Wondering what to make this year for Thanksgiving Dinner? Take all the guess work out of planning your Thanksgiving Menu and check out some of our very favorite Thanksgiving Recipes!
I’ve got you covered with Turkey Recipes and Turkey Brines (plus everything you need to know about roasting or smoking a turkey), plenty of Thanksgiving Appetizers, Side Dishes, Drinks, and Desserts! You’ll be able to plan your entire Thanksgiving Menu with this post – there are over 90 Tried and True Thanksgiving Recipes handpicked by me!
Click HERE to save this Thanksgiving Menu Planner to Pinterest!
How Do You Plan a Thanksgiving Menu?
Planning and Cooking a Thanksgiving Feast is a lot of work. Sometimes coming up with the Thanksgiving Menu feels like the hardest part. That’s why I’ve gone through all of my recipe archives and chosen more than 90 recipes – broken down by course – to help you get brainstorming!
Here are some tips!
Start with sorting out the recipes for your “must haves,” and your family’s traditional dishes.
Browse through these recipes and note which ones are of most interest by each course. Filling in the gaps is a great opportunity to introduce a few new dishes.
Then, pair the list down from there with what is most interesting.
Make sure to have a good balances of proteins, starches, and vegetables for your main meal.
Do you have good color variety as well? That makes for the prettiest spread!
Figure out if you plan to make the whole meal or if you want to outsource any items to guest and eat pot luck style.
Click HERE to save this Thanksgiving Menu Planner to Pinterest!
What Can I Make Ahead for Thanksgiving Dinner?
There are lots of things that you can make ahead or at least partially prep, so if you’re stressing over your Thanksgiving Preparation Schedule and Thanksgiving Menu Planning there is no need to worry. I’ve also included some notes along with each recipe where applicable.
Fresh pressed apple cider, tart pomegranate juice, and Tempranillo pair with mulling spices and fresh fruit to create a fall-inspired cocktail, perfect for sipping during this autumn and winter season.
This Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail is the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail! A homemade cranberry shrub with hints of black pepper, rosemary, and cinnamon is combined with bourbon and seltzer for a festive and colorful drink!
Spiced Pear and Pomegranate Crostini are the perfect solution for simple entertaining. Spiced Pear and Pomegranate Crostini look far more special than a plate of fruit and cheese, but they’re really a cinch to prepare and they don’t require any special serving utensils.
Pomegranate Salsa is the perfect salsa recipe to make if you are craving fresh salsa in the winter. I don’t think salsa just has to be the traditional tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime that you might think of when chips and salsa come to mind.
Roasted Cranberry Salsa is a tasty, colorful holiday recipe for gifting and serving at parties. Roasted fresh cranberries pair perfectly with the traditional elements of salsa - jalapeño, cilantro, onion, and lime. Serve it with tortilla chips or crackers. You can also pour it on top of a block of cream cheese for a different kind of spread.
Rosemary White Bean Artichoke Spinach Dip is a remake of the classic recipe so many know and love. In this recipe creamy white cannellini beans and rosemary pair perfectly with artichokes, fresh spinach, and cheese.
If you plan on making Deviled Eggs, make sure you buy your eggs a week or so before Thanksgiving. Older eggs are easier to peel! Follow these simple instructions for hard boiled eggs that turn out perfectly every time.
Puff pastry shells are baked and filled with a mixture of kalamata olives, red bell pepper, fresh oregano, feta, and spinach with a lemony olive oil vinaigrette for a scrumptious puff pastry appetizer perfect for any Thanksgiving dinner party.
Serve this Marinated Feta Appetizer with crackers or crusty bread. In this recipe, feta cheese is marinated in olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic, lemon, and sun dried tomatoes for a delicious and simple appetizer.
This tart may seem simple, and sure enough, the recipe itself comes together easily. Everything falls into place with very little effort, but the end result is nothing short of extraordinary. Sliced into pieces, this makes a great appetizer!
Cheese plates are a super easy way to put together a Thanksgiving appetizer. These Homemade Rosemary Cheese Crackers are the perfect accompaniment to your cheese plate. Check out my tips for How to Plan a Cheese Tasting Party and Hosting a Cheese Party if you'd like to learn more about cheeses as appetizers!
With just a little olive oil, some crushed garlic, aromatic herbs and lemon peel you can prepare these Marinated Olives with Garlic, Thyme and Rosemary. They are the perfect, easy, make-ahead appetizer for entertaining. These olives also go great served alongside a cheese platter!
If you are new to roasting a turkey or simply want to brush up your skills, check out my Turkey Roasting Tips to get you started.
Roasting a turkey isn’t as difficult as it sounds once you get the method down.
Brining your turkey will help infuse it with flavor while also keeping the meat incredibly moist. Note that you’ll have to plan ahead as a turkey needs to soak in the brine for approximately 24 hours.
Come check out my very best turkey roasting tips for a turkey that is full of flavor. The turkey is the center piece of the Thanksgiving meal and is arguably the trickiest part of the meal. Learn all about turkey bringing, turkey roasting times, and turkey roasting temperatures.
This apple cider sage turkey brine infuses roasted turkey with so much flavor and thanks to fresh apple cider and plenty of fresh sage. Brining a turkey helps keep the meat moist. It’s a must have for me when I’m hosting Thanksgiving.
This Fresh Herb and Citrus Turkey Brine combines lots of different fresh herbs with a subtle hint of citrus. Brining your turkey will tenderize the meat and infuse it with a TON of flavor for Turkey Day! This brine amount works for one 16 - 20 lb turkey.
Dry brining a turkey is really simple and produces juicy, seasoned turkey meat. With dry bringing you don't have to worry about making a batch of liquid that you soak the turkey in overnight, so it is super convenient. This recipe for Garlic Herb Peppercorn Dry Brine is full of flavor and will make your turkey shine on Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Alternatives to Turkey
Is Turkey not your thing? Or do you like to serve multiple meats for Thanksgiving? I have a few different suggestions for you!
Ham is a great addition to Turkey, especially if you're serving a crowd. It also goes great as a stand alone with a pretty presentation and pairs well with so many of the sides on this list.
Chicken is a great alternative if a turkey feels bit too overwhelming to prepare, but you want a roast bird. It is also perfect for smaller gatherings when you don't want to be stuck with so many leftovers.
Learn how to make a slow cooker ham with this delicious recipe for Slow Cooker Ham with Honey Marmalade Mustard Glaze. The ham slow cooks during your busy day and comes out with great flavor thanks to the tasty glaze.
This Citrus and Rosemary Roast Chicken was so moist and flavorful. This simple roasted chicken is seasoned with citrus and rosemary, but feel free to swap out herbs, add some in, or leave out the citrus.
You can also brine a chicken using any of the turkey brine recipes listed in the turkey section, you just won't need to brine it as long so be sure to check out the timing recommendations listed along with the brines.
Easy Smoked Chicken is a great summer meal. The chicken turns out incredibly flavorful, tender and juicy. Perfect for BBQs or any time you want to cook a whole chicken but want to do something a little different than traditional roasting.
Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipes
Stuffing is easily the highlight for many at Thanksgiving. I have to favorites to share with you, one traditional and another made from quinoa.
How to Safely Stuff a Turkey
If you really love stuffing inside your turkey, there are two ways to safely stuff a turkey:
My recommended turkey stuffing method is to prepare and cook the stuffing separately while the turkey roasts. Then, place the stuffing into the turkey once it is done roasting.
An alternative is to stuff the turkey as is traditionally done by placing the stuffing in the cavity of the raw turkey. DO NOT pack it tightly so the air can circulate. You will need to take the temperature of the stuffing as well as the turkey meat. The stuffing also needs to reach 165 degrees F to be safe to eat. Probe Thermometers are great for checking temps! The problem with this method is that the meat can often reach higher temperatures and then turn out dry.
If you are looking for a way to decrease carbs and increase nutrition for your Thanksgiving Menu, this recipe is a great option. Butternut Squash and Kale Quinoa Stuffing is a delicious gluten-free and vegetarian stuffing recipe loaded with tons of veggies and flavors.
Quinoa is rich in fiber and has a low glycemic index, which means it will help balance out any post-meal blood-sugar spike after you’ve indulged in everything else on your Thanksgiving menu.
Don't forget all the toppings for your turkey, mashed potatoes, and rolls! You'll love my tips for making turkey with out lumps, our family favorite cranberry relish, a smooth cranberry sauce enhanced with red wine and pomegranate juice, and a few other fun condiments!
Fresh, tart cranberries are cooked and blended with agave, brown sugar, red wine, and pomegranate juice create a deliciously simple and smooth Red Wine Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce for your Thanksgiving feast.
This Water Bath Canned Vanilla Spiced Pear Butter is easy to make. Pear Butter makes a great spread for warm rolls on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
Are the side dishes the star of your Thanksgiving table? Here are some of our well-loved ideas to get you started.
If you need to cut down on preparation time, but would still like a nice side dish, roasted vegetables are always simple. Toss potatoes, asparagus or brussels sprouts with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast at 425 degrees F until tender and browned.
This salad is so full of color and beautiful on the table. The sweet and salty bites of squash went so well with the juicy pomegranate arils and the bold Roquefort cheese along with the greens and roasted butternut squash.
Spaghetti Squash is a great easy vegetable side that you can cook on Thanksgiving. Perfect if you're looking for something that is relatively hands off and will free up oven space (2 of the methods don't require the oven at all). Plus, it can also be prepped ahead! Unsure how to cook spaghetti squash? This post breaks down how to bake spaghetti squash, microwave spaghetti squash, and how to cook spaghetti squash in a slow cooker.
Master a basic cheese sauce and utilize that recipe over and over again, but each time you can experiment with different cheeses. Adjusting and tweaking the flavors to fit your mood at the time. This version uses gruyere cheese and adds rosemary and cubes of butternut squash - perfect for Thanksgiving!
This recipe for Honey Roasted Carrots with Balsamic is a super simple way to make oven roasted carrots with lots of flavor! Keeping the carrots whole gives this side dish of whole roasted carrots a great presentation on the table! Learn all you need to know about how to roast carrots.
In this Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Squash, Goat Cheese, and Pepitas kale is lightly massaged with olive oil, salt and pepper, before being tossed with roasted delicata squash, roasted red onions, herbed goat cheese, a pepitas.
Take your traditional side dish of roasted broccoli to the next level with this recipe of Lemon Roasted Broccolini with Pancetta and Breadcrumbs. Roasted Broccoli is sprinkled with a delicious and crunchy lemon, thyme, and pancetta breadcrumb mixture.
Sliced Sweet Potatoes are baked in a spiced orange maple glaze and sprinkled with juicy, bright pomegranate arils. It is a gorgeous, colorful Thanksgiving side dish that is a little bit more on the healthier side without sacrificing flavor.
Cubed sweet potatoes tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper are roasted and then tossed generously with fresh garlic and sage. Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic and Sage make a great side for your evening meal.
These Maple Chipotle Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts are the kind of vegetable side dish that has everyone asking for seconds. To make these roasted veggies stand out, I coated them in a blend of butter, maple syrup and ground chipotle pepper. After roasting, both the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and sweet spicy all over. So tasty!
Unlike other Cream of Cauliflower soup recipes, the flavor of this soup recipe is greatly enhanced with the rich, subtle flavor of roasted garlic. Roasting the garlic and cauliflower adds a deep, earthiness and a richness that doesn’t necessarily come from heavy calories.
A wonderful twist on a potato casserole where the artichokes and leeks are the stars. This is a great little side dish for steak or grilled chicken or even as a vegetarian main dish for Meatless Monday, pair it with a salad or soup.
Cream Cheese Chive Duchess Potatoes are delicious, individually portioned mounds of mashed potatoes that have been baked. Inside they're creamy and fluffy while the outside is beautifully golden and crisp.
These Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Potatoes are the perfect potato side dish for any fall or winter meal! They're crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft and tender inside. Come learn how to make the perfect crispy roasted potatoes with lots of flavor. You'll never believe how easy these crispy rosemary potatoes are to make!
While these tender rolls will make an excellent addition to any Thanksgiving menu, they’re also a great way to use up leftover baked sweet potatoes for a post-Thanksgiving treat. Try making a turkey sandwich with them!
These Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins offer a fun fall take on the traditional Cornbread Muffin. They're infused with real pumpkin and plenty of fall spices, so they'll go perfectly with your Thanksgiving meal.
This baguette had hardly any prep time and start to finish and takes a fraction of the time when compared to traditional baguette recipes. Additionally, the recipe provides enough starter dough to make 4 total loaves (but you don't need to bake them all at once). All you have to do is take a one pound hunk of dough out, prep it to bake, let it rest for 20ish minutes and pop it in the oven.
I think it is safe to say that the Thanksgiving desserts are my favorite part of the big holiday feast. We have tried several recipes over the years.
Pumpkin Creme Caramel is super simple to make. Your blender, and possibly your kids, will do most of the work for you. Aside from making the caramel sugar and putting the final recipe together before baking it, this recipe is simple enough the kids can make it.
I love making individual desserts like these pumpkin pecan cheesecake pots. Portion control and pretty presentation all in one! These are perfect for smaller gatherings or if you need a make ahead option.
I love making cheesecakes because even though they bake a while and have to cool all the way through, they are really easy to put together. This recipe has a chocolate cookie crust and the pumpkin cheesecake is drizzled with homemade chocolate ganache for an extra decadent Thanksgiving dessert!
These Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookie Bars with Cinnamon Buttercream were such a fun cookie bar to make and eat. The whole family loved them and are already asking when we can make them again. So much easier than rolling out sugar cookie cut out dough! Another great Thanksgiving dessert for the kids' table!
This Deep Dish Apple Cranberry Pie with Oatmeal Pecan Crumb Topping is a great fall pie recipe and makes an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table! This Deep Dish Apple Cranberry Pie is the kind of pie you convince yourself is perfectly okay to eat for breakfast once Thanksgiving is over.
Cinnamon Pear Crostata would make a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving table. A crostata is essentially a free-form, rustic fruit pie. I think they’re easier than traditional pies because it’s okay if they don’t look perfect.
Cranberry Pomegranate Walnut Bars are the perfect wintery recipe to add to your Thanksgiving baking list. A crumb crust is layered with sweet and tart cranberries and topped with a crunchy and crumbly walnut topping. I happen to love them as leftovers for breakfast!
These Bite-Sized Mini Cranberry Walnut Tarts are the perfect little sweet treats to pop in your mouth. Bonus: You can quickly whip up another batch after Thanksgiving to use any leftover cranberry sauce that you may have.