A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (2024)

  • 01 of 11


    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (1)

    The roast turkey is the quintessential main dish for Thanksgiving feasts. Remember that no matter what you choose to make, the key to a successful dinner is having a turkey large enough to feed everybody – and to have some leftovers for yourself. Try these recommendations for the star of the show:

    • This roast turkey recipe includes directions for defrosting, stuffing, trussing, seasoning, and roasting. It also gives you the instructions for how to bake the turkey if you prefer to leave it unstuffed.
    • A roast turkey with bacon will be a crowd-pleaser. The bacon helps keep the moisture on the turkey meat, giving it a smoky flavor and a juicy finish.
    • For sweeter palates, think of a balsamic and honey roast turkey, enhanced by thyme and oranges. Simple and flavorful.
  • 02 of 11

    Stuffings and Dressings

    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (2)

    Stuffing and dressing are alike but not the same. The main difference is that stuffing is cooked inside of the bird and dressing is cooked and served separately. But this distinction is less strict nowadays with the growing preference for cooking turkeys with no stuffing inside (increasing information about food safety shows how stuffing inside the turkey can soak in uncooked poultry juices contaminated with salmonella).

    Stay on the safe side and cook these beautiful sides, well, on the side:

    • This fragrant, moist bread dressing is a Thanksgiving classic. You can add chopped nuts, raisins, diced apples, or dried cranberries depending on your preferences.
    • Our old-fashioned, Southern-style cornbread dressing has cornbread and soft breadcrumbs along with chopped vegetables and herbs.
    • If you have any gluten-free guests at your table, this stuffing is definitely a good option for them to have an equally filling and hearty meal.
    • A chicken and dressing casserole is an easy dish that doesn't take hours of prep.
  • 03 of 11

    Mashed Potatoes

    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (3)

    Mashed potatoes and gravy are one of the favorite combinations on Thanksgiving plates. Our suggested recipes have different flavorings and cooking options so you can choose the one that works best:

    • These extra-special garlic mashed potatoes are loaded with flavor. Butter and milk help with the creamy texture but feel free to replace them for dairy-free beverages and margarine if there are dietary needs at your table.
    • If your stovetop is covered with other dishes and the oven isn't an option, make these Instant Pot mashed potatoes. Cooked in a fraction of the time, you can forget about them and work on other things.
    • For a vegan option, try this extra-creamy vegan mashed potatoes recipe.
  • 04 of 11

    Turkey Gravy

    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (4)

    For many, the gravy is as important as the turkey. Our suggestions are quick and simple, letting the main flavors shine. Your gravy should be thick and as flavorful as your roast and these recipes do exactly that:

    • This classic Southern turkey gravy is rich and delicious. Pan drippings from turkey (or chicken) provide the flavor.
    • A dripping-less gravy is a smart solution if you aren't cooking a turkey. Lard and chicken or beef make this a rich and silky gravy.
    • This 24-hour gravy isn't for the faint of heart. It's for the true flavor seeker: the home chef for whom humble pan drippings are simply not enough.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.

  • 05 of 11

    Cranberry Sauce

    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (5)

    Cranberry sauce has a lot of variations, and can easily take on citrus flavoring, liqueur, or spices without losing its character. Our collection of cranberry recipes offers quick and flavorful preparations that will compliment your turkey roast or ham:

    • Cranberry sauce in the Instant Pot takes 15 minutes. Use vanilla, cinnamon, orange, and maple syrup to bring a piece of fall into your saucer.
    • For this quick cranberry sauce, you need 4 ingredients and 15 minutes. It's a last-minute addition to your menu that you can also use like jam, or cake or cupcake filling.
    • A simple mixture of fresh or frozen cranberries, sugar, and water can be easily transformed into this delicious jellied cranberry sauce. You do have to wait while it chills before serving though!
  • Sweet Potato and Yam Sides

    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (6)

    Sweet potatoes and yams are mistakenly thought of as the same thing. Despite both being root vegetables, they're not the same, nor are the flavor and texture they bring to your holiday table. Both are a must-have on Thanksgiving but many families have a favorite. Pick yours and follow our suggestions:

    • A traditional side dish for many, this sweet potato casserole is an incredibly delicious choice. And this sweet potato soufflé is a stunner.
    • For the lighter side of sweet potatoes, try our sauteed take on the holiday classic: less sugar and more crunch.
    • For yam lovers, candied yams with marshmallows are a popular way to enjoy this sweet root vegetable. You can also make a delicious sweet potato casserole with marshmallows.
  • 07 of 11

    Vegetable Sides (Cooked)

    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (7)

    Vegetable sides are as varied as there are vegetables. There is no standard menu when it comes to veggies so our recommendations offer many different flavors and texture:

    • Brussels sprouts are definitely a holiday favorite. This Brussels sprouts dill slaw is topped with finely chopped roasted almonds, which complements the sharp crunch of shaved Brussels sprouts.
    • A nice change from the traditional green bean casserole is this green bean dish made with sour cream, cheese, and a variety of herbs.
    • Glazed carrots are so easy to make. Adding just water, butter, and sugar, you have a side dish ready in 30 minutes.
    • Serve your guests a little Southern flavor with this mustard greens with bacon recipe. Simmering the greens with bacon, onions, and pepper gives you comforting flavors.
  • 08 of 11


    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (8)

    Salads have taken over holiday tables and the options are so numerous and flavorful that it's hard just to pick a few that best complement your mains. We suggest a few autumn-inspired dishes filled with fall flavors, crunchy nuts, and seasonal fruits, and two fruit-based creations to offset the saltiness and richness of other holiday dishes:

    • This Moroccan beetroot salad recipe nestles cooked beets over a bed of spinach and tops it with a creamy garlic and cumin yogurt dressing; the fresh mint and cilantro give the dish a Moroccan flare.
    • Juicy, sweet-tart grapefruit is balanced by peppery arugula, creamy avocado, and crisp, aromatic fennel.
    • This is another inviting colorful autumn salad of dried fruits, bacon, and goat cheese tossed with baby spinach and romaine with a balsamic and shallot dressing.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.

  • 09 of 11


    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (9)

    Even if your dinner menu is already a bounty of dishes, rolls have a key part to play in Thanksgiving dinner. They are a beautiful and soft vehicle to clean your plate and are sought after because of the buttery and flaky texture. Try these bready suggestions:

    • Homemade dinner rolls are surprisingly easy, and the taste is far superior to anything from a store. Few things make your kitchen smell as wonderful as fresh dinner rolls.
    • For a vibrant, colorful roll basket, make cloverleaf rolls, flavorful and crunchy thanks to the pepitas on top.
    • If you want to go the extra mile, make brioche dough for these french miniature rolls.
  • 10 of 11

    Apple Pie

    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (10)

    Homemade apple pie is a staple on Thanksgiving tables. You can't skip it, but you can browse our suggestions to find the one that you like most:

    • Our classic apple pie uses cinnamon and nutmeg to perfume tart apples. You can serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
    • This Granny Smith apple pie is exactly what you picture when you hear the words "apple pie." The crust is buttery with a crackly sugar topping, and the filling is full of sweet-tart, juicy apples.
    • This apple pie takes the classic and makes it even more tantalizing with a salty, sweet caramel that oozes out of each bite.
  • 11 of 11

    Classic Autumn Pumpkin Pie

    A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (11)

    Like apple pie, pumpkin pie is a dessert you absolutely can't skip. Most people have one slice of each!

    Some of our recommendations have interesting plays on the pumpkin flavor but others are simple and traditional:

    • This classic pumpkin pie contains just the right blend of spices and creaminess; sprinkle cinnamon before serving, or whip some cream to top it.
    • Try a creamy rich baked pudding as a softer and more unique alternative to the ubiquitous pumpkin pie. It tastes very similar, just without the crust.
    • To finish your dinner with a kick of spices, go for this cardamom pumpkin pie, also perfumed with ginger and nutmeg.
A Classic Thanksgiving Menu From Turkey to Dessert With Recipes (2024)


What is the traditional Thanksgiving menu? ›

Southern-cuisine expert and cookbook author Diana Rattray has created more than 5,000 recipes and articles in her 20 years as a food writer. The classic Thanksgiving dinner includes old-time favorites that never change: turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, and pie.

What is the most eaten dessert on Thanksgiving? ›

In general, pie reigns supreme as a Thanksgiving dessert. While some families have their nice selections of pie servings, tradition says apple, pumpkin pie, and a southern pecan pie are the go-tos, typically made with a buttery pastry pie crust.

What are 4 commonly consumed foods at Thanksgiving other than turkey? ›

Cornish game hen, goose, duck, ham, beef, salmon, and mushroom recipes make worthy centerpieces for holiday meals.

What was the original traditional Thanksgiving dinner? ›

Although turkeys were indigenous, there's no record of a big, roasted bird at the feast. The Wampanoag brought deer and there would have been lots of local seafood (mussels, lobster, bass) plus the fruits of the first pilgrim harvest, including pumpkin. No mashed potatoes, though.

What is the most popular dessert in turkey? ›

1. Turkish Baklava. This is the most famous traditional Turkish dessert that people around the world know and enjoy.

What is the desert for Thanksgiving? ›

We're all about the classic Thanksgiving desserts—pumpkin pie, pecan pie, sweet potato pie... it's not the holidays without 'em. That said, someone always brings one or more of them, and we'll admit to getting a little bored with the lack of variety on our dessert tables.

What is the number 1 Thanksgiving side dish? ›

Mashed potatoes are a traditional Thanksgiving side dish for a reason, and we definitely look forward to serving up this delicious dish every November.

What is the most important meal on Thanksgiving? ›

Turkey. Some would say a turkey is the most important food item at the table. A turkey is the center of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, 88 percent of Americans eat Turkey on Thanksgiving, with 46 million Turkeys eaten on the holiday.

How to create a Thanksgiving menu? ›

My Thanksgiving Menu Formula
  1. Turkey. Adam usually fries one, and I often roast a second turkey for leftovers. ...
  2. Gravy. Not my favorite, but it must be done.
  3. Potatoes. Mashed, roasted, or scalloped.
  4. Dressing. Or “stuffing,” depending on where you live. ...
  5. Orange Vegetable. ...
  6. Green Vegetable. ...
  7. Bread. ...
  8. Pies.
Nov 28, 2023

What is the least common Thanksgiving food? ›

The Least Popular Thanksgiving Foods, Ranked
  • Sweet Potatoes or Yams — 25.12%
  • Stuffing/Dressing. — 22.33%
  • Pumpkin Pie. — 21.44%
  • Carrots. — 16.95%
  • Mashed Potatoes. — 15.45%
  • Corn. — 14.36%
  • Macaroni and Cheese. — 14.36%
  • Apple Pie. — 12.86%

What can I serve at Thanksgiving instead of turkey? ›

Whatever the reason, here are 20 Thanksgiving recipes for a turkey-free table.
  • Roast Chicken With Maple Butter and Rosemary. Image. ...
  • Beef Wellington. Image. ...
  • Ombré Gratin. Image. ...
  • Skillet Pork Chops and Apples With Miso Caramel. Image. ...
  • Samosa Pie. Image. ...
  • Maple-Baked Salmon. Image. ...
  • Lasagna. Image. ...
  • Ina Garten's Make-Ahead Coquilles St.
Nov 10, 2022

What foods do people eat on Thanksgiving for dinner list at least 8? ›

Here are the top 10 Thanksgiving foods that your guests are likely expecting to see on the table if you're hosting a traditional affair:
  • Mashed potatoes.
  • Stuffing.
  • Green bean casserole.
  • Sweet potato casserole.
  • Baked corn.
  • Mac and cheese.
  • Peas & Water chestnuts (our fun take on regular peas)
  • Fresh rolls.
Oct 28, 2021

What are the 3 traditional foods Americans eat during Thanksgiving? ›

Millions of people across the United States will sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving meal, including turkey, potatoes, squash, corn, and cranberries. These foods have become synonymous with Thanksgiving, but how did they end up on tables from Maine to California?

What are the traditions for Thanksgiving dinner? ›

Traditional foods include turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Many people serve pie for dessert at the end of the meal.

What is served at a Black Thanksgiving dinner? ›

You will likely be eating roast turkey, barbecued turkey, deep fried turkey, glazed country ham, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes mashed and covered with marshmallows, corn, cornbread, yeast/potato rolls, black eyed peas, rice, gravy, potato salad, cranberry sauce from ...

How many sides should you have at Thanksgiving? ›

For sides like mashed potatoes and stuffing, you should have at least one dish for every five people and at least two dishes for 10 people or more. If you're serving a salad, one should be enough unless you're serving 20 people or more.


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