What is a Turducken? Turducken Recipe Included!

Turducken Recipe

turducken, turducken recipe, what is a turducken

Turducken is an absolute showstopper! The pièce de resistance of any Thanksgiving dinner. Yet, it’s certain to raise eyebrows for those unfamiliar with this gastronomical creation. “Turducken?! Is that an exotic vegetable? An unusual foreign dish? Or something else entirely?”

We’re about to banish all the confusion. Whether you’ve tried turducken before or you’re a first-timer, you’ll know what it is and the best turducken recipe by the end of this article. Let’s get started.

What is turducken?

So, what is a turducken? The clue is in the name: it’s a turkey, duck, and chicken. We’re not talking about some strange hybrid animal, but what the English call a “royal roast.” That’s all three birds inside one another: first the chicken, then the duck, and finally a turkey – all deboned, of course.

The gastronomic name for this process of stuffing one animal inside is engastration – and it has a long and storied history.

In fact, engastration is believed to date to the Middle Ages, when great feasts would feature this spectacular roast; hence the name “royal roast.”

Over the years, various versions have been attempted, from the gooducken (where the turkey is replaced with goose) to all manner of fowl, including quail, thrushes, lark, partridges, and guinea fowl. If it’s feathery and delicious, someone’s stuffed it. You’ll typically hear these creations called a “three bird roast,” though some extraordinary versions have even gone to five birds.

Turducken recipe

Intrigued? You’re not alone. Turducken isn’t just a fascinating dish; it’s also delicious. The combination of flavors from the moist roast poultry is like nothing else. And, despite first impressions, it’s easier to make than you think – even if it is a little time-consuming.

Best of all, when you proudly take it out of the oven and place it down on your Thanksgiving table, you’re sure to be met with ravenous approval. Trust us – your guests will be talking about your turducken for months to come.

Prep time: 60 mins

Cook time: 4 hours

Servings: 12 to 14

Turducken Ingredients


  • 2 ¾ cps prepared bread stuffing
  • 2 cups prepared cornbread stuffing
  • ½ cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

Herb butter

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, quartered
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme


  • 10- to 12-pound turkey, deboned
  • 4- to 5-pound duck, deboned
  • 3- to 4-pound chicken, deboned
  • 1 tablespoon browning sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Turducken Cooking Directions

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  1. Organize your ingredients. Place 2 ¼ cups of bread stuffing in a bowl; and place 1 ½ cups of cornbread stuffing in another bowl.
  2. In a third bowl, add the remaining ½ cup of bread stuffing, the remaining ½ cup of cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pecans. Toss gently until mixed.
  3. Add butter, garlic, sage, and thyme to a food processor. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped and mixed into the butter.
  4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Take the deboned turkey and gently make pockets under the skin. Place a lump of butter (around a teaspoon’s worth); distribute the herb butter evenly under the skin. Do not separate the skin completely from the meat.
  5. Rub the browning sauce into the turkey skin, followed by the olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  6. Turn the deboned turkey over, so skin-side is down. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Dot turkey cavity evenly with bread stuffing.
  7. Place the deboned duck on top of the bread stuffing, skin-side down. Spread the cranberry-nut stuffing over the open duck cavity.
  8. Place the chicken, skin-side down, onto the cranberry-nut stuffing. Dot the cornbread stuffing into the open chicken cavity; and skewer the chicken closed. Leave a portion of the skewer poking out.
  9. Pull the sides of the duck around the chicken, cover as much as possible, and then skewer closed. Leave a portion of the skewer poking out
  10. Pull the sides of the turkey around the duck, skewering the turkey closed.
  11. Gently turn the turducken over so it sits breast-side up. Remove the skewers holding the duck and chicken closed, but leave the turkey skewer.
  12. Place the turducken into your roasting tray – preferably on a metal rack. Roast for 3 to 4 hours or until the meat thermometer in the very center of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Baste the turducken once per hour with pan juices.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 30 minutes before carving. Slice the turducken across its width to show off the layers.

Tip: Use the bones to make a hearty stock. Meanwhile, the juices from the turducken can form the base for a delicious gravy.

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