Thanksgiving Menu Planner

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!

  1. Start with sorting out the recipes for your “must haves,” and your family’s traditional dishes.
  2. After you’ve decided on the dishes you know you will have (your favorite sweet potatoes, your family’s Apple Crisp recipe, etc.), start thinking about what’s missing.
  3. 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.
  4. Then, pair the list down from there with what is most interesting.
  5. Make sure to have a good balances of proteins, starches, and vegetables for your main meal.
  6. Do you have good color variety as well? That makes for the prettiest spread!
  7. 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.

I’ve got you covered with Thanksgiving Preparation Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Day and recipes for the whole day from Breakfast, to Afternoon Snacks and Appetizers, through just about every course for the big meal.

By doing a little bit of planning and preparation each day leading up to Thanksgiving, you can have a smooth-sailing Thanksgiving, no last minute craziness and lots of fun family time.

Thanksgiving Menu Planner

Planning the Thanksgiving Menu feels like a large task by itself. I've got you covered with Stress-Free Thanksgiving Preparation Tips and recipes for the whole day

Thanksgiving Drink Recipes

Here are my suggestions for drinks to serve with or before your Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving Appetizers

If afternoon leaves you needing a little nibble to sustain you until your Thanksgiving feast, check out some of these ideas for afternoon snacks or appetizers.

Tip: Choose low-carb options below if you don’t want to risk filling up before dinner.

Turkey Recipes

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.

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.

Check out the recipes below!

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.

Thanksgiving Condiments

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!

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.

Bread and Rolls

I prefer homemade bread and rolls over store bought almost any day. There are only a few store bought options that I like enough to serve at my table.

If you’re looking for homemade bread or roll ideas for your Thanksgiving menu, here are a few of our favorite recipes.

Pumpkin Desserts

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.

Apple Recipes

Other Desserts

Did you love this post?
Sign up for Good Life Eats email updates and never miss another update!

 How is your Thanksgiving Planning going? What is your favorite menu item?

Click HERE to save this Thanksgiving Menu Planner to Pinterest!