A classic Thanksgiving meal is at your fingertips with these mouthwatering Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas! Choose from any of these simple recipes below for your complete holiday feast!
It’s not a family feast without fluffy mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade stuffing and a slice of our favorite pumpkin pie for dessert. From appetizers to dessert, here’s all the recipes you need!
Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas
The Thanksgiving holiday gives us a reason to gather together, give thanks for bounteous blessings, and celebrate our gratitude with glorious food. Time honored recipes come out of cookbooks, rich ingredients are mixed and baked to create a spectacular meal. Some of our fondest memories include helping our mother in the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, basting and baking, chopping and whisking, creating a meal filled with familiar flavors and fond memories.
Now, as we make our own Thanksgiving dinners for our families, we include classic favorites that never change: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy… oh the gravy! But as our families evolve and our diets change, it’s fun to try twists on old classics, or completely new recipes that become tradition. Choosing the right recipes for your Thanksgiving dinner menu can seem like a daunting task, but never fear! These tried and true recipes have been part of our Thanksgiving meal for many years, and are always a hit with family and friends alike. Whether you are cooking the whole dinner on your own this year or contributing a few dishes to a large gathering, we have lots of mouth-watering and simple recipes to choose from.
It’s safe to say your guests will arrive for the Thanksgiving meal with hearty appetites. Having a few simple, savory appetizers on hand will allow you to put the finishing touches on the main meal while your guests get acquainted with each other. We love to set out a few platters of crisp veggies, tender shrimp cocktail, a rich spinach dip or a savory cheese ball and crackers on the kitchen island. Guests can munch and visit while you bustle around the kitchen, which creates a casual, cozy atmosphere guaranteed to put everyone at ease before you sit down to eat. Savoring small bites of food will actually whet the appetite for the glorious feast that’s to come. Simplicity is key for this course. And all of these appetizers can be made ahead of time so all you need to do is assemble a few plates and you’re done! Here are a few of our very favorites:
Serving a few light, fruity salads at Thanksgiving balances out the heavy, savory turkey and fixings. We love anything that adds beautiful color to the table, and salads are a terrific place to play with some of those vibrant hues. Mandarin oranges, bright pomegranates, crisp green spinach, and golden apples are some of our favorite ingredients to play with. These fresh vegetables and fragrant fruits are the perfect addition to your holiday plate. Try some of these easy to assemble salads and sides:
- Mandarin Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans
- Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- Creamy Green Pea Salad with Bacon
- Waldorf Salad
- Blueberry Jell-O Salad
Thanksgiving Dinner – Main Courses
At last! The star of your classic Thanksgiving meal, the turkey! No need to be intimidated by the idea of cooking a turkey (fun fact: it’s actually the easiest part of the whole meal!). Follow our recipe below for the most juicy, succulent roasted turkey you’ve ever tasted. And what’s turkey without mashed potatoes and gravy? This fool-proof gravy recipe will become a favorite that you can use beyond Thanksgiving. And you’ll never have lumps in your mashed potatoes again with our fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes recipe. And don’t forget the stuffing! Our cranberry sausage stuffing is loaded with sweet and savory flavors. If you are a bacon lover, our Thanksgiving stuffing with bacon gives rich bacon seasoning inside and outside of the turkey.
- How to Cook a Turkey
- Turkey Gravy
- Cranberry Sausage Stuffing
- Thanksgiving Stuffing with Bacon
- Mashed Potatoes
Thanksgiving Dinner – Side Dishes
From buttery golden rolls to sweet potatoes, side dishes are as vital to your Thanksgiving menu as the bird itself. Sides add layers of texture and color to each plate, balancing heavy savory dishes with vibrant flavors. This year, consider adding a couple of new recipes to your traditional sides. Look to seasonal vegetables like roasted parsnips, squash, roasted brussels sprouts or carrots to add color and crunch to your recipes. Thanksgiving is also a day to go carb crazy; our fluffy homemade dinner rolls complement any meal and make scrumptious leftover turkey sandwiches. Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving side recipes:
- Homemade Dinner Rolls
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
- Green Bean Casserole with Bacon and Onion Straws
- Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauces
Cranberry sauce complements Thanksgiving turkey in a way even gravy can’t. The sweet and tangy cranberry is so vibrant and flavorful and pairs beautifully with a variety of different flavors. Steer clear of the canned stuff, too! With these super easy homemade recipes you can wow your guests with fresh ingredients that taste better than any canned cranberry sauce. We especially love orange and raspberry cranberry sauces so one or more of our favorite sauces this season and find a new traditional dish for next year!
You may feel stuffed after a savory Thanksgiving dinner. But the meal just wouldn’t be complete without a slice (or two) of our very favorite pies. Today isn’t the day to worry about calories; a diet can always start tomorrow! Enjoy every single bite of sweetness and bask in being together with family and friends. Dessert is actually the part of the meal that is the most nostalgic to us. We love breaking out pie recipes that we only make once a year. As we cut in flour and shortening for a light, flaky crust or whip up meringue for our favorite lemon pie, we love to reminisce on the days of watching our mother making homemade pie crusts (and giving us a taste of leftover crust with cinnamon and sugar baked on top).
The options for Thanksgiving desserts are endless! You may favor fruity pies like apple, cherry or raspberry. Perhaps you enjoy a slice of traditional pumpkin, or opt for silky chocolate or coconut cream. Try one or two that are new to you and perhaps a new tradition will be born. We really can’t pick a favorite, so we generally make most or all of them. The great news is these pies make terrific breakfasts the next morning, so enjoy baking with your family and enjoy!
- Marie Callender’s Chocolate Satin Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Homemade Apple Pie
- Coconut Cream Pie
- Butterscotch Pie
- Island Pecan Pie
If this is your very first time hosting Thanksgiving in your home, this menu will give you all the tools you need to create a lovely, classic holiday meal. Are you a seasoned veteran who is now passing the torch on to other cooks in the family? Now is the time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your years of labor. No matter how much of the meal you’ll be preparing, the key is to enjoy the process. If you’re a whiz at making pie crusts, offer to bring a couple of your favorites. Have bounteous beans from your summer garden? Create our savory green bean casserole with bacon and crispy onion straws.
This year, offer to try your hand at homemade rolls because you’ll be amazed how easy and delicious homemade can be when you break out of your traditional cooking rut with a new recipe or two.
Remember there are many make-ahead recipes, so you can enjoy yourself on the big day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your guests, since they generally want to feel helpful when they come over for a big meal. No matter how big or small your Thanksgiving table, gathering around good food is a beautiful way to connect and share with family and friends and express your love for them. From our family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy all the cooking, baking, and time with loved ones.