe.    

The Best Way to Roast a Duck

This is one of our favorites. Ducks aren’t huge, so if you’re feeding a crowd, you’ll want to grab a few. 

This is one of our oldest recipes on the blog, but it consistently gets the most traffic and comments from happy roasters. 

If you’ve never roasted a duck before, never fear.

My recipe gives an overview of the method, plus step-by-step photos so you can cook along.  

The Best Way to Roast a Duck (Hello, Crispy Skin!)

Holiday Cornish Game Hens

This is another fav in our house. I love to roast individual game hens, so each diner gets their own. 

And much like roast chicken, you can spice them however you like. 

There’s just something so dramatic about presenting each guest with their own miniature bird. 

Holiday Cornish Game Hens

Whiskey Glazed Roasted Turkey Breast

If you love white meat, this one’s for you.

Here’s The Angry Chef’s recipe and method for roasting a whole, bone-in turkey breast that’s fragrant with lemon, cinnamon, and whiskey. 

It stays super juicy, and the glaze is to. die. for. 

The Angry Chef’s Whiskey Glazed Roasted Turkey

Cinnamon, Bacon & Apple Roasted Turkey (Spatchcocked!)

When you spatchcock a turkey, you remove its backbone and squash it flat so it cooks in record time. 

It’s a great method and I def recommend trying it if you haven’t. (You can also spatchcock a roasted chicken, for a mini version.)

It makes a very dramatic presentation at the table. You’ll want to use a BIG platter.

I couldn’t resist adding the little paper chop frills on this guy. 

Cinnamon, Bacon & Apple Roasted Turkey (Spatchcocked!)

Spicy Roast Turkey Breast with Honey Butter Glaze

Here’s another recipe for turkey breast, but this time a boneless one. 

This has a sweet, buttery glaze laced with herbs. 

It’s great holiday dinner fare, and also makes killer sandwiches during the work week.  

Spicy Roast Turkey Breast with Honey Butter Glaze

Roast Goose: Two Recipes (Plus, What To Do With a Smoked Goose)

If you’re sick of turkey and want to make something different, maybe try a holiday goose!

They definitely can be a little gamey, so you want to make sure that your guests are up for that. 

Here’s my method and recipe for roasting a goose. 

Roast Goose: Two Recipes (Plus, What To Do With a Smoked Goose)

Rosemary Scented Roast Chicken

Rosemary is one of my all-time favorite herbs.

Here’s another method and recipe for roasting a whole chicken. 

Rosemary Scented Roast Chicken

Individual Turkey or Chicken Pot Pies

And if you want to forgo a whole bird entirely…or are figuring out how to use up your holiday leftovers, here’s my recipe for individual pot pies. 

They’re the ultimate comfort food, and also freeze REALLY well if you need to put a little holiday love on ice for later in the season.  

Want more poultry inspiration?

Here are all our chicken, duck, and turkey recipes–with a goose and some Cornish game hens thrown in for good measure. 

What are your favorite roast turkey alternatives?

Drop us a comment below!

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

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